Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. So it’s not too early to start planning your menu — and doing whatever shopping you can before the supermarkets start to get crowded or cleared out. To help you, we’ve been hard at work for months, planning the ultimate Thanksgiving menu. We combed through all of our recipes — and came up with new ones! — in order to build a database of our best Thanksgiving-worthy dishes. We put them all in one place and organized them so that you can mix and match to build your perfect holiday menu.
Just pick at least one from each of these categories below.
Believe it or not, your multi-dish Thanksgiving menu is still going to need some appetizers. Not everyone is going to arrive at the same time and your guests are going to want to graze or pick at something while they chat and wait for everyone else to arrive. You don’t want to disappoint! You can certainly outsource this course and ask your aunt and your neighbor to bring something. Or you can whip up our Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs and our Cremini Mushrooms Stuffed with Spanish Ham. Why not go all out?
We know some families skip the turkey (either in favor of an all-sides Thanksgiving, another meat or a vegetarian option). But most celebrations include a turkey, so we’ve got you covered. We have recipes for a Classic Roast Turkey, a Cranberry Glazed Turkey, a Brined Roast Turkey and more. Just don’t forget the gravy while you’re at it.
Our Classic Mashed Potatoes, which are 100 percent necessary for any Thanksgiving menu, rely on one thing: the potato ricer. We introduced the tool to the United States in the early 1960s and we strongly believe that it’s the secret to smooth, creamy potatoes. The only way you can get away with not making these potatoes is if you’re making our Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Chives or anything else on this specific list.
There’s no such thing as too many carbs on Thanksgiving. Some people would tell you it’s stuffing OR bread, but we’re sticking with stuffing AND bread. And potatoes. Try our Smoky Bacon-Biscuit Dressing with our Parker House Rolls. Or our Apple, Shallot and Herb Dressing with Rustic Dinner Rolls. You get the point, right? Pair bread with more bread.
Stop serving that stuff out of a can and make your own. We have 10 recipes — all of which are better than anything you can buy at the store and not that much harder to prepare. Our Cranberry Relish with Ginger, for example, can be made in advance and everything just gets tossed into a food processor. Easy!
The veggies may be pretty low on this list, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. Not only will they break up all that brown on your table, they’ll also help balance out the meal. Aim for at least two vegetable dishes from this list. We’d like to suggest the Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Shallots and Currants and the Honey-Roasted Spiced Carrots, but you can’t go wrong with any duo.
You definitely don’t need soup and a salad. You can make both, if you want to, but we suggest picking one. A salad is probably your best bet because guests will be more likely to serve themselves. Plus, a salad is a good way for people to get more vegetables without filling up too much. This Warm Squash Salad with Teleme and Pepitas is essentially fall on a plate.
After the turkey, pie is probably the most synonymous menu item for Thanksgiving. So you’ve got to have at least one pie on the menu. Preferably a pumpkin pie (you can choose a classic one, one with bourbon and pecans or one with a cinnamon caramel sauce). If you’re feeling ambitious from there, you can add our well-reviewed Caramel Apple Pie, a Pecan Pie or an Apple Pie.
For some reason, not everyone likes pie. And yes, you still have to invite these people to your Thanksgiving. Really, all it means is more pie for you. And more dessert options, which never hurt anyone. We’re especially partial to our Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Marshmallow Meringue (a brilliant twist on the classic sweet potato casserole side dish) and our Dark Chocolate and Toasted Walnut Tart, which is sweet and rich but not overwhelmingly so. Pick at least one “other dessert” and you’ll be all set.