9 Thanksgiving Recipes You Should Make for a Tastier Holiday | Umami (2024)

For a lot of people, their Thanksgiving menu was set in stone ages ago. From grandma’s Jell-O salad to your crazy uncle’s minced meat pie, tradition can be fickle when it comes to holiday meals.

Don’t get me wrong, some dishes deserve to be eaten every year, and then there are those that sit on the sideboard cold and lonely with barely a spoonful removed. These are the dishes that need to be retired to the dustbin of Thanksgivings past.

The whole point of Thanksgiving is to come together with friends and family to celebrate the things we are thankful for, and the only reason to be thankful for another pan of limp green beans with a few sliced almonds scattered across the top is that by avoiding them there’s more room for pie.

The trick, of course, is to get rid of the recipes nobody likes and replace them with dishes that are so good you want to eat them all year long. BTW, that’s the test, if you finish a dish and you’re secretly thankful you only have to eat it once a year it probably shouldn’t be on your menu.

To help everyone get started, we’ve got nine of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes that are just as delicious on turkey day as they are on any other day of the year.

How to Kick Thanksgiving Off

The game’s on, the bird’s in the smoker, and you’ve got some time to sit back and enjoy yourself. Why not start with a Classic Old Fashioned. There’s nothing that says four day weekend like a little bourbon early in the afternoon, and if you need to entertain people, you can tell them all about the history of the old fashioned.

Once people start arriving it’s a good idea to have something for them to eat and drink. Set out some Caramelized White Onion Bean Dip, it’s a simple appetizer served with crackers and veggies that can be made ahead of time.

If part of your Thanksgiving is figuring out how to put a lid on old family squabbles, pour everyone a mug of Hot Apple Cider Rum Punch. Aged rum, exotic spices, and a little orange will mellow everyone out and help them remember the good times.

Did You Know That Turkey Doesn’t Have to be Boring?

It’s a little known fact, but there’s no law on the books that requires Thanksgiving turkeys to be dry and chewy. I know, it was a surprise to me too. My favorite way to cook a turkey is in the smoker, low and slow, add some hickory wood chips, and the turkey comes out tender and flavorful. Since turkeys are so big, there’s just a hint of smoke in the finished bird that adds just the right amount of flavor to create one of the best turkeys you’ve ever had.

The thing that really makes or breaks a holiday dinner is the sides, and no side dish says traditional Thanksgiving like Wild Rice and Butternut Squash with Dried Cherries. The wild rice and butternut squash are perfect compliments to each other that create something extraordinary when plump little dried cherries are added into the mix.

To irritate the vegetarian in your life and make everyone else happy, make Stuffing with Sausage, Apples, and Dried Cherries. I mean who doesn’t want a little more sausage in their stuffing.

To round the day out whip up some Creamy Mac and Cheese, this isn’t your kids blue box mac and cheese; this recipe uses three kinds of cheese to create a rich mac and cheese that is creamy, gooey, and delicious.

We’ll Say It; Pumpkin Pie is Overrated

There are so many different things you can make for Thanksgiving dessert and while there’s nothing wrong with pumpkin pie, how often do you find yourself longing for canned pumpkin masquerading as a dessert.

The dessert that should be on everyone’s Thanksgiving table is Persimmon Pudding. It’s warm and creamy and is everything that people think they remember about pumpkin pie when they haven’t had a slice in six months.

If you can’t find fresh persimmons make a pan of Cranberry Apple Crisp; it’s a delicious dessert that uses traditional ingredients. Using fresh cranberries elevates the apple crisp, adding color, flavor, and texture.

At the end of the day, just remember that the best way to have a great Thanksgiving is to invite people you like and serve them delicious food.

Check out Umami’s Thanksgiving section for more recipes and stories.

9 Thanksgiving Recipes You Should Make for a Tastier Holiday | Umami (2024)


What are the top 20 Thanksgiving foods in America? ›

Top 20 Thanksgiving Recipes
  • Apple Stuffing.
  • Homemade Buttermilk Cornbread.
  • Asparagus Bake.
  • Creamy Green Bean Casserole.
  • Cranberry Sauce.
  • Creamy Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes.
  • Turkey Gravy.
  • Apple Pie.

