This year is going to be the first in a long time that I’m not able to blog about a Thanksgiving dinner or put together a menu. Instead, I thought I’d put together a collection of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Ideas for main courses, side dishes, desserts, cocktails, and even leftovers are all listed.
Some of these reviews date back to 2017 when I was a brand new blogger with no photography experience and taking bad photos with an iPhone SE. While the pics might not be the best (read: terrible), I promise you the recipes were delicious!
Of course, I couldn’t list every recipe that I’ve blogged that would work for a Thanksgiving menu. Here’s a list of links to recipes I’ve reviewed that feature ingredients I associate with the Fall season:
So grab a glass of iced tea (or whatever you like to sip), get comfy, and peruse my favorite recipes for some inspiration for your Thanksgiving recipes.
While turkey is the most popular main course for Thanksgiving dinner, not everyone goes that route. Naturally, I’m including some of my favorite recipes for whole turkeys and turkey breasts. I’m also adding a few beef and pork recipes that were originally made for other holidays or special occasions as well as a vegan option that can be used as a main or a side.
1.) Maple Cider Bourbon Brined Turkey with Bourbon Gravy
This was my first ever brined turkey. I never got why people went to the trouble to brine their turkeys until I made this recipe. It only added about 30 minutes of extra work plus an overnight brine. But brining eliminated basting while still producing a beautifully browned skin, juicy meat, and to-die-for bourbon gravy.
2.) Mulled Wine Turkey
This was originally part of a Christmas dinner menu, but I had to include it here. It was a phenomenal turkey recipe! It doesn’t include gravy, but the meat was so juicy that it wasn’t needed.
3.) Thanksgiving Stuffed Porchetta-Style Turkey Breast
This was my first time making a turkey roll, and it was a wonderful main course for a smaller gathering. Instead of a whole turkey, it’s a butterflied turkey breast filled with stuffing, rolled up, and covered with bacon to keep the meat nice and juicy. It was a little bit of a challenge to get it rolled up and tied, but it was worth it.
4.) Cranberry Hazelnut Turkey Wellington
This was my first ever Thanksgiving turkey recipe for this blog, way back in 2017 and I just updated it with some extra tips. I chose this recipe because I wanted to try something a little different. This recipe delivered on that with the turkey and stuffing in one delicious pastry crust.
5.) Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast
This Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast is another Thanksgiving recipe that’s perfect for smaller gatherings. The meat was so juicy! If you don’t care for turkey skin, I would make sure to remove it, glaze the turkey breast, and then place the skin back on during cooking. The extra fat helps keep the meat moist.
6.) Standing Prime Rib Roast
This roast was part of a Christmas menu, but it would work for any special occasion. It was my first time making prime rib, and the recipe was remarkably simple. I managed to make some amazing prime rib, if I do say so myself.
7.) Individual Beef Wellington with Mushroom Sauce
These little Beef Wellingtons were a smash hit! I had made turkey Wellington once before, but actual beef Wellington was a first. I’m so pleased to say they came out beautifully and were easier than I thought they would be.
I do love a nice ham, and this is one of my favorites. The glaze is on point, and the ham makes a beautiful centerpiece for any special dinner.
9.) Stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash
I loved this recipe because it was so unique! The rice stuffing was just phenomenal, as was the onion gravy. It’s a great make-ahead recipe too. The stuffed squash can be made up to three days ahead and heated up in about half an hour the day you want to serve it.
The turkey might be the most important part of the meal, but the sides can make or break the dinner. I love to add mashed potatoes, stuffing, and at least one other vegetable side dish (usually something green). Cranberry sauce is an absolute must too, now that I know how to make it.
1.) Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Stuffing
This has become a staple for my holiday dinners because it’s so good! Literally just like Mom’s. Plus being able to cook it in my slow cooker is a huge plus since my oven gets a workout when I’m cooing holiday dinners.
2.) Old-Fashioned Chestnut Stuffing or Dressing
This recipe is a great choice if you want to go the traditional route. I originally made it with Mulled Wine Turkey (recipe above) for a Christmas dinner, but it would work just as well on Thanksgiving.
3.) Bacon Wrapped Sausage Stuffing
This stuffing recipe is a bit different from my usual fare, but it was a huge hit. It’s mostly sausage with some stuffing and the whole thing is wrapped in tons of bacon.
4.) Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good
This French recipe was never part of my Thanksgiving menus, but I have to admit it would have been a stunning way to present the stuffing. The recipe is flexible, and you can also scoop out the baked pumpkin with the stuffing if you like.
5.) Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
My disabilities make cooking a whole Thanksgiving dinner in one day too hard on my body these days. That’s why this recipe for Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes caught my eye. The potatoes can be made up to two days before the dinner, and they can be reheated in the oven or microwave.
6.) Mashed Potatoes with Thyme Infused Brown Butter
Thyme-infused brown butter adds a gourmet touch to simple mashed potatoes! This Thanksgiving recipe is also quick at just 30 minutes.
7.) Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Sweet ‘n’ Savory Bacon Pecans
If you like your mashed potatoes sweet, this recipe is the one for you! The sweet and savory pecan-bacon topping really compliments the mashed sweet potatoes and adds some crunch.
8.) Brussels Sprouts Gratin
So much cheese, so much bacon! Oh, and there’s Brussels sprouts LOL! This is a rich side, but it’s pretty darn incredible. I have to admit I was surprised Brussels sprouts could be so good.
This Apple Pomegranate Salad has never been part of my holiday menus, but it could be. I tend to forget healthy sides like salads for Thanksgiving dinner, but if I ever remember to add on, it will be this recipe.
10.) Roast Asparagus with Red Potatoes and Mushrooms
First, I apologize for the lousy pic and overcooking this recipe. This simple recipe was so much better than I made it look! It was an easy side to make, and I liked that it included some greens with the potatoes.
