Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

This collection Of Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes and Tips will help you have a stress-free holiday. From planning, organizing, shopping, and making, to a whole list of recipe ideas—this post has everything you need to know about turkey day!

I’m helping you get prepped for Thanksgiving – from dinner ideas to appetizers and side dishes, we’ve got you covered! Check out these recipes to help you prep and make the main dish for Turkey Day.

MORE COLLECTIONS: Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Appetizers, Thanksgiving Side Dishes, Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving dinner ideas collage

making a thanksgiving menu

When it comes to Thanksgiving Dinner, it can be a little bit overwhelming even knowing where to start, especially if you’re the HOST. But, don’t your fret, we are sharing all the best recipe sand tips to help you plan your Thanksgiving menu.

One of the things we like to do when we gather as a family for thanksgiving is to divide the work and assign each person to bring dish (or two)

Whether you are dividing the responsibility, or it’s all on you, here are a handful of tips to make sure you pull off an amazing Thanksgiving dinner without having to stress!

Perfect Roast Turkey - Thanksgiving dinner recipes

Tips for Making Thanksgiving Dinner easy

STAY ORGANIZED: Seasoned Thanksgiving Cooks know the secret to a successful meal: ORGANIZATION. Whether you’re a first timer or a pro you need to have a plan to execute a successful Thanksgiving Feast. I’ve gathered a few tips to help you out:

  • THE MENU: From appetizers to dessert, plan out everything you want to serve (use our FREE Thanksgiving Menu Planner to help).
    • How much to make: Figure out about how many people will be attending. Then, decide how much to make of each item. Add a new dish for every 5-8 people attending. 
    • Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring a dish. Most are happy to help!
  • SHOPPING: Don’t wait until the last minute. You should have your menu planned out so use that as a guide on what you need to have then, purchase as much of it as you can as far ahead as you can. You don’t want to make a last minute trip to a crowded store only to find they are all out of the ingredient you need. 
  • STORAGE: clean out the fridge the week before. Take note of any items that do not HAVE to be refrigerated. Some fruits and veggies can be kept on the counter for a day or two to make room for other dishes. 

PLAN A COOKING SCHEDULE: Here are a few questions and bit of information that will help you when planning your schedule:

  • What are all the items that need to be cooked in the oven and in what order?
  • Can any items go into the oven at the same time?
  • What are all the items that need to be cooked on the stove top and what order?
  • Can anything be made in a crock pot?
  • How can I keep items warm? 
  • Can Anything be made ahead of time? Do they need to be reheated and how?

AHEAD OF TIME: There are several dishes such as pies, casseroles, and salads that can be made the day before. This saves a lot of stress the day of. You can also prep ingredients before hand like making sure the turkey is defrosted, chopping veggies, and pre measuring ingredients so they’re ready to be mixed. 

ON THE DAY OF: Figure out what time you want to eat. Then figure out how long each item takes to cook, or to be reheated, and subtract that amount from the time dinner is supposed to be served. 

For example: Dinner is at 2pm – 20 minutes to reheat the casserole – 3 hours to cook the turkey – 40 minutes for sweet potatoes – a 30 minute buffer. That means you need to start putting food in the oven by 9:30 am 

Crock Pot Ham

Favorite Thanksgiving Dinner ideas

If you’re stumped on what to serve for all the courses, here are a few suggestions. Of course, most of them are the typical items you would find on any table in America on thanksgiving day (turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, etc.) but there are a few that are a little more uncommon that we tend to enjoy in our family.

We typically end up picking out 2 main dishes, 1 potato dish, one veggie dish, rolls and then LOADS of desserts!

thanksgiving Main DISHes:

Turkey is usually the Main dish served at Thanksgiving. Typically you can plan to serve 1.25 lbs of turkey per person. If you do not like turkey, or you are planning to serve a crowd, then, you can most definitely choose a different protein to serve. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Turkey – Turkeys aren’t that hard to cook in the oven once you learn. This post will walk you through how to roast the perfect turkey!
  • Pot Roast – It’s not a typical Thanksgiving dish, but for those who might prefer beef, it’s a great option to have. Plus it cooks in the crock pot so it’s not hands on.
  • Crock Pot Brown Sugar Ham – We usually have at least one ham to go along with our turkey. This one tastes delicious and it’s cooked in the crock pot, which means little effort!
  • Honey Glazed Ham – A ham covered in our favorite 5 ingredient glaze.
  • Roasted Chicken – If you’re not a fan of turkey, or you want a smaller bird, a roasted chicken is a great option!
  • Swiss Chicken Bake – This is another uncommon dish that our family does have every year! It’s creamy, cheesy, and delicious.
  • Prime Rib – Perfect prime rib, seasoned with a delicious garlic marinade and cooked in the oven.
  • Favorite Steak Recipe – It requires only four ingredients, and is so easy to make.
  • Meatloaf – Meatloaf is a recipe that’s as old as time. But it is simple, most people like it, and it will give you another option at the dinner table.

