15 Classic Thanksgiving Menu Ideas To Elevate Your Holiday Feast

Get ready to elevate your Thanksgiving menu with these 15 traditional dishes that will leave your guests in awe.

From succulent grilled and roasted turkey options to mouthwatering vegetable side dishes like green beans almondine and garlic-parmesan roasted carrots. This article has it all!

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Indulge in delectable potato dishes, warm bread and rolls, and irresistible desserts like sweet potato pie and pecan pie cheesecake.

Prepare to impress and create a memorable Thanksgiving celebration with these must-have recipes.

15 Traditional Dishes For Thanksgiving Menu 2023

Grilled Turkey

Grilled Turkey.
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Grilled turkey is a flavorful and alternative option to the traditional roasted turkey, offering char marks and freeing up valuable oven space. There are several pros and cons to grilling turkey.

On the positive side, grilling imparts a smoky flavor to the meat and creates a nice crispy skin. It also allows for more even cooking and faster cooking times.

However, grilling can be a bit tricky as it requires constant attention to prevent overcooking or drying out the turkey.

To marinate and prepare grilled turkey, start by preparing a marinade using ingredients like olive oil, herbs, spices, and citrus juice. Let the turkey marinate for at least a few hours or overnight.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and roast the turkey. Turn occasionally, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey).

Let the turkey rest for a few minutes before carving.

Roast Turkey

Roast Turkey.
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When preparing a traditional Thanksgiving menu, many people choose to include roast turkey as the centerpiece of the meal.

Roast turkey is a classic dish that brings warmth and a sense of tradition to the table. There are different cooking methods for roast turkey, allowing you to choose the one that suits your taste and cooking style.

Some popular methods include roasting in the oven, deep-frying, or even smoking the turkey.

To complement the roast turkey, you can consider adding variations of green bean dishes for Thanksgiving.

Green beans almondine is a classic French recipe that combines shallots, garlic, and toasted almonds for a burst of flavor.

Another option is a green bean casserole, which features fresh mushrooms and onions, without the use of canned soup.

By incorporating these variations, you can elevate your Thanksgiving menu and provide a variety of flavors for your guests to enjoy.

Green Beans Almondine

Green Beans Almondine.
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To add a touch of elegance to your Thanksgiving feast, consider including the classic French recipe of green beans almondine.

Green beans almondine, also known as amandine, is a popular side dish that brings a burst of freshness and nuttiness to the table.

The dish is traditionally made by blanching the green beans until tender-crisp, then sautéing them in a mixture of butter, shallots, and garlic.

The toasted almonds are added for a delightful crunch and earthy flavor.

While the basic recipe remains the same, there are variations of almondine recipes that incorporate additional ingredients such as lemon zest, herbs, or even bacon.

Green bean almondine is a versatile and delicious addition to any Thanksgiving menu, complementing the main course with its vibrant colors and delightful flavors.

Garlic-Parmesan Roasted Carrots

Garlic-Parmesan Roasted Carrots.
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The addition of savory garlic and Parmesan cheese elevates the flavor of the roasted carrots, making them a delectable side dish for your Thanksgiving feast.

To make the perfect garlic parmesan roasted carrots, follow these simple steps:

Start by preheating your oven to 425°F (220°C).

  • Peel and trim the carrots, then cut them into even-sized pieces for even cooking.
  • Toss the carrots with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
  • Spread the carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Roast the carrots in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until they are tender and slightly caramelized.
  • Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the roasted carrots and return them to the oven for an additional 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown.

Tips for adding extra flavor to roasted vegetables:

  • Experiment with different herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, or paprika.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice or a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a tangy twist.

Enjoy these garlic parmesan roasted carrots as a flavorful and nutritious addition to your Thanksgiving menu.

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole.
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Green Bean Casserole is a classic dish that combines fresh green beans, mushrooms, onions, and a creamy sauce, topped with crispy fried onions.

This Thanksgiving staple can be customized with various variations to suit different tastes.

Some popular variations of green bean casserole include adding bacon for a smoky flavor, using different types of cheese like cheddar or gruyere, or even incorporating additional vegetables like roasted red peppers or corn.

To make the perfect green bean casserole, it is important to blanch the green beans before assembling the dish to ensure they are tender yet still have a slight crunch.

