Thanksgiving in the United States is always the fourth Thursday of November and kicks off a long weekend of family, food, football, and shopping. But mostly food. Lots and lots of food.
Our free meal plan for Thanksgiving dinner can help.
Thanksgiving Meal Plan
As someone who loves to cook, I’m always torn between sticking with tradition and trying something new. Usually that means one or two new recipes alongside the tried and true recipes my family loves. I’m including two options for a few dishes, but if you are hosting a crowd you may want to include both options. It’s totally up to you!
While you can adjust quantities in the recipe cards below, those will not be reflected on the shopping list. In the collection at the bottom of this post (which is where the shopping list is generated), adjust the number of servings to fit your needs (a zero will remove it from the shopping list and the printed collection). Then just print the shopping list and print the collection to use as your guide. The Print Recipes button will print all of the recipes, so just ignore the ones you aren’t using.
If you aren’t sure how much food you need, Butterball has a nifty calculator for turkey and dressing quantities as well as cooking and thawing times.
- Roast Turkey or Turkey Breast
- Baked Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Sweet Potato Casserole or Roasted Butternut Squash
- Mashed Potatoes or Macaroni and Cheese
- Better Green Bean Casserole
- Herb Dressing or Cornbread Dressing
- Dinner Rolls
Easy Roast Turkey and Gravy
- 12 lb. turkey, fresh or thawed
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 4 Tbsp. turkey rub
- 1 extra large cooking bag, such as Reynold's cooking bags for turkeys
- ½ cup water
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- These instructions are for cooking the turkey in the oven with a roaster that has a lid, or in an electric roaster. For alternate instructions, see the notes below.
- Remove the giblets (if any) or other contents of the cavity. rinse and dry the turkey.
- Rub the skin all over with the oil.
- Sprinkle the turkey rub all over the turkey, rubbing it in if necessary.
- Follow the time and temperature recommendations that came with your turkey. Generally, you can count on cooking an unstuffed turkey for 15 minutes per pound at 325ºF. Stuffed turkeys take slightly longer; about 18 minutes per pound at the same temperature (do not stuff a turkey larger than 24 lbs. for safety reasons). Always use internal temperature to determine doneness—the turkey is done when it reaches an all over internal temperature of 165ºF (revised down from 180ºF, which some people still prefer as the safest temperature).
- When done, remove the turkey from the roasting pan and let it sit for about 20 minutes before carving.
- When the turkey is done, transfer the drippings from the baking bag or pan to a saucepan through a strainer.
- If your turkey came with a gravy packet, use it with the drippings from the turkey according to the packet instructions.
- If it did not come with a gravy packet, combine ½ cup warm water and 2 Tbsp. flour in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Tighten the lid and shake vigorously until the flour is dissolved. Add to drippings.
- Heat the drippings, stirring frequently, until gravy is thickened. If you need to stretch your gravy, add all or part of a can of chicken broth.
- Pour the gravy through a strainer into a gravy boat to remove any lumps.
Baked Orange Cranberry Sauce
- 1 lb. fresh cranberries, rinsed
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 1 cup orange marmalade
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- Spray a 2 qt casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and pour mixture into casserole dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cranberries are tender.
- Serve warm or chilled.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Streusel Topping
- 40 oz. canned yams in syrup, drained
- ½ c. sugar
- ½ tsp. nutmeg
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ c. butter, melted
- ¼ c. milk
- ½ c. crushed cereal, like corn flakes
- ½ c. chopped pecans
- ½ c. brown sugar
- ¼ c. butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Mix the topping ingredients together and set aside.
- Mash the yams.
- Combine all of the casserole ingredients together and pour in a buttered casserole dish.
- Drop topping by spoonfuls over casserole and spread to cover.
- Bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Candied Pecans
- ¼ cup oil
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 2 butternut squash
- 3 red onions
- ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg, or as desired
- Non-stick cooking spray
- ¾ cup pecan pieces
- 2-½ tsp. butter
- 1-½ tsp brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- Peel and chop butternut squash into 1” cubes.
- Chop onions into 1” pieces.
- Mix onions and squash with oil and spread in a prepared roasting pan with sides.
- Sprinkle brown sugar evenly across vegetables, then grind the nutmeg evenly over the vegetables.
- Mix gently with hands to distribute the brown sugar and nutmeg among the vegetables.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, gently stirring a couple of times during baking.
- While squash is baking, prepare candied pecans as directed below.
- When squash is turning brown on the edges and there is no longer any liquid in the pan, remove the vegetables from the oven.
- Gently stir one-half to two-thirds (depending on how much you want to reserve for topping based on the size and shape of your serving dish) of the pecans into the squash, then place into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the remaining pecans on top of the squash and serve immediately.
