Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

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Wondering how to put together a traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu? Here are classic Thanksgiving recipes that you’ll come back to year after year.

If you’ve ever been in charge of making a full Thanksgiving dinner, you realize what an intimidating task it can be. There are so many different traditions that people hold to when it comes to their holiday feast. Some guests like turkey, others want ham.

“Cranberry sauce?…Ew, mom”.

Here’s what you do.

Make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu


Whether you have been hosting Thanksgiving for years or this is your first time, you just can’t go wrong with this classic Thanksgiving menu.

We’re making it easy for you. Just choose one or two Thanksgiving dinner ideas from each category and you’ll end up with a traditional Thanksgiving menu that your family will enjoy.

Thanksgiving Food List

We’re helping you think through and organize a Thanksgiving dinner with this printable Thanksgiving checklist.

Thanksgiving Appetizers

I’ll be honest.

Our family generally doesn’t have appetizers at Thanksgiving, because really, we never stop eating.

So really, breakfast and snacks on the hour are our Thanksgiving appetizers, but here are a few easy recipe ideas if you need to take an appetizer along to a Thanksgiving Day party!

the best thanksgiving appetizers

Thanksgiving Drinks

I don’t know how many times I’ve planned a nice gathering and completely forgotten about drinks. When you are trying to make an impression, it’s not fun to have to say, “Umm….how about water?”.

Choose a cranberry-inspired drink so perfect for the holidays or choose a traditional punch. 

the best thanksgiving drink recipes

Thanksgiving Jello Salads

What is traditional Thanksgiving feast without Jello salads? Ok, so maybe these aren’t traditional salads, but we can call them fruit salads and serve them similar to a dessert. They’re a classic and these are a few of our favorites.


Thanksgiving Turkey

The main course. And this one is golden brown and juicy! They make the perfect centerpiece for your dinner table.

how to smoke a whole turkey

Herbs and spices to have on hand.

You may want to have fresh herbs on hand for garnishing. Try fresh thyme, parsley. Have salt, pepper and garlic powder on hand for those who’d like to add it.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

My favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is the easy side dishes.

Pile your plate high with savory side dishes such as mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and stuffing. This is a great way to add in recipes for any vegetarians in your life.

the best thanksgiving side dishes

Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls

Here are several dinner roll recipes that both get excellent reviews and are perfect for the beginning baker.

the best thanksgiving rolls

Thanksgiving Desserts

the best pumpkin desserts for thanksgiving

My second favorite part of dinner, which I usually eat about 4 hours after dinner because I’ve stuffed myself so full of potatoes. I stuck with classic pumpkin desserts here, but cakes and candies are a great option, too!

Thanksgiving FAQ’s

What is served at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner?

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner consists of roast turkey, turkey stuffing with onions and celery, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

What is the most popular food on Thanksgiving?

Turkey is the most well known Thanksgiving food, but it isn’t always the most liked. Favorite Thanksgiving dishes vary by region, but pie tends to be the most loved across the United States.easy sweet potato pie recipe

What are the two most popular Thanksgiving pies?

Apple comes in first place for the most popular Thanksgiving pies and pumpkin is in second place. (source)

Why do eat turkey at Thanksgiving?

Turkey was most likely not what the pilgrims were eating back in the 1600s. However, as immigrants came to America, they were foods such as turkey, which was indigenous to North America and fed a lot of people. (source)

What time do most people eat Thanksgiving dinner?

According to a survey in 2018, the early afternoon is the most common time to serve Thanksgiving dinner. (source) This allows for time for food to digest and to spend time with family and friends.

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Diane McGill
8 months ago

These look so good. But my problem is my husband and I cannot have ANYTHING with seeds in it. WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE cranberries, do you know if cranberries are easy to deseed or is it our taste in life is clear jelly cranberry out of a can?

2 years ago

I love your ideas my family is big and these ideas help anytime because my grandma is wondering ideas for thanksgiving, my mom, too, This helps people a lot when they are in a rush now all they have to do is come and look here.
Give me thumbs up if you think this person has great ideas and should make more because this person just may have saved my life for thanksgiving ideas

Last edited 2 years ago by Amberly
Noah Burritt
2 years ago

I think that you need websites to show were you get the food so people can go to the websites and learn to make it or buy it

Jeremiah Norfleet
2 years ago

You forgot about Mac and cheese, spaghetti, greens, and corn bread. Thanksgiving food is really basically all the soul foods.

3 years ago

i am only 11 love to cook and we are going camping for thanksgiving so i was finding things for the shopping list

Marilyn Lorraine Crooks Nyulassie
3 years ago

I am not an expert cook, I don’t do fancy dishes. I cook my thanksgiving dinner just the way my mom did it. My turkey is awesome. My side dishes are standard just like mom made them. You don’t have to be a expert cook to make a great meal. My family loves it made just like grandmas.

Doris Sands
4 years ago

About Scallop Corn. I grew up eating this as my dad loved it.
We only add milk and crackers to it then bake in the oven. Chiffon
pumpkin pie.

4 years ago

Can I use already made store bought stuffing cornbread cubes for the stuffing?How far in advance can I make the stuffing.

6 years ago

Oh how excited I ma about Thanksgiving! I go to my boyfriends family every year and we do kind of a pot luck dinner, so no on person is responsible for cooking the entire dinner. These are all great ideas for a traditional Thanksgiving! I especially love the homemade rolls and pumpkin cake…mmm pumpkin cake…

Heather johnson
6 years ago

Do you have any candy or treat recipes for the holidays?