Thanksgiving Recipes

Updated on November 26, 2008
M. asks from Wichita, KS
23 answers

Hi Moms,

I was wondering if any of you had any great Thanksgiving recipes you wouldn't mind sharing. I'm having some relatives come for Thanksgiving and am looking for some recipes that are sure to be crowd pleasers. Any recipes for main dishes, side dishes, or desserts would be much appreciated. And if you have any recipes for dishes that can be prepared in advance and reheated the day of Thanksgiving to make the day a little less chaotic, they are welcomed as well. Mainly, just looking for some great tasting dishes that are sure to please everyone! Hope everyone is off to a great start for the holiday season!

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So What Happened?

Wow! Thanks to everyone for the wonderful recipes and suggestions. I didn't even think about having enough serving bowls and serving spoons! I can't wait to try out the recipes. I'll let you know how the day turns out.

By the way, I forgot to mention that my relatives are driving up on the day of Thanksgiving and will be arriving in time for Thanksgiving dinner. That's why I can't do potluck or have them help. They will also be staying for the weekend, so if anyone knows where I can get some inexpensive air mattresses (my family doesn't seem to know that hotels exist), that would be great! I grew up in a big family, so all this is pretty typical for me, but it's the first time I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner for so many people. Hmmm....buying a turkey sounds pretty good right about now!

Featured Answers



answers from Columbia on

My family loves this Pumkin Roll that I make every year. It looks super complex, tastes like you have slaved over it but is infact very easy to make! I have gone from making just one, but now make two -three depending on how many will make it infor the holiday.I found the recipie on a website
If you would like me to I can emailyou the recipie or you can simply search their recpies, using the key word pumpkin roll.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Joseph on

Look on the can of pumpkin and there is a recipe for Pumpkin roll. It is awesome. my family loves it. Also look on Food network and look under emeril for Sweet potatoes and there is a great recipe for Orange sweet potatoes my father loves it and he doesn't like sweet potatoes. Hope those are helpful. Good Luck.

7 moms found this helpful

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answers from St. Louis on

Here is a Macaroni and cheese husband who can't stand mac and chees....LOVES THIS. It's really good. Not so much your traditional dish for Thanksgiving, but will be a crowd pleaser. For your crowd, I would double it (it will use almost 2 9x13 pans so you might want to get one of those nicer disposable pans that's really deep to hold it all)....and I always add in extra cheese than what the recipe calls for. If you do not sharp cheddar, mild will do fine or a combo of colby is really good to. I reccommend not using the packaged shredded, but to buy it by the block and grate it in a food proccessor, tastes much better. Use real butter, not margarine. You also have to be able to devote your time to making this, and pay attention, because you need to stir it almost continiously. What I have done before, is make cheese mixture in advance, when it's not so hectic and you can take your time, then let it cool and put in the fridge and then make your noodles the next day or a later time. Then you can just warm your cheese on the stove and then add in your cooked noodles and then pop in the oven. For a snack/appetizer, make extra cheese mixture, take your extra aside and add in salsa, hot sauce, or spices and use as a cheese dip with nachos......for this yo may need to add in extra cheese to make it a little thicker, but the cheese recipe is a good base for a great con queso dip. Enjoy your holiday and remember, the more relaxed you are the smoother things will run, just be prepared to "wing it" and you'll go in with a much easier going attitude where a few oops won't bother you so much, because even in the kitchen will be your first "hosted" thanksgiving memories.....not just the turnout of the meal. ENJOY!

Also....My mom has always done her turkey in the oven the day before, but let it slowly warm in all the juices and seasons in the crockpot the day of thanksgiving, that way, you have extra oven room, it's not dry and the big part of dinner is done! YOu won't have to worry bout the turkey in the crock pot as much. It's always delicious.


8 Oz. elbow macaroni
1/4- cup flour .
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar

1/4- cup butter
1 tsp salt
2 cups milk
1 cup Velveeta

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook macaroni; drain. Meanwhile, melt butter in saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to boiling, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer mixture for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 ½ cups cheese mixture and the macaroni. Pour into 1 ½ quart shallow casserole dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese over top. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is brown.

