35 Easy Thanksgiving Recipes Even First-Time Hosts Can Handle

Maybe you volunteered to cook Thanksgiving dinner, or perhaps you got roped into it—either way, the pressure’s on and you’re going to do it right. Even if it's your first time, don’t worry: you’ve got this! Take a deep breath and lean on this menu of easy Thanksgiving recipes, which cover every aspect of the big meal, from cocktails to dessert. They'll impress your guests and relieve some of your stress.

Need more Thanksgiving menu ideas? We've got Thanksgiving side dishes that will impress everyone at the table, Thanksgiving vegetable recipes that are just as delicious as the main course and dessert ideas to sweeten things up like these Thanksgiving cookies.

How to Quickly Thaw a Turkey


1. Hot Buttered Rum

Hot cocoa who? Your guests can warm their bones and chat while you start bringing out appetizers.

2. Cranberry-mint Holiday Punch

There's no easier way to quench a crowd's thirst than by combining liquor, fruit juice and sparkling wine in a pretty bowl.

3. Pumpkin Patch Punch

Apple cider, pumpkin butter, brandy and ginger beer? The autumn is strong with this one.

4. Fig Bourbon Cider Smash

Sweet cider and fig preserves meet oaky bourbon and a dash of balsamic vinegar.

5. Hard Apple Cider Mule

A seasonal twist on a classic.

6. Black Velvet

If you have Guinness lovers in the family, this drink made with stout beer and crème de cassis will blow them away *and* grant you bragging rights.


7. Cranberry, Brussels Sprouts and Brie Skillet Nachos

All the season's best flavors on one crisp chip. Even picky kids won't be able to resist.

8. Cranberry-brie Pie Crust Bites

Sweet, salty, crunchy and downright adorable.

9. Roasted Mixed Nuts

Making this classic bar snack from scratch is as simple as tossing nuts of your choice in oil, herbs and spices, then baking them for about 10 minutes. Ta-da.

10. Brussels Sprouts Latkes

Substitute spuds for the season's most beloved vegetable.

11. Prosciutto And Fig Salad Board

Using a chic cutting board instead of a serving bowl can turn any salad into a sophisticated masterpiece without a second of extra work.

12. Bacon, Onion And Asiago Fondue

Is there anything more comforting than a skillet of warm, melty cheese? Didn't think so.

13. The Best Damn Pumpkin Soup

OK, your mind is about to be blown. This seven-ingredient soul-warmer roasts inside the pumpkin; just scoop out the seeds, fill 'er up and pop the whole gourd in the oven.

14. Delicata Squash Rings With Garlic-lemon Sauce

Warning: These handhelds will disappear in minutes.


15. The Fastest Roast Turkey in the Universe

Thirty-three minutes is all it takes to roast this turkey—just remember to defrost it with time to spare.

16. Maple-herb Roasted Turkey Legs

Who says you need to cook the whole bird? Your guests who love dark meat definitely won't mind.

17. Slow-cooker Turkey Breast With Orange And Herbs

Not only can you set it and forget, but slow-cooker turkey breast is basically impossible to overcook. Bye-bye, dry meat.

18. Balsamic Cranberry Roast Chicken

Your fam doesn't do turkey? That's cool. This skillet chicken is loaded with fresh herbs and cranberries, plus it doesn't even need to be seared on the stove before roasting.

19. Creamy Vegan Lentil And Roasted Vegetable Bake

Your vegan relative will be overjoyed to see this cashew cream-drenched beauty loaded with butternut squash, cauliflower and pine nuts on the table.

20. Butternut Squash Lasagna

This vegetarian-friendly Thanksgiving main dish will have even meat-lovers asking for seconds.


21. Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

The key to hosting Thanksgiving is prepping in stages. Prep these spuds a day or two ahead so you can quickly reheat them before dinnertime.

22. Make-ahead Vegetarian Gravy

The secret to whipping up rich, flavorful gravy sans-turkey drippings? Umami-rich portobello mushrooms.

23. 5-ingredient Red-wine Cranberry Sauce

One cup of dry red vino in the pot, the rest for the chef.

24. Dorie Greenspan's Maple Syrup And Mustard Brussels Sprouts

This side dish starring pantry staples and fall flavors will only take you 25 minutes to pull together.

25. Julia Turshen’s Sheet-pan Stuffing With Sausage And Spinach

You can prep this holiday staple a day in advance and wrap it up on the sheet pan until you’re ready to bake it. Crisis averted.

26. Kale Salad With Crispy Chickpeas

It won't kill your guests (or you) to make some room on your plate for greens, right?

27. Vegan Butternut Mac And ‘cheese’ With Smoky Shiitake ‘bacon’

Because no one should have to miss out on the world's most beloved side dish.

28. Sweet Potato Crostini

Let’s talk about crostini for a sec. This party appetizer is super versatile, looks sophisticated and is incredibly simple to make.


29. Rosé Poached Pears with Ginger and Vanilla

Psst: We found the perfect use for that leftover bottle of summer wine in your fridge. Don't forget the whipped cream.

30. Miniature Banoffee Cobblers

This British dessert of sweet bananas, crispy graham crackers, gooey caramel and vanilla whipped cream is well worth crossing the Atlantic for. Better yet, save yourself the trip and make it on your own.

31. Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies

So, pie feels like a tall order and gingersnaps seem too boring. Consider these cookies the best of both worlds.

32. Mini Caramel Pecan Pies With Cinnamon Roll Pie Crust

A twist on a timeless classic that couldn't be easier to pull off. (Hint: It all starts with store-bought pie dough.)

33. Slow-cooker Spiked Cinnamon Lattes

Leave drip coffee behind this year. A blend of espresso, maple syrup, vanilla vodka and Kahlúa will pair with dessert like a charm.

34. Sweet Potato Pots De Crème With Toasted Marshmallow

Consider your dinner guests wined, dined and wowed.

35. Chai Hot Toddy

Cozy up to the fireplace with one of these rum-spiked beauties before calling it a night. If you prefer your hot toddy fruity, try this cranberry version on for size, made with rum, brandy and honey.

purewow author

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...