Best Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes: Top Menu Ideas

By La Cuisinière | All Recipes

Nov 16

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Merci!


Best Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes – Thanksgiving dinner is the one meal of the year where I make it a point of serving up the family’s favorite traditional style recipes. Down to the desserts.

But you’ll have to admit that sometimes, it would be interesting to vary the menu, adapt the recipes or just try a complete new twist on the traditional.

We keep updating our family menu in the “what should I bring” department and I’m almost there!  Now for the shopping.

Traditional Family Recipes

At Thanksgiving, this Cuisinière goes American and maintains everyone’s traditional menu with all the favorite sides and desserts.   

More Thanksgiving Meal Menu Ideas

It goes without saying that turkey is the main attraction.  It tops the menu whether fried, roasted or smoked.  But…  I’ve had more than one request for ham to go along with the turkey.  


Thanksgiving 2015 In Bethany Beach -Sneaking A Taste !

We’ve been through the 1 turkey or 2? phase, the frozen Butterball® phase, the fresh turkey phase, a turkey breast phase and even a Turducken® trial.  A few years ago, I wrote an article detailing the various types of turkeys available at Wegmans®.   We’ve now settled on a fresh and free range bird anywhere from 15 to 20 pounds.  

Waiting till the last minute to buy the turkey may not be a smart move on my part.  I may not find the perfect size because everyone loves leftovers, sandwiches and of course – turkey wing soup!

Don’t forget the stuffing or dressing!  It goes from my mother-in-law’s simple hearth bread stuffing to more seasoned dressings like those found in our recipes for French Bread Dressing .   

Sometimes, we stuff the bird using stuffing bags.  Sometimes we cook the stuffing in a casserole dish.

Turkey #stuffing bags on @spode Celebration #thanksgiving oval platter.

Spode® Celebration Thanksgiving – Traditional Holiday Dinnerware

We have to be adaptable when it comes to cooking because we’re not preparing the meal at home! 

Over the years, we’ve only rented one house that not only had state of the art kitchen appliances but high end cookware, bake ware, tableware, and cutlery imaginable for 12 complete place settings.   It’s rare, very rare.  

Thanksgiving dinner gets quite creative when every single member of the clan is under the same roof.  


Turkey stuffing and cranberry sauce

Notice the blue turkey platter in the Thanksgiving 2015 above?  This Spode® turkey platter belonged to my mother-in-law.  The turkey always takes center stage on the table in Margaret’s platter.  This piece of tableware travels wherever Thanksgiving is held.   My brown turkey platter stays home.

Looking for something different than canned cranberry sauce? Try my molded cranberry relish instead of jellied sauce!


Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Relish

Remember those vintage Jello® salads?  Here are more gelatin recipes!

Favorite Side Dishes

This year’s menu includes regular mashed potatoes along with Aunt Grace’s southern style sweet potato casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

Of course, green beans are on the menu but they take on a decidedly French country flair – prepared in chicken broth and seasoned with shallots instead of the more traditional mushroom sauce and crisp onion topping.  Last year, I prepared sautéed Brussels Sprouts and green beans too!

Traditional Versus Non Traditional Menu Ideas

Whole roast turkey is the traditional way to go but how about braised turkey legs and thighs in a rich wine sauce? 

For those who love dark meat and lots of sauce this is off the traditional path.  It’s also an ideal way to serve fewer guests but guests who are willing to try something new.


Bring On The Desserts

Along with Margaret’s turkey platter, Thanksgiving would not be complete without my Dad’s favorite pie – Pennsylvania Dutch Shoo Fly pie.  It joins Susie’s pumpkin cheesecake (Food Crafting’s Classic Cream Cheese Pinterest board – nothing but cheesecake), a pecan pie, and an apple cake. 

Ice cream? Of course – pumpkin ice cream and vanilla.

This Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake is perfect for a small gathering although we love Sarah’s “boozy” pies too!

Pennsylvania Dutch Shoofly Pie Slice

What Can I Bring? And How Much?

Our Thanksgiving dinners have a preset menu.  Everyone selects what they would like to prepare off that menu, prepare the food in their kitchen and then bring it to the “gathering place”.

Many items on our menu are store bought: the jellied cranberry sauce, the rolls, veggies for the appetizers and certain pies.  Four pies is perfect for 25 people but we bring 1 each of the traditional pies because the dessert table also includes cheesecake and ice cream.

Did you know that when a recipe is doubled you more than “double” the actual servings of that one full recipe?

Per serving amounts for the main menu items (Serves 12):

  • 1/2 to 2/3 of a pound of turkey
  • 1/4 pound of ham
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of mashed potatoes
  • 6 oz. to 1 cup of sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup macaroni & cheese
  • 1/2 cup of green beans
  • 1 to 2 rolls per person
  • 1/2 thick slice of cranberry sauce from a can
  • 2 to 3 pies plus other desserts

By the way, the amounts mentioned above do not take into account those family members who invariably eat more than the usual per serving quantities.

We all have several growing boys. So plan accordingly. ☺️

Sometimes it is best if there are few leftovers.  It’s nice to have that carcass for soup and enough meat for sandwiches.  

Bon Appétit!

Celebrating Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving at the beach is our traditional yearly getaway.  Here is a link to our Thanksgiving 2014 getaway.  This is the way we get the entire clan under one roof.

The area is familiar and the kids participate in Thanksgiving Day turkey trots or Pumpkin Pie 5K races.  We eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast (before the races), lots of seafood for lunch and then gather for a huge turkey dinner.

Unfortunately, this year, we did not plan the getaway early enough so it was impossible to find the space required to have everyone under one roof.  

Thanksgiving 2018 Menu

Thanksgiving dinner is always yummy.   Here is our menu for this year. 

  • Apple Cider Bourbon Punch & Whiskey Sours 
  • Cheese & Crackers
  • Vegetable “Relish” Tray
  • Turkey with 6 legs & Ham
  • Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
  • Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges
  • Herbed Stuffing w/ Celery and Onions
  • Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
  • Sautéed Button Mushrooms
  • Steamed Green Beans with Shallots
  • Pumpkin Pie & Pecan Pie “Sticky Toffee Pudding”
  • Vanilla & Pumpkin Ice Cream – Whipped Cream



A Delaware Beach

A Delaware Beach

(Visited 324 times, 9 visits today)

About the Author

1 Cook, 2 Countries & A Taste For World Cuisines: Cooking A La Mode De Chez Nous - Cuisine d'Hier Et d'Aujourd'hui! For the love of home style cooking and great food. Memories are made of this!

error: Content is © protected !!