20 Tried-and-True Best Thanksgiving Recipes - The Rising Spoon

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

20 Tried-and-True Best Thanksgiving Recipes

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Want to serve the best recipes at your Thanksgiving meal? These are some of my tried-and-true dishes that I've been fixing for the past few years. My family loves them and I hope yours will, too!
20 Tried-and-True Best Thanksgiving Recipes

Lemme guess: you're trying to plan your Thanksgiving menu ahead of time and want to find the best recipes to serve or bring to the Thanksgiving day feast. There are loads of Thanksgiving recipe round-ups practically everywhere these days, but most of them are just curated lists of dishes that look good

In other words, the person sharing them hasn't tried most, if any, of the recipes. These types of recipe collections are awesome for inspiration when you want to try one or two new dishes and you don't have anything riding on your success. 

But, let's say you're hosting your first ever Thanksgiving feast and are responsible for most of the cooking. Or, you're attending a feast at someone else's home and are in charge of bringing a specific dish that's a family favorite.
No room for screw ups, eh? 


If you do, though, (hopefully) your friends & family have the grace to gently make fun of you, laugh it off, and let you get on with the day. However, I aim to help you avoid that!

My Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes That I Serve Every Year

How exactly? Well, I'm sharing my own tried-and-true Thanksgiving recipes that I've been fixing every year for the past few years (some even earlier). Some of them are my own and the rest are solid recipes from bloggers (like the turkey, green bean casserole, and marshmallows). The key here is that I have actually made every single thing on this list! 

As I've mentioned several times on the blog, for practically my whole life we've had a family tradition of attending Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house in Northern Texas. Because of this, I'd help with things like the sides and other prep stuff, but most of it was out of my hands. 

However, when my sister moved to Colorado several years back, she could no longer join because of her job and the difficulty/cost of getting down the mountain with all the inclement weather (she lives in Summit County at an altitude of almost 10,000 feet). 

So, I started spending Thanksgiving with her instead and without the whole family in tow, we were forced to fix the whole feast ourselves--turkey, pumpkin pie, and all! {So much prep work. So many dishes.}

Solid Recipes That Even a New Cook Can Handle

Back in the day I probably would have relied on a bunch of ready-made items, but these days (as you might expect if you've read my food philosophy) I love to make as many things as possible from scratch, especially on a holiday. It's an excuse to go all out!

With that said, I hope you enjoy! And if you have any questions about specific recipes, leave a comment below or hop over to the original post to ask there. :)


20 Tried-and-True Best Thanksgiving Recipes



20 Tried-and-True Best Thanksgiving Recipes


Beverage Recipes

1. Cranberry, Orange & Apple White Wine Sangria

This is an easy and festive make-ahead drink that you and your adult guests will love to sip on. It has apples and 100% unsweetened cranberry juice, which makes it healthy, right? 

Thanksgiving Recipe: Cranberry, Orange & Apple White Wine Sangria

2. Homemade Spicy Hot Cocoa with Cacao Powder

It's so easy to make your own homemade hot cocoa using healthy, real food ingredients that don't involve those packets with tons of additives & preservatives (those always upset my stomach). Cocoa doesn't take long to stir together on the stove top and I promise you--everyone will be impressed!

Thanksgiving Recipe: Homemade Hot Cocoa with Cacao Powder

3. Pumpkin Spice Latte with Vanilla Almond Milk

I'm not trying to toot my own horn here, but this is my favorite recipe for pumpkin spice lattes! Fixing it at home lets you control the amount of sugar (waaaaaay less than what Starbucks adds) and honestly...it's just so much cheaper and better tasting. 

Make a quick batch of pumpkin spice lattes the day before Thanksgiving to sip on while you're prepping and then the next morning while you're finishing up all the cooking. And if you're feeling zesty, this would taste good with a shot of bourbon added. ;)

Thanksgiving Recipe: Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte (Vegan)

Appetizer Recipe

4. Homemade Sour Cream & Onion Dip


One of my favorite things to snack on before and during the Thanksgiving feast is sliced raw vegetables like celery, carrot, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes + this homemade sour cream and onion dip. Skip those powdered package mixes with too much sodium and questionable ingredients. It's so easy to make it yourself! (Note: This is a good recipe to prep the day before.)

Thanksgiving Recipe: Homemade Sour Cream & Onion Dip

Turkey Recipe

5. Mom's Roast Turkey by Simply Recipes

Turkey is usually the dish that causes the most stress since people are afraid they're going to under-cook or over-cook it. Well, I'm happy to report that I've been using this exact recipe for the past few years and it always turns out perfect. The turkey is moist and delicious! Her technique is simple but effective (no brining required), so if you're planning on using your oven to cook the turkey this year, definitely check it out. 


Thanksgiving Recipe: Mom's Roast Turkey by Simply Recipes

Side Dish Recipes

6. Orange Maple Roasted Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I came up with this recipe several years back when I was looking for an alternative to the super sugary sweet potato casseroles topped with marshmallows. This is now my favorite way to fix sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving and everyone loves them! The secret is roasting the sweet potatoes first, which brings out a ton of their natural sweetness, so you can get away with adding less sweetener. Pretty awesome, right? 

Thanksgiving Recipe: Orange Maple Roasted Mashed Sweet Potatoes

7. Creamy Green Bean Casserole From Scratch by Sally's Baking Addiction

Oh my gosh, this homemade green bean casserole is amazing! Just so you know, it is a little time consuming to make it the day of when you're trying to juggle a billion other things in the kitchen (mostly because of the onions), BUT it's oh so worth it. When I made this last year, it was everyone's favorite "leftover" and didn't last long. I can't wait to eat it again soon. 


