Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu + Turkey Carving Video

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Use this Thanksgiving menu of our best recipes for roasted turkey, sides, breads, and desserts. Plus, watch our video on how to carve a turkey!

titled collage of Thanksgiving recipes

Planning your Thanksgiving Menu

First things first – how many people will you be serving?

Once you have a number, you’ll be able to decide which recipes will work best and whether or not they need to be scaled up or down.

Keep in mind any food allergies or dietary concerns you may need to plan for. If any of your guests don’t eat meat, plan an extra vegetarian main course so they won’t be left feeling hungry!

Lastly, print out all of the recipes you will be making, and use the blank space to take notes. Write down when to start prepping and cooking so you can use your time efficiently.

best turkey recipe for thanksgiving

Deciding What To Make

  • Main Course: When choosing a turkey, plan for about 1-1.5 pounds per person depending on if you want leftovers. Or, pick an alternative to turkey if you’d prefer.
  • Side Dishes: Pick a variety of flavors and try a new recipe or two! If you’re only cooking for a few people, maybe stick with one type of potato dish and a green vegetable to break up the heavier sides.
  • Dessert: For smaller groups, one dessert should be fine. However, the more people you add to your table, the more variety you will want.
  • Extras: Don’t forget the gravy, rolls, and cranberry sauce!

If you’ll be feeding a crowd, select your Thanksgiving dinner recipes more carefully so you don’t spend all day in the kitchen.

Pick at least a few side dishes that don’t require the oven or even ones that can be made ahead of time.

best ever mashed potatoes

Make-ahead Tips for Your Thanksgiving Menu

  • Prep in advance – Chop your vegetables, and make any sauces and toppings you’ll need. Then, place them in storage containers and refrigerate so they are ready to go.
  • Cook ahead of time – Many side dishes can be made the day before and reheated just before serving. Pie crusts can be frozen well in advance, and desserts are often fine in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Use small appliances – This is the time to break out your slow cooker, Instant Pot, and air fryer. Even your microwave can come in handy! Do whatever you can to free up valuable oven space.

Recipes for Thanksgiving dinner

There’s plenty of variety in this list of Thanksgiving recipes! You’ll find all the classics, plus some more unique flavors in case you want to try something new.

Best Turkey Recipes

smoking a turkey

Our ultimate guide to smoking a turkey shows you how to get crispy skin on a perfectly juicy bird. While it may seem intimidating, the flavor is incredible, and it frees up your oven too!

best turkey recipe for thanksgiving

This Slow Roasted Turkey Recipe is a go-to favorite. All you need is butter and a handful of spices to get moist, flavorful meat without the need for basting.

smoked turkey legs

If you will be cooking for fewer people, try Smoked Turkey Legs instead. There’s no need to carve up the bird before serving, and it’s easy to plan out how many you will need.

Video

RECIPE VIDEO

The video in this post will show you the best and easiest way to carve your bird!

Gravies and sauces

brown gravy in white bowl

This Brown Gravy Recipe doesn’t use any turkey drippings, which means you can make it advance or while you wait for other dishes to cook.

mashed potatoes in red bowl with gravy poured over it

If you prefer to use drippings, try my perfect turkey gravy instead. It takes a little extra time, but the flavor is absolutely incredible.

nacho chip being dipped in cheese sauce

And don’t forget this delicious cheese sauce recipe! Set it out with chips and vegetables as an easy appetizer, or place a bowl on the dinner table for any cheese-lovers you may have.

Easy Thanksgiving Sides

Here you’ll find all of your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, including mashed potatoes, stuffing, classic green bean casserole, and more!

stuffing in white bowl with spoon hovering over

If you want to try something a little bit different this year, take a look at these delicious options.

This part of your Thanksgiving menu is where you can get the most prep work done. Anything that can be made in advance helps make the holiday less stressful.

If you want to make Thanksgiving stuffing from scratch, you’ll need homemade croutons. You may also want to cook bacon in the oven

This way, you can have it ready for all sorts of side dishes, and breakfast the next day!

Thanksgiving Menu – Rolls and Bread Recipes

Swap out the store bought options with something homemade instead!

big yeast rolls like Texas Roadhouse

Copycat Texas Roadhouse Rolls – Perfectly fluffy and taste just like the restaurant version. Easy to make ahead and pop in the oven to warm.

maple butter in glass jar

Texas Roadhouse Cinnamon Butter Recipe makes the perfect sweet and creamy butter for your rolls and sides.

rolls stacked

Pumpkin Honey Dinner Rolls – A dairy-free option with plenty of autumn flavor.

biscuits stacked on plate

Red Lobster Biscuits are easier AND tastier than a box mix!  This copycat recipe is so easy, it only takes one bowl, one whisk, no baking mix and only 20 minutes from start till serve. 

slices of Amish bread on wooden cutting board with serrated knife

4-Ingredient Amish White Bread is a simple recipe that creates a soft and tender, slightly sweet white bread. It is so easy, it is nearly a no-fail recipe. Easy to make rolls or loaves!

roasted garlic bread on plate

No-Knead Roasted Garlic Skillet Bread – Make bakery-style bread at home without any special equipment!

Thanksgiving Desserts

Here are 10 of the best Thanksgiving dessert recipes for your table. They all taste just as good as they look!

pecan pie bar in woman's hand

Pumpkin Slab Pie and Pecan Pie Bars are easy to serve and can be made well in advance.

Or, try Snickers Caramel Apple Cheesecake Salad for a lighter finish to your meal.

Enjoy!

With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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titled collage for Thanksgiving menu and recipes

Originally published November 2019, updated and republished November 2020

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