Hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? I’d love to help you with your stress-free Thanksgiving menu.
Wait, hold up.
Can hosting Thanksgiving be stress-free? Stree free might be a stretch, but you can absolutely make it more simple and less stressful. It all starts with having a plan.
What is Served at Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner?
It’s time to think about what to put on your menu. What is traditionally served at Thanksgiving dinner varies by region in the United States, but here are the most popular items you’ll find on the table on Thanksgiving throughout America:
- Roasted Turkey
- Turkey Stuffing
- Mashed Potatoes
- Green Beans
- Dinner Rolls
- Pumpkin Pie
You can keep your Thanksgiving menu traditional, or add twists on the classic recipes. I tend to do a mix of traditional and classic recipes, and in true Happy Healthy Mama fashion, some recipes I “healthify” a little. 🤪(No one is ever the wiser!)
How to Plan Your Thanksgiving Menu
You start with the star of the show. The turkey, of course. Use this recipe for Foolproof Thanksgiving Turkey and you can’t go wrong. (Hosting a small Thanksgiving dinner? Consider this Butter and Herb Roasted Turkey Breast)
From there, you’ll want to choose your appetizers, salads, sides, and desserts. Having a special drink choice is a nice touch. Choose 1-4 recipes per category, depending on the size of your crowd and how big of a feast you want, and you’ll be golden.
While everyone is waiting for the main event, it’s great to have some finger food available for munching. This is a great category to stray from the traditional recipes and bring some unique options to the table. Here are my favorite picks.
These are really easy to make and pair perfectly with all the Thanksgiving flavors.
Such a beautiful appetizer and it’s a delicious way to use fresh cranberries!
Your guests will love this sweet, seasonal hummus.
This is a perfect make-ahead appetizer that everyone loves grazing on when watching the football game.
If you’d like a hot appetizer on your Thanksgiving menu, this Hot Corn dip is just what you need!
This is another great option for a hot appetizer. This one will lighten your calorie load a bit, since we know the dinner is going to be A LOT.
There are a number of different salads that go well on a Thanksgiving menu. These are my favorites.
I’ve served this at Thanksgiving dinner several times and there’s never any leftover. It’s a pretty, festive salad that has a wonderful combination of flavors.
This Autumn Kale Salad is full of contrasting textures and is always a hit.
The relatives you thought would never eat kale will surprise you by loving this one!
Thanksgiving Side Dishes
This is my favorite category and I could totally make an entire meal of the Thanksgiving side dishes! Here are some classic recipes to add to your Thanksgiving menu.
What I love about this stuffing recipe is its simplicity and FLAVOR. It’s so good. That is all.
Free up your stovetop and put your Instant Pot to work this Thanksgiving. These are the easiest mashed potatoes ever and they are scrumptious.
My version of Sweet Potato Casserole is vegan, gluten free, and has MUCH less sugar than traditional sweet potato casseroles. Plus, I love that crunchy pecan topping so much more than marshmallows!
Once again…this is a vegan and gluten-free version of the classic green bean casserole! WOO HOO!
Not into Green Bean Casserole? This easy side dish doesn’t take up any of that precious oven space!
I don’t need Thanksgiving dinner for this one because I love it so much AND it’s healthy! But this one on your Thanksgiving menu and you won’t be sorry!
This is a beautiful alternative to Sweet Potato Casserole.
So easy. So good. Why not?
Lightly sweet and spiked with cinnamon, this is another great side dish to add to your menu!
If you ask both my kids what their favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is, I’m 99% sure they’ll say the dinner rolls. It’s worth the effort to make these from scratch–everyone will be begging you for the recipe!
What would Thanksgiving be without desserts? Here’s a variety to choose from!
If you need gluten-free and dairy-free pumpkin pie, these bars are perfection.
Can you tell I think bars > pie? These are incredibly tasty!
All I can say is that these treats are EPIC. If you want some chocolate in your Thanksgiving dessert spread, this is the recipe to use, whether you need your desserts to be vegan and gluten free or not!
Here are a few ideas for adding drinks to your Thanksgiving menu!
You can’t go wrong having a big pot of mulled apple cider staying warm in your Crockpot. The whole family will enjoy it!
I originally created this one for Christmas, but cranberries fit right in for a Thanksgiving punch, too! Bonus that it’s super light, not adding a ton of extra calories to your day.
Final Thoughts on Your Thanksgiving Menu
I hope this helps you as you plan your big day! Remember, food is bringing us together, but this holiday is about remember what we’re grateful for and enjoying time with people we love. Don’t stress and have a memorable day!