Thanksgiving Dinner – Top 5 Recipes

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Thanksgiving Day is the biggest food day of the year. Since every Thanksgiving, Americans feast on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Bring on the food coma!

Well, I’m here to the rescue with some great recipes for Thanksgiving dinner. These recipes are all tried-and-true. The kind that you’ll be proud to put on the Thanksgiving dinner table, or take to share.

Thanksgiving dinner

Before we dig in to the recipes, though, I want to share a few tips. They’ll help make your Thanksgiving Day easier and more relaxing.

So, if you’re hosting Thanksgiving:
  • Start and end your dinner with “wow” dishes. When your guest arrive, have an amazing appetizer ready to serve. Then, end with a stunning dessert. Everyone will remember the beginning and end of the dinner.
  • Prep ahead as much as you can. Some of the recipe that I’m sharing can be made ahead. On Thanksgiving, you’ll be relieved to have some of the prep behind you.
  • Share the work by letting others bring a dish to share. If you’re picky (like I am) offer to give them a recipe for a side or dessert. They’ll probably appreciate it. And, you’ll know what they’re bringing.
If you’re making a dish to share, then:
  • I recommend taking something you’ve made successfully before. Trying out a new recipe can be unpredictable and stressful. By using a familiar recipe, you’ll be confident that everyone will love your dish.
  • If you have any dietary restrictions, take a dish on your plan. That way you’ll have something you know you can eat. It’s a win-win.
  • How about making a twist on a favorite, traditional recipe like loaded potato casserole, instead of mashed potatoes?

Now, onto my top recipes!

Top 5 Thanksgiving Recipes

Turkey Buttermilk Brine

Thanksgiving dinner

The turkey is the star of the show at Thanksgiving Dinner. Obviously, the goal here is a tender and juicy, perfectly browned turkey. Did you know it starts with a quality brine? A good brine ensures a higher moisture level within the turkey.

This brine recipe uses buttermilk in the ingredients. Now, you might wonder how buttermilk belongs in a brine? Chances are that the best fried chicken you’ve ever had was brined in buttermilk. It’s perfect for flavoring poultry and pork, and the salty brine ensures it’s tender and juicy.

Menu

Turkey Buttermilk Brine

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Make Ahead
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 14 servings
Calories: 190kcal
Soaking the turkey in a saltwater brine produces tender, juicy meat. This brine includes buttermilk, which adds flavor to the turkey and helps keep the meat incredibly moist.
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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 5 Tbs. dried basil
  • 5 Tbs. coriander seeds
  • 2 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • 2 Tbs. yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbs. granulated garlic
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 quarts buttermilk
  • 1 fresh turkey, 16 to 18 lbs, neck and giblets removed

Instructions

  • In a saucepan over high heat, combine the salt, basil, coriander, peppercorns, mustard seeds, granulated garlic and bay leaves with the water and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the salt is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. In a large pot, stir together the cooled brine mixture and buttermilk.
  • Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and place in a large brining bag. Carefully pour the buttermilk brine mixture into the bag. Seal the bag, pressing out the air, and place in a large stockpot or other container large enough to hold the turkey. Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours, turning occasionally.
  • Remove the turkey from the brine, Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Let the turkey stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting. Follow turkey directions for roasting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 6353mg | Potassium: 463mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 465IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 372mg | Iron: 2mg

Sourdough Stuffing

Thanksgiving dinner

Truth be told, stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving dinner side. And, because of that, I’ve spent a lot of time finding the perfect recipe for it.

What I’ve found is that sourdough provides an ideal base for stuffing. It’s tasty and hearty, with good flavor. Plus, it holds it’s shape well during roasting.

Sourdough Stuffing

Sourdough Stuffing

Course: Side Dish, Sourdough
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Casserole, Make Ahead, One Pot Meal, Side Dish, Sourdough
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 154kcal
Although this recipe calls for dried sourdough bread cubes, you can substitute regular bread cubes for this. 
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Equipment

  • Casserole dish

Ingredients

  • 8 cups Sourdough dried bread cubes, seasoned (see note below)
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups broth, chicken or turkey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Instructions

  • Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat until oil is shimmering. Add onions and celery. Saute for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent and celery is softened. 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • While vegetables are sautéing, add bread cubes to a very large bowl. Add parsley and salt. Mix eggs in with the broth until well blended. Slowly add broth, lemon juice, and butter while stirring. 
  • Place in 4 qt casserole dish (or 11 x 13′). Add lid or cover with foil (spray the underside of the foil with cooking spray to keep the stuffing from sticking). Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir stuffing, and return to oven uncovered. Bake for 20  minutes longer. 

Notes

If your bread cubes are unseasoned, season with 2 tsp ground sage and 2 tsp dry thyme. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 154kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 616mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 720IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg

Loaded Potato Casserole

loaded potato casserole

Are you looking to prep ahead or take a dish to share for Thanksgiving dinner? If so, then this is the one! These loaded potatoes are oh so yummy. And, thanks to the Instant Pot, they’re quick and easy, too. But, you can even make them without an Instant Pot. Just boil your potatoes, and follow the recipe from there.

