This easy Thanksgiving dinner menu includes a delicious roasted turkey breast main course accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes, sweet glazed carrots, a wild rice and apple stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce, and homemade dinner buns, then finished off with an easy pumpkin dessert.
All the recipes you need, in one place!
I am so excited to share this Thanksgiving dinner menu with you! Don’t worry about sifting through websites and recipe books trying to put together a complete meal: I’ve already done the work for you! All of the recipes are easy, and some things can even be prepared ahead of time so you can enjoy this fantastic meal and more quality time with your family and friends. Included are the step-by-step recipes, tips for hosting a successful dinner party, a prep list to ensure success, and even a printable grocery list!
Yes, holiday meals can be easy!
Serving a holiday meal to a group of people can feel intimidating! So if you are hesitating about hosting a Thanksgiving gathering because you feel anxious about what to serve and how to get it all done on time, this Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Menu was created just for you! I’ve put together a simple menu of delicious and easy to make dishes, AND created a strategy to get it all on the table, on time, with ease. If you’d like to prepare ham this Thanksgiving, I have an Easy Easter Dinner Menu that has everything you need. Let’s get to it!
Tips For Hosting a Successful Thanksgiving Dinner Party:
First, let’s talk about some tips for serving a larger crowd! If you keep these in mind as you work on prepping your kitchen a day or two before the big day, I promise that everything will go smoothly the day of your dinner.
1. Serve your guests buffet style.
You are not a restaurant, and trying to plate up each person’s individual meal will take time and energy you don’t need to spend. Place all the food on a sideboard (or even your kitchen counter or island) where your guests can take their plates to fill up, or put it right on the table and let your guests fill their plates as the dishes get passed around.
2. Set your table before your guests arrive.
This might seem like a silly thing to mention, but setting a pretty table takes time and a bit of fussing. If it’s done before anyone arrives, you won’t have any distractions or eyes watching you do it! Also, here’s a little secret: when the table is set your guests will feel more confident that the food is almost ready, and it buys you some time if you’re running behind! If you’re looking for some simple ideas for setting your table, click here for some Thanksgiving tablescape ideas!
3. Read through all of your recipes beforehand.
I cannot stress this enough. There is nothing worse than getting halfway through a recipe and finding out you are missing a key ingredient 10 minutes before your guests arrive. Read through everything a few days before, and make sure you have what you need and know how much cooking time to allow for each dish.
4. Print off this grocery list, check off what you already have, and head to the store!
I’d recommend shopping for your dinner a few days ahead of time. These ingredients are pretty accessible at most stores but give yourself some extra time, just in case!
5. think about your serving dish strategy ahead of time.
This is one thing I really try to do ahead of time, because it saves so much time and stress on the day of your dinner. We have all searched for the one bowl we need to serve that salad in, only to find it holding leftovers in the back of the fridge. Don’t let that happen to you this Thanksgiving! Decide which food items you want to serve on what platters or in what bowls, and have them washed and ready to serve!
6. Plan your stovetop/oven strategy.
Seriously. Make sure the pans for the carrots and the rice stuffing will fit on the stovetop together, and plan your cooking strategy so everything can be ready around the same time. You have lots of time now to figure it all out instead of panicking a few hours before your guests arrive!
7. Prep what you can the day before and THE morning of.
The less you have to do after guests arrive and right before the food goes on the table, the better. Many of these recipes can be made ahead of time, so take advantage!
8. Ask for help.
You do not need to do it all yourself. I repeat. You do not need to do it all yourself! Ask your family for help. Get them to chop vegetables, grocery shop, or take on any tasks that you need them to help with! Have someone set the table and help you clean.
Use this Printable Thanksgiving Dinner Grocery List
Everything you need to make the recipes in this Thanksgiving Dinner post is on this grocery list.
- Just DOWNLOAD this grocery list here.
- Print the list. You can print it in colour or black and white onto letter-sized paper. I set my printer to “Fill Page”.
Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Prep List:
What to do the Day Before:
- Boil and mash the potatoes, and put them in the fridge.
- Get the turkey marinating in the herb mixture. Letting it sit overnight will lead to maximum flavour saturation!
- Cut two pounds of carrots into rounds.
- Chop the celery and onion for the stuffing, and refrigerate.
- Make the cranberry sauce. This could even be done TWO days before, since it keeps for a long time in the fridge.
- Make the pumpkin delight dessert. This dessert needs to chill for at least three hours, so making it ahead of time and refrigerating is best.
What to do the Morning of:
- Make the Homemade Bread Machine Dinner Buns. Mix your bun dough in the bread machine, then shape it and bake it in the oven. Fresh baked buns are the best.
- Prep and group the rest of the ingredients for your stuffing, carrots, and mashed potatoes. Having these ingredients on the counter ready to go will save you time and stress later in the day!
During the Afternoon of:
- Finish prepping your turkey and put it in the oven approximately 2 hours before you plan to eat.
- Cook your stuffing dish approximately 1 hour before you plan to eat.
- Make the cream/butter mixture for your mashed potatoes and finish prepping this dish approximately half an hour before you plan to eat.
Shortly before your guests arrive:
- Set the table.
- Check on your potatoes, stuffing, and turkey. This is probably the only tricky part of your day!
What do to at dinner:
- Cook your glazed carrots (this takes about 15 minutes) and put them in a serving dish.
- Slice your turkey breast and place it on your serving platter.
- Place your fresh buns on a plate and serve.
- Plate your stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and serve!
Feeling confident? You got this! Let’s get to the food, shall we?
Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
- Bread: Homemade Bread Machine Dinner Buns
- Main Dish: Slow Roasted Herb Marinated Turkey Breast
- Side Dish: Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
- Side Dish: Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
- Side Dish: Wild Rice, Raisin and Apple Stuffing
- Side Dish: Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Dessert: Pumpkin Delight
Is there anything more mouthwatering and delicious than home-baked bread? Let your bread machine do all the mixing and kneading for these Homemade Dinner Buns! Then shape the dough into buns and bake them in your oven. The perfect complement to your Thanksgiving meal.
If you’re looking for something traditional yet a little bit different, this savoury Herb Marinated Turkey Breast is for you! This main course is slow-roasted, tender, and juicy, flavoured with rosemary and thyme. An easy and delicious recipe that is perfect for your holiday dinner!
Cut your prep time for big holiday dinners with these Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes! I know that mashed potatoes are the easiest thing to make. But I find making them annoying when I’m trying to pull together a big dinner. They’re just ONE MORE THING to do when you’re already busy (peeling, cutting, boiling), and one more giant pot taking up room on the stove. So why not make them ahead of time? Then just heat and stir in butter and cream.
For years I thought the only way to have cranberry sauce was to open a can and mash it into a bowl. And then I tried homemade. I can’t even tell you how big of a difference there is between canned and fresh! Once you try this Homemade Cranberry Sauce, you’ll never reach for canned again! This recipe makes a delicious, sweet & tart sauce that is perfect served with your turkey, and it can even be made ahead so you have one less thing to worry about the day of.
I hope this post has convinced you that you are more than capable of making a delicious meal to feed a crowd! With the right menu and planning-ahead strategy, you can even enjoy yourself while you host! And if you REALLY want to take your gathering to the next level, check out this Thanksgiving tablescape post and see if you can find any inspiration for your Thanksgiving table decor there. A pretty tablescape can be pulled together in just minutes, so they add to the stress-free vibe I am trying to encourage with this holiday menu plan! I’d love it if your shared your beautiful table with me @aprettylife. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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More Holiday Menu Ideas
This easy Easter dinner menu includes a delicious glazed ham paired with classic scalloped potatoes, a simple carrot recipe, braided bread made in a bread machine, and a decadent sheet of carrot cake for dessert. I’ve included step-by-step recipes, tips for hosting a successful dinner party, a prep list to ensure success, and even a printable grocery list!
Have a delicious day!