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Easy Thanksgiving Dinner menu including main dishes, delicious sides, simple appetizers and decadent desserts. Each recipe is simple to prepare and guaranteed to impress everyone around your holiday table.
Easy Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I like to take a laid back, relaxed approach and enjoy the meal and time with my family. I have put together our family favorites and must have dishes for a delicious holiday meal.
Hosting a holiday meal can be very stressful. I’m sharing easy recipes that have step by step instructions that will make your dinner a success. Many of these dishes can be made a day or two in advance.
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Main Dishes for Thanksgiving Dinner:
Easy Smoked Turkey is a gorgeous center piece for your holiday meal. Our easy method for brining the turkey and smoking it to perfection on your smoker or grill. A blend of garlic and herb butter provides amazing flavor. It’s going to be the juiciest and most flavorful turkey that you’ve tried. We are also loving this Smoked Apple Cider Turkey that is tender, juicy and bursting with fall flavor.
Easy Brown Sugar Glazed Ham is a super simple addition to your holiday spread. Made with a fully cooked Petit Jean Mats hickory smoked ham. Add the simple glaze and heat up just before your dinner. It doesn’t get any easier or more delicious than this. We always have ham and turkey for Thanksgiving.
If you are hosting a small Thanksgiving, this Smoked Turkey Breast is a great option. We follow the same brining method and same method of smoking as a whole turkey. The flavor is outstanding and the smaller portion is ideal for small gatherings.
Sometimes we break tradition and serve this amazing Prime Rib for the holidays. It’s seriously delicious and impossible to top. Make it on the grill or in the oven.
Side Dishes for Thanksgiving Dinner:
Chicken and Dressing is probably the most favorite dish for our family’s Thanksgiving feast. A tried and true family recipe. Rather you call it dressing or stuffing, this version is moist and flavorful. It would not be Thanksgiving without the dressing!
Southern Cornbread Dressing is another version that is made without chicken. This version has a little different texture and is still moist and delicious. As long as there’s dressing, you can’t go wrong.
Recently we tried making Smoked Chicken and Dressing and it was the most delicious version yet! I am pretty sure it’s going to be the new tradition. Get the recipe from Out Grilling plus more ideas on grilling Thanksgiving dinner.
Green Bean Casserole is the classic everyone loves. Our version is made from scratch with fresh vegetables and a homemade cream sauce and topped with our favorite crispy French fried onions.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes are absolutely incredible. These potatoes are cooked in cream and butter for the most velvety potatoes that you’ve ever tasted. Fresh herbs and garlic add layers of flavor that will have you going back for seconds.
Homemade Gravy that can be made with drippings or butter is perfect for topping those buttery mashed potatoes and turkey. I love drizzling it over the dressing!
Cranberry Salad comes from my Great Aunt Zoe’s recipe box. It’s a bright and fresh addition to your holiday dinner. It pairs so well with turkey and dressing and it’s sure to be a family favorite. It is best if made a few days in advance, saving you time on turkey day.
This Cranberry Fluff is also a favorite. It’s a dessert salad but goes so good with ham or turkey! This is my mother in law’s recipe and it is loaded with fresh cranberries, tart apples, grapes and toasted walnuts.
Sweet Potato Casserole is a Thanksgiving tradition. We like to top ours with buttery pecans and it’s made with just a touch of brown sugar and butter.
The Best Macaroni Salad is one of my favorite make ahead dishes to add to Thanksgiving dinner. The sweet and creamy sauce and crunchy vegetables in this pasta salad pairs amazing with both ham and turkey. Once you try it, you’ll be adding it to your menu every year.
Traditional cranberry sauce is delicious but this year we are adding this Cranberry BBQ Sauce to the menu. It’s a more savory twist on the classic and it is knock your socks off delicious!
Angel Rolls are my favorite dinner rolls for holiday meals. This recipe comes from Red Star Yeast and it’s a tried and true favorite yeast roll. Made so easily and a hit for every holiday dinner.
Easy Appetizers for Thanksgiving Dinner:
Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts are the number one most requested appetizer for our holiday dinners. There’s just 3 ingredients and you can make these a day in advance and warm them up just before your dinner. I feel like I need to warn you, they are so addictive! I usually make a double batch.
Knorr Spinach Dip is beyond simple. It’s the classic that we’ve all had a million times and it’s a great addition to Thanksgiving. It can be made a day in advance and perfect for snacking while you are prepping the main course.
Easy Deviled Eggs are a classic appetizer or side dish for any holiday menu. I’m also sharing my tried and true method for easy peel eggs. Let’s face it, peeling the hard boiled eggs is the hardest part of making deviled eggs. This simple recipe just uses pantry staples and is easy to make ahead.
Easy Desserts for Thanksgiving Dinner:
Southern Sweet Potato Pie is super simple to make, easy as pie, right? Seriously, this is a dessert that anyone can make. Nervous about making pie crust? You can use a store bought crust. There’s nothing wrong with making things easy and taking a short cut where you can.
Pumpkin Pie Bars are another easy Thanksgiving dessert. Great for feeding a crowd and it’s made with an easy shortbread crust, no rolling and shaping the dough!
Caramel Apple Pie Cheesecake Shooters are a stunning dessert for holiday meals and entertaining. Layers of no bake cheesecake with a simple caramel apple filling. This dessert will wow your guests.
Easy Apple Cobbler is just like grandma would make. It’s great topped with vanilla ice cream and always a family favorite. This dessert is best made the day you are going to enjoy it. Great to pop in the oven as you are serving dinner and then it’s ready for a warm and delicious dessert.
Fresh Apple Cake is a really simple dessert to serve for a holiday dinner. It has all of your favorite fall flavors and is so simple to make. You don’t even need a mixer!
Watergate Salad is always on the menu for holidays and family get togethers. This easy pistachio fluff is so simple to make and is always a favorite with pineapple, cherries and pecans.
Easy Drinks for Thanksgiving:
I love having special drinks for the holidays. I like to have both cocktails and party punch for the kids and those who don’t drink alcohol.
Easy Fall Party Punch is so simple. It’s made with just 3 ingredients and the kids and adults will love this festive fall drink.
Holiday Party Punch is a favorite for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties. It is simple and delicious. A great punch that everyone can enjoy.
Easy Party Punch is a must have for any party. Great for Thanksgiving or any holiday meal. An easy fruit punch with just 3 ingredients.
Winter Moscato Punch is an easy cocktail made in a large batch and a great addition to your holiday celebrations. The citrus and cranberry flavors are perfect for Thanksgiving.
Cranberry Wine Punch is made with Pinto Grigio and a spiced honey simple syrup with cranberry- pomegranate juice. Easy to make ahead, delicious and refreshing.
Tips for Hosting a Successful Thanksgiving Dinner:
Make a plan. I am not typically much of a planner but when hosting Thanksgiving dinner or holiday meals, a plan will save your sanity.
Make a grocery list and also a list of what pans you will use for cooking and dishes you will use for serving. You might need to pick up a few additional dishes or pans or plan to borrow them from family or friends.
Shop at least a few days ahead of the meal, you will be less likely to have to make a run to the store the day of the meal.
Delegate things like the ice and the drinks. Have someone bring the napkins, paper towels, and fancy disposable plates or bowls for desserts. Ask your guests to bring a side dish or a bottle of wine. You don’t have to do everything yourself.
Remember the holidays are an occasion to make memories and share time with your family and friends. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Make as much of the dinner ahead as you can and just try to relax and enjoy yourself. If you are relaxed, your guests will be also.