80+ Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

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It’s time!! WGC turns into Thanksgiving central every year and this year is no different! Planning what to make for Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work. On a typical year I usually cook 3-4 Thanksgiving dinners for What’s Gaby Cooking before the big day, capping it off by hosting a 50+ person Friendsgiving bash – and THEN thanksgiving.

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 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 for Thanksgiving Dinner

Looking for how to make mashed potatoes for your Thanksgiving 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, here are three classic ways of how to cook brussels sprouts.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pomegranate Seeds
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
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 at a Thanksgiving dinner. 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 & 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 dinner 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)

Vegetables for Thanksgiving Dinner

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)

Salads for Thanksgiving Dinner

The perfect fall inspired salads to add a fresh pop of color to your Thanksgiving 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 Thanksgiving 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 Dinner 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
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)

Thanksgiving Dinner 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)

Thanksgiving Dinner Appetizers

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

Thanksgiving Dinner Desserts

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

Thanksgiving Dinner 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

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Looking for the best creamy mashed potatoes? These mascarpone mashed potatoes will truly knock your socks off!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people +


  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/2 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.

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