The day is here! So happy to share our 2023 Thanksgiving menu and guide! This year’s menu is all about simplicity and very little fuss. This menu is guaranteed to win over family and friends, whether you’re hosting a Friendsgiving or a traditional Thanksgiving meal. As with past years, this menu has a mix of tried and true recipes plus brand new. We’ve got everything from cocktails to desserts. There are homemade popovers, easy (under 2 hours) crescent rolls, my make-ahead fail-proof gravy, a gorgeous shredded Brussels sprout salad, pecan pie brownies, last year’s Thanksgiving punch, and more. So much to share this November!
Happy Thanksgiving menu day! This is our 9th Thanksgiving menu. Over the years I’ve learned so much I almost feel like a Thanksgiving expert at this point! But every single year I learn something new. Not only through my own experiences but also thanks to the tips and tricks you all have shared here too.
I’m more excited than ever to share this year’s menu. It’s one of my favorites for many, reasons. I started creating Thanksgiving menus in 2015 – wow! The first time I created our menu I felt like there needed to be a long list of holiday dishes. I included everything and it was overwhelming. But I was learning along with the rest of you. Now my menu feels attainable, beautiful, and delicious, yet not too overwhelming.
These recipes are classics but made with something that makes them feel special. Most of them can be prepared ahead of time. And all the recipes I’m sharing below are very little fuss.
So here’s our 2023 menu! Just like all of the menus I share, these are only my suggestions. Pick and choose your favorites. Create the menu that’s right for you, your friends, and your family! You certainly don’t need to follow my menu to a T. Hopefully you can create a menu that fits your needs and that you will end up loving!
What recipes are you looking forward to serving up most this Thanksgiving? I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone makes this year!
Tip: Don’t forget Thanksgiving Day breakfast. We like to eat later, around 7 pm or even 8 pm. Then we can enjoy a casual family day, cut down our Christmas tree, and settle in for a feast. I usually make something on the sweet side, it makes the day feel even more special!
alternate option: Baked Butter Pecan French Toast
to drink: Spiced Pumpkin Maple Latte
Tip: I like to serve a few favorites. Something for snacking, and then something cheesy, of course! Have these out when guests arrive, especially the cheese board, it’s always so welcoming with a cocktail in hand.
Pastry Wrapped Baked Brie with Maple Apples – coming soon
Creamed Spinach Wild Rice Casserole – coming soon
(use your favorite recipe, I simply simmer cranberries with maple syrup, orange juice, rosemary, or sage and a pinch of salt until thickened)
Tip 1: include a vegetarian main course. It’s nice to have a main course that’s just as hearty and exciting as the turkey for anyone who does not enjoy turkey.
Tip 2: don’t feel like you have to roast a turkey! If your guests prefer something different, consider a braised roast!
Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey
(I make this every year. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. This turkey never disappoints)
Tip: make your potatoes at the same time! Make my Potato Smashers that I’ll be sharing soon. Simply roast/bake the potatoes underneath or around your turkey. They’ll be even more delicious this way. Plus, this will save you space and oven time!
Roast option: Cider Braised Pot Roast
No Meat option: Alfredo Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Tip: bake all desserts ahead of time and make so many! You can’t have too many and what’s amazing is these can all be baked up a day or 2 ahead of time.
Gooey Pecan Pie Brownies (this year’s favorite)
Tip: Keep drinks simple, but make sure they’re special enough to get everyone excited for the night ahead. I love a make-ahead punch option, but if you have a smaller dinner, mix up an autumn bourbon smash!
For after dinner: Cinnamon Spiced White Russian – coming soon’
Thanksgiving Week Prep
– organize, make your list, get prepared
– If you have a frozen turkey begin thawing! See the last tip below on thawing times
– set the table
– prep the make-ahead French onion soup, and bake the soup the day of
– prep the sweet potatoes
– grocery shop
– buy wine and alcohol
– prepare the stuffing, and chill until ready to bake
– prepare the make-ahead gravy
– prep the parker house rolls (if making, I know these are such a favorite every year), and chill until ready to bake
– prepare the cocktails
– bake the desserts
– prepare the cranberry sauce
– bake the Pumpkin Butter Cinnamon Roll Bread, lightly toast or warm the bread before serving
– make the spaghetti squash
– prep the brie
– prep the Whipped Goat Cheese, make the dates before serving, or make ahead and serve at room temperature
– final grocery trip for last-minute items
In the Morning…
– remove the turkey from the fridge and start prepping
– begin roasting the turkey
– make the dates for the goat cheese, if you didn’t already. Keep at room temperature
In the Afternoon…
– begin baking off the scalloped sweet potatoes, potato mashes, and stuffing
– cook the spaghetti squash in the instant pot or on the stove
– toss the Shaved Brussels Sprout Candied Bacon Salad together, this can sit in the fridge for up to 6 hours.
