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Simplify Thanksgiving this year with these Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes! We’ve compiled the best and easiest Thanksgiving appetizers, side dishes and desserts for you. Make all of them for a full Thanksgiving dinner menu or just pick and choose your favorites.
I’ve broken down an easy Thanksgiving dinner into digestible categories. If you are serving a crowd, you can make this whole menu, or you can pick and choose a few from each section. This will give you a well-rounded and satisfying meal!
You could also give a quick look to my Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Menu for more ideas. That menu has a full prep plan to tell you when to make each dish for an easy Thanksgiving!
Table of Contents
Why You Will Love these Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes
- Simple, easy to follow recipes. A professional chef guides you through only the easiest dishes for Thanksgiving. Many have under 5 ingredients and can be prepared in under 30 minutes.
- Professional tips and recipe tutorials. My vast experience is here for you! I share all the lessons I’ve learned over the years in professional kitchens and making Thanksgiving dinner on a large scale!
- Broken down in a stress-free way to help you create the perfect menu. I’ve done the heavy lifting of sifting, testing and re-testing, so that you can pick as many recipes as you need from each section. Et voilà, the perfect easy Thanksgiving menu! [None of these recipes actually require sifting, because no easy recipe starts with sifting!]
Frequently Asked Questions
The most basic Thanksgiving dinner includes turkey, steamed corn, stuffing, potatoes or sweet potatoes, a vegetable side dish and bread. At least one type of pie is typically served for dessert but some people skip dessert all together.
People agree that the 2 most popular Thanksgiving dishes are turkey and mashed potatoes, but the third is up for debate. There is a tie between green bean casserole and stuffing.
The best way to simplify Thanksgiving is to plan, prepare ahead of time and make easy dishes.
Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes
I’ve broken each course of a Thanksgiving dinner menu down by section, so you can easily pick and choose your favorites or make them all for a plentiful, yet easy, dinner! There are classic side dishes mixed in with some easy new favorites!
Easy Thanksgiving Cocktails
Here is a small selection of festive cocktails for Thanksgiving. They are all easy to make in large batches, so you can focus on keeping the conversation flowing without a cocktail shaker in hand!
Greet guests with a bright red, pomegranate Thanksgiving Sangria from A Paige of Positivity and start the dinner off with a smile. It is easy to make ahead and can be made in 5 minutes!
No one does mocktail recipes like Elizabeth from Entirely Elizabeth. This Apple Cider Sangria Mocktail has all the flavors of your favorite Fall cocktail, alcohol-free! Guests will appreciate the option to sip something special without the alcohol or sparkling grape juice.
Apple Cider Sangria Mocktail
I was only going to share one sangria recipe but this Fall Harvest Sangria recipe from The Crumby Kitchen is just too beautiful and unexpected not to share! It has pears, apples, figs and starfruit with just the right amount of spice. I say mix up a white and a red sangria and let your guests decide!
Spiced Fall Sangria
Simple Appetizers for Thanksgiving
Don’t overthink the Thanksgiving appetizers; everyone is here for the company and the main event! You want people to have a little something to nibble on while the bird finishes roasting (or frying)! Pick one or two from the list below or skip the appetizers all together. No one will complain when they have more room for pie later!
I like to think of these easy Sweet Potato Bites from Food, Fun & Faraway Places as a flavorful teaser for the meal to come! A tiny bite of sweet potato, cranberry sauce, goat cheese and a crunchy walnut topping!
Sweet Potato Bites
It isn’t a Winter party without a fun baked brie. This Brown Butter Fig Baked Brie from The Crumby Kitchen is as unexpected as it is flavorful. Figs, caramelized pears and crunchy pecans bring this easy baked brie dish together.
Brown Butter Fig & Pear Baked Brie
Say hello to your new favorite appetizer! There is something so simple and unexpected about the combination of salty prosciutto and perfectly cooked broccoli. These Prosciutto Wrapped Broccoli are Luci’s Morsels’ fun (and better) twist on prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Genius.
Prosciutto Wrapped Broccoli Appetizer
These easy Bacon Cheese Crescent Tartlets are made with Crescent dough and a perfect combination of savory toppings. Crispy, buttery tartlets filled with smoky cheese, salty bacon, and green onions!
Bacon Cheese Crescent Tartlets
Perfect Roasted Turkey
This roasted turkey has chopped herbs between the breast meat and the skin, so the whole turkey is flavored with herbs and butter! The recipe is incredibly easy and flavorful, and I filmed a turkey tutorial to make it as foolproof as possible for you as you cook your easy Thanksgiving dinner!
You could also make a roasted chicken if you are only having a small gathering or don’t care for turkey.
