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The Easiest Thanksgiving Dishes to Make

Planning out what Thanksgiving recipes you'll use this year? Bookmark this list.
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Think of Thanksgiving, and a festive table brimming with food comes to mind. Turkey is the star of the show, but it's got a strong supporting cast of casseroles, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry relish, dinner rolls, and veggies galore. Suffice to say, prepping a holiday feast is certainly a labor of love, with plenty of Thanksgiving recipes involved.

But at the heart of the holiday—and what makes Thanksgiving truly special—is the gathering of friends and family, even if that's via Zoom this year. So, what if you could spend less time in the kitchen, and more time enjoying the holiday with your family members and friends?

Here, with simplicity in mind, we've rounded up delicious, easy Thanksgiving recipes covering everything from appetizers to desserts to even your post-Thanksgiving leftovers.

And for more, check out these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.

Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Appetizers

Healthy Spice Roasted Nuts

Mixed nuts

Set out a dish of cocoa pecans or five-spice peanuts. We've got four different types of simple and delicious nut recipes that you can make on rotation during the holiday season.

Get our recipe for Healthy Spice Roasted Nuts.

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Stuffed Dates

healthy stuffed dates
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon, these easy-to-assemble dates taste decadent.

Get our recipe for Stuffed Dates.

Melted Brie with Vegetables

Vegetarian melted brie vegetables
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Brie cheese appetizers feel familiar during the holiday season. But this one goes beyond melty cheese and crackers, with pears and stacks of veggies added to the mix.

Get our recipe for Melted Brie with Vegetables.

Shrimp Cocktail

healthy shrimp cocktail
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

You could put out store-bought shrimp cocktail as an appetizer. But this roasted shrimp cocktail recipe is super-easy and gets a flavor boost with Old Bay seasoning. Plus, you can make homemade cocktail sauce with ketchup, lemon juice, horseradish, and sriracha.

Get our recipe for Shrimp Cocktail.


Vegetarian bruschetta two ways
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

A toasty baguette can get dressed up in several different ways. Try white beans sautéed with jarred artichoke hearts or white beans sautéed with jarred artichoke hearts.

Get our recipe for Bruschetta.

Thanksgiving Turkey Veggie Tray

turkey shaped vegetable tray with ranch dip broccoli bell pepper slices snap peas
Lil Luna

Part art, part appetizer, this colorful vegetable tray is a crudite masterpiece. Just look at that carrot beak on the turkey's bell pepper face! It's almost too cute to eat. Almost.

Get the recipe from Lil' Luna.

Baked Rosemary Beet Chips

beet chips with rosemary on baking tray
Minimalist Baker

With just four ingredients and one pan, these beautiful beet chips can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes. In a beautiful red hue, these crispy, savory treats sprinkled in rosemary will satiate snackers while the main course is cooking. A mandolin slicer will make this an even easier job.

Get the recipe from Minimalist Baker.

Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Soup and Salads

Butternut Squash Soup

Healthy butternut squash soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Warm your family up with butternut squash soup. Green apple, grated ginger, and nutmeg add to the fall flavor profile.

Get our recipe for Butternut Squash Soup.

Fig and Prosciutto Salad

Healthy fig and prosciutto salad
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Sweet or savory? Why choose? Appeal to everyone with this fig and prosciutto salad with goat cheese tossed in and a crunch from pine nuts.

Get our recipe for Fig and Prosciutto Salad.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad with Apples and Warm Bacon Dressing

Healthy spinach & goat cheese salad with apples & warm bacon dressing
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Caramelized apples and toasted pecans turn this spinach salad into a fall masterpiece. Then, a warm bacon dressing and creamy goat cheese elevate it, making it perfect for a Thanksgiving starter.

Get our recipe for Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad with Apples and Warm Bacon Dressing.

Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette

plated salad of lettuce strawberries chicken with balsamic vinaigrette

Forget the store-bought dressing. Your holiday salad is deserving of a homemade vinaigrette, and this five-ingredient balsamic recipe will wow your family members. If you want a sweeter vinaigrette to drizzle on your salad, you could swap out the dijon mustard for maple syrup.

