A Traditional American Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

roast turkey with stuffing inside
Photo: mrs.americanhorse

If your family prefers that their Thanksgiving meal include time-honored staples like green bean casserole and corn bread dressing, this collection of classic Thanksgiving recipes includes everything you expect to have during a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. These essential recipes hit the highlights of the staple recipes. No bells and whistles here — this is a menu that will satisfy everyone at the table.

01 of 12

A Simply Perfect Roast Turkey

a golden brown stuffed turkey in a roasting pan

Syd's Simply Perfect Roast Turkey is precisely as good as you remember your grandma's Thanksgiving turkey being. The seasoning is simple — just salt and pepper — which really lets the poultry's flavor shine. It also makes rich drippings for gravy.

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The Best Turkey Gravy

brown gravy in gravy boat with ladle

A classic turkey gravy can make or break your Thanksgiving dinner, so you can rely on this recipe to not let you down. Gravy requires a little bit of attention and hands-on whisking, but it's the crowning jewel of your meal. Recipe creator JULZBROWN keeps things simple so you don't have to fuss with unnecessary steps or ingredients. Just be sure to save your turkey's drippings; you'll need almost two cups for this gravy.

03 of 12

Grandma's Corn Bread Dressing

Grandma's Corn Bread Dressing

Feel at home again with this traditional corn bread dressing, which gets its flavor from aromatics like celery, onion, and dried sage. The additional ingredients are all purposeful — they highlight the corn bread's naturally nutty but warm flavor — but they won't overwhelm the turkey or gravy. Reviewers suggest you can make it a bit more rich by using leftover pan drippings for some of the stock, if you have any left after making your gravy.

04 of 12

Baked Ham

Baked Ham studded with cloves
Baked Ham studded with cloves | Photo by Meredith. Meredith

While turkey gets all the attention on Thanksgiving, ham is a strong second main. In fact, many families can't imagine their Turkey Day meal without a baked ham. Auntie KK's recipe can be made the day before — it does require the oven for several hours and hands-on work — but it can easily be heated just before dinner time. Chilled ham is delicious, too.

05 of 12

Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes

Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes

Pam Reed's candied sweet potatoes are a happy medium between a sweet potato casserole and roasted sweet potatoes, two traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. The potato rounds are cooked until just done in a bath of butter and sugar so the tuberous vegetable soaks up a bit of sweetness, a contrast to the heavily savory plate you'll be compiling.

06 of 12

Best Green Bean Casserole

Best Green Bean Casserole
Cynthia Ross

A Thanksgiving dinner without a green bean casserole isn't a Thanksgiving dinner you want to attend. This variation from Jan is a bit different from the classic version — it uses French fried onions and cheddar cheese — but it retains all that's great about this holiday dish: creamy dressing and crisp, juicy green beans.

07 of 12

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

cheesy scalloped potatoes in a white and blue dish

Smashed, casseroled, or baked — the potato dish at your family's Thanksgiving meal is quite important to the entire spread. Here, CathyM's recipe lets potato rounds and onion rings tenderize in a cheesy, creamy sauce. Are the onions a bit unusual for your diners? Leave them out. They won't be missed.

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Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire

Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire
Photo by Elizabeth.

Canned or homemade — it's a timeless Thanksgiving question, but once you try Leeza's homemade cranberry sauce, you will never set foot near the canned kind again. Though it's called cranberry sauce, this relish features several fruits, including pears, apples, and dried fruit. Warm spices round out those sweet-tart flavors. Reviewers suggest it's so good you might want to eat it by the spoonful.

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Soft Dinner Rolls

Soft Dinner Rolls
Lourdes Delgado

Fluffy and light, these dinner rolls are the final addition to your traditional Thanksgiving plate. The cook time is brief, but you'll want to plan for rising time so they bloom and turn into cloud-like bites of bread. Serve with an herbed butter so guests can sop up every last delicious bit of gravy and sauce.

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Chef John's Pumpkin Pie

pumpkin pie with pastry leaf cutouts on top
Pictured: Chef John's Pumpkin Pie. Vanessa Greaves

Look no further than Chef John's Pumpkin Pie to complete your traditional Thanksgiving menu. The rich, custard-like filling is delicately sweet and warmly spiced. We call this the Perfect Pumpkin Pie for a reason — you're not going to mess it up.

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Pecan Pie V

pecan pie up close

It's nice to have some options for dessert, so naturally we decided to include classic pecan pie in addition to pumpkin. What makes this particular recipe stand out? It's made without corn syrup.

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