The Perfect Thanksgiving Menu from Start to Finish

The hardest part of Thanksgiving shouldn’t be deciding what to make – it should be executing all of it flawlessly. We believe in your kitchen skills, so we put together this foolproof Thanksgiving menu full of classic Thanksgiving recipes that will keep your guests happy from start to finish.

Most of these recipes can be made ahead of time, making this menu the perfect traditional Thanksgiving dinner solely because you can slowly start to prep throughout the week. Cook smarter, not harder, y’all.

Cocktails

It’s best to serve cocktails in big batches or pitcher form on Thanksgiving Day if you’re not having an alcohol-free dinner.

You want something that you can pour, mix, and serve. You have bigger things to worry about, like carving that turkey, than mixing Uncle Don another Old Fashioned.

Cranberry Sauce Moscow Mule

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Yes, we went there. This big-batch cocktail combines three of our favorite things: cranberry sauce, lime juice, and ginger beer.

Make it now, serve on Thanksgiving. Get the full recipe here.

Pumpkin Spice Moonshine

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This recipe not only makes a huge serving, but it also makes your house smell absolutely wonderful in the process. Just boil everything down, add the moonshine, and let sit for a day or so.

Get the full recipe here, or watch the video below.

Pomegranate Cranberry Sangria

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Sangria is the perfect crowd-pleaser for two reasons: It’s boozy, and it’s fun. Besides, who doesn’t love fruit soaked in alcohol? Be sure to scoop some delicious pieces into each glass.

Get the full recipe here.

Apple Pie Moonshine

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This is a classic, for good reason. Similar to Pumpkin Spice Moonshine, Apple Pie Moonshine is heavy on autumn flavors that are so delicious. Be careful, though, the longer it sits, the less you taste any alcohol at all. It really does go down easy like apple juice.

Get the full recipe here or watch the video below.

Appetizers

The trick for Thanksgiving appetizers is to serve just enough to keep your guests satiated and as far away from the kitchen as possible while the finishing touches are going on the turkey.

Think spreads, dips, and cheese, and you’ll never go wrong.

Roasted Rosemary and Thyme Cashews

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This easy recipe seriously comes together in all of 12 minutes, baking time included. Better yet, it’s perfect in big batches meaning you can make it once and set it out for guests to snack on as they mingle.

Get the full recipe here.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

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Leave your oven to the big players like the turkey and potatoes and let your refrigerator do the work for you when it comes to this delicious dip.  The best part? It can be made up to two days ahead of time.

Get the full recipe here.

Cranberry Pecan Cheese Ball

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This rich and decadent cheese ball not only tastes delicious, but looks just as good. It can be made the night before and it’s better for it – you want to give the cheeses a chance to firm up nicely before serving

Get the full recipe here.

Cheddar and Herb Twists

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These are the perfect finger foods for the little ones and adults can’t resist their cheesy appeal, either. The best part? One batch makes 36 twists.

Get the full recipe here.

Main Course

Chances are, turkey will be the star of your show. There’s one recipe we swear by, time and time again.

Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Turkey

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Designed for beginners and skilled chefs alike, this roast turkey uses all of the flavors you come to expect on Thanksgiving: thyme, sage, and lemon. To put your own spin on it, add some rosemary and a dash of white wine.

Get the full recipe here.

Simple Homemade Gravy

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Put down the can! This recipes takes 10 minutes and uses five ingredients: butter, flour, turkey pan drippings, broth, and salt.

Get the full recipe here.

Cranberry Sauce

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You know why cranberry sauce is a main dish? Because it’s a Thanksgiving necessity that uses only four ingredients: orange juice, cranberry juice, honey, and cranberries. Can you say simple?

Get the full recipe here.

Classic Corn Bread

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You simply cannot have a Thanksgiving without corn bread – the rules are simple and finite.

Get the full recipe here.

Side Dishes

One could argue that it’s truly the side dishes at Thanksgiving that steal the show year after year. With turkey as the forever centerpiece, the sides get to shine and stand out on their own each year.

Now is not the time to skimp – go big, or go home hungry, y’all.

