Classic Thanksgiving Recipes are the iconic recipes you grew up eating! These 15 recipes are the perfect menu for your Turkey Day Menu, and will have your Thanksgiving Dinner more than complete!
Thanksgiving foods are delicious, why do we only eat them one time a year?!
The best Thanksgiving dishes are the tried and true, family favorites we all know and love.
These well-loved dishes are great if you’re hosting your first Thanksgiving and not sure what to put on the menu.
It’s a good idea to think through each delicious side dish, and what you can make in your oven on the day of the big meal. Take note of your oven space, and what you can and can’t do without trouble.
If you’re nervous about hosting Thanksgiving, check out this How to Guide for Surviving Thanksgiving!
I like to make my casseroles ahead of time, then begin the thawing time a few days ahead of Thursday.
It’s also a great time to use your slow cooker, air fryer, or outdoor grill! If you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving you know what a hot commodity oven and stove top space is!
And, now, what you’ve been waiting for…
Classic Thanksgiving Recipes
Roast Turkey: A Thanksgiving staple, roast turkey is typically the centerpiece of the meal. It’s a whole turkey seasoned with herbs, and spices, and sometimes stuffed with a flavorful stuffing. It represents the traditional Thanksgiving feast and brings everyone together.
Mashed Potatoes — Creamy and buttery mashed potatoes are a must-have side dish. They provide a comforting and rich complement to the turkey and other dishes. Mashed potatoes are versatile and loved by both kids and adults. I have a sneaky way of making mine a couple of weeks ahead of time, freezing them, then reheating the day of. No one will know you make them ahead of time, they are perfectly silky, creamy, and so delicious! The cream cheese and sour cream do help…
Grandma’s Dressing Recipe — This is THE recipe I have to have on Thanksgiving. I look forward to it every single year, and it has to be on the Thanksgiving table. Torn-up Italian bread is tossed with warm spices like poultry seasoning, black pepper, and salt. A fresh turkey stock is made using the neck and giblets to create the perfect balance of turkey flavor, and unctuous broth to coat each piece of bread. Chopped onions and celery leaves are simmered in copious amounts of butter, just waiting to be married with the bread cubes.
You have to have Gravy! Gravy is made from the drippings of the roasted turkey, combined with broth, and thickened with flour or cornstarch. It’s the perfect topping for turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing, providing a savory and rich finishing touch to the meal. No holiday table is complete without a gravy boat filled way too high with the perfect way to top your roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, and dressing.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce — A sweet and tangy accompaniment, cranberry sauce is made by cooking cranberries with sugar and sometimes other flavors like orange or cinnamon. It adds a refreshing burst of flavor that complements the richness of the other dishes. This is definitely a side dish people waver on, but it’s so necessary! The sweet and tart cranberries are mixed with orange juice and lemon zest to give a bright, acidic flavor to your meal. A little scoop is all you need
Campbell’s Green Bean Casserole – This casserole combines green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and crispy fried onions. It’s a classic side dish that offers a nice contrast in texture and adds a touch of nostalgia to the meal. It’s one on every Thanksgiving menu, and it’s a super popular side dish.
In fact, it’s been one of the most popular side dishes around the holiday season since it came out in the 50s. I’ve put my own spin on one of the best Thanksgiving side dishes, and it uses a cream of onion soup, instead of cream of mushroom. A little dollop of sour cream makes this the perfect side dish. A traditional green bean casserole recipe is one of the most-loved dishes and for very good reason. Whatever version you make, family members will love it!
More Classic Thanksgiving Recipes
Sweet Potato Casserole — A delightful blend of mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and butter, and sometimes topped with marshmallows or pecans. This casserole brings a sweet and comforting element to the table and is often considered a Thanksgiving dessert alternative. I prefer a sweet potato souffle, with a streusel-like topping. Pecans mixed with flour, brown sugar, and lots of butter dot on top of the sweet potato. The first time you have a really good sweet potato casserole, you can’t stop thinking about it. The one with crunchy pecans and marshmallows is also just a great way to top a sweet casserole.
Roasted Vegetables — A colorful medley of roasted root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts. Roasting enhances their natural sweetness and creates a satisfying side dish that complements the main course. I love roasting up a big platter of Bacon Balsamic Brown Sugar Brussel Sprouts! Balsamic vinegar and brown sugar are mixed together and drizzled over the crispy bacon and perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts.