11.) White Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese Stuffed Squash
If mashed potatoes aren’t enough carbs for you, I recommend adding this White Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese Stuffed Squash recipe. The mac ‘n cheese is delicious, and stuffing it into acorn squash makes a stunning presentation.
12.) Stuffed Acorn Squash
This was my first ever acorn squash recipe, and it’s a keeper. The filling is on the sweeter side, but it compliments the acorn squash nicely. I strongly advise making a few extras because they’re that good!
13.) Green Beans with Tarragon
This quick and easy green bean recipe is one of my all-time favorites! It’s easy to scale up or down and best of all it’s ready in just 15 minutes. To make things easier you can opt for pre-washed and trimmed green beans.
14.) Dijon Tahini Green Beans
This is another quick and easy green bean recipe with a little extra zing thanks to the dijon-tahini sauce. It looks elegant when drizzled over the green beans, but you can also serve it on the side if you are unsure of your guests’ tastes.
15.) Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce
This Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce has been on almost every Thanksgiving menu since I first tried it. I love the extra flavor the Grand Marnier orange liqueur adds to fresh cranberry sauce!
If liqueur isn’t your thing, I’ve got another recipe for you that was on my Thanksgiving menu last year (2022). It’s Apple Cranberry Sauce with Cider & Cinnamon by Karen at Kitchen Treaty. It had some stiff competition with the Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce, and I would say it’s at least a close second if not a tie as far as taste and ease of preparation.
Thanksgiving dessert is a must, even after a huge meal. We spend the day with family, and the meal takes a few hours thanks to all the talking and catching up we do. Almost everyone asks for a small piece of whatever we’re serving, but we all have dessert.
1.) Cast Iron Pan Apple Pie
I’m not the greatest baker, so I welcome any help I can get. This Cast Iron Pan Apple Pie recipe uses frozen pastry for the crust, but you would never know it. It gives that classic cinnamon-apple and buttery crust taste with much less work!
2.) Salted Caramel Apple Galette
This Salted Caramel Apple Galette is another easier option than apple pie. Like the recipe above, the look is rustic and the taste is amazing. The dough and salted caramel sauce can be made ahead too.
3.) Pecan Pie Ice Cream Pie
This Pecan Pie Ice Cream Pie is another make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert recipe. This one is perfect for anyone who likes pecans but thinks pecan pie is too sweet (like my hubby). The recipe includes a homemade pie crust, but you could use a frozen crust to make it even easier.
4.) Maple Cranberry Pecan Pie
Mmm… This is another of my early posts that tasted so good but has a lousy photo. It was part of my first Christmas menu, but I think it would work just as well for Thanksgiving. It’s a less sweet pecan pie that I loved!
5.) Pecan Pie Bites
These individual desserts are a new take on a Thanksgiving classic. They give you pecan pie flavor in buttery crust cups. Even my hubby liked this one, and he thinks pecan pies are too sweet.
6.) Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes
These Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes are another new take on a classic Thanksgiving dessert. The pumpkin cupcakes are just a bit firmer than the pumpkin pie filling. What I loved was not having to make buttercream icing—just spoon on some whipped cream and you’re done!
7.) Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting
If you want some pumpkin pie flavor and you want to make buttercream icing, this is the recipe for you! These cute little cupcakes are an indulgent individual dessert with all the Thanksgiving flavors you love.
1.) Fall Sangria (Boozy Apple Cider Punch)
If you’re serving a crowd, this is the recipe you need. It’s filled with Autumn flavors like apples and cinnamon, and you can make it by the pitcher.
2.) Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail
Like the Fall Sangria, this Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktail is made for this season. The recipe says it makes two servings, but they are generous servings.
3.) Maple Manhattan
If you’re looking for individual cocktails, this Maple Manhattan is a good option. It’s simple and easy to make. It has four ingredients, and the addition of maple syrup gives it some autumn vibes.
4.) Hot Apple Pie Bourbon Cocktail
This Hot Apple Pie Bourbon Cocktail is exactly what the name says. It takes a few minutes to make, though, and I would recommend designating a guest as the bartender to make it if you’re also cooking dinner. It can also be served after dinner as an alternative to dessert.
5.) Baileys Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martini
This sweet cocktail uses a seasonal version of Baileys Irish Cream and espresso to make a wow-worthy martini. I recommend making and chilling the espresso ahead of time.
Thanksgiving dinner always has leftovers, and sometimes they are the best part. You can always use them to create a huge sandwich or add them to an after-Thanksgiving recipe made just for those leftovers.
I’ve found a few great ones over the years, and now I make sure to add them to my Thanksgiving dinner menu. I make sure the ingredients are included in my pre-holiday shop so everything is ready to go the next day.
1.) Thanksgiving Leftovers Galette
I love a good post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich, but this pot pie-like galette has that beat! I made the dough as part of my Thanksgiving dinner prep and refrigerated it until I needed it. Honestly, making this galette wasn’t much more difficult than making a couple of sandwiches.
2.) Turkey Stock
I make this tock every time I make a turkey. It’s so much better than canned stock! Plus I usually have leftover celery, carrots, and herbs from the sides I make with the turkey dinner. After I strain it, I freeze it in 2-cup potions in ziplock bags and thaw it when needed. And a few cups immediately go into the turkey soup recipe that’s next on this list.
3.) Turkey Soup
This Turkey Soup is such comfort food! I always add a bag of egg noodles to my list when I make a turkey so I can make this soup right after. It’s an excellent way to use up the last bits of leftover turkey and vegetables from the dinner.
4.) Healthy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
This hearty soup is on my menu frequently, especially in the colder months. It’s not technically a Thanksgiving recipe, but just swap the chicken for turkey to use up your leftovers.