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The Ultimate Traditional Thanksgiving Menu + Vegan Options

This Ultimate Traditional Thanksgiving Menu has everything you need to make sure you have an unforgettable holiday meal, including vegan options. You’ll find the ultimate turkey recipe, comforting side dishes, salads, desserts, epic cocktails, and more.

My go to Traditional Thanksgiving Menu

Are you a creature of habit or do you like to change things up when it comes to holiday meals? I’m a combination of both. I like to keep the same main entree, maybe 1 or 2 family staples that have major memories attached to them, and then everything else is up for game.

The past couple of years we have hosted Thanksgiving and I absolutely love it. We’ll invite friends and family, warm up our pool, make two different two different turkeys (because now that we are in Texas my husband insists on frying out turkey) and then just hang out eating, watching football and watching the kids swim. It’s awesome!

Throughout those years of hosting, I’ve developed a pretty handy repertoire of Thanksgiving recipes, both traditional staples and new ideas that have become traditions for us.

What Vegan Dishes Are Good for Thanksgiving?

Let’s be real, most traditional Thanksgiving recipes are not vegan-friendly. Turkey…mashed potatoes loaded with butter or sour cream…casseroles topped with cheese…none of those are exactly vegan.

But, don’t stress. There are plenty of vegan Thanksgiving options out there and while this round-up is not exclusively vegan, I did make sure to include as many vegan options as possible.

For starters, cauliflower steaks make a great main dish alternative to turkey and many of the vegetable sides and salads are vegan or can easily be made vegan as well. And, of course, don’t forget the cocktails!

Thanksgiving Make Ahead Tips

Hosting Thanksgiving can be a big undertaking, even with this traditional Thanksgiving menu. My secret to hosting without breaking a sweat? Prep as much as possible in advance!

While most of the recipes will have specific and detailed make ahead instructions in the post, here are a few general guidelines:

  • Turkeys need to start thawing days in advance. Depending on the size of your turkey, you may need to start thinking about this up to a week in advance.
  • Some casseroles can be assembled in advance. This varies but most casseroles can be assembled then covered and refrigerated to bake the next day.
  • Desserts can be made a day or two ahead. Most desserts require lots of chill time so I definitely recommend baking your pies, cookies, and bars at least a day in advance.
  • Prep ingredients where possible. If you can’t prepare the whole recipe in advance, you can still chop the veggies and other ingredients to have everything ready to go.

Bon Appetit friends and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Best Traditional Thanksgiving Menu Recipes

And now, let’s dive into the exact menus I recommend for this traditional Thanksgiving menu!

overhead photo of christmas wreath antipasto skewers

Festive Antipasto Skewers Christmas Wreath

You don’t have to wait until Christmas to make this Antipasto Skewers Wreath! Thanksgiving is the perfect time to make it. It makes a great appetizer for guests to snack on while the big meal finishes cooking.

overhead photo of an epic holiday cheese board

How to Make an EPIC Holiday Cheese Board

This Epic Holiday Cheese Board is loaded with so much more than just cheese! It’s the perfect compliment to the antipasto appetizer above but it also stands on its own just fine. And despite how fancy it looks, it’s super simple to assemble!

photo of cheesy sausage stuffed mushrooms on a plate

The BEST Cheesy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

Featuring baby bella mushrooms stuffed with a cream cheese and sausage mixture, these Cheesy Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms are both easy and elegant.

overhead photo of bacon wrapped figs with herb goat cheese on a fork and plate

Bacon Wrapped Figs with Herb Goat Cheese

These Bacon Wrapped Figs with Herb Goat Cheese may look and sound fancy but you’ll likely be surprised at how easy that are to make. Sweet and salty, these are always a guest favorite.

Crock Pot Cranberry BBQ Meatballs - the ultimate appetizer for the holidays. These party meatballs are covered in a sweet spicy Cranberry BBQ sauce that'll make you swoon!

Crockpot Cranberry BBQ Meatballs

Cranberry BBQ Meatballs are a classic holiday appetizer! Serve on mini forks for a grab-and-go appetizer everyone will love.

Smoked Gouda & Apple Crostini drizzled with Honey - an easy holiday appetizer with only 5 ingredients! This crostini hits all the high notes - sweet, salty, savory and crunchy! (and freakin delicious)

Smoked Gouda & Apple Crostini with Honey Drizzle

Sweet, savory, salty, and crunchy, these Smoked Gouda & Apple Crostini check all the boxes. Plus they’re made with just 5 ingredients!