Get our recipe for Classic Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Drinks

Thanksgiving Sangria

glass of thanksgiving sangria next to pumpkin shaped cauldron on gold serving tray
Half-Baked Harvest

Sangria: It's not just for sipping on rooftops in the summer. Give the wine cocktail Thanksgiving treatment by mixing in cider, brandy, spices, and a splash of ginger beer. Making a big batch ahead of time means you won't have to play bartender all night.

Get the recipe from Half Baked Harvest.

Sparkling Caramel Hot Cider

two glasses of sparkling caramel apple cider with cinnamon sticks next to apples on marble table
Your Cup of Cake

This easy-to-mix drink doubles as dessert, as you'll stir caramel sauce into the apple cider. Ginger ale gives it the sparkle, and apple slices and cinnamon sticks make it Instagram ready.

Get the recipe from Your Cup of Cake.

No-sugar-added recipes you'll actually look forward to eating.

Pomegranate Prosecco Smash

two glasses of pomegranate prosecco cocktail with flowers and ice and pomegranate slices
How Sweet Eats

Maple syrup helps cut the tartness of pomegranate in this pretty spritzer that's spiked prosecco and vodka. Rosemary sprigs are a festive garnish.

Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.

Cranberry Margaritas

glasses of cranberry margaritas with lime slices and salt on rim
Gimme Some Oven

For a festive and fall spin on margs, just add some cranberry juice and garnish with fresh cranberries. Now to decide: sugar or salt on the rim?

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Main Dishes

90-Minute Roasted Turkey with Orange-Cranberry Relish

Paleo 90 minute roasted turkey with orange cranberry relish
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Yes, it's absolutely possible to cook a turkey in under two hours. The trick? Get a turkey that's 12 to 14 pounds and really turn up the heat in your oven, because you'll be roasting the bird at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. While the turkey is in the oven, simmer those cranberries and make an orange-cranberry relish that pairs perfectly with turkey.

Get our recipe for a 90-Minute Roasted Turkey with Orange-Cranberry Relish.

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Gluten-free turkey breast herb roasted
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Feeding a smaller crowd this year and not sure you want to cook an entire bird? Scale down supper by making turkey breasts that are roasted with rosemary and still feel on-brand with the holiday.

Get our recipe for Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast.

Bourbon-Glazed Ham with Peach Chutney

Low-calorie bourbon glazed ham with peach chutney
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Not into turkey? Cook a ham instead! The honey-bourbon glaze on this ham is equal parts sweet and spicy.

Get our recipe for Bourbon-Glazed Ham with Peach Chutney.

Crispy Duck Breast with Balsamic

Paleo crispy duck breast in balsamic
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

While you'll spot duck on holiday menus in restaurants, it's not something the average home chef attempts to make very often. Change that this year. Duck breasts with cherries is a great alternative to turkey with cranberries.

Get our recipe for Crispy Duck Breast with Balsamic.

Thanksgiving Dinner on Two Sheet Pans

sheet pans with baked sweet potatoes brussels sprouts turkey breasts and stufing
Chelseas Messy Apron

Just imagine how easy clean-up will be by making your entire Thanksgiving dinner on a pair of sheet pans! This recipe shares how you can do just that. We're talking turkey breast and gravy, candied sweet potatoes, stuffing, and parmesan Brussels sprouts. Dibs on doing dishes this year.

Get the recipe from Chelsea's Messy Apron.

Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili

vegetarian pumpkin chili in pink pot on marble table
Sallys Baking Addiction

If you have a few plant-based diners at your table, this chili, loaded with veggies and pumpkin purée, is a great option. The one-pot meal can be made in a slow-cooker, too.

Get the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Easy Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter

roasted whole turkey on pan with potatoes and halved lemon, crispy skin and sage butter on turkey
Courtesy of I Breathe Im Hungry

Roasting a turkey can be intimidating, especially when you're cooking for a crowd. Take an easy approach with this recipe that seasons the bird with sage butter and roasts it with lemons and apples to flavor the pan juices. You can finish a 13-pound turkey in two hours, but you'll need to factor in another hour for it to rest.

Get the recipe from I Breathe I'm Hungry.

Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Apple Sausage Stuffing

Healthy apple-sausage stuffing
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Skip the boxed stuffing and never look back. This stuffing, which is baked on its own, is made with sausage, tart Granny Smith apples, and fresh sage. Cranberries add a nice touch for Thanksgiving.

