Super Easy Thanksgiving Recipes for First-Time Cooks

Jello shots with whipped cream next to apple pie
Photo: Allrecipes

If this is your first Thanksgiving and cooking is not your strong point, we've got you covered with quick and easy Thanksgiving recipes that make a big impression, from turkey to side dishes and desserts.

01 of 13

Cranberry Stuffed Turkey Breasts

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

This ingenious recipe is like a mini stuffed turkey. The breasts are pounded, then stuffed with cranberry stuffing. They take about an hour to cook and won't consume your entire oven space.

02 of 13

Turkey Tenderloins

Turkey Tenderloins

These turkey tenderloins are full of flavor thanks to a simple marinade of mustard, soy sauce, and dried rosemary. They cook under a broiler, and are delicious with cranberry sauce.

03 of 13

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

closeup of turkey breast slices with gravy and roasted potatoes

This recipe has been made and loved by over 2,000 home cooks. It takes just 10 minutes of prep, has just 2 ingredients, and it's made in your slow cooker. Thanksgiving doesn't get easier than this!

04 of 13

Easy Herb Roasted Turkey

a whole roast turkey on a bed of kale leaves, served on a white ceramic platter

If you do want to take on a whole turkey, here's simple but delicious turkey recipe flavored with garlic powder, dried basil, and ground sage.

05 of 13

Quick Brussels and Bacon

Quick Brussels and Bacon on a white dish

Make these tasty Brussels sprouts in your skillet in less than 20 minutes. All that bacon and charred flavor is what sets them apart.

06 of 13

Apple and Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

top-down view of dressing in a round white serving dish

Cornbread stuffing mix is the perfect shortcut when making this simple apple and sausage stuffing. According to ANALISAMC, this stuffing is "to die for!"

07 of 13

Best Green Bean Casserole

Best Green Bean Casserole in a white dish
Cynthia Ross

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without green bean casserole, and this recipe is a firm favorite on our site, and also one of the easiest to make.

08 of 13

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter and Toasted Marshmallows

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter and Toasted Marshmallows on a white disg
My Hot Southern Mess

These clever twice-baked sweet potatoes will be the talking point at dinner. They're fun to make and so impressive. Just pinch of cayenne pepper amplifies the flavor—adjust the amount to suit your taste.

09 of 13

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

Do yourself a favor, and make homemade cranberry sauce. It sets the tone for dinner, and shows you're serious about impressing your guests even if you're a newbie or cooking in a tiny apartment. This recipe is even better made ahead of time—you won't believe how simple it is to make.

10 of 13

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes in a lime-green dish

To avoid any stress on the day, make your mashers a day before the big event. Then pop them in the oven an hour before you're ready to eat. This recipe is creamy, cheesy, and easy.

11 of 13

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Mousse

glasses full of pumpkin mousse topped with whipped cream
Mackenzie Schieck

"This simple, elegant mousse is flavored with pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Yubbers123 raves, "This recipe was super easy to make, quick, cheap, and decadent. It's something I will make again and again in a pinch. Very light and fluffy -- tastes just like pumpkin pie." Make these the day before, and whip them out just in time for dessert.

12 of 13

Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Bars I on a white plate

If the thought of making a pie crust scares you, these easy bars are just the recipe for you. And you can take the pressure off by making them a couple of days ahead of time. Catlin says, "These were a big hit at Thanksgiving. Everyone preferred these over a traditional pecan pie."

13 of 13

Apple Pie Shot

Jello shots with whipped cream next to apple pie

They're so small, and so simple to make—go on, you and your guests deserve one of these sweet apple pie-flavored shooters. Top off the drinks with whipped cream and a pinch of ground cinnamon.

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