28 Mouth-Watering Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas for 2021Martina Crocker
Thanksgiving dinner is our favorite time to flex our cooking skills and enjoy one another’s company.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, now is the perfect time to spruce up your turkey day menu with some new holiday recipes. The following 28 Thanksgiving dinner ideas will give you all the extra reasons you need to be grateful this season.
Want to spice up your classic turkey recipe? Stuffed with onions, roasted red peppers, garlic, and best of all – whiskey – Evil Turkey is sure to give to energize your thanksgiving dinner table with a flavorful kick.
When to Serve: This turkey is the main event of your dinner, the entrée to top all entrées.
Pairs Well With: The spice of the Evil Turkey is a lovely pair for a sweeter side dish and a dry white wine (we’re thinking Riesling!). If you are a fan of spicy, boost this turkey’s spice factor with a dash of Bhut Jolokia Ghost Pepper Salt.
Check out the full recipe here.
Portobello Mushrooms Caprese Style
When it comes to a successfully scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner, your appetizers are just as important as your main course. Stuffed mushrooms are a holiday classic, and these Caprese-style stuffed portobellos combine the richness of melted mozzarella with the freshness of basil and balsamic toppings.
When to Serve: These stuffed portobellos are the ideal appetizer but are also suitable as a side dish with your main course.
Pairs Well With: Mushroom appetizers go great with other roasted vegetables, such as broccoli or brussel sprouts coated in butter and garlic.
Click here to find the full recipe.
Fall’s Bounty Salad
What’s a perfect thanksgiving dinner without the right starter? This fall-bounty-inspired salad captures the textures and flavors of the season in a light and crisp bowl of goodness.
When to Serve: After the appetizers have had time to settle, it’s time to move into the main courses of your dinner. Starting with this salad is a great way to cleanse the palette and hint at future flavors to come in later dishes.
Pairs Well With: This is a good time to offer other palette cleansing options, such as spritzers or sparkling waters. Carbonated drinks will help to enhance the fresh flavors of the salad.
Get this recipe here.
Balsamic Apricot Onion Sauce
Cooking a delightful Thanksgiving meal often involves a lot of sauces, condiments, and glazes. This balsamic-based apricot onion concoction is a lovely agro-dolce sauce that goes great on all sorts of savory foods.
When to Serve: This sauce is extremely versatile and can be served at any point in the dinner. Add it to charcuterie boards, use it to top roasted potatoes, or glaze it over your freshly carved turkey.
Pairs Well With: Any savory or salty menu items will be complemented nicely by this sweet and tangy sauce. We recommend potatoes, meats, and cheese boards.
Find this recipe here.
The Best Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potato casseroles are practically a Thanksgiving staple. The warm filling is reminiscent of pumpkin pie, with a variety of different topping options to make your sweet potato casserole as unique as you.
When to Serve: Though sweet potato casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish, it can easily be transformed into a dessert with the addition of marshmallows on top.
Pairs Well With: Complementary dishes to the sweet potato casserole will often have notes of cinnamon, cardamom, and other earthy flavors to play off the taste of the root vegetable.
Click here to view this recipe.
Focaccia with Rosemary and Sea Salt
Bread – we’ll take 5, please. Tasty breads are always a crowd-pleaser for serving on the side during Thanksgiving dinner. Having a beautiful, handmade Focaccia handy during Thanksgiving will help you to impress your guests – both visually and flavorfully.
When to Serve: Whenever you want! This Focaccia flatbread’s lovely and soft taste can go with anything from soups and dips to main course dishes.
Pairs Well With: The salty and savory goodness of this bread will pair well with rich foods, such as cheeses or creamy soups.
Follow this recipe here.
Mid-Atlantic Seafood Stuffing
Every Thanksgiving table needs a stuffing – but what if you want a bit of a twist? This Mid-Atlantic seafood stuffing recipe offers you the fresh flavors of the sea wrapped up in the comforting tastes and textures of the holidays.
When to Serve: Stuffing goes great when paired with main course items, like turkey or potatoes. Chances are, you will be left with some leftovers that make tasty sandwiches the next day. Stick with the seafood theme and try making some seafood stuffing po’boys!
