Thanksgiving Menu

Years ago I made a Thanksgiving playbook. Typed up every recipe and included a timeline for what could be made when because getting AS MUCH prep out of the way before turkey day is like super important. Each year I’ve changed up the playbook a little, replacing old recipes with new ones, but this year I have been dragging my feet. Planning Thanksgiving dinner can be so overwhelming with the long shopping list and all, but time is a ticking.

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To be honest, I’m not sure anyone really cares about what I’ll be serving for Thanksgiving, but this post was more of a way for me to stop procrastinating, get my sh*t together and finally write out my plan for Thanksgiving. Maybe it will give you some last minute menu ideas as well.

This year I’m trying a new turkey recipe. I usually do a wet brine, but instead I’m going with this dry-brined turkey.

Sides are really my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. I could skip the turkey altogether, really, but you know, tradition and stuff. Here’s my plan:

  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes (like theeeee best mashed potatoes you will ever put in your mouth) *I’ll include the recipe at the bottom. I found the recipe years ago and can’t remember for the life of me where it came from.

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I do need dessert ideas. I may not have a sweet tooth, but everyone else does. Pumpkin pie is kinda meh, but I’m sure I’ll do at least one. Any other ideas???

Phew! Honestly, this post just made me feel about 100 times more prepared than I felt this morning. Now, to do the shopping list… maybe tomorrow.

Garlic Mashed Potates


9 pounds small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-inch chunks
3 T kosher salt
12 – 18 whole garlic cloves, peeled
3 whole bay leaves
12 thyme sprigs
24oz. cream cheese, at room temp
18 T butter, at room temp
3 cups sour cream
3 cups whole milk, warmed
3 t seasoned salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 T butter, cut into bits and chilled

Generously butter a shallow 2 1/2 quart gratin dish or baking dish.

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water to a depth of 2 inches. Add the kosher salt, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife (about 20 minutes). Do not let the potatoes break apart or become waterlogged. Drain well and let stand until the potatoes steam dry and their edges look chalky (about 3 minutes). Discard the bay leaves and thyme stems.

Press the hot potatoes and garlic through a food mill or ricer into a large bowl. Add the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and milk (in batches until you reach your desired consistency) to the warm potatoes. Stir until smooth. The mixture will firm up as it chills overnight, so at this point it should be slightly softer than you want to serve it. Season with seasoned salt and pepper.

Scrape the potatoes into the prepared dish and smooth the top. Dot the top with the bits of chilled butter. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days ahead.

When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until the top is golden brown and the potatoes are heated through – about 1 hour. Serve warm. (I always give them a good stir before serving.)

39 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Menu

  1. A couple years ago I was burnt on the typical pumpkin pie so I made a pumpkin cheesecake instead and it was AMAZING. I suggest giving that a go.

  2. I do a pumpkin cheesecake bc we feel the same way about regular pumpkin pie. Last year I made pecan and the Momofuku pie…that was good.

    TJs has a mix this year for sweet potato and marshmallow pixie pie so I’m adding that one on.

  3. Dessert: NYT’s bourbon pecan pie and Bon Appetit’s Mile High Chocolate Pie are strong holders in our home, besides the old fashioned pumpkin pie. I also will make an apple and craisin pie. Hope this inspires you! And I too am trying a dry brine this year 🤗

  4. One of my all time favorite fall desserts is s Pear Frangipane Tart. It’s simple and lovely. The almond paste and pear halves make it simply delicious. And it’s something other than pumpkin! If you’d like, I’d be happy to share my recipe.

  5. Hi Sarah! This menu sounds amazing. On your old blog you had a step by step tutorial on how to make lattes at home with a Moka pot. Could you post how to make them again?! My sisters visiting from college and would love to be able to make “lattes” at home 🙂

    1. I️ just brew espresso in a moka pot, then use a fresh press to make foamy milk. You have to warm the milk first, but so easy and without fancy equipment!

  6. I’m planning on making the NYT cranberry curd tart! The recipe calls for a hazelnut crust, but you could easily switch out for a graham cracker instead. It looks beautiful and has five stars from 650+ reviews!

  7. I ALWAYS bake pie or pies. Apple or Apple Cranberry with crumb topping is my specialty. Last year since we celebrate with friends I went More kid friendly and make Ina Garten’s Apple Pie bars. Super easy and sooo good. They were a big hit with everyone.
    I saw On your list “12-16lb” bird-how many are you feeling with that? And does it allow for leftovers?

  8. Paula Dean’s pumpkin cheesecake us my absolute favorite! I’ve never been a fan of pumpkin pie and this dessert is always a hit at our family’s Thanksgiving! Super ease too.

  9. This is awesome! I can’t get excited about Thanksgiving so I just printed all of your recipes and I am done! But, I can’t find the Butternut Squash recipe.

  10. Yay! My mouth is watering!!! Thank you, Sarah! We normally have fried turkey..😆 But I’m
    in charge this year so I’m thinking a baked one instead. Have a great day!

  11. My mom makes an amazing pumpkin torte….I’m not sure of the recipe but it’s basically yellow cake mix and pumpkin filling, I’m sure the inter webs has a pumpkin torte recipe haha but it’s seriously so good.

  12. Have you made the Thanksgiving Lentil Salad before? I’m debating whether to add an additional dish to our menu, and I’m eyeing that one. Curious as to whether it is worth making.

  13. Do you think it would turn out okay just using a mixer or masher? I don’t have a potato ricer or food mill and don’t know if I’ll have time to get one.

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