Don’t forget the turkey gravy for the meat!

Turkey Veggie Tray

Appetizers

Check out our complete list of Thanksgiving Appetizers

Plan to serve 3-5 appetizers per person. If you only have 5-10 people coming plan to serve 1-2 different appetizer dishes. Add another appetizer dish for every 5-8 people in attendance.

  • Turkey Veggie Tray – This vegetable tray is made to look like an adorable turkey! Serve it with a veggie dip on the side.
  • Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball – A classic holiday appetizer, this cheese ball is mixed with ranch seasoning and covered with bacon bits.
  • Deviled Eggs – An appetizer everyone knows and loves! Hardboiled eggs, with the yolk hollowed out, mixed with mustard and seasonings, and spooned back into the egg white shell.
  • Spinach Dip Bites – These bite-sized appetizers are essentially spinach dip baked into a buttery crescent dough cup. They’re savory, simple, and oh so delicious!
  • Pull Apart Bread – All this recipe takes is a sourdough loaf, some cheese, and butter. Everyone will love pulling the cheesy bread pieces apart.
  • Caprese Kabob – Fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil on a kabob, drizzled with a yummy balsamic glaze.
  • Spinach Artichoke Dip – Hot, cheesy and full of flavor, this dip is a MUST-HAVE at any Thanksgiving get together.

Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows

SIDES

Check out our complete list of Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

Plan about 6 oz of potatoes per person and 4 oz of veggies per person. For every 5-8 people attending add another dish to the menu. Plan to serve 1.5 rolls per person. 

  • Heavenly Dinner Rolls – Our MOST favorite dinner rolls! Each batch makes 24 rolls, so this recipe is perfect for family gatherings.
  • Stuffing – Thanksgiving is incomplete without stuffing of course! And trust me, this homemade recipe is way better than the boxed stuff.
  • Green Bean Casserole – A holiday classic made from only 4 ingredients! Green beans, cream of chicken and mushroom soup, milk, and French’s onions.
  • Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows – A Thanksgiving staple, this casserole is made from a creamy sweet potato puree topped with sugary pecans and melty mini marshmallows.
  • Mac N Cheese – Macaroni noodles covered in a cheesy cream sauce and topped with a panko crust. Both kids and adults love this side dish!
  • Best Mashed Potatoes – This recipe always makes an appearance at our Thanksgiving table, and it has unanimously been voted the best!
  • Funeral Potatoes – They’re easy, cheesy, topped with buttered corn flakes and are great for holidays

Perfect pumpkin pie

DESSERT

Check out the complete list of Thanksgiving Desserts

A  9 inch pie can serve 6-8 people. Plan to have enough desserts for people to have 2 servings. Although pie is the most common dessert for Thanksgiving, there’s nothing wrong with serving other desserts—especially ones with seasonal flavors like pumpkin! 

  • Pumpkin Pie – The most classic Thanksgiving Pie you could have, and the good news is you can easily make it yourself!
  • Pecan Pie Cheesecake – All the delicious flavors you love in a pecan pie combined with rich and creamy cheesecake.
  • Pumpkin Delight – A light and creamy layered pumpkin dessert with a buttery pecan crust.
  • Pumpkin Brownies – Chocolate and pumpkin flavors were a match made in heaven! They combine flawlessly in these thick and chewy pumpkin brownies.
  • Apple Pie – Another crowd favorite, this recipe will show you exactly how to make the perfect apple pie, and trust me, you can do it!
  • Pecan Pie – A blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry filling combined in a butter homemade crust and topped with a delicious cinnamon sugar oats topping.
  • Pumpkin Lasagna – A layered dessert that is great for pumpkin lovers!

MORE COLLECTIONS: Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Appetizers, Thanksgiving Side Dishes, Thanksgiving Desserts

Author

Kristi Ritchey

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