Pairs Well With: This seafood stuffing pairs well with hints of lemon in sauces and drinks.
Want to try it Go here to try this recipe.
Campbell Soup’s Classic Green Bean Casserole
Innovation in the kitchen is always a good time, but sometimes sticking to the classics is an equally delicious choice. Such is the case when it comes to green bean casseroles, made famous by Campbell Soup’s classic on-the-can recipe.
When to Serve: Green bean casserole deserves its place next to your potatoes and turkey this holiday season. The freshness of the green beans combined with the richness of the soup mixture will delight your taste buds during the main course.
Pairs Well With: Potatoes! Mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, baked, or boiled – this green bean casserole pairs amazingly with potato’s starchy goodness.
Find this classic recipe here.
Cranberry Orange Sauce
Let’s talk cranberry sauce. Sure, you could do the classic scoop-it-out-of-a-can-and-call-it-a-day – but what if you could make it a real showstopper. This cranberry orange sauce combines the bittersweetness of the cranberries with the tangy zest of oranges to create a sauce that is a step above the rest.
When to Serve: When serving cranberry sauce, think about what other food items it will complement the best. Typically, the answer is meats – meaning it should be served when the meats are served. Plus, the leftover sauce makes an excellent addition to sandwiches.
Pairs Well With: Cranberry sauce goes best with white meats, like turkey or chicken.
Give this recipe a try by following this link.
Give your Thanksgiving appetizers an Italian spin with this crispy mozzarella recipe. Creamy melted cheese encased inside a crispy fried exterior – what could be better? This app is awesome for big family gatherings with young children – or adults who are children at heart!
When to Serve: These are the perfect appetizer to add to your holiday snack repertoire.
Pairs Well With: For a dipping sauce, a marinara or balsamic-based option will pair deliciously with the flavors of the fried mozzarella. These crispy mozzarella balls are also a great time to put your favorite olive oil to good use.
Find out more about this recipe here.
Southern Cornbread Dressing
Want a Thanksgiving dressing that is seasoned with all the southern comfort you could ever want? Then look no further than this recipe for a southern cornbread dressing. Combining the light flavors of sage, onions, and celery with the fluffy moistness of cornbread, this dressing offers a flavorful addition to your dinner.
When to Serve: Serve this with your main course items – but save a little bit in the end. Why? The leftovers make awesome pan-friend cakes in the morning!
Pairs Well With: Light wines and beers are always great pairings with cornbread-based recipes.
Take a peek at this recipe here.
Easy Pecan Pie with Secolari Olive Oil
Pumpkin pie is the iconic Thanksgiving pie, but pecan pie is an equally sweet and idyllic choice for the holiday. This pecan pie offers the warm flavors of cinnamon and vanilla mixed with the savory goodness of pecans in melted butter.
When to Serve: Pecan pie is the crown jewel for a dessert table. Consider slicing the pie into small bite-size pieces to make a table of sweer hors d’oeuvres.
Pairs Well With: A sweet and cold dollop of vanilla ice cream is the perfect topping for this pecan pie. For whiskey lovers, a glass of your favorite jack will pair beautifully as well.
Don’t miss out on this awesome pecan pie – get the recipe here!
Baked Candied Yams Soul Food Style
Nothing quite beats a good old-fashioned baked yams recipe on Thanksgiving. If you have been searching for ways to add some extra southern flavor to your table, this soul food style baked candied yams recipe is delightfully sweet and comforting.
When to Serve: The age-old question – is candied yams a dessert or a side dish? The answer is – it’s up to you! If you need a sweet addition to your existing dinner menu, this might just be a perfect choice.
Pairs Well With: Serve it up next to some mashed potatoes and gravy, or dish it out at dessert with some marshmallows or whip cream! For coffee and tea lovers, this dish goes great with a warm beverage.
Catch this recipe here.
Balsamic Roasted New Potatoes
There are a million and one ways to make holiday potatoes that add balance to your menu and comfort to your loved ones’ tummies. With the unique tartness of balsamic, this roasted potatoes recipe will give your guests a savory and tangy essence.