Instant Pot Loaded Potato Casserole

Course: Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Casserole, Easy Dinner, Instant Pot, loaded potatoes, Make Ahead, One Pot Meal
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 390kcal
Easy Instant Pot Loaded Potato Casserole is a comforting dish made with cheese, bacon, and green onion. It's ready in 30 minutes and perfect for family dinners!
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Equipment

  • Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker) ** See notes to make without a pressure cooker**

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2" chunks
  • 1 ½ sticks butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning mix (see notes for substitutions)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped (green parts only)
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, approx ¾ cup (can sub with chopped ham or turkey)

Instructions

  • Add the scrubbed and chopped potatoes, hot water, and butter to the Instant Pot. Add lid, close sealing lever, and cook at high pressure for 7 minutes. After the pressure cycle is complete, allow to naturally release for 10 minutes then initiate a quick release.
  • Mash potatoes with a potato masher in the pot. Stir in milk, sour cream, ranch mix, cheese, and half the green onions. Add the bacon and green onion on top as garnish before serving.

To serve as a casserole:

  • If you prefer to serve this as a casserole, add to a casserole dish and bake at 350º for 15-20 minutes. Top with the green onion and bacon.

Notes

This dish can be made ahead. After step one, allow potatoes to cool. Place potatoes into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and refrigerate for 1-3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.  To serve, thaw frozen potatoes in the refrigerator. Then mix with ingredients from step two and bake as directed in step three.
To make this without an Instant Pot: Boil the potatoes in a large stock pot with 2 tsp salt added to the water. When the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, drain potatoes. Continue on to Step 2, increasing milk to 2 1/2 cups (adding  more if necessary).
Ranch seasoning substitute: 2 Tablespoons Buttermilk Powder (optional), 1 Tablespoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried chives, 2 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried dill. Mix together.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 672mg | Potassium: 887mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 651IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 166mg | Iron: 2mg

Grandma’s Potato Rolls

Thanksgiving

These rolls are nothing short of amazing. Seriously. This is my go-to recipe for rolls, time permitting. If I’m short on time, though, I use Bridgford’s Parkerhouse Rolls.

These rolls are called Grandma’s Potato Rolls for a good reason. They taste just like those incredible rolls your grandma used to make. But, they come with a warning: once you make them everyone will want them again!

grandma's potato rolls

Grandma’s Potato Rolls

Course: Side Dish
Keyword: Rolls, Bread
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Rising Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 39 rolls
Although this recipe calls for all-purpose flour, I have used Kamur flour with great results. 
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp (1 envelope) yeast
  • 1 large potato
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup melted butter
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Wash, slice and boil potato in a sauce pan until tender. Be sure to use plenty of water but no salt! Remove boiled potato and mash. Set aside 1 cup mashed potatoes.Pour potato water into measuring cup. Set aside 1 1/2 cups potato water.
  • In a custard cup, dissolve 1/4 cup warm water and yeast. Mix until yeast is dissolved. Add a dash of sugar to test yeast. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine lukewarm potato water, sugar, salt and yeast mixture. Begin mixing with dough attachment on stand mixer. Add lukewarm butter and eggs. Continue mixing.Add lukewarm mashed potatoes and gradually add in 1 cup of flour.Mix thoroughly adding remaining flour 1 cup at a time. Continue mixing between each cup of flour. Dough will begin forming a ball. Knead dough in stand mixer or by hand for 5 -10 minutes.
  • Place dough in lightly greased bowl to rise. Lightly grease top of dough and cover with a towel. Place dough in warm place and let rise for 2 hours. Punch down. Begin rise #2 or dough can be refrigerated overnight. Remove from refrigerator and place dough in warm place. Rise for 2 hours.2 hours before baking, shape dough into desired rolls.Place dough on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in size.
  • Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes. Butter tops of each roll after baking to preserve soft crust. Serve warm.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

I just love this recipe for cranberry sauce! Because it’s super easy recipe and only takes 15 minutes. Plus, it’s the perfect made ahead because it tastes even better if you do!

So this year, skip the canned cranberry sauce and make your own with this recipe. It is the perfect mix between jelled cranberries and whole cranberry sauce.

https://thepioneerwoman.com/food-and-friends/thanksgiving-dinner-how-to-make-cranberry-sauce/

Now that I’ve shared my fave recipes, I hope you’ll make something special. After all, Thanksgiving is a real “foodie” day.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

Do you need more Thanksgiving dinner inspiration? Then, here are some previous Thanksgiving posts:

https://thefeatherednester.com/easy-pumpkin-spice-bread-twist/

https://thefeatherednester.com/happy-thanksgiving-everyone/

https://thefeatherednester.com/november-menu-and-meals-with-recipe-links/

If you are on social media and use my recipes, please tag me @thefeatherednester or #thefeatherednester. I’d love to share your photos!

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