Log In

All your food inspiration saved in one place

Log in to your account to save this recipe, or create an account and start building out your cookbook

What Should I Make for Thanksgiving?

With so many recipes out there, it can be tough to decide what to make for Thanksgiving dinner. Not to worry- we've got you covered with menus and game plans, tailored to meet you and your guests' every need.

Big holidays can be difficult for so many reasons – and the shopping, chopping, planning, and cleaning can really add to the stress. The good news is that with a little planning and prep, Thanksgiving dinner can come together with ease. To jumpstart that planning process, we’ve come up with a simple guide that will help you choose a menu that meets all your holiday needs. 

Before we get started, you’ll want to ask yourself some important questions:

  1. How many people are coming?

  2. Does anyone have dietary restrictions?

  3. How much space do you have in your kitchen and oven?

This will help you map out your game plan!

Consider Your Centerpiece Dish

The next thing to think about is what we like to call your “centerpiece dish.” That can be a turkey, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. You can totally take things in another equally-as-delicious direction, but more on that later. 

If you’re sticking with the classic turkey, there are some basics you’ll want to know. Our founder, Ali, rounded up her favorite turkey tips to help you make sense of all the turkey madness:

About ½ pound of turkey will feed one person on Thanksgiving Day, so take that into consideration when purchasing the bird. You may want to add a few extra pounds than necessary in case of an unexpected guest and to ensure leftovers for Friday sandwiches (pro tip: our Turkey Club Sandwich is the perfect recipe for leftover turkey). Your best bet is to go with about 1.5 pounds per person. 

Turkey Tips:

  • • Invest in a meat thermometer, baster, and a roasting pan with a rack. The right tools will help make cooking this meal a breeze. Find our favorite tools here.

  • • If your turkey comes frozen, defrost for about 1 day for every five pounds. So, for an 8 lb turkey, take it out of the freezer Tuesday evening to cook Thursday.

  • • Leave the turkey in the fridge uncovered overnight to let the skin dry out a bit - no need to brine or season - just let air do its thing and you’ll get crispy skin. 

  • • On Thanksgiving morning, take the turkey out of the fridge and let it temper on the counter for about 30 minutes per pound. You’ll want the turkey to reach room temperature (this is called tempering) before it goes into the oven, ensuring even browning and cooking. 

  • • Once the turkey is at room temp, make sure the skin is very dry and the giblets are out, then place on the rack and rub all over with olive oil and salt. 

  • • Stuff the cavity with an onion, quartered, some rosemary, sage, and thyme. Those aromatics will give the turkey the most delicious Thanksgiving-y flavor. 

  • • Baste once or twice while cooking, but mostly just let heat do its thing and cook for about 15-20 minutes per pound.

  • • To know the turkey is finished, the meat thermometer should read 160 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast. 

  • • After it comes out of the oven, let it sit for 15 minutes before slicing to ensure all of those delicious juices are set, and use the drippings to baste your turkey slices.

  • Enjoy the process! Thanksgiving is only once a year, so gather your friends and family in the kitchen and have a fun day cooking and making memories together. 

Turkey Alternatives

Now, back to some turkey alternatives

If you have fewer than 6 people and want the turkey-vibe, without making a whole turkey, you may want to opt for a roast chicken or chicken thighs. It’ll be done in a fraction of the time and you won’t be left with way more meat than you need or want. You’ll still have a delicious roast that will smell and taste amazing.

For the vegetarians:

It’s nice to offer a meatless option for a “main” event. There are so many delicious, hearty vegetables in season this time of year, so it’s quite easy to offer a vegetarian centerpiece alternative, like a root vegetable gratin or some stuffed acorn squash.

More Vegetarian Recipes
More Vegetarian Recipes

Time for the Sides

Once you’ve figured out your main gig or gigs if you have a few different diets going on, it’s time to focus on sides. We like to have one beautiful side dish for every 3 guests (so if there are 6 of you that means turkey plus 2 sides). The meal should be bountiful, but there is truly no need to go overboard for a small crowd. We love to have a mix of veggies and stuffing, potatoes, or rice. Even though this is a food-heavy holiday, a nice balance goes a long way. 

The final consideration is your oven and prep space. If you are roasting a turkey, and that’s all the oven space you have, It’ll just create extra stress for yourself if you plan on making sides that all need to cook in the oven. Adding in a salad or stove-top side dish will ensure that you’re not trying to stuff everything into the oven at the eleventh hour. You’ll want to build a meal around the capabilities of your kitchen. 

Oven-Free Sides:

Gingery Miso Butter Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Kale Salad with Herby Chimichurri

Beets, pecans, and cherries add texture to this easy fried rice recipe.

Loaded Thanksgiving Fried Rice

Cabbage, brussels, and carrots are a colorful combo in this easy veggie side dish.

Shredded Brussels Salad with Honey Tahini Vinaigrette

Grilled Cabbage with Golden Tahini

Thanksgiving Meal Plan

Create the perfect Thanksgiving meal plan for your meat eaters, vegetarians, and gluten-free folks! We recommend saving that pretty meal plan for later (trust us, it'll come in handy).

We also love to toss in a cranberry sauce because that fruity, tangy Thanksgiving classic makes everything come together – and it only takes 20 minutes (and can be made a week ahead of time). Here’s our favorite cranberry sauce recipe.

For dessert, we recommend asking guests to bring a pie or cookies. You’re doing all the legwork- let someone else take care of the sweets! Of course, if you’re a baker, this might be one of your favorite times of year to show off your skills. In addition to whatever fabulous goodies you’re baking up, we recommend baked apples or poached pears if you have any vegan or gluten-free guests. Even if your guests don’t have dietary restrictions, these cooked fruits will bring the heartiest fall aroma to your home that is sure to impress. 

One-Pot Braised Chimichurri-Chicken with White Beans and Tender Greens

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Lentils and Tahini

Golden Tahini Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Charred Broccoli with Dates, Romesco and Toasted Walnuts

Chimichurri-Tahini Sheet Pan Salad

Simple and hearty, this vegan kale caesar eats like a meal.

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Chimichurri

Beets, pecans, and cherries add texture to this easy fried rice recipe.

Loaded Thanksgiving Fried Rice

This easy stuffing recipe is the only one you’ll ever need.

Chimichurri Skillet Stuffing

Onions, lemons, garlic, and chimi add flavor to a simple roast chicken.

Whole Chimichurri Roasted Chicken

Sheet Pan Fall Vegetable and Halloumi Salad

Roasted butternut squash adds deep flavor to this easy creamy vegan soup.

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Herby Croutons

Green Goddess Roasted Carrot Salad

Warm Chimichurri White Bean Salad with Croutons

Bacon Mac and Cheese

Super easy (and paleo!) this roasted brussels recipe is a weeknight winner.

Lemon Tahini Brussels Salad

You're Ready!

Most importantly, remember that Thanksgiving is all about gratitude and spending time with your loved ones- be sure to let loose and have a little fun! If you found this helpful, feel free to share this with someone who might need it. Oh, and if you're looking for a list of Thanksgiving Kitchen Essentials... we've got you covered. P.S- Purchasing from that link might earn us a commission*

Your Cart ()

Checkout |  

Free shipping on orders over $50

You haven’t added anything to your cart yet.

Browse Products