Roasted Herb Turkey
Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Only the easiest, most delicious side dishes made this list! These are the ones you could pull together without any stress or prep the day before, but you could also prepare them all ahead and just bake on Thanksgiving day! You can also peruse the 30 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes for more inspiration.
This easy vegetable casserole recipe is made with thawed frozen veggies for the easiest Thanksgiving side dish with a surprisingly complex flavor. Only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep time!
Easy Vegetable Casserole
This hasselback sweet potato casserole is as easy as slicing and baking. The topping is mixed by hand in one bowl and then crumbled on top during the final baking. You could even simplify the dish further by slicing the sweet potatoes on a mandolin! Just arrange them in the dish and call it a day.
It is a healthier version of traditional sweet potato casserole, so it has all the flavors you love with a fraction of the calories.
Hasselback Sweet Potato Casserole
I am a card-carrying member of the Stove-Top Lovers Club, so you know I support your box-mix choices. However, if you want to make a homemade stuffing this year, this classic cornbread stuffing is easy and delicious. It requires less prep than my apple sausage stuffing or mushroom cornbread stuffing, but it is just as delicious!
Classic Cornbread Stuffing
For a healthy alternative to sweet potato casserole with pecans, try these stuffed sweet potatoes! Baked (or microwaved) sweet potatoes topped with sauteed shallots, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and broccoli!
Vegetarian Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Opt for an easy, one bowl sweet Southern cornbread instead of the more time-consuming potato dinner rolls or spiced pumpkin dinner rolls. Sometimes we aren’t up for any type of yeasted bread, even something as simple as my easy dinner rolls.
Sweet Southern Cornbread
There are only 5 ingredients plus spices in this easy cranberry chutney recipe. The tart, fragrant sauce pulls all the different side dishes together and adds a welcome burst of acidity. This is great to make ahead, but it is also wonderful to have cooking when guest arrive because the aroma fills the air!
If you are already roasting a whole bird for this year’s Thanksgiving Menu Plan, then why not make a flavorful Gravy from the Pan Drippings? This easy recipe can be made with any pan drippings and I give you all the cheat codes for making it delicious no matter what happens.
Easy Gravy from Pan Drippings
Simple Vegetable Side Dishes
If you are more the simple, roasted vegetable type, we’ve got you covered. These easy vegetable dishes are healthy and just as flavorful as the more decadent options we’ve include above.
I make this roasted spiced butternut squash at least once a week all Winter long and it is a perfect dish for Thanksgiving. It gives you all the prerequisite squash vibes without any of the guilt or prep.
Roasted Spiced Butternut Squash
These Baked Acorn Squash Halves are baked with a little butter, salt and brown sugar for a slightly indulgent side dish! This baked acorn squash recipe is incredibly easy to prepare and reheats nicely for left overs. A great alternative to mashed sweet potatoes!
Baked Acorn Squash Halves
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
These pan roasted brussels sprouts and leeks make for a beautiful and flavorful vegetable side dish! There is a lime ginger butter that will have guests saying, “pass the Brussels sprouts, please!”
Brussels Sprouts and Leeks with Lime-Ginger Butter
A salad is a nice break from the typical heavy Thanksgiving fare, but make it a festive, delicious one like this Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese from the Honour System. Healthy, flavorful and bright!
Arugula Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Easy Thanksgiving Desserts
If you are new around here, then let me be the first to tell you that I am a professional pastry chef and there is no shortage of dessert recipes on this site. If none of these easy options pique your interest, we have the 20 Best Thanksgiving Pie Recipes, 21 Best Apple Dessert Recipes or even a whole collection of Thanksgiving Dessert Cupcake Recipes!
This flavorful, well-spiced easy pumpkin pie is all whisked together in one bowl and is made with sweetened condensed milk. Bake it in a store-bought pie crust for the easiest dessert you’ve made all year, or try your hand at my foolproof vodka pie crust. You might also want to look at these 10 Easy Pumpkin Desserts for more ideas.
Easy Pumpkin Pie
There is nothing quite so simple or satisfying as an apple crisp. This easy apple crisp has a brown sugar oat topping that is sweet and crunchy and a tart, cinnamon apple filling. Serve it with a huge scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for the perfect easy Thanksgiving dessert.
Easy Apple Crisp
This pumpkin bread pudding has all the flavor of pumpkin pie but is even easier! Yes, easier than pie! Simply whisk together all the ingredients for the custard, pour over the bread and bake. I love to service this with a generous spoonful of crème anglaise! You could even add a splash of Bourbon to that for the adult table!
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Make a large tray of these pecan pie bars ahead for the perfect slice and bake Thanksgiving dessert. The process is simple and the results are life-changing. Maybe even pass a plate around the table for a quick bite after dinner while people wait for dessert.