8 Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

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Here are a bunch of traditional Thanksgiving recipes for holiday favorites like sweet potato casserole, homemade stuffing, turkey gravy and homemade pies!

Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

8 Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

For those of you just need just the basic side dishes and desserts for your Thanksgiving dinner, here are a bunch of traditional Thanksgiving recipes all in one spot.

If you need a fantastic roast turkey recipe or you need to know how to roast a turkey, you can find it here!


Mashed Potatoes

5 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk

In a large saucepan, place potatoes and enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 10-15 minutes depending on your altitude). Drain. Transfer potatoes to a mixing bowl and mash. I use a hand mixer for this but you can use a potato masher.  Add butter, milk, sugar and salt. Beat until smooth. Serves 5-6.


Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups sweet potatoes, mashed
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix all the ingredients and put in a buttered 9×9 casserole dish. Sprinkle on topping. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. This is a great dish for holiday dinners and potlucks because it can be made the day before and then baked the next day. Serves 8-9.


Homemade Stuffing Recipe

This is my Grandma Tatum’s stuffing recipe (Jill’s Mom). It is one of my favorite traditional Thanksgiving recipes! It has been in our family for years and is a family favorite! -Tawra

I have hesitated to include our stuffing recipe because it is one of those recipes where it is hard to give exact measurements. You can adjust any of these ingredients to suit your taste and if you want, you can add different things to the dish.

For example, you can replace some of the bread with cornbread or you can add mushrooms, celery, apples, or giblets and many other things according to your own taste. This is one of those recipes that looks complicated but is really easy once you make it.

For a drier stuffing, use less liquid and for a moister dressing, add more butter. Butter doesn’t evaporate and won’t make your dressing “soggy” instead of moist the way liquid will. You can also add a little milk if the stuffing seems too dry.

When you bake stuffing inside a turkey or if you cook it in a covered pan, it won’t dry out so keep this in mind when testing for moistness.

If you want your stuffing to be fluffier, beat the eggs in the recipe before adding.

Here is the basic homemade stuffing recipe:

8-10 cups dried bread, cubed or torn (You can use anything including hot dog buns, dinner rolls or French bread.)
1/2-1 lb. pork sausage
1/2-1 onion (or onion powder to taste)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups broth*
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4-1/2 cup margarine
3 heaping tsp. ground sage
salt and pepper
1 small bag or box of seasoned croutons

Cube and tear bread, place in a very large mixing bowl and let it set out overnight if not dry enough. Fry sausage and onion. I don’t like celery in my dressing but if you do you can add it at this time. Drain and add to the bowl of bread. Pour broth into a large measuring cup. Add margarine and bouillon cube and heat in the microwave to melt margarine and bouillon cubes. Pour this mixture and eggs over bread. Add sage, salt, pepper and onion powder if not using onions and croutons. Using your hands, mush it all together until well mixed. Place in a well greased casserole dish or pan. Cover. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

If you like your stuffing soft on the inside with a crispy crust, just remove the cover for the last 15 minutes. If your dressing seems too dry, add a little milk for more moisture.

*For broth, I simmer the neck and giblets in a pan of water for an hour or two as soon as I take them out of the turkey. Then I use this water and some broth from my turkey, which has been cooking, to make my 1 1/2 cups.

If you are baking your stuffing in the turkey and can’t tell if it is done, just test with a meat thermometer and it should be 165 degrees.


Turkey Gravy

3-4 cups turkey juices/drippings
1/4 cup flour
Salt, pepper to taste

Pour turkey juices/drippings into a saucepan. Whisk in flour. Add salt and pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring once in a while until it is the right consistency.

If the gravy is too strong or you need to stretch it just a little, you can add a small amount of water. Another way I used to make turkey gravy (either way works) is to dissolve the flour in 1/2 cup of cold water and then whisk it into the turkey juices.


Pie Crust

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/4 cups shortening, cold
1 egg, cold
1 Tbsp. vinegar, cold
5 Tbsp. water, cold

Mix flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives (I use my fingers). Add egg, vinegar and 3 tablespoons water. Mix lightly. If dough is too dry, add more water. Mix with hands. Don’t over mix. Mix just until the dough sticks together.

Divide into thirds. Roll out to make 3 pies crusts. When using the crust for the top of the pie, sprinkle sugar on top and poke with a few steam holes. Crust can be frozen in balls and then defrosted and rolled out when ready to use. Makes 3 crusts.


