Choose your adventure — from traditional to inventive to downright different.

By Carl Hanson
Updated September 18, 2020
family celebrating thanksgiving
Credit: skynesher/Getty Images

We'll help you find the right recipes to create the perfect Thanksgiving menu for you, whether you want to stick to the tried-and-true or explore new ways to remake old favorites. Or maybe you'll want to mix it up. Read on to see the main building blocks of a Thanksgiving menu, each with three different suggestions: Traditional, New Classic, and Next Level.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Perfect Turkey on a white dish with faux leaves and cranberries
Credit: Cynthia Taylor

It's the centerpiece of the holiday feast. Go traditional or spread your wings and try something new with these top-rated recipes.

Traditional: Perfect Turkey. A whole turkey is soaked in a brine to ensure flavorful, juicy meat, stuffed with aromatics, and roasted.

New Classic: Roast Spatchcock Turkey. Spatchcocked (also called "butterflied") turkey is prepared by removing the backbone, opening it up like a book, and roasting it flat. The result is a turkey that cooks more quickly than a traditionally roasted turkey.

Next Level: Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breast. A great option if you're cooking for two or a few instead of taking on a whole turkey. Bonus: The stuffing is rolled up with the breast and makes a beautiful presentation.

Thanksgiving Stuffing

In some families, stuffing is practically a religion! Put your stamp on the classic with new takes on the traditional.

glass baking dish of bread and celery stuffing
Credit: Penny

Traditional: Bread and Celery Stuffing. Stuffing like grandma used to make, if your grandma made hers with bread, onion, and celery. A simple dish, uncomplicated dish beloved for generations.

New Classic: Wild Mushroom Stuffing. Three kinds of wild mushrooms are tossed together with fresh herbs, celery, hazelnuts, and a rich egg bread.

Next Level: Quinoa Stuffing. Quinoa replaces the bread in this gluten-free dressing made with squash and dried fruits.

Thanksgiving Potatoes

Everyone's favorite comfort food is open to all kinds of options.

bowl of fluffy mashed potatoes topped with butter and parsley
Credit: Eat

Traditional: Perfect Mashed Potatoes. Creamy, fluffy mashed potatoes, just the way you like them.

New Classic: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are roasted, scooped out, mixed with bacon, green onions, creme fraiche, cheese, and pepper, then rebaked in the sweet potato skins.

Next Level: Fancy Crusted Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes. Ultra-thin slices of potatoes are layered and baked with milk, cheese, butter, and fresh herbs.

Get more recipes for Thanksgiving Potatoes.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Turkey may get the spotlight, but it's the sides that make the meal. The more the merrier.

Grandma's Green Bean Casserole in a green dish
Credit: Allrecipes Magazine

Traditional: Grandma's Green Bean Casserole. Green beans baked in a creamy white sauce with a cheesy, crispy topping.

New Classic: Smoky Poblano Corn Pudding. This corn pudding casserole is made with poblano chilis for a bit of a kick.

Next Level: Sriracha Honey Brussels Sprouts. A a sweet/hot take on your same old Brussels sprouts.

Get more recipes for Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

Thanksgiving Breads

Plan to double these recipes. You'll want plenty on hand to eat all Thanksgiving weekend.

Traditional: Sweet Dinner Rolls. Classic lightly sweetened yeast dough rolled up into crescents.

New Classic: Winter Squash Rolls. Yeasted rolls made golden and fragrant with winter squash in the mix.

Next Level: Hot Onion Pinwheels. A savory take on dinner rolls, with caramelized onions baked right in.

Turkey Trimmings

The extras that define Thanksgiving as we know it: gravy and cranberries.

pitcher of gravy on a green table runner
Pictured: Chef John's Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
| Credit: Allrecipes Magazine

Traditional: Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy Straight ahead turkey gravy, but made ahead of time to save you time and effort on Thanksgiving.

New classic: Tangerine Cherry Cranberry Sauce. Citrus, dried cherries, and star anise join the cast of cranberry regulars to create a sauce that's just a bit more exotic.

Next Level: Cranberry Apple and Fresh Ginger Chutney. Made with apples, onions, and fresh ginger for a savory take on traditional cranberry sauce.

Get more recipes for Thanksgiving Gravy and Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving Desserts

From a traditional pumpkin pie to a show-stopping pear tart, we've got your sweet spot covered.

Chef John's Pumpkin Pie topped with whipped cream and pie crust leaves
Credit: foodelicious

Classic: Pumpkin Pie. Creamy, rich, pumpkin-y pumpkin pie.

New Tradition: Mini Apple Pies. Bite-size desserts are a smart way to let everyone try a little taste of lots of different Thanksgiving desserts.

Next Level: Hasselback Pear Tart. Pear halves are thinly sliced almost all the way through, nestled in sweetened cream cheese, and baked in a puff pastry tart shell.

Thanksgiving Drinks

There's more to a perfect feast than the food! Here are wine pairing suggestions and other drink ideas for toasting the feast in style.

Allrecipes hot apple cider in glasses with sugar rim and cinnamon sticks
Credit: Allrecipes Magazine

New Classic: Cider Recipes

Check out our collection of Thanksgiving Recipes.