17 moms found this helpful


answers from Joplin on

One thing that I have done for the past 3 years is to buy the already cooked dinner that the grocery stores sell. I have always had good luck with them. They are very, very good and soooo much easier. We have purchased from Hy-Vee in KC and Mejier in Ohio. I plan on ordering one from Walmart this year. There is still a little prep involved, but mostly reheating. You can't beat the price. Last year, there were only 7 adults around our table and the meal costs $40. (And we had left overs) I can't buy the ingredients for a big meal for that!
Good luck!

First of all, engage the help of someone else. Don't try to do this all by yourself or you will be exhausted. If anybody asks if they can bring anything, say "Sure! Would you mind bringing ..."
Here is one my family's favorite recipes for Corn Casserole

1 can cream corn
1 can regular corn (drained)
1 stick butter (melted)
1 8oz tub of sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Mix all of this together in a casserole dish or a 9x13 and bake at 350 for about one hour.

You can do this a few days ahead of time. If you want, you can bake it for about 30 minutes on the day you make it, refridgerate it, and then finish baking it on the day you serve it.
It's easy-sneazy and pretty cheap to make. It makes a great pot-luck recipe.


16 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I LOVE mashed potatoes and found a great recipe for make-ahead mashed potatoes.

Party Mashed Potatoes

This can be made ahead and stored in refrigerator for several days!

8 or 9 medium potatoes 1 stick margarine
1 (3 oz) cream cheese salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. sour cream

Cook potatoes in salted water until tender, drain and mash until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and beat until well blended. Mixture will be a little thin. Pour in casserole dish and store covered in refrigerator.

To serve, dot with butter and heat uncovered in 350 degree oven for 20 minutets. You can double it if you need to.

If you don't have room to bake it in the oven, just put the potato mixture into a crock pot an hour or two (give it enough time to get heated all the way through) before dinner and its 'no fuss'!

15 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I got this off last year. You might check there too, most of the recipes have detailed reviews.

Sweet Pototo Casserole:

4 1/2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix together mashed sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup butter, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs. Spread sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and flour. Cut in 1/3 cup butter until mixture is crumbly, then stir in pecans. Sprinkle pecan mixture over the sweet potatoes.
Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

This dish is TO DIE FOR and perfect for Thanksgiving. Enjoy!


2 large cans of mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milnot
1 stick of butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

Combine butter and sugar and mix well. Add eggs. Add milnot, vanilla, sweet potatoes. Mix well and place in well greased casserole.

1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of chopped pecans
1/3 cup of flour
1/3 cup of butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix well and sprinkle over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

i have a great recipe for turkey

Herb Roasted (Brined) Turkey
By B. Smith
Serves 8
• 1-1/2 cups kosher salt
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 tablespoons dried thyme
• 2 teaspoons ground allspice
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon coarsely ground white pepper
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 18-to-20 pound turkey
• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
• Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

The day before cooking, combine salt, sugar, cayenne, dried thyme, allspice, cloves, ginger, white pepper, and bay leaves in a stockpot. Fill pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Cool to room temperature. Remove giblets and neck from turkey and rinse bird well. Place in cooled spice mixture, breast side down. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
To Roast: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Remove bird from brine, gently wipe dry, and bring to room temperature. Combine butter, olive oil, fresh thyme, and rosemary, mixing well. Season turkey generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Loosely pack sage stuffing into neck and body cavities. Set turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub seasoned butter lavishly over turkey breast and legs. Roast 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue to roast, basting every half hour, until temperature reaches 175 degrees or until juices run clear, about 3 hours. Remove from oven, spoon stuffing into an oven-proof bowl, and let bird rest 30 minutes before carving.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Here is a very simple cake I make and Everyone enjoys it.

1 box of regular Graham Crackers
1 8 ounce tub of cool whip
2 pkgs of French Vanilla pudding
3 cups of milk
1 tub of chocolate fudge premade icing

Mix together the pudding and the milk. Then, fold the cool whip into the mixture.
In a 9 x 13 pan:
Place enough Graham Crackers to layer the bottom of the pan
1/2 the pudding mixture spread out evenly over crackers
layer enough Graham crackers to make a layer over the pudding
1/2 the pudding mixture spread out evenly over the crackers
another layer of Graham Crackers

Then, take the seal off of the icing, and leave the lid half off, and place it in the microwave for 1 minute. Pour over the top layer of Graham Crackers. It will be runny, so you can just keep pouring it over and filling in all the spots that you have missed. Place the pan into the refridgerator, allowing it to harden. It will be ready to eat in about 3 hours, but I always make this the day before. This needs to stay in the refridge so it doesn't melt. The pudding will get runny again if you do not keep it in the refridge. It is yummy. A real crowd pleaser!