Image of a Garlic Herb Butter Thanksgiving Turkey on a Plate

Easy, No Fuss Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

What’s a traditional Thanksgiving menu without a turkey?! There’s a reason this is the BEST Thanksgiving Turkey recipe. Once you try this turkey slathered with garlic herb butter and browned to perfection, you’ll never look for another turkey recipe again.

overhead photo of roasted cauliflower steaks with a cranberry apple chutney

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with Cranberry Apple Chutney

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks with cranberry apple chutney are the perfect vegan (or vegetarian) main entree for Thanksgiving. The chutney offers a festive twist and the cauliflower itself is crunchy and full of flavor.

a spoon scooping cornbread stuffing

Best Ever Cornbread Sausage Stuffing Recipe

Made with cornbread, Italian sausage, veggies, cranberries, and herbs, this Cornbread Sausage Stuffing is the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Not to mention easy to prepare!

maple dijon roasted butternut squash brussel sprout salad in a baking dish

Maple Dijon Roasted Butternut Squash Brussel Sprout Salad

This Roasted Butternut Squash Brussel Sprout Salad combines several of the best fall flavors and ingredients into one, for a show-stopping salad guests will rave about for years to come.

gravy in a gravy boat

Turkey Gravy Recipe without Drippings

No turkey drippings? No problem. This Turkey Gravy is made from scratch without any drippings in just 15 minutes. And the best part? It can even be made ahead!

The BEST Maple Cranberry Sauce - web-7

Homemade Maple Cranberry Sauce

Traditional cranberry sauce gets a fun makeover in this Homemade Maple Cranberry sauce recipe, made with just 6 ingredients. With citrus undertones from orange juice and sweetness from maple syrup, it’s sweet yet tart and sure to be a hit.

Grabbing some mashed potatoes with a wooden spoon.

Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes

Spruce up your basic mashed potatoes with this Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes recipe. Thick and buttery, these potatoes have just a hint of tang from the sour cream and no shortage of flavor.

best spinach salad with apple pecans and gorgonzola cheese on a plate

Best Spinach Salad with Apple, Pecans and Gorgonzola Cheese

With apples, candied pecans, and pomegranate, this Spinach Salad is filled with the flavors of fall. The champagne vinaigrette drizzle turns it into an elevated, elegant side – despite the fact it requires 5 minutes to prepare.

closet up of oven roasted brussel sprouts with balsamic in a bowl

Crispy Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic

Brussels sprouts fans will love this recipe. This Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts are topped with savory balsamic for an irresistibly crispy and tasty side in just minutes.

hand holding a bowl filled with farro salad

Warm Fall Farro Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing

This Warm Fall Farro Salad isn’t your basic Thanksgiving side salad. It’s made with nutty farro, roasted butternut squash, cranberries, pepita seeds, and arugula, then topped with a sweet and zesty maple dijon dressing.

Overhead photo of healthy green bean casserole in a skillet.

The Ultimate Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Classic green bean casserole gets a makeover in this skillet green bean casserole recipe. Made with bacon and homemade fried onions, it’s even better than the original version.

spoon scooping cheesy scalloped potatoes

Easy Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

With a garlicky cream sauce and two kids of cheese, there’s no denying this Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes recipe is ultimate comfort food. It’s been a hit at every holiday I’ve served it at!

overhead photo of apple sausage stuffed acorn squash with pomegranate on top

The Best Apple Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Featuring roasted acorn squash filled with a sausage and apple filling and topped with pomegranate, this Apple Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash is a beautiful addition to any meal. Cozy, comforting, and easy to make.

Cranberry Apple Brussel Sprout Salad on a plate

Healthy Cranberry Apple Brussel Sprout Salad

With butternut squash, cranberries, goat cheese, and pepitas, this Cranberry Apple Brussel Sprout Salad is a unique and flavorful side salad that’s perfect for Thanksgiving.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Oatmeal Pecan Streusel - a healthy alternative to that Sweet Potato Casserole! A perfect gluten free Thanksgiving side dish that's sure to please a crowd!

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Oatmeal Pecan Streusel

Twice Baked Potatoes with Oatmeal Pecan Streusel are a simple alternative to classic sweet potato casserole. The crunchy topping pairs so well with the soft, tender potatoes.

BACON CAULIFLOWER AU GRATIN, a creamy white cheddar cheese sauce tossed with cauliflower, fresh thyme and topped with bacon. A must have side dish for this holiday season that takes comfort food to a new level! | joyfulhealthyeats.com #RealFoodSunday #ad #glutenfree

Bacon Cauliflower Au Gratin

Bacon cauliflower au gratin is a fun twist on classic potatoes au gratin, with cauliflower tossed in a creamy white cheddar cheese sauce and topped with bacon. A guaranteed hit, even for those who aren’t big cauliflower fans.

