This Ultimate Traditional Thanksgiving Menu has everything you need to make sure you have an unforgettable holiday meal, including vegan options. You’ll find the ultimate turkey recipe, comforting side dishes, salads, desserts, epic cocktails, and more.
Are you a creature of habit or do you like to change things up when it comes to holiday meals? I’m a combination of both. I like to keep the same main entree, maybe 1 or 2 family staples that have major memories attached to them, and then everything else is up for game.
The past couple of years we have hosted Thanksgiving and I absolutely love it. We’ll invite friends and family, warm up our pool, make two different two different turkeys (because now that we are in Texas my husband insists on frying out turkey) and then just hang out eating, watching football and watching the kids swim. It’s awesome!
Throughout those years of hosting, I’ve developed a pretty handy repertoire of Thanksgiving recipes, both traditional staples and new ideas that have become traditions for us.
What Vegan Dishes Are Good for Thanksgiving?
Let’s be real, most traditional Thanksgiving recipes are not vegan-friendly. Turkey…mashed potatoes loaded with butter or sour cream…casseroles topped with cheese…none of those are exactly vegan.
But, don’t stress. There are plenty of vegan Thanksgiving options out there and while this round-up is not exclusively vegan, I did make sure to include as many vegan options as possible.
For starters, cauliflower steaks make a great main dish alternative to turkey and many of the vegetable sides and salads are vegan or can easily be made vegan as well. And, of course, don’t forget the cocktails!
Thanksgiving Make Ahead Tips
Hosting Thanksgiving can be a big undertaking, even with this traditional Thanksgiving menu. My secret to hosting without breaking a sweat? Prep as much as possible in advance!
While most of the recipes will have specific and detailed make ahead instructions in the post, here are a few general guidelines:
- Turkeys need to start thawing days in advance. Depending on the size of your turkey, you may need to start thinking about this up to a week in advance.
- Some casseroles can be assembled in advance. This varies but most casseroles can be assembled then covered and refrigerated to bake the next day.
- Desserts can be made a day or two ahead. Most desserts require lots of chill time so I definitely recommend baking your pies, cookies, and bars at least a day in advance.
- Prep ingredients where possible. If you can’t prepare the whole recipe in advance, you can still chop the veggies and other ingredients to have everything ready to go.
Bon Appetit friends and Happy Thanksgiving!
And now, let’s dive into the exact menus I recommend for this traditional Thanksgiving menu!
Festive Antipasto Skewers Christmas Wreath
You don’t have to wait until Christmas to make this Antipasto Skewers Wreath! Thanksgiving is the perfect time to make it. It makes a great appetizer for guests to snack on while the big meal finishes cooking.
How to Make an EPIC Holiday Cheese Board
This Epic Holiday Cheese Board is loaded with so much more than just cheese! It’s the perfect compliment to the antipasto appetizer above but it also stands on its own just fine. And despite how fancy it looks, it’s super simple to assemble!
The BEST Cheesy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
Featuring baby bella mushrooms stuffed with a cream cheese and sausage mixture, these Cheesy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms are both easy and elegant.
Bacon Wrapped Figs with Herb Goat Cheese
These Bacon Wrapped Figs with Herb Goat Cheese may look and sound fancy but you’ll likely be surprised at how easy that are to make. Sweet and salty, these are always a guest favorite.
Crockpot Cranberry BBQ Meatballs
Cranberry BBQ Meatballs are a classic holiday appetizer! Serve on mini forks for a grab-and-go appetizer everyone will love.
Smoked Gouda & Apple Crostini with Honey Drizzle
Sweet, savory, salty, and crunchy, these Smoked Gouda & Apple Crostini check all the boxes. Plus they’re made with just 5 ingredients!
Easy, No Fuss Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe
What’s a traditional Thanksgiving menu without a turkey?! There’s a reason this is the BEST Thanksgiving Turkey recipe. Once you try this turkey slathered with garlic herb butter and browned to perfection, you’ll never look for another turkey recipe again.
Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Cranberry Apple Chutney
Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with cranberry apple chutney are the perfect vegan (or vegetarian) main entree for Thanksgiving. The chutney offers a festive twist and the cauliflower itself is crunchy and full of flavor.
Best Ever Cornbread Sausage Stuffing Recipe
Made with cornbread, Italian sausage, veggies, cranberries, and herbs, this Cornbread Sausage Stuffing is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Not to mention easy to prepare!
Maple Dijon Roasted Butternut Squash Brussel Sprout Salad
This Roasted Butternut Squash Brussel Sprout Salad combines several of the best fall flavors and ingredients into one, for a show-stopping salad guests will rave about for years to come.
Turkey Gravy Recipe without Drippings
No turkey drippings? No problem. This Turkey Gravy is made from scratch without any drippings in just 15 minutes. And the best part? It can even be made ahead!
Homemade Maple Cranberry Sauce
Traditional cranberry sauce gets a fun makeover in this Homemade Maple Cranberry sauce recipe, made with just 6 ingredients. With citrus undertones from orange juice and sweetness from maple syrup, it’s sweet yet tart and sure to be a hit.
Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes
Spruce up your basic mashed potatoes with this Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes recipe. Thick and buttery, these potatoes have just a hint of tang from the sour cream and no shortage of flavor.
Best Spinach Salad with Apple, Pecans and Gorgonzola Cheese
With apples, candied pecans, and pomegranate, this Spinach Salad is filled with the flavors of fall. The champagne vinaigrette drizzle turns it into an elevated, elegant side – despite the fact it requires 5 minutes to prepare.
Crispy Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic
Brussels sprouts fans will love this recipe. This Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts are topped with savory balsamic for an irresistibly crispy and tasty side in just minutes.
Warm Fall Farro Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing
This Warm Fall Farro Salad isn’t your basic Thanksgiving side salad. It’s made with nutty farro, roasted butternut squash, cranberries, pepita seeds, and arugula, then topped with a sweet and zesty maple dijon dressing.
The Ultimate Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Classic green bean casserole gets a makeover in this skillet green bean casserole recipe. Made with bacon and homemade fried onions, it’s even better than the original version.
Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
With a garlicky cream sauce and two kids of cheese, there’s no denying this Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes recipe is ultimate comfort food. It’s been a hit at every holiday I’ve served it at!
The Best Apple Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
Featuring roasted acorn squash filled with a sausage and apple filling and topped with pomegranate, this Apple Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash is a beautiful addition to any meal. Cozy, comforting, and easy to make.
Healthy Cranberry Apple Brussel Sprout Salad
With butternut squash, cranberries, goat cheese, and pepitas, this Cranberry Apple Brussel Sprout Salad is a unique and flavorful side salad that’s perfect for Thanksgiving.
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Oatmeal Pecan Streusel
Twice Baked Potatoes with Oatmeal Pecan Streusel are a simple alternative to classic sweet potato casserole. The crunchy topping pairs so well with the soft, tender potatoes.
Bacon Cauliflower Au Gratin
Bacon cauliflower au gratin is a fun twist on classic potatoes au gratin, with cauliflower tossed in a creamy white cheddar cheese sauce and topped with bacon. A guaranteed hit, even for those who aren’t big cauliflower fans.
Mandarin Orange Cranberry Salad
Sweet and spicy with a satisfying crunch, this Mandarin Orange Cranberry Salad is a quick, easy Thanksgiving side dish. Topped with candied pecans for added flavor and crunch.
Must Make Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bars
Rich, creamy, and perfectly spiced, this Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bars are a must-make for all Thanksgiving tables! Made with coconut milk, pumpkin puree, and an almond flour crust, this might be the only vegan Thanksgiving dessert recipe you ever need.
Homemade Pecan Pie (no corn syrup)
This Homemade Pecan Pie is easy to make, with absolutely no corn syrup needed! Instead it’s made with maple syrup, Splenda brown sugar, fall spices, and eggs to recreate that very same classic texture.
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Pecan Crust
These Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes are the perfect Thanksgiving dessert for sharing. With a creamy pumpkin spice cheesecake filling in a crunchy pecan crust, these bite-sized cheesecakes are even easier than regular cheesecake.
Easy Moist Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Made with whole wheat flour, cinnamon, apples, and a crumbly nut topping, this Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake can be served for Thanksgiving breakfast or dessert. Tender, moist, and perfectly spiced.
Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake
Though it may appear elegant and fancy, this Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake is a Thanksgiving dessert that anyone can make. Fluffy vanilla cake is filled with pears then topped with a crunchy brown sugar topping for a truly unforgettable dessert.
Cardamom Apple Galette with Maple Mascarpone
This Cardamom Apple Galette is a rustic dessert that offers up all the flavors of apple pie, with none of the work. It’s gluten-free too!
The Ultimate Food and Wine Pairing Guide for the Holidays
Trying to decide what wine you should serve with Thanksgiving dinner? While not exactly a recipe, this Food and Wine Pairing Guide will help you choose the perfect wine for your holiday dinner.
Christmas Holiday Sangria
This holiday sangria is just as lovely at Thanksgiving as it is at Christmas! With citrus, pomegranate, pear, and cinnamon, this is truly the best sangria for the holidays and ideal for serving a crowd.
Harvest Apple Bourbon Cocktail in a Pitcher
Made with cinnamon-infused bourbon, apple juice, and topo chico, this Harvest Apple Bourbon Cocktail is festive and refreshing. Easy to serve to a crowd!
Spiked Hot Apple Cider
For a warm drink option, you can’t go wrong with this Spiked Hot Apple Cider. With ingredients like cinnamon sticks, star anise, clove, allspice, fresh oranges, and rum, it’s filled with cozy flavors that will hit the spot on a chilly November day.
Sparkling Pomegranate Mimosas
Made with just 4 ingredients, these Sparkling Pomegranate Mimosas are a light and fruity cocktail. Enjoy while you cook on Thanksgiving or after dinner.