43 Delicious Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Updated: May 04, 2024

Looking for new holiday inspiration? These Thanksgiving dinner ideas are great for traditionalists as well as folks looking to add new dishes to the family table.

In charge of planning Thanksgiving this year? Serve the ultimate holiday spread with these creative and traditional Thanksgiving recipes—like sweet potato casserole and brined turkey.

Our collection of recipes will make sure you have everything covered from the main entree course to a delicious Thanksgiving dessert that isn’t just pie. And don’t forget to make sure there’s enough turkey to pass around by checking our guide on how much turkey you need per person.

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Herb-Roasted Turkey

When looking for Thanksgiving dinner ideas, it’s always good to start with a classic. The honey, savory herbs and seasonings give this turkey a slightly sweet flavor. It’s a tried-and-true recipe that would be a star on your Thanksgiving table.
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Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Bring an irresistible take on Brussels sprouts to the family table this Thanksgiving. Sweetness from balsamic vinegar and cranberries are blended with the savory flavors of pancetta and garlic cloves for a delicious side that everyone will want a scoop of.
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Apricot-Glazed Cornish Hens

Perfect for individual servings, this tasty twist on the conventional turkey is filled with well-seasoned stuffing and then brushed with apricot preserves for a beautiful glaze. It’s the perfect alternative for a hassle-free Thanksgiving meal. Don’t forget to check out our collection of alternatives to turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.
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Cauliflower au Gratin

For a side dish twist, consider switching cauliflower for potatoes. Ham makes the casserole extra delicious, but if you want to make it vegetarian, just omit and replace it with another vegetable, like asparagus. Don’t like cauliflower? This works with broccoli, too!
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German-Style Cabbage and Beans

Green beans with slivers of red cabbage is a festive twist on green bean casserole. Crisp bacon and a vinegar-based dressing add a flavorful pop that goes well with turkey and favorite Thanksgiving sides.
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Lattice-Topped Apple Pie

The filling in this apple pie doesn’t go overboard on the spices, and a lattice top makes a pretty statement on the holiday dessert table. If you’re unsure about the crust, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make a lattice pie crust.
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Swiss Chard with Onions & Garlic

When you’re coming up with all the traditionally hearty Thanksgiving dinner ideas, it’s good to keep a few healthy-leaning dishes on the menu. This simple combination of hearty greens and aromatics hits the spot.

For more ideas, browse our list of these nearly-forgotten Thanksgiving recipes, too.

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Marinated Thanksgiving Turkey

A marinade of soy sauce, broth and ginger gives this turkey a big dose of flavor and golden color, and cooking it on the grill adds a ton of smoky flavor. If you’re new to cooking a bird that way, here are some expert tips on how to grill a turkey for Thanksgiving.
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Hearty Butternut Squash Soup

With the focus on entrees and sides for the holiday, sometimes it’s easy to overlook Thanksgiving appetizers and starter courses. But don’t! Serve small portions of this comforting combination of squash, sausage, beans and veggies for a great starter.
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Shredded Gingered Brussels Sprouts

It takes a little work to get the Brussels sprouts shredded, but they cook super fast. If ginger doesn’t match your Thanksgiving dinner ideas, try one of the other variations like molasses and Sriracha, cranberry-pecan or even curry.
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Aunt Margaret’s Sweet Potato Casserole

Sharing your family’s best Thanksgiving recipes is a time-honored tradition. Even with a crunchy crumble-like topping and mini marshmallows, this sweet potato casserole has been lightened up a bit from the original—and still tastes divine.
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Roasted Butternut Tossed Salad

Healthy salads add balance to all the rich and loaded dishes on a Thanksgiving menu. This one is packed with nutritious veggies, almonds, berries and sweet roasted butternut squash.
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Maple-Sage Brined Turkey

Maple syrup and brown sugar combined with mustard, sage and other herbs make a dynamite wet brine for your Thanksgiving turkey. Check out our helpful guide for more tips on how to brine a turkey.
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Sausage and Rice Casserole Side Dish

Studded with sage-seasoned sausage and other seasonal flavors, this fluffy rice casserole is sure to be an instant classic. The water chestnuts are a nice touch, but feel free to leave them out.
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Cranberry-Orange Bars

Thanksgiving dinner ideas run the gamut, from drinks to the sweets that end the meal. For the latter, tart cranberry filling on a lemon-scented buttery crust will be a new star on your holiday dessert table. If you need dessert in a hurry, find inspiration with these 30-minute Thanksgiving desserts.
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Cranberry Cornmeal Dressing

Filled with seasonal herbs and other flavors, this moist dressing is a perfect match for poultry or even pork. The sweet-tart dried cranberries really complement the richness of turkey sausage and cornmeal.
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Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Sauce

A creamy Dijon mustard sauce turns ordinary roasted Brussels sprouts into one special side dish. Test Kitchen Tip: Look for smaller sprouts as they’ll be less bitter than larger ones.
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Perfect Winter Salad

The name isn’t a misnomer. Fresh greens mixed with tart green apples, dried cherries and pecans are a perfect side to turkey and all the fixings on Thanksgiving day. It also makes a great vehicle for leftover turkey the next day!
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Cranberry-Orange Roasted Turkey

