28 Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Fancy Crusted Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes
Photo: Mackenzie Schieck

Break tradition this Thanksgiving by switching up your menu. While traditional Thanksgiving food is great, the same menu year after year can get old. These non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner ideas bring new life to classic recipes. Here you'll find new Thanksgiving dinner inspiration including appetizers, main dishes, sides, desserts and more. These 28 non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner recipes will make for your most memorable celebration to date.

01 of 28

Artichoke Hearts Gratin

Artichoke Hearts Gratin
Carson's Mommy

"Ever since I discovered these, my array of appetizers would not be complete without them," says reviewer naples34102. Artichokes aren't exactly synonymous with Thanksgiving, but that will change once you try this simple appetizer.

02 of 28

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Roasted pumpkin soup in white bowl with pumpkin seeds on top
Buckwheat Queen

There are endless ways to incorporate pumpkin into your Thanksgiving dinner, but what better way to kick off the feast than this flavorful pumpkin soup? "The spices in this soup really marry up well and make this the tasty, flavorful soup it is," says recipe creator Pip. "I can guarantee you will impress even the fussiest of eaters."

03 of 28

Roasted Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Crostini

Roasted Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Crostinis on white plate
Kim's Cooking Now

If you're looking to start your Thanksgiving dinner with a bang, these elegant crostini are sure to impress. Sliced baguettes are topped with garlic, olive oil, goat cheese, and a roasted pumpkin-leek mixture that is then drizzled with a balsamic glaze.

04 of 28

Bacon Rosemary Stuffed Mushrooms

Bacon Rosemary Stuffed Mushrooms on white platter with rosemary garnish

Take a break from the usual Thanksgiving fare with this appetizer that's sure to be a crowd pleaser. Bite-sized mushrooms are stuffed with rosemary, bacon, and cheese. Who could possibly resist?

05 of 28

Apple Pie Shot

Jello shots with whipped cream next to apple pie

Bring the party to the table with these shots that taste like a favorite Thanksgiving dessert. "A favorite at my Thanksgiving feast. My guests still talk about it," says reviewer MSNIAC.

06 of 28

Citrus Turkey Brine

turkey with dressing
Melissa Goff

With all the heavy casseroles and sides on the table, brining your turkey with this citrus-flavored brine will bring bright and fresh flavor to the table. Reviewer pkyumi says, "Really delicious moist and fragrant turkey I only got to sample a little bit because the people I made it for gobbled it up in no time!"

07 of 28

Cranberry Stuffed Game Hens

Cranberry Stuffed Game Hens with mashed sweet potatoes on white plate
Chef John

Tired of turkey? Let Chef John ease you into the world of game hens: "If you've never worked with game hens before, they're very user-friendly. Even stuffed to excess, they only roast for about an hour in a hot oven, and as long as you don't overcook them (use a thermometer!), you'll be enjoying the kind of juicy, flavorful meat that people cooking turkey only dream of."

08 of 28

Bacon Wrapped Pork Medallions

Bacon Wrapped Pork Medallions on white dish with green garnish

"This is soooo good! So simple to prepare, yet it looks and tastes like it took a lot of time and effort," says reviewer Christina. Step aside turkey. These pork medallions wrapped in bacon might just be a new tradition.

09 of 28

Tangy Honey Glazed Ham

glazed ham with pineapple rings on top

For many of us, ham for Thanksgiving isn't anything new, but this pineapple-honey glaze brings a whole new flavor. Reviewer leal80 says, "I made it for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it!"

10 of 28

Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breasts

sliced turkey breasts with cranberry stuffing, served on a platter garnished with fresh cranberries

If you still want to keep turkey on the table, these stuffed turkey breasts put a new twist on a traditional Thanksgiving main dish. "I made these once for a holiday dinner party, and they were such a hit that I started making them for Thanksgiving instead of a whole turkey," says recipe creator Esther Nelson.

11 of 28

Mushroom Cream Gravy Sauce

Mushroom Cream Gravy Sauce drizzled over steak on white plate

Turkey gravy is cool and all, but smother your bird in this divine mushroom gravy and you may never go back to your old recipe. "I use this sauce for everything. As a pasta sauce over chicken on mashed potatoes," says reviewer Laura Nicosia.

12 of 28

Turkey Gravy with Shallots and Herbs

Turkey Gravy with Shallots and Herbs in white gravy boats with fries in the background
Soup Loving Nicole

Shallots, chives, thyme, and sage take turkey gravy from bland to bold.

13 of 28

Cranberry-Jalapeno Relish

Cranberry-Jalapeno Relish in clear bowl with silver fork

This spicy take on a Thanksgiving classic is sure to leave a lasting impression. "Made it for Thanksgiving and my husband, who isn't fond of plain cranberry sauce, really like this relish," says reviewer SOPHIE159.