The Best Homemade Pumpkin Pie - 8 Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

The Best Pumpkin Pie Recipe

1 pie crust
2 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk

Bake pie crust at 350 degrees for 1-2 minutes until crust starts to puff with small bubbles. Watch carefully. Then remove from the oven. Blend all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into pie crust and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350 degrees for 45 minutes. When a knife is inserted into the center of the pie and comes out clean, it is done. Makes one pie.


Pecan Pie

1 stick butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped
1 (8-9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Brown butter in a pan until golden brown. Do not burn. Cool. Add other ingredients in order given in a separate bowl. Mix well. Blend in cooled butter well. Pour into pie crust. Bake 10 minutes at 425 degrees and then 40 minutes at 325 degrees. Makes one pie.

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  1. Ohiomom9977 says

    Your mashed potatoe recipe is a favorite by my family and I don’t dare serve boxed ones anymore. Although I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie I’ve made your recipe several times and others say it’s very good. I actually have to make 2 pumpkin pies tonite for my daughter to take to school tomorrow. Your “Dining on a Dime” book has been a lifesaver for me!!!

  2. Harriet says

    An even easier and tastier recipe for mashed potatoes is: bake the number of potatoes you need. I usually microwave about six for ten minutes and then finish in the oven at 350 for an hour. Cut in half, scoop out the insides, put in a mixing bowl with butter, a little salt and a little milk, and mash.

    The good thing about doing it this way is you can eat the skins!

  3. Linda says

    Never heard of putting sugar in mashed potatoes. Sounds interesting.
    And Harriet, don’t think I’ve ever heard of baking them before mashing. We’ve always peeled,cut and boiled in a big pot o’ water, then drain, mash & whip. I hardly ever add salt when I’m cooking because I rarely can taste it, then have to add more. So I always add it at the table.
    Learn new things every day. :)

  4. susan says

    Hi Jill and Tawra

    This receipe is from my grandmothers collection for sweet potato pie and it is a southern receipe and is quick and easy !

    Southern sweet potate pie

    3 tablesppons all purpose flour
    1 and 2/3 cups sugar
    1 cup mashed sweet potatoes ( I use one large can of yams and mash up) grandma would turn over in her grave!)
    2 eggs
    1/4 cup light karo syrup
    1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
    pinch of salt
    1/2 cup of butter or margarine
    3/4 cup evaporated milk
    1 9 inch pie shell (I buy mine, she made hers)

    In a large mixing bowl combine the flour and sugar. add the sweet potatoes,eggs, Karo syrup,nutmeg,salt,butter(I soften mine just a little)and evaporated milk.Beat well and pour into pie crust bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes Best eaten if let stand for about an hour

    • says

      My mom has always done her potatoes like that and they are so good. It isn’t that much but just enough to enhance the flavor of the potatoes for some reason. I think it works the same way as when you add a couple of spoonfuls of sugar to spaghetti sauce or chili. You don’t really taste the sugar it just brings out the flavor of what you are cooking.
      I can tell a big difference in the mashed potatoes when people don’t use the sugar. I also find I don’t need to add as much butter. Sometimes we add a lot of “extras” to potatoes because they don’t have a strong flavor but as I said the sugar gives you a richer potato taste.

  5. says

    They started using a bit of sugar when the potatoes were stored in the root cellar or some such place over the winter.
    They got wilty and sometimes pretty tasteless. It added a bit of flavour and the starch was better incorporated.
    Myself I use salt.

    I do the baked potatoe mashed potatoe thing but put the potatoe back into the skin. Called twice baked potatoes. Seems like more work to do it for a big bowl of mashed potatoes though.

    • says

      I’m not sure but you do have to be careful in some candy and recipes like pecan pie when you start substituting. The corn syrup isn’t always just sweetening it can sometime control the texture – hardness, softness, smoothness of a recipe.

    • says

      Oh around a cup or 1-2 stalks. You can add more or less depending on how much you like it. In recipes like this they often do equal amounts of celery and onion. Those are both things you can add more or less of to your preference.

      I don’t use either because I don’t like onion or cooked celery so I just onion powder.

  6. says

    oven not working get the gas grill and fire up in a roasting pan it works great for more than one meat cooking at a time just keep an eye on the temp. have a great turkey day

  7. barb~ says

    Gosh, thanks to all of you I belive I am now drooling all over my keyboard! I think I will bake pumkin or sweet potato pie this weekend. I have never made a SWEET POTATO PIE, but many people think they are much better than pumpkin. Has anyone done both to compare? Do they taste pretty much the same?
    Grandma-my stores are having 10lb. sacks of potatoes on sale for 47 cents a bag. I’d like to stock up on several bags. I have no root cellar-just a garage with a concrete floor. What temp would they need to stay at to keep them over the coldest months? Any thoughts on whether I should wrap them in something?

