30 Essential Thanksgiving Recipes for a Fresh Yet Classic Dinner

30 Essential Thanksgiving Recipes for a Fresh Yet Classic Dinner

Ariel Knutson
Nov 17, 2014
(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

Thanksgiving is a little over a week away — do you have your menu planned? Whether you're hosting this year, or have been asked to make a dish for a potluck Thanksgiving, we have 30 essential recipes that cover the classics and also offer something a little new.

You can make classic mashed potatoes, or brighten them up with a surprise vegetable. You can bake a classic pumpkin pie, just like Grandma's, or spice it up with extra ginger and a graham crust. Green bean casserole, or green beans with lemony almond topping? Take your pick; we have all the essentials you need for a classic holiday, and a few new ideas that will bring an extra dash of delicious to your Thanksgiving celebration.

Last week Faith shared The Kitchn's outdoor Thanksgiving gathering in California, which I think perfectly highlights small changes to classic Thanksgiving dishes. Instead of making traditional stuffing, there was grilled bread dressing with cranberry and leeks. Instead of roasting a turkey, there was a grilled spatchcocked turkey. The same basic ingredients, just reimagined for the place and theme.

Of course, both the classic and unique Thanksgiving recipes should be given a big, hearty welcome on any table this month. The bird, side dishes, desserts, and drinks – pick and choose at your leisure. When Thanksgiving is about sharing food with people you love, anything you want to eat goes.

The Bird

From the traditional method (put it in the oven and roast until it's done) to a more innovative approach (spatchcocked! grilled!) we have you covered. Either way, though, consider dry-brining your turkey for maximum juiciness and flavor.

The Traditional

Something New

The Trimmings

The trimmings get the same traditional/traditional-with-a-twist treatment here. One simple and classic recipe, and then one with a little something new.


Mashed Potatoes


Green Beans

Sweet Potatoes

Bread & Salad

Bread is the star of some Thanksgiving tables; others push it to the side. Both of these recipes are simple, classic, and always welcome. And don't forget salad — it's rarely something with a serious tradition attached, so you can do whatever you like.



(Image credit: Faith Durand)

The Dessert

There are a few classic essentials for the Thanksgiving dessert table — pumpkin pie, pecan pie. But why not switch one up this year and make an extra-spicy pumpkin pie, or pecan pie bars instead of the traditional?

The Drinks

Wine may be the traditional tipple on Thanksgiving but we have some more ideas. Sangria, hot punch, and a honey-rye pitcher cocktail are all welcome at a Thanksgiving happy hour.

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