Before Guests Arrive…
– bake off the brie
– set out the whipped goat cheese and dates
– lay out the turkey cheese board
– set out the cocktails
– remove the turkey and let it rest, then carve
– warm the gravy
– bake off the popovers
– set out the sides
– serve up the turkey, gravy, and all the sides!
Of course, enjoy the night with family and friends. You deserve it!
My Tried and True Thanksgiving Tips
Tip 1: Think About Your Menu
A few things to be thinking about when creating your 2023 Thanksgiving Menu. How much oven space do you have, how many people are you serving, and does anyone have any dietary restrictions?
Depending on how many leftovers you’d like, plan on anywhere from a pound to a pound and a half per person. If everyone is heading out the door at the end of the day, I would go closer to a pound per person. If your guests are staying through the weekend, go for a pound and a half. Bone-in breasts are a nice option if you don’t want to cook more than one turkey. And lastly, keep in mind, if you’ve got a lot of sides, guests will probably eat less turkey.
Tip 2: Make an Oven/Food Schedule
This is certainly my number one tip for easily getting dinner on the table…and at a reasonable hour. An oven schedule is essential for staying on track on Thanksgiving Day, especially if you’re working with limited oven space.
Tip 3: Test Your Recipes
If you’re trying new recipes, make sure you test them out before Thanksgiving Day. Certainly, no one wants to be disappointed on Thanksgiving with a bad batch of mashed potatoes. Test your recipes out now so they’re perfect for Thanksgiving.
Tip 4: Invest in a Slow Cooker.
If you’re working with limited oven space, I highly recommend using your slow cooker and instant pot. They can cook mashed potatoes from start to finish, or keep your dishes warm without taking up any oven space!
Tip 5: Make a To-Do List TODAY
About a week or so before Thanksgiving, I sit down and make a checklist of everything that needs to be done before we sit down to eat. I make my list by the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
Tip 6: Use A Meat Thermometer
This might be a no-brainer, but don’t try cooking your turkey based solely on time…no one wants to cut into a beautiful-looking turkey only to find that it’s still raw inside. Using a thermometer is the best way to know when your turkey is cooked to perfection. This one is my favorite.
Tip 7: Roast Your Turkey in a Butter Soaked Cheesecloth.
My number 1 tip for the best turkey. Grab my favorite herb butter roasted turkey recipe here.
Tip 8: Don’t Cook the Stuffing Inside The Turkey
If you cook the stuffing inside the turkey, you’ll have to overcook the turkey in order to actually cook the stuffing to a temperature that’s safe to eat. And even then, you end up with soggy stuffing…and dry turkey. Not good. Instead, bake the stuffing separately. You’ll get soft on the inside and crisp on top stuffing that actually tastes good.
Tip 9: Set the Table Way Ahead of Time
This is something my Nonnie taught me, and it’s probably my favorite entertaining trick. I like to set my dinner table ideally a week ahead. Of course, that’s not possible if it’s a table you use every day. If setting your table early isn’t possible, try for the night before. It’s one more thing you can cross off your checklist early. Plus you’ll be guaranteed to have the table set and looking pretty when guests arrive.
Tip 10: Create a Seasonal Tablescape
When setting your table, don’t stress too much about making it perfect. I love the imperfect-perfect look. My best budget tip for creating an elegant tablescape is to incorporate the food onto the table. My favorite thing to do is to use fresh produce around my table to add pops of color. I certainly love a bouquet of flowers, but food can be equally beautiful, if not prettier. In addition, I like to surround the table with candles, use fresh herbs for greenery, and seasonal fruit for color.
Reader Tip – Reminder to begin thawing a frozen turkey far ahead!
I found a really great article on how to thaw a turkey that includes times for thawing on Real Simple. Two main takeaways from the article…
- If it’s a week or so ahead and there’s no rush, thaw your turkey in the refrigerator.
- Whatever you do, certainly don’t thaw a turkey at room temperature.
Lastly, if you make a dish from our 2023 Thanksgiving Menu and Guide be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is certainly my favorite!c