If you are wanting the perfect Thanksgiving meal, then look no further than our Thanksgiving Recipes! Everything from Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Main Dishes, Sides, Rolls to Desserts, we have the recipes you need to build your perfect Thanksgiving menu and the pro tips so that you get it done in style without the stress!
Thanksgiving Meal Tips
Whether you are a first timer or a pro, review our tips to have you ready to go on Turkey Day!
Planning in Advance of Thanksgiving
Who is coming for dinner? Whether you are sending out formal invites or calling and texting your family and friends, make sure you know how many adults and kids are coming so you can plan you menu accordingly.
Buy the Thanksgiving products that you will need: Double check your cookware, dinnerware, tablecloths and Thanksgiving decorations and make sure that you have what you need. Do you need more wine glasses, a gravy boat or a serving tray? Shop for new or replacement items in advance. If you will have a kids table, buy a wide roll of paper where you can make a paper runner that doubles as a coloring sheet and a throwaway tablecloth that is easy for cleaning up messes. Get some fun decorations for the kids table too.
Plan your menu: Plan your menu in advance and choose the Thanksgiving Recipes you will make. Here are some tips to help you plan your menu.
If you are unsure where to start, we recommend planning one or two appetizers, one or two main dishes, one potato dish, one or two vegetable dishes, rolls and a few desserts. If you are hosting a large group, then you can add more appetizers, more sides and consider adding a soup or salad. Also plan out your drink offerings, from water, coffee, tea, juices, soft drinks, to wine and cocktails. Here are our specific suggestions per course:
When choosing appetizers, we like to have a mix of healthy and comfort food options, so we always include a raw veggie tray and ranch dressing as a healthy option. You will want to have enough appetizers for each person to get about 3-5 bite-sized servings. We recommend making 2 different appetizers for up to 10 people, and then adding another appetizer dish for each additional 5-10 guests.
Soup and Salads
As your guest list grows, consider adding a soup or a salad or both. Since much of Thanksgiving dishes are heavy, having a light salad is a great addition to your menu.
While turkey is the star of the show, and ham is the best supporting main dish, you can also have roasted chicken or pot roast as a main dish.
Plan for at least two or three desserts, so everyone can sample multiple desserts and get a belly full of sweetness.
Say Yes: When your guests ask if they can bring anything. If they ask what they can bring, then give them an assignment from your menu or have them bring a special dish that they love to share for Thanksgiving. For your non-cook friends, ask them to bring drinks, including wine or a cocktail to share, a store-bought dish or flowers for the table.
Plan your Main Dishes: Plan the main dishes you will serve and how much of each you will need. Go ahead and buy these in advance. If turkey is your main dish for Thanksgiving, then plan on about 1.25 lbs. of turkey for each guest. If you are also serving ham, then you can lower the amount of turkey for each person. If you are serving turkey, consider making some turkey gravy and cranberry sauce.
Test New Recipes: If you are feeling a little nervous about certain items you have on your menu, give them a test run and see how it goes, so that your Thanksgiving is a little less stressful.
Stock your Pantry in Advance: Make sure that you buy what you need for Thanksgiving dinner a couple of weeks in advance for non-perishable items, as some of them will be sold out in your local grocery store a day or two before Thanksgiving. Don’t forget these items that a recent survey found many forget for Thanksgiving: cranberries, fragrant spices, napkins, beverages, and pumpkin pie spices.
A Few Days Before Thanksgiving
Finish Shopping for Thanksgiving: Now is the time to get your fresh produce for your Thanksgiving menu including, potatoes, salad greens, fresh veggies, and fruit. Do you need more ice? If so, add that to your list.
Make More Ice: Another option to buying ice is to make more ice in your freezer and store it in your freezer in advance of Thanksgiving.
Prepare the Pie Crusts: If you are making homemade pies – which you should – then make the pie crusts in advance and wrap the dough in plastic wrap and keep it in your fridge for a few days.
