Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Everyone knows the essential components of a great Thanksgiving dinner: an array of colorful side dishes, a moist, golden turkey filled with a fragrant savory stuffing, and a tempting spread of seasonal desserts. Indeed, there are so many great Thanksgiving dinner recipes, sometimes the hardest part is choosing which ones to cook! If it’s quick and easy nibbles you’re looking for, we can never get enough of these make-ahead appetizers, and always keep a stash of candied nuts on hand for cocktail time. When it comes to Thanksgiving side dish recipes, we like to let seasonal ingredients be the star, in dishes like brown-sugar glazed baby turnips, fennel and farro salad, and crispy accordion potatoes. (Bonus: the vegetarians at your table will also love them.) Want to shave a little time off your dinner prep this year? Try one of these slow cooker side dishes. And when you’re ready to tackle the bird, this is the only Thanksgiving turkey recipe you’ll ever need.

How to Carve a Turkey

You’ve bought it, stuffed it, cooked it, and now you have to carve it. If you’re daunted by the task―some of the best cooks are―just remember that carving a turkey comes down to simple technique. Follow the easy steps in this video.

How Long to Cook a Turkey, in One Easy Chart

You have your bird (and a recipe), but how long, exactly, are you supposed to cook it? Here’s a handy guide.

26 Holiday Pie and Tart Recipes

Buttery crusts plus rich fillings equals total deliciousness.

5 Fabulous No-Bake Holiday Desserts

Main course monopolizing your appliance space? Treat your guests to one of these delicious desserts—no oven required.

Thanksgiving Headquarters

Thanksgiving should be all about celebrating with family and friends—and eating... and eating. But too often, the stress of getting dinner on the (beautiful) table clouds the revelry. Not to worry: Our simple, streamlined videos show you how to pull off everything from appetizers to turkey to pie.

12 Secrets to Hosting a Great Thanksgiving Meal

Real Simple readers share their best tips for hosting a great Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving on a Dime

We know Thanksgiving (and the other big holidays) can be an expensive time of year, especially when you’re the one hosting. Here at Real Simple we’ve come up with a handful of smart and easy ways you can stay conscious of your budget without compromising on the festivities.

9 Easy Thanksgiving Desserts

Each of these delicious Thanksgiving desserts—from a cherry cheesecake to a chocolate tart—takes 20 minutes or less to prep.

How to Dry-Brine a Turkey

Dry-brining yields a juicy, seasoned bird—minus the gallons of water and angst over where to put the bird bath. All you need is kosher salt.

10 Fresh Fall Salads for the Thanksgiving Table

Sure, Thanksgiving might be mostly about the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. But that doesn’t mean that you should skip the greens: they’re a fresh counterpoint to all of the carb-heavy plates. And when you’ve got an exciting salad selection picked out, they won’t feel dutiful. You need something that’s light with interesting texture and color to stand up to all of the other healthy dishes. You also need something with a bit of structure that won’t wilt immediately, especially if you do Thanksgiving family style. Luckily, each of these ten options fits the bill. And, as an added bonus, each one is also make ahead. Take our Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Manchego and Almonds. You can assemble the entire dish the day ahead, and the Brussels won’t brown or turn soggy during the meal. Our Grilled Radicchio Salad with Goat Cheese, Thyme, and Grapes has a smoky component, a tangy component, a salty one, and a sweet one. It’s balanced and complex, and won’t be shoved to the far corner of the dinner table. Several of our other salads have sweet-tart components in them like apples, citrus segments, and pomegranate seeds. Think about it: these flavors are in cranberry sauce, too, and pair exceptionally well with roasted meat. You might just want to add some of these options to your regular weeknight dinner rotation.