80+ Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

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It's time!! Per tradition, What's Gaby Cooking turns into Thanksgiving central every year and this year is no different! Planning what to make and coming up with Thanksgiving dinner ideas is a lot of work. On a typical year I usually cook 3-4 Thanksgivings for What’s Gaby Cooking before the big day, capping it off by hosting a 50+ person Friendsgiving bash - and THEN thanksgiving. Let's debrief all the goodness that already exists on WGC and prepare for what is to come! This year we're getting 8 new side dishes, 2 new desserts and we're going HARD on the Turkey Meatballs!

This year is also exciting because all Thanksgiving recipes on WGC will include details on how to prep as much ahead as possible and instructions on how to reheat on the big day.

Thanksgiving Menu + Prep Schedule from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@Whatsgabycookin)


Why I am a Thanksgiving Expert

Over the years I have perfected:

  • How to enjoy the day without any stress in the kitchen
  • The easy way to not let your turkey dry out
  • Traditional Thanksgiving side dishes that will leave everyone begging for the recipe
  • Mashed Potatoes to make you weak in the knees
  • How to cook Thanksgiving dinner for 50 people in an apartment kitchen

Whether you're searching everywhere for how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey or asking yourself what is the most popular Thanksgiving side dish we have you covered. Here is my ultimate Thanksgiving dinner list that is bound to have a little something on it for everyone. I also have a Thanksgiving prep schedule which does wonders to make the day less stressful so you can actually enjoy the time with your friends and family.

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Herb Roasted Potatoes

Potato Recipes

Looking for how to make mashed potatoes for your holiday dinner? Or thinking about serving cheesy potatoes au gratin this year? Well, look no further.

Mashed Potatoes

The BEST Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes and Potatoes au Gratin

Sweetpotato Gratin

Cheesy Potato Gratin

Hasselback Scalloped Potatoes

Roasted Potatoes

Garlic Herb Sweetpotato Fries

Herb Roasted Baby Potatoes

Herb Smashed Potatoes

Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

Potato Salad

German Potato Salad

Greek Potato Salad

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Brussels Sprouts

No matter if your family traditionally makes roasted brussels sprouts, sautéed brussels sprouts, or brussels sprouts with bacon for Thanksgiving dinner, here are three classic ways of how to cook brussels sprouts.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese
Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Mac and Cheese

These mac and cheese recipes are going to go fast at your Thanksgiving dinner table. That's why I've got a couple of baked mac and cheese and stovetop mac and cheese recipes for you to choose from. Plus mac and cheese is an EXCELLENT vegetarian option or great for guests that don’t like turkey.

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

Four Cheese Stovetop Mac and Cheese

The Ultimate Mac and Cheese

Wild Mushroom Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Thanksgiving Dinner Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Stuffing Recipes

Stuffing is hands down the best side dish on any Thanksgiving dinner table. Whether you like making it with a loaf of stale bread or you prefer cornbread stuffing I've got recipes for both. You seriously can't go wrong with any of these stuffing recipes just drizzle a bit of my homemade gravy on top and you're golden!

Wild Mushroom Stuffing

Rustic Herb Skillet Stuffing

Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage

Kale and Mushroom Bread Pudding

Thanksgiving dinner Homemade Turkey Gravy from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Zesty Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving Dinner from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Gravy and Cranberry Sauce

If you want to learn how to make turkey gravy I have a fool proof recipe that’s going to be your new bff. I promise you’ll be the star of the show with this gravy recipe. Or check out my make ahead cranberry sauce which I like to make the weekend before Thanksgiving so I have one last thing to cook the day of.

Homemade Turkey Gravy

Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce

Adam's Green Bean Salad from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Roasted Acorn Squash from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Vegetable Recipes

Can't forget about the vegetables! Don't worry, I've got you covered with the best green bean recipes, pumpkin recipes, roasted carrots, and creamed kale!

Green Bean Recipes

Spicy Garlic Green Beans

Adam’s Green Bean Salad

Roasted Carrots

Charred Carrots with Herbs

Pumpkin Recipes

Roasted Acorn Squash

Brown Butter Roasted Pumpkin

12 Mouthwatering Pumpkin Recipes for Fall


Peas and Pancetta with Lemon

Cheesy Creamed Kale

Fall Farmers Market Salad from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)


The perfect fall inspired salads to add a fresh pop of color to your dinner table.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Fall Harvest Salad

Persimmon Caprese Salad

Fall Farmers Market Salad

Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Parmesan Cheddar Chive Biscuits for Thanksgiving Dinner from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Dinner Rolls and Bread

Dinner rolls and biscuits are the perfect way to sop up any extra gravy. Making homemade dinner rolls or biscuits for dinner takes a little more time but I promise it's so worth it.