Defrost the Turkey: If you have purchased a frozen turkey, then defrost it in your refrigerator up to three days in advance of cooking it so it is ready to go on Thanksgiving.
Make a Plan, Cooking Schedule and Checklist for Thanksgiving: Don’t wait until the it gets so busy the day before Thanksgiving to get a plan, cooking timeline and checklist made. Make sure you know what Thanksgiving Recipes you are cooking, what others are bringing. Think through cooking times for each item and how you will use your stovetop, oven, microwave, slow cooker, etc. to get each dish cooked and ready to go by your desired mealtime. It really helps to create a cooking schedule that you can use on Thanksgiving. For example, if your dinner is at 2pm, then your schedule might include putting the turkey in a 10am to give it 3.5 hours to cook and 30 minutes to carve it to have it ready by 2pm. Bake the potato and green bean casseroles at 12:30pm, so they are out at 1:30pm, so you can keep them warm and then bake the rolls from 1:45pm to 2pm. When creating your schedule, it helps to overestimate the time you will need to get everything done so that you can handle any unexpected challenges Thanksgiving Day.
The Day Before Thanksgiving
Bake the Desserts: This is an easy win to lower the amount of work on Thanksgiving by baking your desserts the day before. If you are including some cookies or candy, a little test sampling for extra energy is highly advised!
Prepare the Sides for Baking Tomorrow: If there is any prep work you can do in advance for side dishes, do that today. Cut any vegetables in advance so that you don’t have to do that work on the big day.
Make or Prepare the Appetizers: Many appetizers can be made in advance and if needed, heated up for Thanksgiving.
Set the Table(s): Save time on Thanksgiving by setting the dinnerware, silverware, and stemware the day before. Make sure you have room for all the serving dishes you are planning. It helps to set out all the serving dishes on the table in advance and label them with each dish. Don’t forget a dish for the rolls! If you have a kids table, make it fun with the decorations and paper tablecloth you bought.
Chill the Beverages: Make sure any wine, champagne or other adult beverages are chilled and ready to go, but also chill any juices and soft drinks so that you don’t have to use so much ice.
Setup a Self-Serve Beverage Station: You will be busy enough on Thanksgiving Day, so save some time, by allowing your guests to serve themselves the beverage of their choice. Make sure you have plenty of ice available for them.
Make the Day Before into a Party: Don’t go it alone on this Wednesday! Invite a few friends and/or a few family members over the night before to bake the pies and desserts, prepare the sides for cooking tomorrow and set the table. Many hands make light work. Enjoy some delivered pizza for a job well done.
It is the big day, so make it an awesome experience for you and your guests!
Fuel Up: Take some time for yourself to fuel up with breakfast and coffee to get energized for the day!
Review the Plan and Checklist: Take some time after breakfast to review your plan and checklist and make sure you know when every Thanksgiving Recipe that you are cooking goes into the slow cooker, onto the stovetop, in the microwave and in the oven. Set timers and alarms to keep you on track.
Get the Slow Cooker Going: Get the slow cooker recipe(s) going early so they will be ready on time.
Start Cooking the Turkey: Most turkeys take several hours to cook, so keep to your plan and get the turkey in the oven on time. It can take 3-4 hours to cook a 15 lb. turkey, so get it going early.
Time for the Side Dishes: Now is the time to start working on the side dishes, like the stuffing or mashed potatoes, etc. If they are ready ahead of time, then keep them warm in the oven, warming tray or a slow cooker.
Start the Instant Pot: If you have some recipes that cook fast in the Instant Pot, then get them going now to be ready on time.
Appetizer Time: Now work to get your appetizers ready. Hopefully, it is just setting them out for your hungry crowd or warming them up if needed first.
Don’t forget the Rolls: Last, but not least, when everything is about ready, put the rolls in the oven to get them done when everything else is done.
Final Details: Carve the turkey in the kitchen not at the table to have more room and not make a mess on the table, serve the wine, make sure all the dishes are on the table with the proper serving utensils and ready to go. Then, relax and enjoy the time with your guests!
