The Kitchn's Very Simple, Very Basic Recipe Essentials for Thanksgiving Dinner

The Kitchn's Very Simple, Very Basic Recipe Essentials for Thanksgiving Dinner

Faith Durand
Nov 12, 2012

This is the time of year when nearly every food writer and editor scratches their head, looking for something new to say about Thanksgiving. Can we spice up the turkey? Put a glaze on the pumpkin pie? Can we buff up the old standards, add a bit of shine? But all of this is largely a quixotic endeavor as you, like us, prefer to stick with the old favorites. And rightly so: the charm of Thanksgiving is its familiarity. So, to that end, here is our own rundown of Thanksgiving essentials — everything you need to start from scratch and put that masterpiece of classic cooking on the table.

There is a ritual in returning to the turkey, the mashed potatoes, and the pumpkin pie, one that centers and humbles us as cooks. Thanksgiving is not about culinary pyrotechnics; it's the struggle to cook a bird as tender as Dad's, or a pie that will never be quite as good as Grandma's. The important thing is to put the favorites on the table, and to turn them out with pleasure and not too much stress.

These are the tools and guides to help you roast your first turkey, and bake a delicious pan of stuffing. We show you how to make gravy and whip up fluffy mashed potatoes. Just the basics for a classic, traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And then, of course, because we are what we are, we couldn't resist throwing in a handful of fresh favorites, too.

• 1 How to Cook a Turkey: The Simplest, Easiest Method
• 2 How to Make a Quick Turkey Gravy - (Bonus: How To Make Gravy Ahead)
• 3 How to Make Easy Thanksgiving Stuffing
• 4 How To Make the Best Mashed Potatoes - (Bonus: How To Make Mashed Potatoes for Just Two People)
• 5 Spiced Cranberry Sauce
• 6 Sweet Potato Soufflé
• 7 Green Bean Casserole with Mushroom Bechamel & Crispy Onions
• 8 Easy Potato Dough Rolls

• 9 Ginger Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust
• 10 Old-Fashioned Pecan Pie

• 11 Thai-Style Brussels Sprouts
• 12 No-Knead Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls
• 13 Butternut Squash Tian with Herbed Bread Crumbs
• 14 Sweet Potato Gratin with Smoky Breadcrumbs
• 15 Cranberry Curd Bars with Walnut Shortbread Crust

How does this list of guides and recipes compare to your own menu? Does it look more or less the same? Or will you have a different tradition? What does Thanksgiving look like on your table?

(Images: See linked recipes for full image credits)

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