30 Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Ideas (Side Dishes and Desserts)
Posted on Last updated:
Are you looking for Thanksgiving dinner menu ideas? I’ve listed several forms of turkey and a ham recipe along with delicious sides and desserts that everyone will love.
Keep in mind that the popularity of sides will vary, depending on what region you’re in. Also family traditions come into play.
So I chose the ones that my family loves because I know they’re all delicious. I hope you find inspiration here and decide to add some of my recipes to your special dinner.
Thanksgiving Dinner Turkey and Ham
In our home, turkey and ham are the most traditional main dishes for Thanksgiving dinner. On occasion, we’ve also had fish, but that’s typically when a guest requests it.
We used to have large crowds to our house for the big feast, but the number has shrunk over the years. In fact, sometimes it’s just my husband and me.
However, that doesn’t stop us from celebrating. I just cook less of each dish, which is fine.
Here are the main dishes we like for Thanksgiving:
Slow Cooker Turkey Breast – When there are only 2 or 3 of you at the table, a turkey breast might be all you need for a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner. And this recipe is so easy!
Roasted Turkey Tenderloin – Here is another easy recipe for a couple or small group at the holiday table. It’s also easy and delicious!
Herb Roasted Turkey – For a whole family or larger group, this delicious turkey recipe from Julia’s Simply Southern will garner some rave reviews.
Baked Ham with Glaze – And of course, for those who prefer ham, you’ll want to make this amazing glazed ham from Back to My Southern Roots. It’s the same recipe my mother used to use, and everyone absolutely loved it!
After all of the side dish and dessert suggestions, you’ll see a list of tips to make your Thanksgiving meal go more smoothly.
Thanksgiving Side Dishes and Desserts
Now that you have the main dish planned, it’s time to surround it with some delicious side dishes. And then create desserts to finish off your Thanksgiving celebration!
Add flavor, nutrition, and a delightful crunchy texture to your meal with this yummy broccoli slaw. The contrasting colors will draw people to it, and the wonderful taste will have them returning to get more.
The best way to describe these cookies is “sweet and nutty.” Start out with a cake mix and a few other ingredients. In a matter of minutes, you’ll have what just might wind up being your favorite cookie.
These rum balls are perfect for any dessert table or food-themed gift basket. Every single time I make them, everyone requests another round.
Tips for Planning and Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner
I hope that all of the above Thanksgiving dinner menu ideas help with your planning. Hosting the Thanksgiving meal is a great way to bring people together in order to give thanks for all of the blessings.
Here are some tips on how to ensure that the event runs as smoothly as possible:
Plan ahead by creating a menu and shopping in advance. If you want others to bring a dish to share, give them plenty of notice.
Start thawing a frozen turkey several days in advance of the big day. The larger the turkey the longer you need to thaw it.
Do as much prep work in advance to reduce your stress.
Check with each guest to find out if there are any dietary restrictions and do your best to accommodate them. Offer at least a couple of dishes that everyone can enjoy.
Serve the meal buffet-style. Label the foods with the most common allergens.
Coordinate your timing to make sure the hot foods are served hot and the cold foods are cold.
Don’t forget to relax and enjoy yourself. Remember that this special day is about gratitude, not perfection.