20 Thanksgiving Recipes With a Modern Twist

Spiralized Brown Butter Sage Sweet Potato topped with sage leaves
Photo: Buckwheat Queen

It's a scientific fact that recipes must continuously keep moving or die. My mistake, that's sharks. But my point is, these modern Thanksgiving recipes are making a move, transforming the familiar into something new and deliciously different. Not that there's anything wrong with grandma's signature dishes, but it's perfectly OK for you to give the feast your own spin. Here are 20 ideas for a modern Thanksgiving menu. Have at 'em, America.

01 of 20

Deep-Fried Stuffing

Deep-Fried Stuffing on a colorful plate with dipping sauce
The Gruntled Gourmand

Deep-fried stuffing, bumped up with poultry seasoning and Parmesan cheese, then breaded and dipped. Dip these perfect, crispy globes in gravy. Or cranberry sauce. Or peanut butter. It doesn't matter what.

02 of 20

Olive-Brined Air-Fryer Turkey Breast

sliced turkey breast on cutting board
Buckwheat Queen

Here's an alternative to roasted turkey that isn't too far from tradition. "Using olive brine gives the breast flavor and also keeps it tender. I use spicy Tabasco Olive brine for extra kick," recipe creator Buckwheat Queen says.

03 of 20

Quinoa Stuffing

Quinoa Stuffing on a spoon
Allrecipes Magazine

This recipe takes regular stuffing and just blows it up. It features quinoa, yes; plus an all-star supporting cast that includes butternut squash, zucchini, cranberries, and dried apricots. And did I mention it's vegetarian and gluten-free? Boom!

  • 15 Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Sides
04 of 20

Fiesta Pear Dessert

Fiesta Pear Dessert in a tortilla shell

If you're an apple pie person, we think you'll be pleasantly surprised by this alternative, which would also work with apples. Fried tortilla shells hold cinnamony pears and ice cream coated with graham cracker crumbs and pecans. Need we say more?

05 of 20

Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins

Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins on a white dish
France C

"Sweet, salty, creamy. All the flavors and textures come together nicely. The sage sausage paired with the sweet potato was reminiscent of Thanksgiving flavors," says reviewer France C. "Very simple to put together."

06 of 20

Garlicky Green Beans with Shallot

green beans on a white plate
Holiday Baker

Green bean casserole? What green bean casserole? Caramelized shallots, garlic, and Parmesan pack a punch of flavor — no cream of mushroom soup or fried onions needed.

07 of 20

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes in a red dish

Creamy mascarpone cheese gives this make-ahead casserole a terrific buttery texture and helps develop the golden-brown crust.

08 of 20

Dark Chocolate Buttermilk Pecan Pie

slice of dark chocolate buttermilk pecan pie

Dark chocolate chips (or even chunks of your favorite dark chocolate bar) are just what pecan pie needs to get your guests excited about seeing this classic dessert at yet another Thanksgiving.

  • 22 Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Pies to Try This Year
09 of 20

Roasted Honey Cinnamon Acorn Squash

Roasted Honey Cinnamon Acorn Squash on a white dish
Culinary Envy

Coated with honey and cinnamon and topped with almonds and blue cheese, this caramelized acorn squash puts your standard squash dish to shame.

10 of 20

Grilled Turkey Breast with Fresh Sage Leaves

Grilled Turkey Breast with Fresh Sage Leaves
Spunky Buddy

Lemon juice brightens up this tender turkey, but crispy fried sage is the real MVP here.

11 of 20

Spiced Apple Chutney

apple chutney in a glass dish
Chef John

Let fall's favorite fruit sidle up to your turkey and say hello. This spiced apple chutney — fragrant with ginger and star anise — is the perfect partner for roasted meats. After Turkey Day, try it with grilled or broiled pork chops. It's a winner all year long.

12 of 20

Orzo with Mushrooms and Walnuts

orzo in a blue bowl
Mackenzie Schieck

This twist on traditional mushroom stuffing replaces bread with orzo. Reviewers compare its texture to risotto (though it's a dairy-free dish) and love the crunch of the toasted walnuts.

13 of 20

Sweet Potato and Coconut Bread

sliced loaf of Sweet Potato and Coconut Bread on a white dish

This is the sweet, spiced bread the pilgrims wanted to make with their leftover sweet potatoes. Did they have cinnamon and nutmeg? Questionable. Coconut? No. But you can certainly get your hands on these ingredients.

14 of 20

Tender Breaded Turkey Cutlets

breaded turkey cutlets
Nikki Tran

"The sour cream seals in the moisture and no one would ever guess that it's in there. A great new way to try turkey," recipe creator Tanya Belt says.

15 of 20

Chopped Brussels Sprout Salad

Chopped Brussels Sprout Salad

Look no further than this raw Brussels sprout salad for a fresh side dish. "A perfect combo of sweet, tangy, and salty, with a nice crunchy texture," reviewer Kym Cox Surridge says.

16 of 20

Carrot-Zucchini Cake

three-layered carrot and zucchini cake on a plate

Have your cake, and eat your veggies, too, along with a sensational cream cheese frosting. Nom nom nom.

17 of 20

Potato and Pumpkin Gratin

a top-down view of a round ceramic baking dish of a cheese-topped potato and pumpkin casserole
Kim's Cooking Now

"A bit of a twist from your standard au gratin potatoes," recipe creator Kim's Cooking Now says. "Layers of thinly-sliced potatoes and pumpkin combined with Swiss Gruyere and a hint of thyme make for a tasty and elegant side dish."

18 of 20

Tangy Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauce in a bowl over a colorful tablecloth

Do the unexpected: Liven up cranberry sauce with horseradish. "Yes! Finally, a cranberry sauce that isn't sickly sweet," Clare Fisher says. "Love it."

19 of 20

Grandma's Apple Pie 'Ala Mode' Moonshine

Grandma's Apple Pie 'Ala Mode' Moonshine in mason jars
Photo by Tara.

Do not try this at home! I'm sorry, DO try it at home. This homemade 'shine is completely legal and safe (when consumed within reason). But flavored with cloves and cinnamon sticks, it tastes like apple pie, so watch out.

20 of 20

Spiralized Brown Butter Sage Sweet Potato

Spiralized Brown Butter Sage Sweet Potato topped with sage leaves
Buckwheat Queen

Spiralizing sweet potatoes may not change their taste — that's what brown butter and sage are for — but it sure makes them more interesting. "This is officially on our Thanksgiving menu! Too easy and delicious to pass up," reviewer Buckwheat Queen says.

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love