16 Recipes For Your Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Including all the classic dishes!

Thanksgiving is the greatest eating day of the year, hands down. It's all about cooking, eating, sharing, and enjoying, as well as reminiscing on family memories and recipes, and savoring some tastes we only get once a year.

This year, make your feast extra memorable by sprucing up a classic course or two with a new dish or technique that's destined to become a Thanksgiving staple at your annual turkey day feast. Here's what to cook if you're looking to serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with a modern twist.

overhead view of mashed potatoes and gravy
Victor Protasio


Thanksgiving appetizers might not be the stars of the day, but they're the first dishes you and your guests enjoy. Make a lasting impression with these classic options.

01 of 16

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Turkey-Pumpkin Chili Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

Kick off your feast with some of fall's greatest flavors, and a nice preview of the turkey-based feast to come. This healthy chili can be served in ramekins or even homemade bread bowls (hollow out a sourdough roll) to keep portions on the smaller side and stomachs ready for the main feast.

02 of 16

Brussels Sprouts Salad

Brussels Sprouts Salad
Heami Lee

Salad is certainly an important component of a Thanksgiving feast, even if prior generations didn't consider it essential. This shredded Brussels salad melds the flavors of Thanksgiving with a tangy dressing, plus sharp cheese for a well-balanced dish.

03 of 16

Sweet Potato and Brie Flatbread

Sweet Potato and Flat Bread
Christopher Baker

This flatbread is quick to make and even faster to disappear off your table. The sweetness of the potatoes and soft cheese meld together so well, and can be topped with chili flakes for a little kick.

04 of 16

Butternut Squash Soup With Sage

Butternut Squash Soup With Sage and Parmesan Croutons
Jim Franco

This creamy soup can be prepped in advance, and served out of a slow cooker to keep it warm as guests trickle in. Use mugs, shot glasses, or soup bowls to serve this course.

05 of 16

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Curried Cauliflower Soup Recipe
Jennifer Causey

Add a little spice to your first course with this crowd-pleasing soup. Garnish with fresh herbs for a pop of color.

Main Course

A traditional main course on Thanksgiving is turkey, and plenty of it. Take a look at the different preparations below and decide which one works best for you.

06 of 16

Smoky Maple Turkey

Smoky Maple Turkey
Victor Protasio

Add a bit of smokiness and sweetness to your traditional Thanksgiving turkey. This recipe lets you cook the turkey in advance for a stress-free Thanksgiving Day, and then reheat it on lettuce to keep all the meat moist.

07 of 16

Roast Turkey Legs

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

If you're part of a dark meat-loving group, skip the whole bird and go straight for the drumsticks. Cooking only the legs saves time, money and the stress of carving. Plus, you can eat with your hands!

5 Clever Hacks for Cooking a Better Turkey

08 of 16

Smoked Turkey

Stuffing, sweet potatoes and smoked turkey on wooden table
Getty Images

Save room in the oven by resorting to an outdoor smoker to cook your Thanksgiving bird. This spatchcocking and dry rub technique can also work for grilled turkey, and can save so much kitchen space.


For many, including those who don't eat meat or can't stand turkey, the sides are the real stars of a traditional Thanksgiving feast. We've included all the classics, such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, and more.

09 of 16

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Victor Protasio

Ensure the consistency of your mashed potatoes is just as creamy as you've fantasized about all year by making them a day ahead of time. Re-warming them with warm half-and-half gets the creaminess perfect and makes Thanksgiving Day a bit easier.

10 of 16

Sourdough and Sage Stuffing

Sourdough and Sage Stuffing
Roland Bello

Sourdough is the perfect stuffing bread because its crust stays nice and crisp, and the inner pieces get gooier and absorb flavor. This recipe is also easy to customize with suggested mix-ins, like bacon and pecans or pine nuts and raisins.

11 of 16

Green Beans With Bacon Vinaigrette

Green Beans With Bacon Vinaigrette
Toss the green beans with a warm dressing of softened shallots, cider vinegar, and crisp bacon. Get the recipe. Gentl & Hyers

Switch up the classic casserole with this traditional-feeling green bean recipe that adds a welcome bacon-y twist. A house that smells like Thanksgiving plus bacon is a very nice place to be.

12 of 16

Honey-Butter Creamed Corn

Honey-Butter Creamed Corn Recipe
Antonis Achilleos

Honey brings out corn's natural sweetness, and feels extra decadent in this creamy, buttery side dish. Frozen corn is a great shortcut here!

13 of 16

Bourbon Cranberry Compote

Bourbon-Cranberry Compote
Gentl & Hyers

Elevate classic canned cranberry sauce with this easy-to-make cranberry compote that feels very sophisticated. It's great cold or at room temperature, and is also delicious on its own.


No holiday meal is complete without dessert, especially not Thanksgiving dinner. Go with a classic, like pumpkin pie, or switch things up a bit with an apropos cake. It's your choice!

14 of 16

Cranberry Ricotta Cake

Cranberry Ricotta Cake
Greg DuPree

Go for a creamier, tarter dessert that will round out an excellent meal. This cake is light and buttery, and goes well with ice cream or even a scoop of Greek yogurt the next morning.

15 of 16

Pumpkin Pie

Getty Images

Fresh pumpkin pie is always a good idea. No can required, truly! Prepare to impress.

16 of 16

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie
qSang An

Brown sugar, honey, and orange juice add just the right amount of depth and sweetness to this traditional Thanksgiving pie. Pre-made pie crust is also a totally acceptable shortcut here.

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