The 10 Essential Thanksgiving Dishes for a Traditional Holiday Spread

Chef John's Sweet Potato Casserole in a white casserole dish
Photo: Allrecipes

No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without _______. We can't fill in the blank with just one recipe. After all, the assortment of foods we pile onto our plates each Thanksgiving sets this holiday apart. But we've condensed our collection of recipes to 10 essential dishes that Americans associate with Turkey Day. Of course, you may prefer tofu turkey to turkey or cornbread dressing to bread stuffing. But you'll find some combination of these herby, creamy, sweet, and cinnamon-spiced flavors on Thanksgiving tables near and far.

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Chef John's Roast Turkey and Gravy

whole roasted turkey on a white serving dish with carrots
Chef John

"The biggest myth in all of American cookery is the belief that a juicy, perfectly cooked turkey is difficult for the novice cook to achieve," says Chef John. "One of the secrets to a moist, delicious, and beautiful turkey is spreading butter under the skin. You can season the butter any way you want; the possibilities are endless."

02 of 11

Chef John's Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

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

Did you know you can make this Thanksgiving staple ahead of time? Chef John even recommends it! "This make-ahead turkey gravy frees up valuable kitchen time for Thanksgiving, plus it will look and taste even better than those frantic, last-minute versions," he says.

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Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing

Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing in a casserole dish

A perfect counterpart to rich, savory turkey and gravy, this sweet stuffing stars apples and cranberries. "This Thanksgiving stuffing is fantastic," says Stacy M. Polcyn. "It is very flavorful and fresh-tasting. This recipe will stuff a 10-pound turkey plus extra. I replaced the usual pork sausage with much healthier turkey sausage. Other dried fruits may also be used in place of cranberries."

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Chef John's Sweet Potato Casserole

Chef John's Sweet Potato Casserole in a white casserole dish

This sweet potato casserole goes strong on savory. Instead of brown sugar, maple syrup does the sweetening here. And the topping stars pistachios instead of mini-marshmallows, keeping things nice and savory. This classic casserole comes out of the oven beautiful and delicious, an amazing combination of tastes and textures.

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Absolutely Delicious Green Bean Casserole from Scratch

white casserole dish with green bean casserole with a serving spoon in the dish
Allrecipes Magazine

"No cans here! Fresh mushrooms, onion, and herbs with frozen green beans, sour cream, and Cheddar cheese make this a delightfully tasty twist on the traditional casserole," says Auriel.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts in a white dish

The Allrecipes community can't get enough of this top-rated recipe for oven-roasted Brussels sprouts — it has more than 4,000 rave reviews! It's a great way to incorporate a healthy pop of color into your Thanksgiving spread.

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Maple Walnut Cranberry Sauce

Maple Walnut Cranberry Sauce in a white dish
Holiday Baker

This quick-and-easy cranberry sauce is sweetened with maple syrup and spiced with freshly grated ginger, a splash of sweet port, a cinnamon stick. Toasted chopped walnuts finish things off. "The maple syrup sweetens it perfectly and the walnuts make the texture so much more interesting," says Chef John.

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Basic Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes in a turquoise bowl

Simple and delicious. "If you love good, old fashioned mashed potatoes, this is the perfect recipe," says Esmee Williams.

09 of 11

Brown Family's Favorite Pumpkin Pie

Brown Family's Favorite Pumpkin Pie with pumpkin crust design

Of all the desserts you could serve at Thanksgiving, pie should top the list. And if you're going to serve pie, pick pumpkin. Recipe submitter Cindy B. calls this top-rated pie's walnut streusel topping "optional," but you can't go wrong with streusel.

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Pecan Pie

whole pecan pie
Melissa Duncan

This Southern pecan pie is as classic as it gets. Use a store-bought pastry crust or use our top-rated Butter Flaky Pie Crust recipe to make your own.

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More Inspiration

Grandma’s Farmhouse Turkey Brine
Pam Ziegler Lutz

Try one of Grandma's Best Thanksgiving Recipes. Plus, explore our entire collection of Thanksgiving Recipes.

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