Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and of course, delicious food. With the holiday just around the corner, it’s time to start planning the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you’re hosting a large gathering or having a small, intimate dinner, having a variety of dishes to choose from is always a good idea.

To help make your Thanksgiving planning easier, here are 5 delicious dinner recipes that are sure to impress your guests. From classic dishes like roasted turkey and mashed potatoes to unique twists on traditional favorites, these recipes are easy to make and guaranteed to be a hit at your holiday table. So, grab your apron and get ready to create a Thanksgiving feast that your loved ones will never forget.

Essential Ingredients for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving dinner is a cherished tradition in many households, and it’s never too early to start planning for the big day. With so many dishes to prepare, it’s important to have a list of essential ingredients to make sure everything goes smoothly. Here are some of the must-have ingredients that will make your Thanksgiving dinner a success.

Turkey Preparation Basics

The centerpiece of any Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey. To ensure that your turkey is juicy and flavorful, there are a few essential ingredients you’ll need. First and foremost, you’ll need a good quality turkey. Look for a fresh, organic turkey if possible. You’ll also need butter or oil for basting, and seasonings such as salt, pepper, and herbs like thyme and sage. A meat thermometer is also essential to ensure that your turkey is cooked to the proper temperature.

Essential Sides Ingredients

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a variety of delicious sides. Some essential ingredients for side dishes include fresh vegetables like green beans, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. You’ll also need potatoes for mashing or roasting, as well as onions, garlic, and fresh herbs for flavor. Don’t forget the dairy products like butter, cream, and cheese that are essential for many side dishes.

Desserts and Baking Essentials

Thanksgiving is also a time for indulging in sweet treats. Some essential ingredients for desserts include pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices that are traditional in pumpkin pie. You’ll also need flour, sugar, and butter for baking, as well as eggs and milk for custards and puddings. Don’t forget whipped cream, which is the perfect topping for many Thanksgiving desserts.

By stocking up on these essential ingredients, you’ll be well on your way to preparing a delicious and memorable Thanksgiving dinner.

Classic Roast Turkey Recipe

Roast turkey is a traditional and classic dish that is a staple of Thanksgiving dinner. It is a simple dish that requires minimal ingredients and time to prepare. A perfectly cooked turkey is moist, tender, and flavorful, making it the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table.

To prepare a classic roast turkey, start by preheating the oven to 325°F. Rinse the turkey thoroughly and pat it dry with paper towels. Rub the turkey inside and out with butter, salt, and pepper. Place the turkey in a roasting pan and cover it with foil.

Roast the turkey for 3 to 4 hours, depending on the size of the bird. Remove the foil during the last 30 minutes of cooking to allow the skin to brown. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the turkey, which should be 165°F.

Let the turkey rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a moist and flavorful turkey. Serve the turkey with your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green beans.

Overall, a classic roast turkey is a simple and delicious Thanksgiving dinner recipe that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. With just a few ingredients and some patience, you can create a flavorful and juicy turkey that will be the highlight of your Thanksgiving feast.

Vegetarian Main Course Options

Stuffed Acorn Squash

For a beautiful and delicious vegetarian main course, try making Stuffed Acorn Squash. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and fill the cavity with a mixture of cooked wild rice, sautéed mushrooms, diced apples, and dried cranberries. Bake in the oven until the squash is tender and the filling is heated through. Serve with a sprinkle of chopped parsley for a pop of color.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie is a hearty and satisfying vegetarian main course that is perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. Cook lentils with diced carrots, onions, and celery until tender, then layer them in a baking dish with mashed potatoes and bake until golden brown. The result is a savory and comforting dish that will please even the most carnivorous of guests.

Both of these vegetarian main course options are easy to make and packed with flavor. They are sure to be a hit at your Thanksgiving feast.

Traditional Sides Recipes

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving side dish that everyone loves. They are easy to make and go well with almost any main course. To make creamy mashed potatoes, start by boiling peeled and diced potatoes until they are soft. Drain the water and add butter, milk, salt, and pepper to the potatoes. Mash the potatoes until they are smooth and creamy. For an extra touch of flavor, add some garlic or chives to the mashed potatoes.

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is another traditional Thanksgiving side dish that is easy to make and always a crowd-pleaser. To make green bean casserole, start by sautéing onions and mushrooms in butter until they are soft. Add canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and some milk to the pan. Mix everything together and pour it into a baking dish. Top the casserole with some fried onions and bake it in the oven until it is hot and bubbly.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce is a delicious and easy-to-make Thanksgiving side dish. To make homemade cranberry sauce, start by boiling fresh or frozen cranberries in water until they pop. Add sugar, orange zest, and orange juice to the pot and stir everything together. Simmer the mixture until it thickens and becomes syrupy. Let the cranberry sauce cool before serving it with your Thanksgiving meal.

Overall, these traditional sides recipes are easy to make and will be a hit at any Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving Desserts

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Pumpkin pie is a classic Thanksgiving dessert that everyone loves. Here’s a simple recipe that will help you make a delicious pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving dinner.


  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt until well combined.
  3. Pour mixture into the unbaked pie crust.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Let cool before serving.

Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is another classic Thanksgiving dessert that is easy to make and always a hit. Here’s a recipe that will help you make a delicious apple crisp for your Thanksgiving dinner.


  • 6 cups sliced apples
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together sliced apples, flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until well combined.
  3. Pour mixture into a 9-inch baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle butter pieces on top of the apple mixture.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the apples are tender.
  6. Let cool before serving.