When to Serve: Potatoes are often a staple item within a main-course Thanksgiving menu.
Pairs Well With: The smokey and crispy exteriors of these roasted potatoes are complemented by other roasted items, such as chicken or turkey. Fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme will contrast these heavier, baked flavors nicely.
Click here to make this recipe.
Brown Butter Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes go good with everything – seriously! To give your mashed potatoes a richer flavor, try out this browned butter recipe this year. With a simple list of ingredients, all you need to do is brown the butter to perfection and viola – creamy, delicious potatoes.
When to Serve: Your mashed potatoes are practically as important as your main dish. Make sure they are cooled slightly, but still steaming and perfectly warm when they reach the table.
Pairs Well With: It’s time to bust out the ole’ gravy boat, ‘cause we will be drowning these potatoes in gravy this holiday season.
Dive into this mashed potato heaven here.
Roasted Acorn Squash Salad
Squash is one of the most beloved items found within fall’s bounty. This roasted acorn squash salad recipe offers a refreshing heartiness, fit for both a side dish and a main course. Plus, it’s ideal for making ahead, lightening your cooking workload the day of!
When to Serve: Serve this plain as a starter, or add additional ingredients to make it a hearty side dish for your main course.
Pairs Well With: The richness of the squash goes well with peppery flavors and seasonings.
Get this recipe here.
Creamy Skillet Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms
Give your loved ones a reason to love brussels sprouts this Thanksgiving with this creamy skillet brussels sprout and mushroom recipe. Inspired by the green bean casserole, this recipe combines a silky, homemade cream of mushroom sauce with toasted brussels sprouts – all from one skillet.
When to Serve: Serve this up with your other vegetable dishes. The creamy richness of this dish will contrast deliciously with the fresh flavors of veggies.
Pairs Well With: Aside from vegetables, this brussels sprouts and mushroom skillet will go great with a crisp white wine.
Check out this recipe here.
Creamy Spinach in White Wine
Give your appetizer table a creamy centerpiece with this wine-infused spinach dip. The cheesy goodness of parmesan fuses with the finer notes of olive oil, nutmeg, and white wine to create a dip your guests won’t be able to get enough of.
When to Serve: Place this dish in the center of your appetizers, as if it were a crown-jewel fondue. Surround it with dipping apparatuses to please everyone.
Pairs Well With: Flatbreads, like naan, or crackers are great for scooping up large bites of this creamy spinach recipe. For a healthier alternative, choose crunchy veggies like celery or cucumbers.
Find this recipe here.
Southern Baked Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is not just a holiday favorite, but a household staple for people all across America. With an extra creamy and cheesy inside, this mac and cheese recipe will warm your heart, mind, and soul.
When to Serve: Mac and cheese and mashed potatoes belong together – serve these items side by side for maximum tastiness on your table and plate.
Pairs Well With: Cheese and red wine are a match made in heaven. For non-drinkers, red grapes are a refreshing side item to pair with this creamy mac and cheese.
Melt into this mac and cheese here.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Balsamic Glaze
It’s always a good idea to have a large repertoire of roasted recipes on hand for Thanksgiving dinner – and this roasted butternut squash can add just the spice and uniqueness to your table you’re looking for. Doused with balsamic glaze, this squash recipe is toasty, tangy, and delectable.
When to Serve: Serve this roasted squash side dish alongside your other roasted veggies, or offer it up as a starter to hold guests over while the main course gets its finishing touches.
Pairs Well With: Roasted butternut squash is a great recipe for trying out all your newest or fanciest bottles of olive oil.
Click here to recreate this recipe in your kitchen.
Honey Garlic Butter Roasted Carrots
Tender carrots dripping in honey garlic butter are an ideal sweet side dish that offers an equal amount of nutritional value. These roasted carrots are sweet, savory, and buttery treats to add as a side to your Thanksgiving dinner plate.
When to Seve: Though these carrots can be sweet like a desert, the garlic butteriness of the sauce makes them the perfect side dish or starter before the main course.
Pairs Well With: As the carrots roast, they soak in the flavors of the seasonings in sauce – this is a great time to try out different gourmet salts and seasonings.
