Skip to main content

Planning Your Thanksgiving Menu? Add These Recipes to Your List for Something Different

Meredith Francis
A Thanksgiving meal spread on a table
Credit: iStock

Get more recipes, food news, and stories by signing up for our Deep Dish newsletter.

Thanksgiving is upon us, so it’s the perfect time to revisit some recipes that will add something a little different to your holiday table. Whether you’re preparing to host your own Thanksgiving or you don’t want to show up empty-handed, we’ve got suggestions for casseroles, sides, veggies, sweets, and a couple of cocktails for you to try out. 

If you want some tips from a food industry professional on how to get through preparing a Thanksgiving meal, Milk Street’s culinary director shared some advice

Brussel Sprouts with Apples and Bacon

Brussel Sprouts with Apples and Bacon
Credit: Erik Bernstein for Milk Street

Thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, apples, and shallot cook quickly in this easy side dish with flavors perfect for Thanksgiving. The recipe comes from the new cookbook Milk Street Simple. 

Mashed Potatoes with Caraway-Mustard Butter

Mashed potatoes
Credit: Connie Miller of CB Creatives

Add a little bit of kick to your mashed potatoes with this Milk Street recipe. Horseradish gives them a little bit of a sweet heat.

Savory Sweet Potato Gratin

Sweet potato gratin
Credit: Milk Street

This Milk Street recipe is a good substitute for the classic sweet potato casserole. The bonus? No marshmallows needed. If you’ve got a lot to cook, the gratin can be made a day ahead.

Lula Cafe's Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup
Credit: Carolina Rodriguez

This is the soup recipe that started everything for beloved Chicago stalwartLula Cafe. “The key ingredient is kecap manis, a syrupy Indonesian soy sauce sweetened with palm sugar,” writes Lula owner and cookbook author Jason Hammel. 

Ligurian Potato, Green Bean, and Mushroom Gratin

Ligurian Potato, Green Bean, and Mushroom Gratin
Credit: Milk Street

Milk Street also offers a fresh take on the classic green bean casserole with this potato, green bean, and mushroom gratin. It works as a side or a main dish for vegetarians.

Tater Tot Hotdish

Tater Tot Hotdish
Credit: Cook's Country

If you’re from Minnesota, you probably know what hotdish is. These baked casseroles typically include protein and vegetables bound in a creamy sauce with a starch, making them a great add-on for Thanksgiving. Give this recipe for Tater Tot Hotdish from Cook’s Country a try.

Mac 'n' Cheese from Bell Heir's BBQ and Luella's Southern Kitchen

Mac n cheese
Credit: Tyris Bell / Bell Heir’s BBQ

When Tyris Bell, the brother of Luella's chef Darnell Reed and the restaurant's manager, opened his own spot, Bell Heir's BBQ in Canaryville, he also decided to include this decadently cheesy recipe on his menu. 


A slice of pastitsio
Photo: Carl Tremblay

If you’re looking for a different kind of casserole, this recipe for pastitsio (sort of like a Greek lasagna) from America’s Test Kitchen could be a good fit on Thanksgiving, and is hearty enough to be a main course.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Browned Butter-Orange Vinaigrette

Roasted acorn squash on a plate
Photo: Connie Miller of CB Creatives

This recipe is the epitome of fall food. Roasted pistachios add some texture to this warm, buttery side. The recipe can easily be doubled if you have a lot of guests at your table.

Roasted Baby Artichokes

Roasted baby artichokes on a sheet pan
Credit: Stephen Hamilton / Listen to Your Vegetables

This recipe comes from Monteverde’s Sarah Grueneberg and was created by “happy accident.” With an herb marinade, this dish turns out like fried artichoke chips but without the hassle of a mandoline. It could be a fitting side or something to snack on while people wait for the big meal.

Pumpkin Seed Rolls

A pumpkin seed roll
Photo: Connie Miller of CB Creatives

Your Thanksgiving rolls can be more than just gravy-dipping vehicles; bring in the flavors of the season with some pepitas for these rolls from Milk Street. These are best when made the day of serving.

Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns)

Kanelbullar on a wooden serving slab
Credit: iStock

Try out this America's Test Kitchen recipe for kanelbullar, or cinnamon buns whose dough is fragrant with cardamom, that’ll get you in the holiday spirit.

Cranberry Curd Tart with an Almond Crust

A close-up of cranberry curd tart, sliced into a few pieces
Credit: America's Test Kitchen

The vibrant color of this cranberry curd tart from America’s Test Kitchen will brighten up any Thanksgiving table. This recipe is great for Christmas and other winter holidays, too.

French Apple Cake

French apple cake
Photo: Connie Miller of CB Creatives

Not a fan of pie? This apple cake recipe from Milk Street brings all the warmth and flavors of a traditional apple pie.

Pumpkin Tart

Pumpkin tart
Credit: Milk Street

If pumpkin pie is too dense for you, this tart serves as a lighter version, while sautéing the pumpkin puree with dark brown sugar adds a caramel flavor.

S'mores Bars with Toasted Meringue 

A slice of s'mores bars
Credit: Milk Street

If you’ve got kids coming over for Thanksgiving, try this sweet treat from Milk Street. Adults who may have grown out of their love of marshmallows can try it too, since the marshmallows here have been replaced with an airy meringue. 


Credit: Call the Midwife: The Official Cookbook

If you’re looking for a unique dessert that’ll transport you to another era, try this recipe from the Call the Midwife cookbook. While its Italian cousin panna cotta is much better known in the United States, blancmange was once quite popular, especially in Europe. 

Chauhan Family Masala Chai

Masala chai on a table with flowers and cake
Credit: Nirali Chauhan

If you need a comforting caffeine pick-me-up while you’re hard at work in the kitchen (or taking a break elsewhere), try this masala chai tea recipe from Nirali Chauhan, a Chicago-area contestant from The Great American Baking Show.

Bijou Cocktail

The bijou cocktail in a glass
Credit: Callum Duffy

Add some spirit to your Thanksgiving with this cocktail from Milk Street editorial director J.M. Hirsch. This gin cocktail is ideal for people who like bourbon or want a slightly brighter version of an Old Fashioned

Tia Barrett's Riff on a Kir Royale

Kir Royale in a champagne flute
Credit: iStock

If you’re in the mood for a champagne cocktail, this twist on a classic kir royal from Tia Barrett, the beverage director at Lincoln Park’s upscale Esmé, will add some sweet, floral notes to your meal.