You may already be planning your Thanksgiving, and if you’re hosting the get-together for a big family, the pressure’s on! But here’s a monster list of helpful links to Thanksgiving dinner tips and recipes.
How to cook turkey
- How to deep fry turkey. Lots of tips and information about this exciting way of cooking turkey.
- How to brine and oven roast turkey to perfection. This page covers everything you need to know to cook a juicy, flavorful roast turkey.
- Alton Brown’s recipe for brine and directions for roasting. An aromatic recipe for a delicious roast turkey.
- Those of you with smokers might want to smoke your turkey this year.
- Yet another guide to brining turkey, aimed at those who want to create their own brine recipe.
- You can also dry-brine a turkey, which is simpler than the usual wet brine methods. Be forewarned – it takes three days.
- A guide to cook times, with tips on several methods, including cooking the turkey in a covered charcoal grill and cooking it wrapped in foil.
- ThriftyFun readers chime in about the best ways to cook a juicy, tasty turkey breast for those who don’t want a whole turkey or prefer white meat.
- Never stuffed a turkey before? Check out this helpful guide.
- Need help with gravy? Check out this guide full of tips and troubleshooting advice for making the perfect turkey gravy.
- Parsley lemon butter turkey – a wonderful twist on the usual buttered turkey
- Mom’s Roast Turkey – detailed instructions and a recipe for cooking a whole turkey without stuffing in the cavity.
- Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast recipe uses garlic, mustard, rosemary, sage, thyme…
- Rosemary Roasted Turkey – rosemary, garlic, basil…
- Apricot glazed turkey with fresh herb gravy – tastes wonderful and also makes the turkey look beautiful
Soups & Starters
I can’t think of a more perfect soup than Butternut Squash Soup to serve while everyone’s waiting for the turkey to cook. Butternut squash is naturally just a little bit sweet – reminiscent of pumpkin (and in fact, in most recipes you can swap one out for the other). It makes a fantastic soup, and there are several ways to go about it. One tip: any of these can recipes can take a dash of pepper sauce (like Tobasco) swirled on top, to be stirred in before eating. It doesn’t add that much kick, but it’s delicious.
- Very simple – nutmeg and onion
- Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan and Sage – carrots, leeks and cheese
- Butternut squash soup with potatoes and celery – a very flavorful alternative to potato soup
- Butternut squash apple soup – adds tart green apple to the classic recipe
- Wolfgang Puck’s Savory Squash Soup – nutmeg, ginger, cardamon and rosemary
But there are plenty of other starters to choose from, too.
- Stuffed Mushrooms – perfect for serving about an hour before dinner, as they’re a little bit filling
- Roasted spicy pumpkin seeds – make sure you ration these out, because they’re addictive and you’ll end up with appetites spoiled before dinner!
- Apple Bacon Quiches – a wonderful fall harvest complement to a turkey dinner
- Parmesan Puff Pastry Twists – simple and addictive
- Maryland style mini crab cakes – unless you’ve had Maryland crab cakes before, these will be different from any you’ve ever tried
- Brie puff pastries with raspberry vinaigrette – you can make these up to twelve hours ahead
- Wild rice Mushroom soup – the Mayo Clinic boasts this as a low-fat, low-sodium, full-flavored alternative to heavier Thanksgiving fare
- Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup – delicately sweet, and easy to prepare
Stuffing! (or Dressing)
Whichever name you call it by, this is one of the most beloved side dishes associated with Thanksgiving. Here are 10 recipes:
- Basic Bread and Celery stuffing – the gold standard with plenty of seasoning
- The San Fran Examiner’s Best Traditional Stuffing Recipe – it’s designed to be easy
- Cornbread stuffing – another classic recipe
- Chestnut Stuffing – roasted chestnuts add a nutty flavor
- Mom’s Turkey Stuffing Recipe – adds ingredients like walnuts, currants and green olives
- Eggplant Dressing – incorporates eggplant into a more traditional recipe
- Grand Marnier Apricot Stuffing – uses Grand Marnier for gourmet orange flavor
- Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing – turkey sausage, chopped apples and dried cranberry
- Cornbread, Wild Mushroom and Pecan stuffing – wild mushrooms add rich flavor
- Country Potato Dressing – uses mashed potatoes as well as bread
You can serve almost any side dish with a turkey dinner. The traditional Thanksgiving picks are yams or sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce or jelly, etc. I’ve included a number of recipes for those, as well as some alternative side dishes.
Yam and Sweet Potato dishes
- Candied Sweet Potatoes – mmmm, marshmallows!
- Sweet potato chips – like regular potato chips, except with that wonderful sweet potato flavor
- Sweet potato fries – like regular French fries, except… well, you get the idea
- Grilled sweet potatoes with lemon parsley butter – with just a touch of soy sauce
- Mexican Roasted Sweet Potato – cayenne, lime, honey and cilantro
Don’t forget that sweet potatoes also make amazing desserts (see “Desserts).
Green Bean Recipes
- Green Bean Casserole with Campbell’s – uses Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup for extra flavor
- Country green beans with onion and ham.
- Green beans with pesto and walnut – a little on the Italian side
- Lemon dill green beans – also uses shallots and mustard for a nice tangy flavor
- Green beans almondine – classic and simple
- Classic Cranberry Sauce – made from scratch with fresh or frozen cranberries
- WHFoods Cranberry Sauce with ginger, orange zest, honey and pineapple
- Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire – with various fruits and nuts
- Simple but Amazing Cranberry Sauce – with optional rum
- Bourbon Cranberry Sauce – cranberries, bourbon, cinnamon and brown sugar. Different bourbons will give you different flavors, so pick one you like
- Cranberry sauce with cognac – from Martha Stewart
- Mushrooms sauteed with garlic butter – extremely simple and quick to make, mushrooms make a wonderful rich contrast to turkey
- Scalloped potatoes with bacon – with melted cheddar and crispy onions
- Vidalia Onion Casserole – onions, crushed butter crackers and parmesan
- Garlic French Fries – massive yumminess
- Four cheese macaroni and cheese – cheddar, sharp cheddar, Jack and muenster
- Butternut squash bake – a butternut squash casserole
- Any of these couscous recipes.
Traditional Thanksgiving desserts include pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie and pecan pie, but I’ve included some surprises as well.
- Pumpkin pie from scratch – you’ll need your own pumpkin
- Paula Deen’s pumpkin pie recipe – uses canned pumpkin
- Chiffon Pumpkin pie – a bit lighter than traditional recipes
- Caramel Walnut Tart with Chocolate Glaze – just what it sounds like
- Pecan pie – the ultimate recipe
- Sweet potato buttermilk pie – very southern, and you have no idea how yummy
- Classic sweet potato pie – a nice blend of several recipes
- Apple Crumb Pie – a really tasty alternative to apple pie
- Pumpkin flan – a delicious custardy dessert
- Pumpkin spice cake – like carrot cake only, pumpkin
- Chunky Cinnamon Cranapple cake – colorful, flavorful and moist cake recipe