What are the 12 most popular Thanksgiving dishes? ›

Scroll through to take a look at our most popular Thanksgiving recipes.
  • 01 of 24. Perfect Turkey. ...
  • 02 of 24. Roasted Brussels Sprouts. ...
  • 03 of 24. Cranberry Sauce. ...
  • 04 of 24. Homemade Mac and Cheese. ...
  • 05 of 24. Sweet Potato Pie. ...
  • 06 of 24. Granny Kat's Pumpkin Roll. ...
  • 07 of 24. Slow Cooker Turkey Breast. ...
  • 08 of 24. Cream Corn Like No Other.
Oct 26, 2023

What is the unhealthiest Thanksgiving food? ›

Worst: Sausage Stuffing

It's often made with fatty processed meat, butter or margarine, and refined bread or rice. It's a high-calorie food that packs a load of fat, carbs, and nitrates, which are cancer-causing. If you add dried cranberries, there's a good chance they're sweetened and add sugar to your stuffing.

What is the most unpopular Thanksgiving food? ›

Jones shared the following on the most disliked traditional Thanksgiving foods ranked by percentage of how many participants didn't like them:
  • Coleslaw — 25.57%
  • Pumpkin pie — 24.28%
  • Mashed potatoes — 18.66%
  • Macaroni and cheese — 17.47%
  • Carrots — 16.98%
  • Apple pie — 16.29%
  • Corn — 15.50%
  • None of these, I like them all.
Nov 13, 2023

What do Californians eat for Thanksgiving? ›

While turkey is a staple on most Thanksgiving tables across America, Californians often opt for fresh, locally sourced turkeys or even try alternative proteins like roasted duck or quail. In addition to the main protein, Californians love to incorporate seasonal vegetables into their Thanksgiving feasts.

What is a basic Thanksgiving dinner menu? ›

Traditional Thanksgiving dinner includes Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing (or “dressing”), and some kind of pie for dessert, typically pumpkin, apple, or pecan. Common sides are green bean casserole, scalloped corn, and roasted sweet potatoes.

What should a guest bring to Thanksgiving? ›

Here are a couple of suggestions:
  • Flowers (arranged in a vase or container)
  • Cornucopia.
  • Box of chocolates.
  • Box of teas.
  • Gourmet treats like specialty cheeses, jam containers, crackers or a beautifully packaged gourmet gift basket.
  • Wine.
  • Holiday drink mix.
  • Book.
Nov 16, 2023

What is America's favorite Thanksgiving side dish? ›

What is America's favorite Thanksgiving side? Mashed potatoes took home the top spot for this year's favorite side. The top five most popular holiday side dishes include: Mashed potatoes.

What are 4 other traditional Thanksgiving foods? ›

The classic Thanksgiving dinner includes old-time favorites that never change: turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, and pie. But the way these dishes are made or added to is everchanging because of food trends and different dietary requirements.

What are Americans favorite Thanksgiving foods? ›

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and though the turkey (or ham) might take top billing, everyone knows the sides are the true stars of the table. What would our national holiday be without stuffing and sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese, green beans and rolls?

What are the 3 traditional foods Americans eat during Thanksgiving? ›

Along with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry the "traditional" table now included white bread, apple pie, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and various fruit pies.

What are 3 main foods on Thanksgiving? ›

Many Americans would regard Thanksgiving dinner as "incomplete" without stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, and cranberry sauce. A recipe for cranberry sauce to be served with turkey appeared in the first American cookbook, American Cookery (1796) by Amelia Simmons.

What are 3 foods that are eaten on Thanksgiving? ›

Millions of people across the United States will sit down to a traditional Thanksgiving meal, including turkey, potatoes, squash, corn, and cranberries.

What are the most popular Thanksgiving side dishes? ›

First things first: If you're going for the most quintessential Thanksgiving, you've got to have the classics. We're talking stuffing, sweet potato casserole, gravy, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce


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