Cornbread — Traditional cornbread is a popular accompaniment to Thanksgiving meals. Made from cornmeal, flour, and milk, and sometimes sweetened with honey or sugar, it offers a slightly sweet and crumbly texture that pairs well with savory dishes. Try making cornbread muffins to serve to your dinner guests.
Sweet Recipes for Thanksgiving
Pumpkin Pie — No Thanksgiving meal is complete without a slice of pumpkin pie. It features a smooth and spiced pumpkin custard filling baked in a flaky crust. The warm flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves make it a seasonal favorite. For the fall season, it’s all about the pumpkin, and usually by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I’m fairly tired of the pumpkin flavor profile. But, it’s not a Thanksgiving holiday without the sweet flavor of pumpkin pie!
Apple Pie: Another classic dessert, apple pie showcases sweet and tender apple slices baked in a buttery pastry crust. It’s a timeless treat that adds a comforting touch to the Thanksgiving spread. I love having this pie, or an Apple Galette on the dessert buffet. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy something sweet, with a little ice cream on top, too!
Pecan Pie — A decadent dessert made with a rich, gooey filling of caramelized pecans and sweet corn syrup, baked in a flaky crust. Pecan pie provides a delightful blend of flavors and textures that satisfy any sweet tooth. In the South, a pecan pie is a must-have!
Other contenders are sweet butternut squash pie, cherry pie, and chocolate chess pie!
Other Thanksgiving Sides
In the United States, Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl of food holidays.
Did you know that around June people start searching and saving Thanksgiving recipes?! Yes!! So, whenever you’re reading this post, it’s the perfect time to start planning your menu!
Dinner Rolls: Soft and pillowy dinner rolls are perfect for sopping up gravy or making little turkey sandwiches. They’re a great addition to the table and can be enjoyed throughout the meal. Last year, I made these Salted Honey Butter Parker House Rolls from Half Baked Harvest, and everyone loved them. I was also impressed with the ease of the recipe! I’m not a baker, very intimidated by it, and these came out perfectly!
Jiffy Corn Casserole — This casserole recipe couldn’t be any easier! Plop all your creamed corn, canned corn, sour cream, butter, and jiffy cornbread mix into a big bowl. Stir it up, and plop it into a casserole dish! Baked up, this corn casserole recipe pair perfectly with all kinds of main dishes, but especially turkey. If you want to make this recipe not on Thanksgiving, or for Christmas it pairs excellently with Souther Coca-Cola Ham!
Pineapple Cheese Casserole — This is one of those recipes that when you hear it you might think a pineapple and cheese recipe?! Gross!! But, y’all are missing something sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy. It’s one of the most delicious recipes in this lineup of classic Thanksgiving recipes! Super simple to make with canned pineapple, freshly grated cheddar cheese, flour, and sugar. The crispy top is made with butter and smashed-up ritz crackers. Delish!!
These 15 Thanksgiving food recipes cover a range of flavors and textures, offering a variety of traditional and beloved dishes that are sure to please your guests and create a memorable holiday meal.
Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner
Most of these are very easy recipe ideas that you can ask other people to bring to help save you time and money on the entire menu. Asking people to bring a dish or two is the easiest way to take some of the stress of hosting the holidays off of you!
The most surprising tip people love is washing your potatoes in the dishwasher! Crazy, but it works!
You use the rinse cycle, and let it run for a few minutes. It gets all the dirt and debris off of the potatoes and gets them ready for you to peel and dice for all the recipes you need. I like to do this 2 weeks before Thanksgiving day.
A goal I set for myself a few years ago was to be entirely ready for Thanksgiving by Tuesday of that week. The table set, food labels made, and as many casseroles, pies, and rolls made ahead of time as I could. All the serving platters and utensils were labeled, and ready to go when people walked in the door.
Each year since that year has been a little different, so I haven’t been as great at keeping up with the timeline as I should.
And y’all, this is the time to become a member of the Hey, Ashley Membership Collective! Starting November 1st, you get an email as often as you need (a couple of times a week, leading up to daily emails!), that walks you through readying your home for the holiday season, making as much food ahead of time as possible, setting your table, and preparing the dinner. Head on over to check it out!