Cranberry doesn’t have to just be a condiment. Here, along with fresh orange and marmalade, it creates a delicious glaze for your roast turkey. Looking for more turkey tips? Get our step-by-step guide for how to cook a turkey with help from the Test Kitchen experts.
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Potato Stuffing Casserole

Who said two Thanksgiving dinner ideas can’t become one? Adding stuffing to traditional mashed potatoes is a great alternative to the classic sides.
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Pumpkin & Cauliflower Garlic Mash

Thanksgiving dinner planning sometimes requires finding low-carb options. This flavorful pumpkin and cauliflower mash makes a great stand-in for starchy potatoes. Check out our collection of low-carb Thanksgiving sides.
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Holiday Brussels Sprouts

Spruce up frozen Brussels sprouts by cooking them with peas, celery, bacon and, of course, butter. This recipe easily doubles, which you’ll end up doing because it’s so good.
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Scalloped Apples Casserole

This casserole comes together by baking delicious apples in butter and spice, with the addition of breadcrumbs so it’s almost like a dressing. It’s the side dish you didn’t know you needed on your Thanksgiving menu. If you’re not planning a party this year, then here are a few Thanksgiving recipes for two.
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Brussels Sprouts au Gratin

Turns out you can make just about anything ‘au gratin’. Topping Brussels sprouts with cream, Swiss cheese and bread chunks masks any bitterness you can sometimes get from the little green brassicas.
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Pumpkin-Lentil Soup

If you need some vegetarian options for the holiday, this hearty pumpkin soup with lentils and beans hits the spot. The recipe calls for chicken broth, but you can use vegetable broth as a substitute. Serve this soup along with vegetarian Thanksgiving sides.
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Roasted Turkey with Maple Cranberry Glaze

For a new turkey glaze idea, mix cranberry sauce and maple syrup with (surprise!) walnuts. With all that sugar and texture on the outside, it might start to darken about halfway into cooking time, but simply cover loosely with foil until it hits the right temperature. Here are a few tips on how long to cook a turkey.
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Spiced Butternut Squash Pie

Using mashed butternut squash in place of sweet potato or pumpkin is a revelation. Add in warm spices and a few other ingredients, and bake it in a premade pie shell for ease.
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Wendy’s Apple Pomegranate Salad

With fresh greens, pomegranates, apples, pecans and walnuts, this winter salad will be right at home on your Thanksgiving dinner table. Remember to dress it right before serving; you don’t want it to sit too long and get soggy.
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Slow Cooker Caramel Apple Cider

Spiced with cinnamon sticks, allspice and caramel, this warm-you-up sipper will chase away any winter chill. Serve alongside a platter of festive cookies at your next holiday gathering.
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Roasted Red Pepper Green Beans

This recipe uses a shallot-and-chive cheese as an easy shortcut to green bean casserole. Roasted red peppers and pine nuts give it a bit of Italian flair!
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Eggnog Sweet Potato Bake

This has to be one of the best uses for eggnog since… eggnog. Add the creamy beverage to sweet potatoes, plus all the warm, seasonal spices, and you have your new Thanksgiving dinner staple.
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Apple Sausage Salad with Cinnamon Vinaigrette

Maybe turkey isn’t your thing for Thanksgiving. Thanks to slices of sausage and toasty cinnamon-raisin croutons, this salad eats like an entree (but you can still serve it as a starter).
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Creamy Sweet Potatoes

Orange juice adds a nice citrusy note to sweet potatoes, the perfect complement to Thanksgiving turkey. Marshmallows can be left out, but why would you do that? It’s tradition.
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Family-Favorite Caramelized Onions

You only need a few ingredients and about an hour with this recipe, but the results are incredible. These sweet, caramelized onions turn roast turkey (or anything, really) into something truly special.
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Seasoned Brown Rice Pilaf

This healthy, fluffy pilaf mixes brown rice with whole wheat orzo and spices. For a vegetarian version, just substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth.
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Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Garlic

If you have any Brussels sprouts haters at your holiday table, these might just change their minds. Thinly sliced sprouts tossed with bacon and garlic look and taste fantastic; use pancetta instead of bacon if you want to take them up a notch.
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Butternut Squash Panzanella Salad

An easy salad with chunks of roasted butternut squash (use pre-cut vegetables to make it even easier), mushrooms and bread is a wonderful fall take on the traditional panzanella. Switch things up with pecans instead of almonds or watercress instead of arugula.
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Brussels Sprouts Brown Betty

Make a savory version of the classic brown betty using vegetables in place of fruit, while keeping the crunchy breadcrumb topping. The result is a creamy side dish that will turn anyone into a Brussels sprouts fan.
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Carrot, Parsnip and Potato Gratin

For a new Thanksgiving dinner idea, try using parsnips and carrots in a potato gratin. Fresh rosemary adds a nice herbal note.
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Cranberry Apple Stuffing

Stuffing studded with cranberries, apple and Italian sausage will please even the most die-hard stuffing fans. Cooking stuffing in a turkey can be dangerous, so it’s best to cook it on the side.
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Scalloped Potatoes with Mushrooms

With butter, sour cream and Swiss cheese, these scalloped potatoes are rich and decadent. You can always swap in low-fat options for the dairy to lighten things up.