Thanksgiving Menu Ideas and Tips

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to express gratitude and to celebrate families coming together. For many people, the big holiday feast is something they look forward to every year.

Whether you have been hosting Thanksgiving for years or this is your first time, we are here to walk you through some of the best Thanksgiving menu ideas, along with some helpful tips.

How Do I Create a Classic Thanksgiving Menu?

Creating a classic Thanksgiving menu is all about cooking traditional foods with exceptional flavors and creating a warm and inviting atmosphere for your family and friends. 

All told, here are some ways to create a classic Thanksgiving day celebration:

  • Make a guest list and invite your family and loved ones
  • Prepare the perfect Thanksgiving day menu (entree, sides, desserts)
  • Decorate your space
  • Shop for ingredients
  • Set the table
  • Cook the meal
  • Serve dinner

Suffice it to say, creating a stunning Thanksgiving day celebration can be done by following some simple steps and by choosing the perfect menu ideas for your special day. 

Setting the Table

Before we learn about how to select and prepare delicious Thanksgiving dishes for your menu this year, it’s important to decorate your home and set the table.

Setting the table and decorating your home is one of the most important factors when hosting Thanksgiving. Your table and living area are what most guests will see first when entering your home. 

For your fall home decor this year, focus on using autumnal colors. Beautiful tones of orange and gold will make for an elegant Thanksgiving table. Adding a bouquet of roses in a Fleura vase to your mantle will bring a stunning touch of sophistication to your decor.

Your Thanksgiving table will also need a grand floral centerpiece as the focal point. Select a gracious arrangement of long-lasting flowers, like our Allura Vase with roses to set a warm fall tone, and go with orange, rose gold, or gold roses. 

Adding details such as white, monogrammed place cards, golden napkin rings, and small decorative pumpkins will tie your fall look together and will beautifully complement your holiday spread.

What Should I Serve For the Main Course?

If you are creating a classic Thanksgiving day feast for your family and friends, you’ll certainly want to prepare a delicious main course for all to enjoy (after you feast on appetizers, of course). There are several different options, depending on what type of meat you prefer.

But for a classic Thanksgiving menu, cooking a traditional butter-roasted turkey will be sure to wow your guests and will definitely be the main attraction at the table. If you want to create a juicy turkey with crispy, golden skin, rub the skin with oil both underneath and on top. Leave it to sit in the first for 24 hours before beginning the cooking process. 

For the spices, try making a holiday rub with thyme, rosemary, and sage, and some garlic powder. This will be sure to add some extra delicious flavor to your turkey this year.

Once the turkey is almost done, create a bed of caramelized onions and herbs for your turkey to sit on. This will add some delicious flavor to your holiday bird and will make for a stunning presentation as well. 

When making a Thanksgiving turkey, you cannot forget the most important part: the gravy. Try making a white wine and rosemary turkey gravy full of rich flavors to dazzle your guests.

Other popular main courses for Thanksgiving include sliced, honey-glazed ham or cranberry stuffed game hens. Be sure to have a carving knife on the table next to each meat.

Now, let’s explore some tasty holiday side dishes that will beautifully compliment your main course. 

What Sides Should I Make?

Thanksgiving day would not be complete without a table full of delicious sides. With so many choices to pick from, let’s narrow down the list and try to find the best choices for a classic Thanksgiving dinner menu.

Fresh herb stuffing is a holiday staple. To make a rich and savory stuffing, be sure to add fresh celery, onion, sausage, and dried herbs, with a crisp, golden layer of bread on top. 

For a sweet side dish, try making a sweet potato casserole with homemade marshmallows. This dessert-like dish will be a hit for the little ones at your gathering this year and will add a beautiful pop of color to your table. Sprinkle some fresh brown sugar and crispy pecans on top of the casserole to elevate this dish and to add some texture to the creamy, buttery potatoes underneath.

Also, be sure to prepare a hearty helping of cranberry sauce. It is said that cranberries were eaten on the first Thanksgiving centuries ago, which is why it is a very important part of Thanksgiving today. The perfect cranberry sauce will have a dash of sweetness and will taste wonderful when eaten with the roast turkey.

Here are some other healthy and delicious Thanksgiving side dishes and vegetables to try:

  • Green Beans With Bacon
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Buttered Rolls or Flaky Biscuits
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Cauliflower Cheese Casserole
  • Roasted Butternut Squash With Cinnamon
  • Salad
  • Brown Butter Glazed Carrots
  • And more

With so many decadent and delicious sides to choose from, you will be sure to wow your family and friends this year with your holiday spread.

Dessert Ideas

At last, your Thanksgiving meal would not be complete without the perfect dessert to top off the evening. There are several different categories of desserts to choose from, and we recommend having a variety of options to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.

Pies and Cobblers

There is something quite comforting about smelling a freshly baked pie around the holidays. Pecan pie and pumpkin pie are some of the most popular Thanksgiving desserts to serve. These pies are holiday classics and begin with creating a stellar pie crust. 

For a homemade pie crust, use a mix of shortening and butter so that you will get a buttery-tasting, tender, flaky pie crust. 

For your pie fillings, you can use either fresh fruit or frozen fruit, and be sure not to bake your pie for too long. Buttermilk pie, apple pie, blueberry cobbler, sweet potato pie, and cranberry pie are also wonderful fall staples and would be wonderful additions to your Thanksgiving feast. And, of course, you can’t forget the whipped cream! 

Cakes

If you are not a pie person, try serving up a moist holiday cake this Thanksgiving. Pumpkin cheesecake and carrot cake are excellent choices for a festive holiday meal. 

To make the best carrot cake, toast some nuts and coconut for added flavor. Also, be sure to use the large holes of a box grater to grate your carrots to get the perfect texture. 

Having a holiday cake is a great way to change up the traditional dessert lineup while still bringing in fresh fall flavors.

Holiday Treats

You can never have too many desserts, so here are some other yummy options to have on your table this year: pumpkin rolls, apple fritters, fruit tarts, berry crumble, and pumpkin shortbread cookies. 

Pro tip: Have some clean dessert plates ready to use after the big meal, so guests can eat their delectable desserts on a clean plate with fresh silverware. 

Tips for the Big Day

It’s time for the cooking to start on the big day! Stay calm, and let’s dive into some tips to help you have an organized Thanksgiving:

  • Make a Thanksgiving day timeline so that you remember when to cook all of your delicious food selections.
  • Prep some of the ingredients the night before to help you save time on the big day.
  • Select your serving dishes and utensils ahead of time in order to create a cohesive look and save time during the cooking process.
  • Have a drink area available where guests can serve themselves a selection of iced tea, soda, cider, water, and wine. 
  • Plan for leftovers. It’s almost a guarantee that food will be abundant at your celebration, and many of your guests will want to bring home some of the delicious food. Be prepared and have some containers ready to fill in the kitchen for after the meal.

Final Remarks

In conclusion, creating the perfect Thanksgiving menu is all about selecting delicious foods for the entree, sides, and desserts to complete your fall feast. Be sure to spend time setting the table and decorating your home with fall accents and fresh floral before your guests arrive. This will ensure that your family and friends are greeted with delicious smells and sights this Thanksgiving.

Consider all of the above factors carefully if you are looking for some helpful Thanksgiving recipes and tips for planning your stunning celebration this year!

 

Sources:

Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey I All Recipes

Classic Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing I Averie Cooks

Perfect Cranberry Sauce I Food Network