If you have any Questions, let me know!

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Birmingham on

Hi, I have gotten some great tips from reading your responses, especially re: the serving bowls. What a great idea! Thanks. I cook for my extended family (16 people) about once a month and we are always looking for great recipes. One of our favorites is oreo dessert. Take a package of oreos and roughly crumble them in the bottom of a 9X13 pan. Mix two small chocolate puddings according to directions and pour over oreos. spreal cool whip over the top and sprinkle with a chopped heath bar. Super easy and you can even freeze it and pull it out the morning of.
My favorite tips:
*crockpots are lifesavers - borrow some if you have to and use a strip plug. Bake in removeable crocks and keep warm in the crockpot. everything from mac and cheese to potatoes, to dips, to plain vegetables can be kept warm ahead of time.
*most grocery stores will slice a cooked ham for you if you ask, then just reheat or serve cold.
*if you have mattress toppers on any of your beds, you can pull them off and use them for pallets on the floor instead of air mattresses. They roll up easily too.
good luck!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I was going to share the Sweet Potato Casserole recipe that Kristina already shared, and I make that corn casserole with the Jiffy corn muffin mix all the time. Both of those are fairly easy and most people like them.

I made a yummy apple and sausage stuffing from a Swanson's recipe. It is available here: I did everything except adding the stuffing the day before. I just pulled the veggie, apple, sausage mixture out of the fridge, heated it up on the stove and tossed the stuffing mix in. I had my stuffing ready in about 15 minutes. Just in time to let the turkey rest before carving!

AS far as the turkey goes, buying one might be the way to go here, unless you really want to bake one yourself. I have always baked mine, but it is a heck of a lot of work! And you will likely need your oven space to cook for all those people. But if you follow the brined turkey recipe, you will love it. As a tip, I have used a big Rubbermaid tub (washed well of course) to hold my turkey in the brine.

I usally head over to when I am in search of recipes. They have a whole section on Thanksgiving up right now.

A couple other tips are to do place cards, so you can strategically position people to pass things or keep heavier people off your folding chairs and in real dining chairs! Another tip is to plan out in advance what serving dishes you are going to use for what so you don't wind up at the end without a big bowl for your mashed potatoes because someone "helped" and used it for your rolls. Just put a little piece of paper in the bottom of the serving dish. Also make sure you have enough dishes and serving utensils ahead of time. WalMart actually has some nice pieces if you need to fill in.

And no matter what, you and your family will have a great time just being together!!!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

Wow, 20 people! You are courageous, heh.
First, I would recommend cooking 2 smaller turkeys rather than one big one. They'll cook faster, and have better flavor and less chance of drying out. I like to make herb butter (any flavors you like), freeze it in a log, and then slice it and place the slices under the skin of the bird. It's so juicy, and the flavor goes into the meat, not just on top of the skin. I just did a "practice" turkey breast last week, and it was wonderful.
You can do all desserts beforehand. You can do mashed potatoes the day before, put them in an oven-safe bowl, and reheat in the oven or microwave. If you're doing buffet-style, you could even do the turkey(s) the day before too, slice them up, and reheat on the serving platters. Just about everything but rolls could really be done the day before if you want. has a good timeline on their site for a smooth-flowing Turkey-day, and lots of good recipes too. Also, if you'd lke to try brining your bird(s), Alton Brown has a great turkey recipe that I've used in the past, from his Good Eats show "Romancing the Bird". (Yes, it's sad that I know the episode name!)
Good luck!!!