    • says

      Barb I don’t know if you have a dehydrator or not but I have been finding potatoes on sale too and I have been cooking them, grating them then dehydrate them into hash browns and they are so handy and good. I can’t tell the difference between them and fresh ones and I am very picky about those things so you could try that too if you have one.

    • says

      If you store them though you can do it in something like a brown paper sack with holes in it. The temp needs to be around 45-50 degrees and it needs to be dark. When exposed to light it will cause the potatoes to turn green, if they get to cold they will turn dark when you fry them and if it is to warm they will sprout. Don’t ever store them in the fridge. It causes them to break down and sometimes that is why they don’t cook up or mash right.

  8. Mari says

    We had a go at growing our own potatoes this year and I keep them in my garage, in a sack – this keeps them in the dark yet doesn’t allow frost to get to them (they can go mushy). I’d never tried growing potatoes before and used 3 sacks, rather than sowing them in the ground, and I think I must have put too many in because they were all very small, no matter how long I left them in!! (I’m still VERY much a beginner at all this LOL) I think next year I’ll put them in the ground and give them chance to grow!

  9. says

    sure wish potatoes were on sale like that here.
    10 lb bags are over $5 a bag here.
    I have got to get to the city to stock up before the snow and wind make it impossible to get there.
    Might have to take the car instead of the van as we seem to have a lot of wind storms. Wind storms are nice but not driving 90 K along an open cliff beside Lake Superior.
    Not this weekend though. Getting the new laminate over the hardwood floor today and probably tomorrow. It will be so nice sort of an early Christmas for us.

  10. says

    I think if you replace the corn syrup with sugar you would have something more like the Canadian Butter Tarts.
    There are many different recipes for those and many use sugar instead of corn syrup.
    People are always trying to top the best of Butter Tarts and since they are a Canadian thing they take pride of place at many festive meals.

  11. barb~ says

    Hi Jill,
    The dehydrater sounds like a good solution. I’ll start looking for one. Meanwhile, all the other tips are really helpful..I’ve had them turn green, sprout, etc. and never knew exactly what I was doing wrong.

    I used to live in a small town of about 8,000. We were held hostage to high prices all the time! It’s criminal the way merchants do that to small town people. I can understand if you live in a remote area where it’s costly to deliver food then there is a real justified reason for charging more.

  12. Doris Hofmann says

    I think this newsletter really gave someone who is new at making a Thanksgiving dinner some really good and easy recipes to work with. I really enjoy your newsletter and even though I have been cooking for a very long time, you give me some great ideas. Thanks for a great read.

  13. says

    Barb food prices in Canada are more than in the States. We have to import more from other countries because they simply don’t grow up here in large enough quantities.
    What we lack in warm climate foods we more than make up for in scenery and wide open places.
    So it is a very good trade off for myself and my family.
    I love cooking reading fishing canoeing and hunting. Couldn’t do the last 3 in a city where prices might be better but the company would not be as good.
    Small towns off the beaten track do pay more not only because the transportation costs but because it is harder to get in different items that are popular in big cities in smaller quantities.
    A trip of 3 hours 4 hours to shop and then 4 hours home is no big deal. We prefer one day trips as it is easier on me and we like our own beds. Sometimes overnight can’t be avoided so we do stay and don’t scrimp on things we enjoy.
    Nice motel dinner out lots of books at the used bookstore and we spend the evening reading, sometimes we even do room service just so I can rest up for the next day.
    To be honest as long as the mine here in town stays working I wouldn’t change where we live. so another 6 years at least. Then it will onto another small town out in the boonies.
    As long as I have the computer to come here and talk to people and other sites I am easily contented.

  14. Mari says

    Regarding using a a dehydrator – small table-top ones are now available over here, but they’re more designed for dehydrating slices of strawberry and apple, the kind you’d eat as a dried snack or on top of your breakfast cereal or something. I haven’t seen any over here in England that would be large enough to dehydrate cooked potatoes to make hash browns, but that sounds a brilliant idea, given the price most supermarkets charge for a bag of frozen hash browns!