- While vegetables are baking, prepare the pecans by melting the butter in a small fry pan.
- Add pecans and toss to coat, then add brown sugar.
- Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- When pecans are starting to brown and the sugar starts to caramelize, turn off the heat.
- The roasting vegetables will release quite a bit of liquid as they cook, so be sure that your roasting pan has sides.
- When stirring, be very gentle to prevent mashing the squash.
Homemade Mashed Potatoes
- 5 lbs. potatoes, cleaned and peeled (see note below)
- 6 Tbsp butter, divided
- ¼ cup skim milk, or more as needed
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- paprika, for garnish
- Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Boil until potatoes are fork tender; drain and return to pot.
- Add 4 Tbsp. butter, salt, and pepper to pot and mix; adding enough milk while mixing to reach desired consistency.
- Transfer mashed potatoes to a serving bowl, top with 2 Tbsp. butter, and garnish with paprika.
Macaroni and Cheese
- ½ lb. elbow macaroni
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dry mustard powder
- 1 Tbsp hot/ warm water
- 3 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup seasoned croutons, crushed
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain thoroughly and return to pan.
- Stir in butter and egg; mix mustard and salt with water and add to macaroni.
- Add cheese, reserving ½ cup to sprinkle on the top.
- Pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish. Pour milk over noodles and cheese – do not stir it in but distribute evenly. Sprinkle with cheese and croutons.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until set and the top is brown.
Better Green Bean Casserole
- 24 oz. fresh or frozen long slender green beans, blanched or lightly steamed
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1-½ cups French fried onions
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp. pepper, or to taste
- Start by sautéing the sliced mushrooms in butter with a chopped onion and a minced garlic clove in an oven-proof skillet. (If you don't have an oven-proof skillet, you can use a regular skillet and transfer to a baking dish before adding the French fried onion topping.) When they are tender and starting to brown, add a tablespoon of flour and mix well.
- Heat for about one minute, stirring gently, then add the heavy cream. Stir gently and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sauce starts to thicken.
- Add the steamed or blanched green beans and mix well.
- Top with French fried onions and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350ºF or until heated through and the onions start to brown.
- 20 slices bread, about a pound, cubed
- ½ cup butter
- 4 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-2 ½ cups chicken broth
- ¼ tsp thyme
- ½ tsp sage
- Place cubed bread into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, and garlic, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Pour the boiling mixture over top of the bread in the casserole dish. Stir to combine.
- Bake at 325°F for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and slightly crispy.
Cornbread Sage and Onion Stuffing
- 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 8 ounces yellow onion, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped small
- 1 ¼ cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
- 6 cups cornbread, broken into large pieces
- 2 ¼ cups biscuit mix, divided
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine all ingredients except ¼ cup biscuit mix and mix well.
- Sprinkle reserved biscuit mix onto a flat surface such as a cutting board. Divide dough into 12 equal sections (this is easiest if you divide the dough into quarters, then divide each quarter into thirds). Out of each dough section, make 3 equal balls and roll them in the flour.
- Place the 3 balls together into a muffin cup. Repeat for each of the remaining sections of dough until you have filled 12 muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until starting to brown.
- Apple Galette
- Pumpkin Pie
Caramel Apple Galette
- 1 uncooked pie crust
- 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thin slices
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp water
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp turbinado or granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup caramel topping
- parchment paper, as needed
- non-stick cooking spray, as needed
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Roll out pie crust to a 13″ circle on the prepared cookie sheet.
- In a large bowl, gently toss together apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.
- Pile apple mixture in center of pie crust, leaving a border of at least 3". Fold up edges of dough toward center so that dough partially covers apples and press folds gently together to seal.
- In a small bowl, combine water and egg white and brush egg mixture on edges of dough. Sprinkle with turbinado or regular sugar and bake for 25 minutes or until crust turns a golden brown.
- Drizzle with caramel topping, and serve warm.
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 eggs
- 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
- 12 oz. can evaporated milk
- 9 inch deep-dish pie shell, unbaked
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- In a small bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.
- In a larger bowl, beat eggs and then add pumpkin, spice mixture, and evaporated milk. Mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell and bake for 15 minutes at 425°F. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking for 45 minutes (or until knife inserted into center of pie comes out clean).
- Remove from oven and cool for at least 2 hours. Serve or refrigerate. If desired, serve with ice cream or whipped topping.
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Note that any recipe scaling from the recipes above does not carry over to the starting point for the grocery list, so you will need to make those same serving adjustments below after you click the Shopping List button. “Print Collection” prints the list of meals, not the recipes, which should be printed from the recipe card.