Additionally, using fresh mushrooms and onions instead of canned soup can elevate the flavors of the casserole.

Corn Casserole

Corn Casserole.
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Using simple ingredients and a few easy steps, corn casserole is a comforting and flavorful dish that complements any Thanksgiving spread.

It is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit different tastes and dietary preferences.

Here are some variations of corn casserole recipes:

  • Cheesy Corn Casserole: Adding a generous amount of cheese to the corn casserole gives it a rich and gooey texture.
  • Spicy Corn Casserole: For those who enjoy a kick of heat, adding jalapenos or chili powder can add a spicy twist to the dish.

To make a creamy and flavorful corn casserole, consider the following tips:

  • Use fresh corn kernels for the best taste and texture.
  • Incorporate cream cheese or sour cream to add creaminess.
  • Season with herbs and spices like garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika for added flavor.

With these variations and tips, you can create a delicious corn casserole that will be a hit at your Thanksgiving feast.

Cranberry Whipped Feta Dip

Cranberry Whipped Feta Dip.
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Deliciously tangy and creamy, Cranberry Whipped Feta Dip adds a delightful twist to your Thanksgiving menu.

This creative dip for Thanksgiving appetizers combines the smooth and tangy flavors of feta cheese with the tartness of cranberries.

The whipped texture of the feta creates a light and fluffy dip that is perfect for spreading on crackers or dipping vegetables.

There are also variations of whipped feta dip that you can explore to suit your taste preferences.

You can add a hint of sweetness by incorporating honey or maple syrup. For a savory twist, you can mix in herbs like rosemary or thyme.

Additionally, you can experiment with different types of cheese such as goat cheese or cream cheese to create your own unique version of this delectable dip.

Cranberry Whipped Feta Dip is a versatile and crowd-pleasing appetizer that will surely impress your guests this Thanksgiving.

Mashed Potato Casserole

Mashed Potato Casserole.
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The Mashed Potato Casserole is a classic Thanksgiving dish that brings together the creamy richness of mashed potatoes with a delectable combination of savory ingredients.

This dish is a crowd favorite and a perfect side dish to complement the main course.

Here are some variations of mashed potato casserole that you can try to add a twist to your Thanksgiving menu:

  • Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole: Top your mashed potatoes with crispy bacon, shredded cheese, and green onions for an indulgent treat.
  • Garlic and Herb Mashed Potato Casserole: Infuse your mashed potatoes with the flavors of garlic and herbs like thyme, rosemary, and parsley for a fragrant and delicious dish.

To make the perfect mashed potato casserole, here are a few tips:

  • Use starchy potatoes like russets for a fluffy texture.
  • Mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy, but be careful not to overwork them.
  • Incorporate butter, cream, and seasonings gradually to achieve the desired consistency and flavor.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
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Surprisingly, roasted garlic adds a delightful depth of flavor to the classic dish of mashed potatoes, making Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes a must-have addition to your Thanksgiving menu.

This dish takes the familiar comfort of creamy mashed potatoes and elevates it with the rich, nutty flavor of roasted garlic.

The roasted garlic cloves are mixed into the mashed potatoes, creating a smooth and velvety texture with bursts of savory goodness in every bite.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes also offer a tasty alternative to other potato dishes on your Thanksgiving table.

While traditional mashed potatoes are always a crowd-pleaser, adding the roasted garlic takes them to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Whether you serve them alongside turkey, gravy, or other holiday favorites, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes will undoubtedly be a hit with your guests.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole.
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While many Thanksgiving dishes are savory, Sweet Potato Casserole offers a delectable balance of sweetness and warmth.

This classic dish is a crowd-pleaser, with its creamy sweet potato base and a crunchy, buttery pecan topping.

When discussing sweet potato casserole, it is important to consider the health benefits of sweet potatoes.

These root vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a nutritious addition to any meal.

Additionally, sweet potato casserole can be prepared in creative variations to suit different tastes.

Some popular variations include adding marshmallows for a gooey and indulgent twist or incorporating spices like cinnamon and nutmeg for a festive flavor.

Whether you prefer a traditional recipe or a unique twist, sweet potato casserole is a must-have for a memorable Thanksgiving feast.