    Love the site, by the way – I received your book a couple of weeks ago and there are so many great ideas in it! We don’t seem to think that way in England, to be self sufficient and thrifty – I always do my own cooking and I can’t remember the time I last bought a ready meal, but most people seem to live in a throw-away world, where people pay through the nose for something it would cost them a few pence to make. I do keep telling people about your site though!

    • says

      I just saw a video with a lady dehyrdrating potatoe slices and she put 2 layers on tray by using the screens for small items. She put a layer then the screen and another layer.
      I don’t do potatoes but do a lot of other things and tried it with apples and celery and it worked great. You double the trays for about the same length of time.
      In my dehydrators just the round table top ones I use 2 apples to a tray so the screen idea was great as that way I can do 4 apples to a tray.

  15. Brandy K says

    turkey gravy
    turkey juice/droppings
    milk (for the desired amount of gravy)
    flour to thicken
    salt and pepper to taste
    Heat up the turkey juice and milk add flour whisking all the lumps out as you do. When desired thickness remove from heat and add salt and pepper.

  16. Doug McCormick says

    My Uncle Roderick used to tell me about stuffing his turkey with RAW UNCOOKED POPCORN. He said that as the turkey roasts, the popcorn pops and the turkey is done when the popcorn blows the rear end out of the turkey.
    Uncle Roderick would be 106 years old now, but colon cancer got him at age 89.

  17. Doris Hofmann says

    I love your plain and simple recipes so much. It is a joy to find recipes where you don’t have to run to a couple of stores to find exotic spices, etc. Food tastes so much better when it is cooked simply. Thank you again for this.

    And a great Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!!

  18. Cindy says

    I believe the sweet potato casserole can be prepared ahead and frozen, then baked for the Thanksgiving dinner after thawing in the fridge for a couple of days. This certainly saves time on the big day.

  19. Chris says

    Your suggestion to place the mashed potatoes into a crockpot AHEAD of time is a sweat-saver, yet I never thought of it.

    Thanks for the light bulb moment this morning!

  20. Teri in Nebraska says

    Does anyone have a good cranberry salad recipe that does not involve a meat grinder or food processor (I don’t have either). Thank you!

    • says

      Teri, I take it you are using fresh cranberries.
      here is one for low carbs.
      I have never made it but I think with a few changes it could fit your needs.
      2 cups Cranberries
      1 cup Heavy Cream
      1 cup Splenda, or liquid equivalent
      1 packet Sugar Free Jello, Cranberry or Raspberry
      1/2 packet of Unflavored Gelatin
      Serves 8 people

      Nutrition Info:
      74 Calories, 6g Fat, 3.5g Carbs (1g Fiber) , 2g Protein

      What he did was take 2 cups of berries add sugar cover with water and cook until the berries pop. He drained it back into the pan and put the berries aside while he boiled the water and added the jello and the gelatin. When it boiled and the powders were dissolved he added the berries and set it in the fridge until it hardened a bit.
      He folded in the whipped cream and it was ready to serve or put back in the fridge until dinner.
      I thought the whipped cream did not make it look too appetizing and I would probably just let people top it with the whipped cream as they wanted. Or put it into a cake pan and when it set cut it into squares and top with a dollop of the whipped cream.
      For other recipes where you need a processor you could either just chop them fine or grate them on a cheese grater. I have done both and prefer the chopping as I like my fingers with skin on.

  21. says

    Hi I am from Texas and we had Luby’s Cafeteria (which are mostly gone now). They a 50th anniversary cookbook that came out in 1996. They have pecan pie I have eaten (Sorry Grandma)! If you are interested in the recipe and any other Luby’s recipes in the cookbook Please reply to this posting. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. If at all possible spend it with Family and Friends. May God Bless

  22. Louise says

    As an Australian, sometimes these recipes are hard to covert. Can you please give me a substitute for light corn syrup (as in pecan pie recipe), and how many gram for the ‘stick of butter’. We have all different sizes here!

    • says

      It is different but sugar like salt when added to certain things enhances the flavor so much. In other words the mashed potatoes taste richer and with more potato taste. You really don’t taste the sugar at all just extra flavor.

  23. rose says

    these recipes look so good .. we cant wait for the turkey .. i can smell it now .. and with the carcass . hubby will be making soup .. 😀

  24. Alisa says

    Happy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful that I found your article years ago in a Woman’s World magazine and I have been with you since. Thank you for the wonderful ideas for thriftiness & delicious recipes

  25. says

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

    We are fixing all the food now (my hubby and I), we just put the turkey in the deep fryer, it will be done in around 2 to 2 1/2 hours, YUMMY. Our dressing is hard to measure because we jus throw stuff in and it never taste the same.