These two desserts are sure to be a hit at your Thanksgiving dinner. They are easy to make and delicious, and everyone will love them.

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dishes

Thanksgiving dinner can be a challenge for those with gluten sensitivities, but with the right recipes, it’s possible to enjoy a delicious meal without any worries. Here are two gluten-free Thanksgiving dishes to add to your menu:

Gluten-Free Stuffing

Traditional stuffing is usually made with bread, which contains gluten. However, there are many gluten-free alternatives that can be used instead. Cornbread, rice, or quinoa can all be used as a base for gluten-free stuffing.

To make gluten-free stuffing, start by sautéing onions, celery, and garlic in butter or oil. Add your gluten-free bread or alternative, along with herbs like sage, thyme, and rosemary. Pour in some chicken or vegetable broth to moisten the mixture, then bake in the oven until golden brown.

Gluten-Free Gravy

Gravy is a staple on any Thanksgiving table, but it can be tricky to make without flour, which contains gluten. However, there are a few ways to make gluten-free gravy that still tastes delicious.

One option is to use cornstarch or arrowroot powder as a thickener instead of flour. Simply whisk a tablespoon of cornstarch into a cup of cold water, then add it to your pan drippings and whisk until thickened. Another option is to use mashed potatoes as a thickener. Simply add some mashed potatoes to your pan drippings and whisk until smooth.

By using these gluten-free stuffing and gravy recipes, everyone at your Thanksgiving dinner can enjoy a delicious meal without any worries.

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

For those who prefer a plant-based diet, there are plenty of delicious options to enjoy on Thanksgiving. Here are two vegan recipes that are sure to impress your guests.

Vegan Roast

A vegan roast is a great alternative to traditional turkey. This recipe features a flavorful stuffing made with mushrooms, onions, and celery, all wrapped in a layer of puff pastry. The result is a savory and satisfying main course that everyone will love.


  • 1 package puff pastry
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a pan, sauté the mushrooms, onion, celery, and garlic in olive oil until softened.
  3. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper to the pan and stir to combine.
  4. Roll out the puff pastry and place the mushroom mixture on top, leaving a border around the edges.
  5. Roll up the pastry and pinch the edges to seal.
  6. Place the roast on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving side dish, but they often contain butter and milk. This recipe uses olive oil and non-dairy milk to create creamy and delicious mashed potatoes that everyone can enjoy.


  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Boil the potatoes in a pot of salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
  3. Add the non-dairy milk, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the pot and mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy.
  4. Serve hot and enjoy!

These vegan recipes are a great way to add some variety to your Thanksgiving dinner while still keeping it delicious and satisfying.

Leftover Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

After a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, you might find yourself with a lot of leftovers. Don’t let them go to waste! Here are some tasty ideas for using up those Thanksgiving leftovers.

Turkey Pot Pie

One classic way to use up leftover turkey is to make a pot pie. This savory dish is easy to make and always satisfying. To make a turkey pot pie, start by making a simple pie crust. Roll out the dough and place it in a pie dish. Then, mix together leftover turkey, vegetables like carrots and peas, and a creamy sauce. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake in the oven until the crust is golden brown.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich

Another easy and delicious way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers is to make a sandwich. Start with a hearty bread like sourdough or rye. Layer on leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and any other Thanksgiving sides you have on hand. Add a little mayonnaise or mustard for extra flavor. This sandwich is perfect for a quick lunch or a satisfying snack.

With these two recipe ideas, you can turn your Thanksgiving leftovers into delicious meals that your whole family will love. Get creative and experiment with different ingredients to find your own favorite leftover recipes.

Thanksgiving Dinner Timeline

Preparation Schedule

Preparing a Thanksgiving dinner can be a daunting task, but with a little planning, it can be a stress-free experience. Here’s a preparation schedule to help you stay organized and on track:

  • 1 week before: Plan your menu, make a grocery list, and start shopping for non-perishable items.
  • 3-4 days before: Buy your turkey and start thawing it in the refrigerator. Prepare any dishes that can be made ahead of time, such as cranberry sauce or pie crusts.
  • 2 days before: Shop for perishable items and start prepping vegetables. Make sure you have all the necessary cookware and serving dishes.
  • 1 day before: Brine the turkey (if desired) and set the table. Make sure you have enough chairs and place settings for all your guests.
  • Thanksgiving Day: Start cooking early in the morning. Follow the cooking sequence below to ensure everything is ready at the same time.

Cooking Sequence

To make sure everything is hot and ready at the same time, it’s important to follow a cooking sequence. Here’s a suggested order:

  1. Turkey: Start cooking the turkey early in the morning, following the instructions for your recipe. Allow for at least 30 minutes of resting time before carving.
  2. Side dishes: While the turkey is cooking, prepare your side dishes. Start with dishes that can be baked in the oven, such as sweet potato casserole or green bean casserole.
  3. Gravy: Once the turkey is done, remove it from the roasting pan and let it rest. Use the drippings to make gravy on the stovetop.
  4. Rolls: Pop the rolls in the oven to warm them up.
  5. Mashed potatoes: Boil the potatoes while the rolls are warming up. Mash them with butter and milk and keep them warm in a covered dish.
  6. Carving the turkey: Once the turkey has rested, carve it and arrange it on a platter.
  7. Final touches: Add any finishing touches to your dishes, such as chopped herbs or a sprinkle of cheese.
  8. Serve: Gather your guests and serve the meal family-style, passing dishes around the table.

By following this preparation schedule and cooking sequence, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious and stress-free Thanksgiving dinner with your loved ones.

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