Get our recipe for Apple Sausage Stuffing.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Vegetarian roasted squash
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Roasting butternut squash will bring out some of the veggie's sweet flavors. Sweeten it up some more with maple syrup. Add some chopped sage leaves. Talk about squash goals!

Get our recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash.

Brussels and Bacon

Healthy brussels and bacon
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This five-ingredient recipe is good enough to convert non-Brussel Sprouts fans into Brussel believers. Smoky bacon, red pepper, and crunchy almonds combine for a delicious side dish that steals the show.

Get our recipe for Brussels and Bacon.

Green Bean Casserole

Vegetarian green bean casserole
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

It's time the green bean casserole gets a modern makeover, right? The recipe, developed in the 1950s by Campbell's, called for a can of cream of mushroom soup and canned green beans. But for a fresh take on this casserole, ditch the cans and use cremini mushrooms and fresh green beans. Sorry, crispy fried onions, you've been cut, too… panko breading will do the trick for giving this casserole a crunchy top layer.

Get our recipe for Green Bean Casserole.

Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin

Vegetarian yukon gold & sweet potato gratin
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Meet your new favorite Thanksgiving side dish. This slimmed-down, four-layer gratin combines Thanksgiving's two popular potatoes, Yukon gold and sweet potatoes, and it tastes rich thanks to a Gruyère cheese. The prep is pretty simple, but it does require about 40 minutes of oven time.

Get our recipe for Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin.

Cranberry Orange Relish

healthy orange cranberry relish
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

You might want to double this recipe so you've got plenty to smother on leftover turkey sandwiches. Orange zest and ginger add flavor to the quintessential cranberry relish.

Get our recipe for Cranberry Orange Relish.

Mac and Cheese

Healthy mac and cheese
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Trust us; everyone is secretly hoping this cheesy comfort food will show up on the Thanksgiving table. The secret to this sharp cheddar mac and cheese dish is a Greek yogurt that gives it a creamy sauce.

Get our recipe for Mac and Cheese.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Vegan roasted garlic mashed potatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

If the turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving table, then mashed potatoes deserve accolades for their supporting role. Yukon Gold potatoes are smooth and buttery, and the roasted garlic in this dish makes them even tastier.

Get our recipe for Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Easy Roasted Carrots

Vegetarian honey roasted carrots
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Roasting veggies brings out their inherent sweetness. Plus, these carrots are tossed in honey. What we're getting at? Even the pickiest eater at the kids' table will eat all their veggies.

Get our recipe for Easy Roasted Carrots.

Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

mashed sweet potatoes

Move over, marshmallows and brown sugar! These flavor-packed, mashed sweet potatoes go the spicy route with a kick of heat from chipotle peppers.

Get our recipe for Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Roasted Parmesan Asparagus

Asparagus with cheese and lemon and pine nuts

Lemon juice and a sprinkling of Parmesan take asparagus to the next level. Plus, this side dish comes together in no time, so you can turn your attention back to the turkey.

Get our recipe for Roasted Parmesan Asparagus.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Vegan sweet potato fries
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

You've already got mashed potatoes planned. Why not serve your sweet potatoes in a different way? These healthy sweet potato fries are spiced up with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Serve them as an appetizer to snack on, or treat them like a side dish and invite them to the main table.

Get our recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Fries.

Blackening Spice

Paleo blackened tilapia with garlic lime butter
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Need to add extra flavor to some of your Thanksgiving veggies? Do just that with this easy, DIY blend that you can make in advance with spices you probably already have in your pantry. The trick is to cook over high heat until it turns into a savory crust on anything from carrots to Brussels.

Get our recipe for Blackening Spice.

Thanksgiving Dressing

thanksgiving dressing stuffing with herbs in white baking dish
Chelseas Messy Apron

An easy stuffing recipe with fresh herbs and day-old sourdough bread can be prepped in 20 minutes flat. That way, you've got plenty of time to focus on perfecting your turkey.

Get the recipe from Chelsea's Messy Apron.

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

pumpkin dinner rolls with honey butter on white plate on wooden table
Averie Cooks

Dinner rolls, but make 'em pumpkin! To get this right, smother them in honey butter. You can make these delicious rolls the night before to help cut down on Thanksgiving day prep.

Get the recipe from Averie Cooks.

Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Desserts

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Slice of healthy pumpkin cheesecake with whipped cream and strawberries
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Cheesecake lovers, rejoice! This pumpkin cheesecake is creamy and decadent, but the addition of Greek yogurt helps cut down on the sugar and fat in this dessert. It's best to make this the day before you're serving it so it has ample time to chill in the fridge.

Get our recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Healthy Apple Crumble

Apple crumble
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Pumpkin and pecan are expected to show up on the Thanksgiving dessert table. But make room (and save room) for this apple dessert, too. Tart, sweet Granny Smith apples are baked with cinnamon and nutmeg and get a crumble topping. You could also make this dessert with pears and cranberries.

Get our recipe for a Healthy Apple Crumble.

Apple Spice Whoopie Pies

group of apple spice whoopie pies
Sallys Baking Addiction

The ingredient list for these whoopie pies is like a greatest hits list of fall's most delicious treats and spices: apple cider, applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and brown sugar. Spiced buttercream makes up the filling.

Get the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies on parchment paper
Sallys Baking Addiction

Reeeemix! Pumpkin joins these chocolate chip cookies for a festive fall collaboration.

Get the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Thanksgiving Pie Tarts

three thanksgiving pie tarts pecan and pumpkin in baking dishes on wood table
Savory Simple

Perhaps the hardest decision on Thanksgiving is whether you should go for pecan pie or pumpkin pie. Enjoy both, plus a few bites of sweet potato pie, thanks to these Thanksgiving pie tarts. The prep time is a little intensive, but consider dessert completely covered once you finish these festive tarts.

Get the recipe from Savory Simple.

No-Fail Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie in metal baking dish with two slices on white dessert plates
Courtesy of Inspired Taste

This classic pumpkin pie recipe can be prepped in 30 minutes. Plus, making homemade pumpkin pie filling is easy-peasy.

Get the recipe from Inspired Taste.

Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe

pumpkin pie in white baking dish topped with leaf cutouts and cranberries
Courtesy of Sallys Baking Addiction

Not only is this pumpkin pie delicious, but it's also gorgeous, thanks to the sugared cranberries and baked leaf decor. Yes, you'll want to spend the extra time making a homemade pie crust. But we're voting for this pie in a contest.

Get the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

Turkey Gobbler Sandwich

Healthy gobbler
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

You've come to expect cranberry sauce on your leftover turkey sandwich. But how about some creamy avocado, whipped cream cheese, and crispy bacon, too? Pro tip: Make this sammy with some focaccia or ciabatta bread.

Get our recipe for Turkey Gobbler Sandwich.

Spinach and Ham Mac and Cheese

Healthy spinach ham mac and cheese
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This mac and cheese dish encourages some improvisation. While the recipe calls for ham, you could sub in your leftover turkey. Cauliflower could replace the spinach. Either way, you're bulking up this classic comfort food with filling veggies and protein and turning it into a meal.

Get our recipe for Spinach and Ham Mac and Cheese.

Turkey BLT Salad

Turkey blt salad
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This salad rendition of a BLT proves that turkey leftovers have potential beyond sandwiches. The famous bacon, lettuce, and tomato trio gets an extra punch of protein with the addition of turkey and homemade croutons bring a crunch.

Get our recipe for a Turkey BLT Salad.

Turkey Reuben Sandwich

Healthy turkey reuben
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

You're on Day 2 of turkey-cranberry sandwiches. Get creative and gobble up your leftovers by subbing pastrami for turkey in this slimmed-down version of a Reuben sandwich.

Get our recipe for a Turkey Reuben Sandwich.

Sunrise Sandwich with Turkey, Cheddar, and Guacamole

Healthy sunrise sandwich with turkey cheddar guacamole
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Enjoy this turkey sandwich when you wake up in the morning. Or after your post-feast nap—your choice! The recipe is especially great for those who smoked their turkey.

Get our recipe for a Sunrise Sandwich with Turkey, Cheddar, and Guacamole.

Turkey Noodle Soup

pot of turkey noodle soup with shredded turkey, noodles, carrots
Averie Cooks

You've had your share of turkey sandwiches and salads. Toss the remaining turkey in a soup. Spices like rosemary and thyme will dial back turkey day memories.

Get the recipe from Averie Cooks.

Even if you're just preparing a small meal for your immediate family, keep these easy and delicious recipes in mind for a stress-free holiday.

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Brittany Anas
Brittany Anas is a freelance travel and health writer. Read more about Brittany