Mandarin Orange Cranberry Salad in a serving bowl

Mandarin Orange Cranberry Salad

Sweet and spicy with a satisfying crunch, this Mandarin Orange Cranberry Salad is a quick, easy Thanksgiving side dish. Topped with candied pecans for added flavor and crunch.

close up of pumpkin pie bars on a plate

Must Make Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bars

Rich, creamy, and perfectly spiced, this Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bars are a must-make for all Thanksgiving tables! Made with coconut milk, pumpkin puree, and an almond flour crust, this might be the only vegan Thanksgiving dessert recipe you ever need.

Sliced pecan pie recipe in the baking dish.

Homemade Pecan Pie (no corn syrup)

This Homemade Pecan Pie is easy to make, with absolutely no corn syrup needed! Instead it’s made with maple syrup, Splenda brown sugar, fall spices, and eggs to recreate that very same classic texture.

Five homemade single-serving Thanksgiving cheesecakes with pecans loose on the pan beside them

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Pecan Crust

These Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes are the perfect Thanksgiving dessert for sharing. With a creamy pumpkin spice cheesecake filling in a crunchy pecan crust, these bite-sized cheesecakes are even easier than regular cheesecake.

A moist Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake that screams fall baking! Made with whole wheat flour, filled with bold cinnamon flavor, tender chunks of apple and a crumbly nut topping that you'll want to fight over. Perfect for breakfast or dessert this holiday season!

Easy Moist Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Made with whole wheat flour, cinnamon, apples, and a crumbly nut topping, this Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake can be served for Thanksgiving breakfast or dessert. Tender, moist, and perfectly spiced.

My secret to getting in on that cake and cookie action during the holidays, but still stay waist-friendly and not go into a sugar coma!? SPLENDA® Sugar Blends! I used it in my twist on Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake - you're gonna love this classic upside down cake with half the sugar. Spiced brown sugar pears on top of a moist fluffy vanilla cake! De-lish! #ad @Splenda

Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake

Though it may appear elegant and fancy, this Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake is a Thanksgiving dessert that anyone can make. Fluffy vanilla cake is filled with pears then topped with a crunchy brown sugar topping for a truly unforgettable dessert.

Image of Cardamom Apple Galette topped with a Maple Mascarpone

Cardamom Apple Galette with Maple Mascarpone

This Cardamom Apple Galette is a rustic dessert that offers up all the flavors of apple pie, with none of the work. It’s gluten-free too!

a photo red and white wine bottles

The Ultimate Food and Wine Pairing Guide for the Holidays

Trying to decide what wine you should serve with Thanksgiving dinner? While not exactly a recipe, this Food and Wine Pairing Guide will help you choose the perfect wine for your holiday dinner.

the ultimate holiday sangria recipe in a glass with ice

Christmas Holiday Sangria

This holiday sangria is just as lovely at Thanksgiving as it is at Christmas! With citrus, pomegranate, pear, and cinnamon, this is truly the best sangria for the holidays and ideal for serving a crowd.

overhead photo of harvest apple bourbon cocktail

Harvest Apple Bourbon Cocktail in a Pitcher

Made with cinnamon-infused bourbon, apple juice, and topo chico, this Harvest Apple Bourbon Cocktail is festive and refreshing. Easy to serve to a crowd!

hot spiked mulled apple cider in a cup

Spiked Hot Apple Cider

For a warm drink option, you can’t go wrong with this Spiked Hot Apple Cider. With ingredients like cinnamon sticks, star anise, clove, allspice, fresh oranges, and rum, it’s filled with cozy flavors that will hit the spot on a chilly November day.

4 Ingredient Sparkling Pomegranate Mimosas are a fun cocktail to start your weekend with! Perfect for the holidays, great for brunch or a girls weekend! | joyfulhealthyeats.com

Sparkling Pomegranate Mimosas

Made with just 4 ingredients, these Sparkling Pomegranate Mimosas are a light and fruity cocktail. Enjoy while you cook on Thanksgiving or after dinner.

Apple cider mules in copper glasses garnished with cinnamon sticks, apple slices, and lime slices.

Apple Cider Moscow Mule

A fun fall twist on a classic Moscow Mule, this Apple Cider Moscow Mule features cider, vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and cinnamon. Don’t forget the copper mug for serving!

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pinterest image for thanksgiving menu

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