What are You Thankful For? Many people have a great tradition to go around the table and share what you are thankful for in the past year. If you have never done this, give it a try and share from your heart and you will find it a very meaningful time!
Say Yes to Help Cleaning Up and Doing the Dishes: Again, if your family and friends ask to help, say yes to them. We have had some of our best times working side by side with friends and family and keeping the conversation going.
These Thanksgiving Appetizers will help keep your crowd pleased while you are putting the final preparations together for your Thanksgiving meal. For more ideas, here is our complete list of Thanksgiving Appetizers.
AppetizerSmoked Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball Recipe
This smoked bacon ranch cheese ball is a great party appetizer! It's creamy, cheesy and loaded with tons of flavor!
Thanksgiving salads bring some additional flavor to your Thanksgiving Day Menu. Consider adding one of these delicious fall salads to your feast! For more Thanksgiving Salad recipes, here is our complete list of Thanksgiving Salads.
Salad, Side DishPea Salad Recipe
This Pea Salad recipe is packed with peas, cheese, bacon, onions, all coated in a creamy mayo and vinegar dressing.
Salads & SidesCranberry Apple Pecan Kale Salad Recipe
I know kale gets a bad rap, but I promise this salad will have the biggest kale haters swooning over it! It’s topped with chunks of apple, candied pecans, dried cranberries, and my favorite part – bacon!
Whether you are a traditional Thanksgiving Turkey and Ham kind of person, or if you enjoy a pot roast or roasted chicken, we have the Thanksgiving Main Dish recipes for you! For more ideas, here is our complete list of Thanksgiving Main Dishes.
Main CourseOven Roasted Turkey Recipe
A moist and flavorful oven roasted turkey is so incredibly delicious! Just a few steps and key ingredients will create a beautiful and delectable bird.
Let’s be honest, Thanksgiving is ALL about the side dishes and providing a variety for your group! We have everything from the classics to something new! For more ideas, here is our complete list of Thanksgiving Side Dishes.
Dips, Dressings & SaucesTurkey Gravy Recipe
This Turkey Gravy Is One Of The Easiest, Yet Yummiest Recipe Around! It Can Be Made From Your Turkey Drippings Or From Chicken Broth, Which Makes It A Great Gravy For Not Only Thanksgiving Dinner, But Any Time Of Year!
Our Classic, Buttery And Herb Topped Bread Stuffing Is Delicious And Is The Favorite Of Many Thanksgiving Connoisseurs. This Instant Pot Stuffing Is Quick And Easy And Will Help Free Up The Much-Needed Oven Space!
Au Gratin Potatoes Are Thinly Sliced Potatoes, Covered In A Creamy Cheese Sauce And Then Topped With More Cheese And Baked In The Oven Until They Are Soft With A Crispy, Cheesy Crust! It’s The Perfect Side Dish For A Holiday Meal Or Really Any Meal For That Matter!
Homemade rolls hot out of the oven are a holiday must! Choose from these delicious recipes to have hot rolls that will soak up the butter and make your guests smile. For more ideas, here is our complete list of Thanksgiving Breads.
Bread1 Hour Dinner Rolls Recipe
Warm buttery 1 Hour Dinner Rolls from scratch. These 1 hour soft & fluffy dinner rolls are so easy to make they're sure to become a family favorite!
What is Thanksgiving without desserts? We have some many great dessert recipes, we had to categorize them into sections! So, have some fun and pick a few Thanksgiving dessert recipes from the categories below. For more ideas, here is our complete list of Thanksgiving Desserts.
Thanksgiving is not complete without a pie or two. Choose from the many delicious options below.
DessertPerfect Coconut Cream Pie Recipe
This fool-proof perfect coconut cream pie made completely from scratch is cool and creamy with whipped cream and toasted coconut on top.
Pastries, Pies & TartsThe Best Cranberry Apple Crisp Recipe
This is the best cranberry apple crisp out there! It’s sweet, slightly tart, and has a hint of orange zest. Best served straight from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Absolutely perfect for fall!