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Hope you get read this I just saw your request. Im cooking for 26 this year. Thats pretty typical for me. I love to entertain. My best advise for a great day is PREP. Set the table the day before or even 2 days before. Have all serving bowels and utensils out and ready to go. Cook as much as possible ahead of time. I find it very helpful to write down everthing that needs done. On that day I prioritize and even assign times. IE if dinner is at 5 I light candles at 4:45. When your guest arrive their wonder how you make it look so easy. Most important have fun. Good food is important but its the hospitality you'll be known for.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Hi M.-

I don't have any recipes handy, but wanted to let you know a couple tricks my mom and I have tried that work pretty well and really help give you a little more time and less stress. We cook the turkey the night before, slice it up and place it in a baking dish, and reheat it in the oven the next day, covered, with a little water in the pan to keep the moisture in. You just need to be careful about drying the meat out. Works really well and saves you the stress of waiting and waiting for the turkey to be done and delaying dinner lots of times! One other of my tricks (not Mom's, she'd be horrified) is to buy the jar of turkey gravy instead of worrying about making perfect, nonlumpy gravy. TAstes justs as good and lots of times better unless you're really experienced at gravy-making! Best of luck, and have a great Thanksgiving!


6 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

When you get a chance check out Kraft
THe have a ton of great ones on there and you can change them up so easily, it gives you all kinds of options. I love the mini meatloaves!!!!
Good luck and Happy Turkey day :)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

You can't go wrong with a simple green bean casserole. Usually the recipe is on the back of the green beans or the crunchy onions but I think it has only about 5 ingredients. It is wonderful though and very inexpensive to make!
Have a happy holiday!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New Orleans on

Scalloped Corn (Basic Recipe)
1 Can Cream Corn
1 Can Sweet Whole Kernel corn w/Juices
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 Box Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
2 Eggs
1 Stick of Butter

Heat oven to 350. Mix Corn, Sour Cream, Jiffy, and eggs until Jiffy is well moistened(Will be Runny). Pour batter into baking dish. Melt butter and pour on top of batter and smooth w/ spoon. Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have a recipe for dressing that our family has been making for years. Simple and everyone loves it. I don't stuff the turkey but cook it separate and with a food processor can be done quickly and done day ahead. I also have my own recipe for a cranberry salad. It takes a little time but can be made days ahead and is such a beautiful color on your table and you will get compliments. You can email me if you or anyone else would like these southern recipes.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

Hi everyone- I have LOVED reading all of your good recipes, and am getting more good ideas- as Thankg is at my house this year also.
Several things that my mom and I love, and that have become staples at our table.
A green gelatin salad- it is colorful and refreshing and delicious. Last year, I used sugar free jello and it was just as good. This would be a small one, but I double or triple mine. 1 pk of lime jello, pour in a bowl. Use 1/2 of the boiling water they call for and stir it up well. Drain a small can of crushed pineapple and use the liquid to make a cold, with ice ,rest of the liquid the recipe calls for on the box. Before you add the cold liquid, soften a small cr cheese in the micrwave and add to the jello along with the pineapple , 1/2 c of pecans chopped and 1/2 c of celery chopped. Last add the cold liquid and mix all well. Pour in a pam sprayed pan or mold. To serve, use a plate with some lettuce, and turn the jello mold out on the lettuce. Or just serve in a bowl. This can be made several days ahead.

Our other favorite recipe is a waldorf salad- we just use peeled chopped apple, pecans or walnuts and celery. Mix with mayo, we like hellmanns best. You can also add a little lemon juice.

I am going to cook my turkey the day before this year, so I was so happy to hear that several of you do that, and I liked the crockpot idea.

And I agree with whoever said that the more you do before, the easier it is.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

the last several years I have bought a precooked/ smoked turkey. All you have to do it reheat it. I cannot remember who makes it, but if you go this route just to warn you it does look scary when you open the package. We also make green bean casarole the directions are on the cans. Most of the time when my family gets together it's more potluck style. The person who is hosting makes the turkey and many times a ham and the others bring the sides it makes it so much easier for everyone. Hope these tips help.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Check out
I had to do Thanksgiving a few years ago and had no idea where to stop. She holds your hand, with the entire menu, shopping list, timeline coutdown, etc.
A GREAT resource.

Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi - I don't have any advice...I'm in the same boat as you! I can't figure out how to see all the responses people wrote to you without responding myself! Sorry for wasting your time... Good luck!


2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Joseph on

Just wanted to say thanks for all the great comments and receipes and to WISH YOU ALL A GREAT THANKSGIVNG THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH D. This has really helped me to each of you a very happy and peaceful day Godbless

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