    I also want to say that I am thankful to the Lord for my nice cozy apt, my 2 jobs and most importantly my family and friends.

  26. says

    What day is your thanksgiving.
    hope everyone celebrating either with family or without has a great day.
    if you don’t have family invite a friend.
    be thankful for all you have and for a day forget the things you don’t have.
    a hamburger and fries is wonderful if the company you eat it with is a friend.

    • says

      I do only about a 1 Tbsp. or so per 4 medium potatoes. Most people don’t even know it is in there. It doesn’t sweeten them just enhances the flavor. People love my mashed potatoes and most don’t know why – that I use sugar in them.

  27. Magdalen says

    Some years ago, my eldest daughter, Ely, did a “Gap Year” visit to a lovely school in New York State. The staff there were very kind and she was taken home for Thanksgiving and for Christmas .I am still grateful for the kindness she met, She is still in touch..(I was the one weeping through the carols at home.:)

  28. Mary Jane says

    I have to laugh at those who are surprised about the sugar in the mashed potatoes. I live in Canada and have never heard of it before either, but when I was a teenager, I came into the kitchen just in time to see my foster mom putting peanut butter into a meat gravy. I thought she had lost her mind and asked her what she was doing. “Making peanut butter gravy,” was her reply. She said they made it all the time when she was growing up on the Canadian prairies. I didn’t believe her. A few weeks later, she called me into the kitchen to read a passage from the library book she was reading… “the smell of peanut butter gravy wafted on the evening breeze…” it said. She smiled her triumphant sweet smile, and I learned something new. I do know that a half a teaspoon of sugar cooked in water in a pot with some too-old peas left over from the end of the garden, will make them taste more like early peas. I also remember an older gentleman from my childhood, who said the only way to really enjoy a fresh tomatoe sandwich was with a sprinkling of table sugar over the freshly sliced tomatoes, before putting the top slice of bread on.

    • says

      I love sugar on my tomatoes too. It is always a toss up on whether I want sugar or salt. :) Sugar like salt can really enhance the flavor of so many things. I will have to see if I can find a recipe for peanut butter gravy. That really sounds interesting. Thanks for telling us about it.

  29. Diane says

    Goodness Gracious! How timely these recipes are. I was just getting ready to take out a search for my sweet potato souffle recipe and dreading it because I never put it in the same place twice. It is one of my family’s favorites and your recipe is just like mine. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Diane in North Carolina

    • says

      I do that too all the time Diane. I really get frustrated with myself when I put a recipe on the web site and want to use it later but can’t remember the name or anything but that I wanted to try it. : )

  30. Tommie says

    I have been using a very similar pie crust recipe for a few years. I do mine in my mixer with the bread hook.
    So simple and freezes beautifully. Just thaw and roll out. I could not make a decent crust until this recipe appeared.
    I like to make a double batch (my recipe makes four crusts) so I can have them In the freezer (in flattened balls).
    Really makes pie making easier. Tommie

  31. grizzly bear mom says

    1. you can make the dressing without drippings by using chicken brother. You may want to replace a bit of brother with butter to enrich it.

    2. I like baked potatoes at Thanksgiving. Less work, more vitamins and roughage

    3. One stick of butter is 1/4 pound or 4 ounces.

    4. Sweet potatoes are SO good for your health. They are one of the reasons Okinawans live so long.

    3. My pecan pie recipe is similar to yours. What does the LEMON do to it?

  32. Doris E. Hofmann says

    Mary Jane wrote about peanut butter gravy which reminded me of another unusual use for peanut butter. I was eating refreshments after worship service in my church many years ago and one of the sandwiches was tuna salad. I remarked how good it was and the young mother who had made the sandwiches said that she put peanut butter in with the mayonnaise. She saw the recipe in Parents’ Magazine and tried it out at home with her youngsters. They loved it, so she decided to make it for our refreshments. Delicious. Just a couple of spoonfuls made all the difference in taste.

  33. Donnie Jarman says

    We had 2 walnut trees. I have never liked pecans. So when I make a pecan pie I put walnuts in place of pecans. If you are a walnut lover you will love this. Just use your regular recipe for the pie. Plus I add about 1 and 1/2 cup walnuts. My family loves this. Enjoy.

  34. says

    Where can I get the recipes for the Reindeer and other “poop?” I gave all my grandchildren the book “Dining on a Dime” so if it’s in there, I need to order one for myself.


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