Get this recipe now here.
Cardamom-Infused Rice Pudding with Caramelized Apricots
Bring a touch of sophistication to your dessert table with this cardamom-infused rice pudding. The caramelized apricots bring a natural sweetness to this rich and creamy dessert, sure to satisfy even the pickiest dessert-eaters.
When to Serve: After the main course – unless you can’t wait of course. After all, who said dessert can’t come first?
Pairs Well With: Cardamom-based desserts goes excellently with a cup of chai tea or other spiced beverages. A nice latte with steamed milk will complement the prick of spice with a cooling sensation.
Find this recipe here.
Hassleback Potato Gratin
For the best potato-based casserole idea for Thanksgiving 2021, we have to give it to the hassleback potato gratin. The thinly sliced potatoes meld with layers of cheese to become the ultimate creamy and crispy delight.
When to Serve: This recipe makes a whole ‘lotta potato, so make it a main dish within your entrée menu. It needs a solid hour in the oven before serving, so make sure to time things right so that this potato gratin is hot and ooey-gooey when served.
Pairs Well With: For this recipe, you can experiment with tons of different cheeses to find what works best for the taste palettes of your family and friends. Cheddar? Mozzarella? Parmesan? Gruyere? Only you can decide!
Check out this recipe here.
Roasted Broccoli with Garlic
Broccoli is an awesome and versatile vegetable. Not only is it packed with vitamins and fiber, but it can be prepared in a multitude of ways with many different flavors. With this roasted garlic broccoli recipe, you can keep things simple yet delectable.
When to Serve: These guys only need about 15 minutes in your oven, and serving them hot and crispy is best. So pop them in as you’re getting everything else set up on the table, then serve them ready-to-go from the oven.
Pairs Well With: Roasted broccoli is nicely complemented by a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and a thorough dousing of olive oil.
Catch this recipe here.
Homemade Cheddar Biscuits
A warm cheddar biscuit smothered in cheese and butter…what could be better? This homemade biscuit recipe is sure to go great with your main course lineup. Plus, it will serve as a tasty vessel for dipping into potatoes, casseroles, and more.
When to Serve: Whip these biscuits up, bake them until golden, and then serve in a large basket or bowl in the center of the dinner table.
Pairs Well With: Butter, gravy, honey – you choose the toppings that go best with your biscuit.
Get your finger-licking-good cheddar biscuit recipe here.
Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars
For the last three items on this list, we’re moving permanently to the dessert table with delightful, bite-size ideas to sweeten your day further. First on the docket – salted caramel apple pie bars. With layers of apple and streusel topping, these bars are great for a quick and easy dessert with a flavorful punch of cinnamon and fruit.
How to Serve: These apple pie bars are perfectly fine on their own, but they also make great bases for Thanksgiving-themed sundaes. Simply add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and add some caramel and cinnamon on top!
Pairs Well With: This dessert will pair great with a cold glass of milk – or for our adult drinkers – a warm glassy of whiskey to complement the spices in the pie bars.
Click here to satisfy your sweet tooth with this recipe.
Pumpkin Pie Twists
This pumpkin pie recipe has a real twist – twisted crescent rolls! Take a break from traditional pies and try out this unique recipe that can be completed in half the time!
How to Serve: These are best when fresh out of the oven, with a melted drizzle of icing to top them off.
Pairs Well With: The pumpkin filling and spices will taste all the better when paired with a warm spiced beverage, such as apple cider.
Click here to grab this recipe for your Thanksgiving menu.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites
Cheesecake is an amazing dessert, not just for its creamy richness but also for its immense versatility! These pumpkin cheesecake bites add real pizazz to your Thanksgiving dessert lineup – and they make great leftovers for a sweet treat on clean-up day!
How to Serve: These cheesecake bites are served cold, so naturally, they go great when served with something on the warmer side. Make sure they have chilled for long enough to solidify!
Pairs Well With: If you have any fancy Thanksgiving cocktails or shots, now is the time to enjoy them with a sweet cheesecake bite chaser.
Find this recipe here.