Homemade Garlic Herb Rolls

Parmesan Cheddar Chive Biscuits

Herb and Cheese Popovers

Super Easy Cheesy Monkey Bread

Garlic and Herb Parmesan Biscuits

Cheesy Pesto Pull Apart Bread

Roasted Turkey Breast for Thanksgiving Dinner from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Thanksgiving Dinner Herb Roasted Turkey from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Thanksgiving Turkey

Need help with how to cook a turkey? I've got just the guide for you that breaks it all down! Wondering how to brine a turkey or if it's even necessary? Check out my favorite turkey brine that couldn't be easier!

Herb Roasted Turkey

Citrus and Herb Roasted Turkey

Herb Roasted Spatchcock Turkey

Roasted Turkey Breast

Easy Turkey Brine

Thanksgiving Meatballs

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Dad's Roasted Cornish Hens from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Turkey Alternatives

If you're not a fan of turkey, cooking for vegetarians, or just don't want to cook a 16 lb bird for Thanksgiving dinner this year I've put together a few delicious substitutes for a Thanksgiving Turkey.

Dad’s Roasted Cornish Hens

Vegetable Lasagna

Stacked Eggplant Parmesan

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

Thanksgiving Dinner Cocktails Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Thanksgiving Dinner Cocktails Thyme Apple Cider Spritz from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Cocktails and Drinks

We all need a little cocktail, mocktail, or two around the holidays, am I right? All of these festive drinks are super easy to whip up on a moments notice and great to serve at your Thanksgiving dinner!

Cranberry Sangria

Apple Cranberry Moscow Mule

Thyme Apple Cider Spritz

Strawberry Thyme Lillet Spritzers

What Wines to Serve at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner Cheese Board from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Spanakopita Pie from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)


I like to pick two appetizers to make for Thanksgiving dinner or one big Thanksgiving cheese board. Here are some of my favorite easy Thanksgiving appetizers to make.

Thanksgiving Cheese Board

Baked Brie

Thyme and Garlic Baked Camembert

Thanksgiving Tapas Bar

Spinach Dip

Spanakopita Pie

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

Puff Pastry Apple Galette from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
Sweet Potato Pie


Here's just about everything you could possibly need to make the Thanksgiving dinner dessert moment of your dreams! From Apple desserts, Pumpkin desserts, pies, even cookies and bars you'll be set! Plus a lot of these dessert recipes can be made ahead.

Apple Desserts

Puff Pastry Apple Galette

Cinnamon Apple Cake

Mom’s Famous Apple Crisp

Vanilla Apple Tarts


S’more Pudding Pie

Sweetpotato Pie

Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow Meringue

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

Spiced Pumpkin Donuts

Cookies and Bars

Chocolate Butterscotch Salted Caramel Blondies

Butterscotch and Chocolate Chip Molasses Cookies

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars with Streusel

Leftover Turkey Panini

Leftover Turkey Recipes

If you're already thinking about what you're going to make with all of your leftover turkey check out these recipes.

Leftover Turkey Panini

Turkey Tortilla Soup

15 Leftover Turkey Recipes

Garlic Brussels Sprouts Pasta

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

This post will be your best friend! I put together the most epic Thanksgiving menu that will get rave reviews from all of your guests and I break down the prep schedule in DETAIL! The prep schedule keeps you on track letting you know what needs to be done starting on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and leading up all the way to Thanksgiving day on Thursday. I also talk about how to make recipes ahead of time for Thanksgiving and share all of my tips!

The Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu / Prep Schedule

Friendsgiving Menu

A Complete Guide to Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Tips and Tricks

Sharing all of my last minute tips and tricks I've learned over the years to throwing the perfect Thanksgiving dinner plus my must have kitchen tools like a roasting pan for your turkey.

Last Minute Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Thanksgiving

12 Must Have Thanksgiving Kitchen Tools

Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas: The Best Mashed Potatoes

Author: Gaby Dalkin
5 from 2 votes
Looking for the best creamy mashed potatoes? These mascarpone mashed potatoes will truly knock your socks off!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people +


  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • ½ cup heavy cream or whole milk, plus more if needed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • freshly chopped chives


  • Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are in about 1 inch cubes.
  • Place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to medium low to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender and you can easily pierce them with a fork when touched.
  • Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Place the diced potatoes through a ricer and then place back into the warm pot. Alternatively, if you don't have a ricer, mash the potatoes with a masher and place back into the warm pot
  • Add the cream, butter, Parmesan, mascarpone and garlic and stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper and fold in the chopped chives before serving.


You don’t NEED ricer, but it certainly makes it easier and smoother.  I have this ricer and honestly it makes the best mashed potatoes and it’s inexpensive! It’s going to make your life easier, it’s going to make your potatoes perfectly smooth and it’s going to give you a slight arm workout which, in my mind, is much appreciated considering the amount of calories I consume at Thanksgiving dinner.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 92mg | Potassium: 982mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 637IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @WhatsGabyCookin or tag #whatsgabycooking!

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson 

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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