Thanksgiving Recipe: Creamy Green Bean Casserole From Scratch by Sally's Baking Addiction

8. Balsamic Oven-Roasted Green Beans

For the folks who don't like green bean casserole or can't have it because they don't consume dairy, this is a yummy green bean alternative that's dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and paleo. It's easy to fix and you could definitely pop it in at the very end of your cooking right before the meal. This is also one of the most popular recipes on The Rising Spoon, so I know it's solid. ;)


Thanksgiving Recipe: Balsamic Oven-Roasted Green Beans

9. Crock-Pot "Baked" Potatoes (Use For Mashed Potatoes)

If you're looking to free up some space on your stove top and need an alternative to boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes, definitely give this a try! You can cook these in the crockpot a few hours before the meal, add the seasonings + liquid, mash away, then leave it on warm until you're ready. Easy peasy!


Thanksgiving Recipe: Crock-Pot "Baked" Potatoes

10. Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes with Greens)

Colcannon is one of my favorite ways to fix mashed potatoes now and I'm sure it would be a big hit on any Thanksgiving table. It uses only a few high-quality, yet simple ingredients and is so comforting. You won't even need any gravy, although you could still use it. 


Thanksgiving Recipe: Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes with Greens)

11. Homemade Croutons (For Stuffing / Dressing)

If you want to make homemade stuffing (also known as dressing) that will wow everyone, skip the boxes and make your own seasoned croutons to use as a base. These are the croutons I make every year and then use for homemade stuffing with onion, celery, butter, and drippings from the turkey. Note: This is one you'll want to make beforehand (you can just do it the day before if you want OR even a few weeks ahead of time if you're organized like that). 


Thanksgiving Recipe: Homemade Croutons for Stuffing & Dressing

12. Balsamic Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables

This is another yummy side dish option that is also healthy and good for a crowd with a variety of food preferences (vegans, vegetarians, paleo, etc.) The balsamic vinegar + roasting in the oven really bring out the natural sweetness in all the root veggies. 


Thanksgiving Recipe: Balsamic Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables

Sauce Recipes

13. Easy No-Fail Make Anytime Turkey Gravy via Food.com

This is also one of those critical recipes that you don't want to screw up (or at least it is for me). So, I searched on the interwebz and found this recipe. Just like the name implies, it's easy and it works! I've been using it ever since. :)

14. Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Fresh Orange Juice


Guys...why did no one tell me how EASY it is to make homemade cranberry sauce? For years, the stuff in the can was touted as the "must have" convenience food for Thanksgiving. Well, it hardly takes any more work to fix it on the stovetop using fresh cranberries and it is WORLDS better when it comes to taste. Not to mention the fresh stuff has no high fructose corn syrup. Yuck. Seriously, friends don't let friends eat canned cranberry sauce.  

Thanksgiving Recipe: Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Fresh Orange Juice

15. Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing

If you're making a leafy salad with fall ingredients for Thanksgiving, here's a super easy salad dressing you can fix to serve alongside it. You can make this the day before and you'll have one less thing to worry about. 


Thanksgiving Recipe: Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing

Dessert Recipes

16. Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

Making pumpkin pie or another recipe requiring pumpkin spice seasoning? Save yourself a little moolah and mix your own a home! This is what I've been fixing for the past few years and love it for pie, lattes, oatmeal, and smoothies (pretty much anything pumpkin related in this round-up, too). 


Thanksgiving Recipe: Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

17. Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie by Simply Recipes

I love pumpkin pie sooooo much. The day after Thanksgiving I usually eat it for breakfast and then the day after until it's all gone. Then I'm sad. {Ahem} Since I'm NOT an expert in baking, I defer to Elise of Simply Recipes who shares tried-and-true recipes like this pumpkin pie. I've made it a few times using maple syrup instead of white sugar and it turned out great, even up in the mountains! Now, I still need to master the crust (I currently use store-bought), but that's for another day. 


Thanksgiving Recipe: Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie by Simply Recipes

18. Homemade Whipped Cream

Even if I haven't mastered homemade crust yet for pie, I can definitely handle homemade whipped cream for smothering over spooning on top of pies + any warm drinks like hot cocoa or pumpkin lattes. Homemade whipped cream is super duper easy and it's really fun to watch it go from liquid to pillowy whipped cream! It's pretty magical. Oh, yeah, and you don't need any fancy gadgets to fix it either. Just a big cold bowl, a whisk, and a strong arm. ;)


Thanksgiving Recipe: Easy Homemade Whipped Cream

19. Homemade Honey-Sweetened Cinnamon Marshmallows by Recipes to Nourish

If you really want to go all out and wow your guests, make some homemade marshmallows ahead of time to use on top of sweet potato casserole or hot cocoa. I've made this recipe from Emily of Recipes to Nourish several times and they always turn out great! I even gave them away as holiday gifts last year. 


Thanksgiving Recipe: Homemade Honey Sweetened Marshmallows by Recipes To Nourish

20. Healthy Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

This might seem kinda Christmasy for a Thanksgiving round-up, but my sis and I like to make these while we're spending the Thanksgiving holiday together. My version has waaaaay less sugar than the traditional recipe so they double as a sweet-ish snack and not just dessert. You could serve this along with your other Thanksgiving desserts for folks who just want a bite-sized treat or who don't enjoy pie. Or, just keep them to yourself to eat while you're cooking. That's totally legit. 


Thanksgiving Recipe: Healthy Dark Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls



I'd like to hear from YOU!

What are your tried-and-true Thanksgiving recipes?


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Elaina Newton is the creator, writer, and foodie behind the blog, The Rising Spoon. She's a self-taught cook and passionate about spreading basic cooking skills and information about real foods. She loves reading fiction, crafting, video games, dark roast coffee, cats, and rainy days. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter

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