The Easiest Thanksgiving Dishes to Make
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Baked Rosemary Beet Chips
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.
Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Soup and Salads
Butternut Squash Soup
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
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
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
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
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.
Sparkling Caramel Hot Cider
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.
Pomegranate Prosecco Smash
Maple syrup helps cut the tartness of pomegranate in this pretty spritzer that's spiked prosecco and vodka. Rosemary sprigs are a festive garnish.
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?
Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Main Dishes
90-Minute Roasted Turkey with Orange-Cranberry Relish
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
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
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
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
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.
Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili
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
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.
Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Apple Sausage Stuffing
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
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.
Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Desserts
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
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
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.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Reeeemix! Pumpkin joins these chocolate chip cookies for a festive fall collaboration.
Thanksgiving Pie Tarts
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.
No-Fail Pumpkin Pie
This classic pumpkin pie recipe can be prepped in 30 minutes. Plus, making homemade pumpkin pie filling is easy-peasy.
Great Pumpkin Pie Recipe
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.
Quick & Easy Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes
Turkey Gobbler Sandwich
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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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