Southern Cornbread Dressing

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There are two kinds of dressings: those with meat and those without. This recipe uses your momma’s old-fashioned cornbread recipe along with good ol’ white bread to create the crisp crunch you come to expect from a good dressing.

Get the full recipe here.

Venison Stuffing

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Let your family contribute in the way of meat this year, and you can make this delicious venison stuffing that can be made the night before and popped in the oven on Turkey Day.

Get the full recipe here or watch the video below.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans and Marshmallows

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If you haven’t been putting pecans in your sweet potatoes, you’re not doing it all wrong, but you’re not doing it quite right either. This dish comes out of the oven beautifully.

Get the full recipe here.

Green Apple Macaroni and Cheese

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This one-pot, one-pan dish is a home cook’s dream, especially on Thanksgiving. Consider this the last dish you pop in the oven before taking it to the table – it only bakes for 15 minutes and is delicious steaming hot.

Get the full recipe here or watch the video below.

Roasted Garlic and Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

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If you’ve never tasted the decadent, rich flavor of goat cheese mashed potatoes, consider this your education. Found in almost every single grocery store near the cheese/deli department, you’ll be amazed at just how creamy and delicious these are.

Get the full recipe here.

Vegetables

Did you think that vegetables were included in side dishes? Not quite – on Thanksgiving, you can convince anyone to eat almost anything, so use these recipes to expand some picky horizons.

Succotash with Bacon and Tomatoes

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Anything with bacon is a must-have, right? This succotash recipe is another one pot wonder that will keep warm while you’re readying the table.

Get the full recipe here.

30-Minute Green Bean Casserole

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The name is no joke, prep your ingredients in five minutes, and bake them for 25 minutes. On Thanksgiving, you can definitely enjoy your green beans covered in creamy soup, right?

Get the full recipe here.

Herb Roasted Carrots

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If you’ve never had roasted carrots with thyme, now is the time to change that. This recipe requires an herb rubdown and little else to make the carrots the star of the table.

Get the full recipe here.

Green Bean Bundles

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Since green bean casserole is basically half a vegetable, consider these green bean bundles that are accented with brown sugar and held together with bacon.

Get the full recipe here.

Collard Greens with Bacon

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Collard greens always deserve a spot on the Thanksgiving table, and this recipe that cooks them in the bacon fat is a winner any time of year.

Get the full recipe here.

Desserts

The best part of the Thanksgiving meal is the dessert bar. Whether you choose to serve one dessert or four, we’ve got you seriously covered in the sweets department.

Cinnamon Whiskey Pecan Pie

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If you buy your pecans pre-chopped, you’ll shave five minutes off the prep time for this recipe and it comes together in five minutes before hitting the oven.

Get the full recipe here or watch the video below.

Pumpkin Pie

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What would Thanksgiving be without a classic pumpkin pie? This fully homemade pie recipe creates the smoothest, most delicious pumpkin-y custard filling out there.

Get the full recipe here.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

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Sure, you could make a regular apple pie and everyone will be happy. Or you could make a salted caramel apple pie and go down in Thanksgiving history. The choice is yours.

Get the full recipe here.

Cherry Lemon Ginger Pie

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Not only is this pie just so subtly tart and delicious, but it also helps if you’re fighting a cold. The lemon and ginger bring out the sweetness of the cherries and there’s nothing like it.

Get the full recipe here.

Post-Party Treats

The dinner event of the year is winding down and guests are slowly filtering out of your home. Pass these ridiculously easy recipes off to your right hand man to whip up while you finally sit down and put your feet up because you’ve earned it.

Red Wine Hot Chocolate

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This decadent recipe takes a cue from Mexican hot chocolate and cuts through the richness of the chocolate perfectly. The best part? It’s a one-pot wonder.

Get the full recipe here or watch the video below.

Beer-Candied Bacon

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This recipe only requires that beer and brown sugar be brushed onto baking before it’s sent to the oven to bake into crispy, candied strips. Easy, right?

Get the full recipe here or watch the video below.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be stressful, it should be a time of community, gratitude, and joy. Don’t forget to thank the home cook this year, and if you’re the home cook, don’t forget to thank your oven for its hard work this year.

Read More: The Perfect Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich Starts with Cranberry Donuts