14 of 28

Sweet Potato Rolls

Sweet Potato Rolls on wooden platter

During the holidays, dinner rolls are always on the table. But they don't have to be boring. These festive, fall rolls are made with sweet potato puree for a change from the usual. "We loved these rolls and will make them every Thanksgiving from now on," says reviewer ATHENE.

15 of 28

Fancy Crusted Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes

Fancy Crusted Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes
Mackenzie Schieck

Scalloped potatoes are always a crowd pleaser, but this recipe will really stand out among the rest — it uses sliced potatoes to create a crust around the edge of the baking dish.

16 of 28

Sweet Potato Streusel Casserole with Coconut

Sweet Potato Streusel Casserole with Coconut on white plate

"Sweet potatoes have been a holiday staple for many years and score 101 next to the regular white potato," says recipe creator lvscoffee7. "Combining them with a coconut streusel topping is simply a divine union!"

17 of 28

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes in casserole dish
Lorem Ipsum

"Not only is this a delicious alternative to regular mashed potato recipes, but it's a very user-friendly way to serve your potato side dish. They're really decadent: not too rich, but just rich enough, and perfect for any special occasion," says Chef John.

18 of 28

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios in a glass bowl

Caramelizing Brussels sprouts helps to subdue their bitterness and give them a subtle, sweet flavor. "We had it for Thanksgiving and it was by far the most commented on," says reviewer Keers.

19 of 28

Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash on a red plate

Acorn squash has fall written all over it, but stuff it with a mixture of apples, raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cheese, and you have the ultimate fall side dish.

20 of 28

Roquefort Pear Salad

Close up of pear, mixed green, and pecan salad
chibi chef

Skip the boring, run-of-the-mill salad this year and go for this autumn-inspired salad topped with blue cheese, pears, caramelized pecans, and a mustard vinaigrette. Reviewer Chef Q says, "I always get requests for this recipe even by salad snobs! One thing I do for ease in prep is buy the glazed pecans at the store so much easier and saves on time!"

21 of 28

Better-than-Boxed Vegan and Gluten-Free Stuffing

Better-than-Boxed Vegan and Gluten-Free Stuffing in white bowl on white granite countertop

Go vegan this Thanksgiving with this stuffing that's great for those with dietary restrictions. Recipe creator fabeveryday blog says, "This vegan and gluten-free stuffing is better than the boxed stuff and very easy to make! Whether your guests are vegan, gluten-free, both, or neither, this stuffing will please the whole crowd!"

22 of 28

Chestnut Stuffing

Large spoonful of chestnut stuffing on blue background
Allrecipes Magazine

Chestnuts add a special holiday touch to classic stuffing. Take it from reviewer PCASSIDY who says, "The chestnuts really add a nice flavor texture to the stuffing. And it goes GREAT with gravy. We will be adding this to our repertoire of family recipes to be used on Thanksgiving and Christmas in our homes from here on out."

23 of 28

Bacon Feta Beans

Bacon Feta Beans closeup

Green beans always make an appearance on the Thanksgiving table in some form or fashion. This new take on a classic Thanksgiving ingredient uses garlic, feta, and bacon for irresistible flavor.

24 of 28

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

sweet potato cupcakes with marshmallow frosting

"These spiced fall cupcakes are a riff on the classic Thanksgiving casserole," says recipe creator Doughgirl8. "These days, I tend to like savory sweet potato dishes with the meal, but marshmallowy cupcakes make a terrific fall dessert! Store any leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator."

25 of 28

Butter Pecan Cheesecake

Butter Pecan Cheesecake on China plate
Deb C

Few flavors are more comforting than butter pecan, but throw it in a cheesecake and you have the ideal fall dessert. "I made this cheesecake for Thanksgiving dinner and it was amazing. I followed the directions to the letter and it came out beautifully," says reviewer wozbeetle. "Did not sink in the middle like some cheesecakes tend to do and there wasn't one crack in it. The top was perfectly level."

26 of 28

Pecan Pie Bars I

Pecan Pie Bars I on a white plate

This dessert gives you the delightful sweet taste of pecan pie without the hassle of making a pie crust. Plus, it's much easier to serve to a crowd. On top of all that, it has over 450 5-star ratings.

27 of 28

Maple Pecan Shortbread Squares

Maple Pecan Shortbread Squares
Photo by Allrecipes. Allrecipes

"These are absolutely delicious bars! The amount of pecans is perfect, the filling was just slightly gooey, and the shortbread base is so buttery and delicious," says reviewer larkspur. Two classic Thanksgiving flavors combine in this original dessert.

28 of 28

Upside Down Pumpkin Cake

Upside Down Pumpkin Cake on a white plate with pumpkins in the background

"This has become my family's favorite dessert at Thanksgiving, taking the place of pumpkin pie! Walnuts can be substituted for pecans," says recipe creator JCAIN2U.

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