I’m sharing some of my favorite modern Thanksgiving menu recipes, from appetizers and side dishes to desserts. Plus, a bunch of new ways to cook turkey to inspire the centerpiece of your holiday dinner. There are a few non traditional Thanksgiving dishes, too. My recipes are easy enough for a home cook without a lot of time on their hands.
When it comes to a tasty modern turkey dish, you still want to make flavorful, juicy meat. But this year, get creative and put some of the most popular new kitchen appliances to use. And if you’re having a smaller gathering, instead of cooking the whole bird, cook turkey tenderloin or turkey breast. Here are some ideas…
- Roasted turkey breast
- Smoked turkey breast
- Air fryer turkey breast
- Sous vide turkey breast (you can even make it from frozen)
- Slow cook turkey breast (like you would slow cook a whole chicken)
- Sous vide turkey leg
Tips for letting turkey rest before serving
Letting the turkey rest is important, so the juices have time to settle before carving it. I suggest covering cooked turkey with tin foil when it comes out of the oven, smoker, etc. Let smaller pieces of turkey like the tenderloin and turkey breast rest for 20-25 minutes and a whole turkey to rest 30-45 minutes (or as long as food is safe), but cool enough for the juices to rest.
When it comes to making something different for your Thanksgiving meal, potatoes are a good place to start. Fancy’d up baby potatoes, little potatoes, and diced potatoes are just as great for Thanksgiving as mashed potatoes.
- Air fryer baby potatoes
- Sous vide little potatoes
- Roasted red potatoes in air fryer
- Sous vide fingerling potatoes
- Roasted parsnips and potatoes
- Roasted brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes
- Smashed potatoes
- Potato skins
- See more potato side dish recipes
Potatoes au gratin is a great side dish because you can assemble it a day ahead of time and bake it an hour before eating. Beyond potatoes, there are more modern ways to make au gratin including seafood and vegetables as a base…
- Vegetables potatoes au gratin
- Cheesy potatoes gratin with pesto
- Cauliflower au gratin
- Turnip au gratin
- Broccoli and cauliflower au gratin
- Seafood au gratin
- Crab meat au gratin
Garlic mashed potatoes are the ultimate, but you can make your own restaurant style spin on mashed potatoes by using compound butter and fresh herbs like dill and sage throughout.
- Cauliflower mashed potatoes
- Chipotle mashed sweet potatoes
- Mashed potatoes cream cheese
- Potato chip mashed potatoes
How to reheat mashed potatoes
The best way to reheat mashed potatoes in my opinion is to add 1 tbsp butter to a skillet on the stove, add the potatoes, and smoosh them around while they cook on medium, until they are soft again. Another great idea is to fry up potato pancakes with leftover mashed potatoes.
Save the drippings from the turkey – or just buy the package mix and whip it up on the stove before serving the turkey.
Slow cooked, roasted, mashed, baked with marshmallows on top… sweet potatoes are always a beautiful dish on the table. Serve them with a sprinkle of green on top.
- Twice baked sweet potatoes
- Roasted cubed sweet potatoes like in this farro salad
- Air fryer sweet potato tots
This is the part of the meal where you want to start with some fun Thanksgiving food items. Think of things that are a bit unexpected, and look fancy but are easy to make…
Green bean casserole is definitely the most popular dish when it comes to this category, but you can modernize your Thanksgiving menu with Italian style green beans (loaded up with garlic) or sous vide green beans.
Easy side dishes
When it comes to side dishes for Thanksgiving, I like to think of recipes for vegetables and condiments that will be tasty to eat with a bite of turkey.
Onion side dishes
Vegetable side dishes
- Air fryer broccoli
- Sauteed carrots with garlic butter
- Trader Joe’s cauliflower rice
- Sous vide beets
- Sous vide asparagus
- Sous vide Brussels sprouts
- Sous vide corn on the cob
- Air fryer acorn squash
Dressings, cornbread stuffing, and traditional bread stuffings are must have foods for Thanksgiving dinner. But if you’re still using a recipe from 10 years ago, it’s time to try a more sophisticated version. There is so much creativity to be had with this dish.
- Chorizo sausage stuffing (my husband’s favorite twist)
- Crockpot stuffing with sausage
- Pineapple stuffing
- See more stuffing recipes
There are so many seasonal fall themed foods that go well on salads, from candied pecans and walnuts, to dried cranberries and slices of apples and pears. Here are some of my favorite new ideas for salad recipes you can use as inspiration for your own…
- Strawberry feta salad
- Fresh peach salad
- Caprese cucumber salad
- Oven baked parmesan croutons
- Blueberry salad
- Honey lemon basil dressing
- Tomato pesto pasta salad
- Kale apple slaw
There are so many options beyond using canned cranberry sauce. Most grocery stores carry premade fresh cranberry sauce in the deli department around Thanksgiving. My favorite is an orange cranberry sauce that uses zest and juice from fresh orange as the liquid to simmer fresh cranberries on the stove. I’ll have some exciting new recipes coming soon.
Beyond gravy, there are a lot of other tasty sauce recipes for turkey and vegetable dishes. Some of these are delicious dips for bread and crackers, too. Here are some of my favorites…
Nothing says “Happy Thanksgiving” like having cocktails, nice wine, and fruit juices lined up for your guests when they arrive. You don’t have to greet them at the door with a cocktail like they’re going on a cruise, but setting up a drink bar on a buffet table or kitchen island is a good idea. See my list of tropical drinks
Tip: add fruit to Thanksgiving drinks
One way I like to make drinks special is by adding fruit to float on the top of them. You can prepare a beautiful pitcher of a cocktail or non alcoholic beverages like cranberry juice, and toss in some diced carrots and pomegranate seeds to float on top.
Modern cooking techniques aside, sometimes you just want a comfort food casserole to put on the table. These will do…
- Italian stuffed shells
- Cheesy baked rigatoni with ground beef
- Keto friendly lasagna with pesto
- Air fryer mac and cheese balls
Non traditional thanksgiving main dishes
Here are some different Thanksgiving dinner ideas…
- Honey Glazed Ham Nugget
- Tri Tip In Oven Perfectly
- Lemon Pepper Wings
- Air Fryer Filet Mignon
- Sous Vide Pork Loin
- Puff Pastry Pizza
Leftover turkey ideas
A modern Thanksgiving dessert instead of traditional pumpkin pie would be something like a sous vide pumpkin cheesecake made in tiny mason jars (like sous vide egg bites).
My favorite way to make a modern day apple pie is to serve them individually in mini handheld bites.
I suggest picking two or three desserts, and making most of them really easy to prepare in advance. Turnovers are great for that purpose, so are cookies and brownies.
- Air fryer chocolate chip cookies
- Raspberry turnovers
- Blueberry turnovers
- Blueberry compote
- Italian lemon olive oil cake
- Chocolate cream pie
- Lemon olive oil cake
- Cherry pie turnovers
- Cherry cake bars
- Chocolate bundt cake
- Fudge brownies from scratch
Are you a foodie, too?
Hey home chefs, hope that answers all your questions about hosting a modern Thanksgiving with delicious food ideas. To get my latest and greatest recipes before they’re shared on the site, connect with me on Instagram @sipbitego. And for more deliciousness, subscribe to the Sip Bite Go channel and see the Sip Bite Go recipe collection.