Thanksgiving Rolls

Thanksgiving Rolls.
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One of the essential sides for a complete Thanksgiving feast is homemade dinner rolls that add a touch of warmth and comfort to the meal.

To ensure that your Thanksgiving rolls turn out fluffy and soft, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

First, make sure to use warm water when activating the yeast to promote proper fermentation.

Additionally, kneading the dough well and allowing it to rise in a warm place will help develop a light and airy texture.

For those looking to add a creative twist to their Thanksgiving rolls, consider incorporating herbs or cheese.

Adding herbs like rosemary or thyme to the dough can infuse the rolls with a fragrant and savory flavor.

Alternatively, adding cheese, such as cheddar or Parmesan, can give the rolls a rich and indulgent taste.

These variations can elevate your Thanksgiving rolls and add a unique touch to your holiday spread.

Apple Stuffing

Apple Stuffing.
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Apple stuffing is a delectable addition to any Thanksgiving menu, infusing the traditional savory dish with the sweet and tart flavors of apples and complementing the main course with a touch of warmth and complexity.

When preparing apple stuffing, there are alternative bread options that can be used to elevate the dish even further.

Consider using a rustic artisan bread or a hearty whole wheat loaf to add texture and depth to the stuffing.

These alternative bread options provide a unique twist to the classic recipe and create a more sophisticated flavor profile.

Additionally, incorporating different types of apples, such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp, can enhance the taste and add a vibrant burst of sweetness.

Experimenting with different breads and apple varieties allows for a personalized touch to this beloved Thanksgiving side dish.

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie.
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What makes sweet potato pie the perfect addition to a Thanksgiving dessert spread?

Sweet potato pie offers a delicious and unique twist to the traditional pumpkin pie. It has a rich and creamy filling made from sweet potatoes, which adds a natural sweetness and depth of flavor.

There are various sweet potato pie variations that can be explored to suit different tastes.

Some variations include adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger, while others incorporate ingredients like maple syrup or bourbon for an extra kick.

Toppings such as whipped cream, toasted pecans, or a sprinkle of cinnamon can also enhance the flavor and presentation of the pie.

When it comes to perfecting sweet potato pie, techniques like roasting the sweet potatoes beforehand and using high-quality ingredients like pure vanilla extract and fresh nutmeg can make a big difference.

The result is a smooth and velvety pie that is sure to impress your Thanksgiving guests.

Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Pecan Pie Cheesecake.
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The combination of pecan pie and cheesecake creates a decadent and indulgent dessert for your Thanksgiving menu.

Pecan pie cheesecake offers a unique twist on traditional desserts, combining the rich, nutty flavors of pecan pie with the creamy, velvety texture of cheesecake.

To elevate this dessert even further, you can experiment with different variations and toppings. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Chocolate Pecan Pie Cheesecake: Incorporate melted chocolate into the cheesecake batter and top with a layer of chocolate ganache.
  • Salted Caramel Pecan Pie Cheesecake: Drizzle homemade salted caramel sauce over the cheesecake and sprinkle with crushed pecans.
  • Maple Pecan Pie Cheesecake: Add maple syrup to the cheesecake filling and garnish with maple-glazed pecans.

Best techniques for a smooth and creamy texture:

  • Use room temperature ingredients to ensure a smooth and creamy cheesecake filling.
  • Bake the cheesecake in a water bath to prevent cracking and achieve a silky texture.

With these variations and techniques, you can create a show-stopping pecan pie cheesecake that will impress your guests and become a new Thanksgiving favorite.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie.
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For a classic addition to your Thanksgiving feast, indulge in the rich and velvety flavors of pumpkin pie, made with a buttery crust and a luscious filling of spiced pumpkin custard.

While pumpkin pie is a beloved Thanksgiving dessert, there are also some delicious alternatives for those looking to switch things up.

For a unique twist, consider trying a pumpkin cheesecake or a pumpkin tart. These variations still capture the essence of pumpkin pie but offer a different texture and flavor profile.

Additionally, when it comes to toppings, get creative! Instead of the traditional whipped cream, try sprinkling chopped pecans or drizzling caramel sauce over your pumpkin pie.

These additions will add a delightful crunch and a touch of sweetness to your Thanksgiving dessert spread.

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Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, wine, seasonal vegetable and fruits on wooden table.
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