This Thanksgiving will be your easiest yet thanks to our complete menu that includes turkey and all the trimmings.
cranberry sauce sweet potatoes
Credit: Maria Robledo

In most families, there's no diverging from the classic menu—turkey and all the trimmings—and thank goodness for that. With many of the beloved foods gracing the table just once a year, replacing them with newfangled creations would surely disappoint. Indeed, the biggest crowd-pleasers are often the standards that have emerged from the family kitchen for generations.

Our comprehensive Thanksgiving menu has every dish you're looking for, but it's designed to be adaptable if certain variations do arise. You can prepare it entirely or choose individual recipes, weaving them into your customary spread.

And as any cook will admit, getting every Thanksgiving dish to the table at once is an exercise in master planning. Half the battle is knowing which elements can be prepared days before the first guest arrives and which should be finished on the stove while the bird roasts in the oven. Our tried-and-true schedule for managing the feast will help you pull the holiday off sans stress.

Our Best Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

thanksgiving turkey with apples on platter
Credit: Maria Robledo

Entrée: Classic Brined and Roasted Turkey

Before roasting, our Classic Brined and Roasted Turkey is loosely packed with stuffing, then covered with cheesecloth soaked with butter and white wine. The cheesecloth keeps the meat juicy and encourages the skin to brown evenly. For intense depth of flavor, the gravy is made from roasted giblets and a golden-brown roux.

For serving, the roasted turkey is surrounded by crab apples and rosemary and sage sprigs.

homemade stuffing in a serving dish
Credit: Maria Robledo

Side: Chestnut Stuffing

Studded with chestnuts and flavored with parsley and and sage, this Chestnut Stuffing can be baked inside and outside of the turkey. When cooked separately, this favorite side dish acquires a golden, crouton-like crust in the oven.

dish of fresh green beans cooked
Credit: Maria Robledo

Side: Tarragon Green Beans

Simply cooked on the stovetop with butter, shallots, and white wine, our Tarragon Green Beans are finished with a sprinkling of tarragon. The fresh herb gives the side a distinctive bittersweet flavor that sets it apart from other iterations.

mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts
Credit: Maria Robledo

Sides: Brussels Sprouts With Lemon and Walnuts and Easy Mashed Potatoes

For Brussels Sprouts With Lemon and Walnuts, the Brussels are sautéed in butter along with garlic, while lemon juice adds a pop of brightness. Our other stellar side is Easy Mashed Potatoes. Cooked Yukon Gold potatoes are mixed with butter and milk to create creamy mashed potatoes.

cranberry sauce sweet potatoes
Credit: Maria Robledo

Sides: Cranberry-Orange Sauce and Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Navel orange segments and fresh ginger turn a bag of cranberries into our standout Cranberry-Orange Sauce. But perhaps our most innovative side dish is Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes. In our clever reworking of the mini-marshmallow-topped casserole, the potatoes are baked and mashed; the flesh is then returned to the jackets and gilded with pecans and fluffy marshmallows. It's a dish that's altogether familiar, yet new.

fresh pies pumpkin dessert table
Credit: Maria Robledo

Desserts: Classic Pumpkin Pie and Old-Fashioned Apple Pie

No Thanksgiving would be complete without homemade pies. You can use canned pumpkin in our Classic Pumpkin Pie, but roasting your own gives the filling a deeper, more concentrated flavor. Either way, spice the filling with cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg and serve the pie with freshly whipped cream.

Pumpkin shares the table with our Easy Old-Fashioned Apple Pie, made with a spiced mix of the fruit. Crystals of sanding sugar ate sprinkled on the crust before the pie is baked, adding crunch and shine to the finished pie.

pumpkin pie
Credit: Maria Robledo

The Schedule

Early November

  • If you're ordering a fresh turkey, do so now. You will need 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of turkey per person.
  • Make pie dough, and freeze.
  • Polish flatware and iron table linens.

One Week Before

  • Clean refrigerator, clearing as much space as possible.
  • Write a shopping list.
  • Purchase nonperishables and wines.

4 to 5 Days Before

  • If using a frozen turkey, begin to thaw in refrigerator, allotting about 5 hours for each pound of turkey. Place bird on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips.

2 Days Before

  • Prepare bread for stuffing: Cut loaves of good white bread into chunks; let dry on a baking sheet. Cook and peel chestnuts.
  • Prepare cranberry sauce.
  • Roast pumpkin for pie.
  • Buy any remaining ingredients.

1 Day Before

  • Pick up fresh turkey; begin brining turkey in a saltwater bath.
  • Combine stuffing ingredients.
  • Thaw pie dough; assemble and bake pies.
  • Prepare sweet potato filling, and pipe into potato skins.
  • Assemble everything you will need for table settings, including linens, serving pieces, and centerpiece; set table.

Thanksgiving Day

  • 9:00 a.m. Remove turkey from brine, and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
  • 9:30 a.m. Trim and blanch Brussels sprouts. (Cook just before serving.)
  • 10:00 a.m. Add toppings to sweet potatoes. (Just before dinner, bake until golden brown.)
  • 11:00 a.m. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Stuff, truss, and season turkey.
  • 11:30 a.m. Roast turkey, covered with soaked cheesecloth.
  • 12:00 p.m. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Brush turkey with butter mixture every 30 minutes; tent with foil if skin gets too dark.
  • 1:30 p.m. Add giblets and neck to roasting pan.
  • 2:00 p.m. Remove giblets and neck; make stock for gravy.
  • 2:30 p.m. Remove cheesecloth, rotate the pan, and baste turkey. Make mashed potatoes. (Just before serving, warm them over medium-low heat in a double boiler, stirring in more milk or cream as needed.)
  • 3:00 p.m. Rotate roasting pan; bake any stuffing not being cooked in the turkey. Whip cream for pumpkin pie.
  • 3:30 p.m. Insert an instant-read thermometer into thickest part of one turkey thigh. When thermometer registers 180 degrees, remove turkey from oven. Before carving, let turkey stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Make gravy and tarragon green beans.
  • 4:00 p.m. Cook Brussels sprouts, and bake sweet potatoes. Bring food to the table. Pour drinks. Begin seating your guests.


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