Thanksgiving is a time for family, festivity, and food. So much food. All of the food. We’re all used to having our traditional turkey dinners, our pumpkin pies, and wholesome casseroles. They’re pretty darn tasty, but eating the same thing year-in, year-out can get a little bit… well, boring! You can have too much of a good thing, you know? A person can only cope with so much pumpkin!
Don’t worry – all is not lost! We’re here to show you some simple yet unique recipes to spice up this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. Loosen your belt, put on your stretchiest pants, and feast your eyes on these mouth-watering masterpieces. Delicious food is definitely something to be thankful for, so here’s some serious culinary inspiration: you’re welcome!
16. Chipotle and Coca-Cola sweet potatoes
When you first see this recipe, you might be incredibly dubious. Chipotle and sweet potatoes? Sure, that could work. But… Coca-Cola? Who’s ever seen a fizzy drink used in a Thanksgiving recipe before? However, the end result does look pretty delicious. It’s a combination of sweet, smoky, and a little bit spicy: what’s not to love? Making this dish is super simple – you don’t even have to peel the potatoes! You literally make the glaze, pour it over the potatoes, pop the whole thing in the oven, and bam. Deliciousness!
The recipe also comes with some pretty neat serving suggestions, including the Mediterranean twist of adding goats cheese and mint! You can check out the method for this super side dish here.
15. Cajun style turkey
If you want to stick with the traditional Thanksgiving fare of a turkey dinner, there’s a fair few ways you can spice it up – literally! This full-on feast recipe combines Cajun flavors with firm favorites like pumpkin, sweet potato, and, of course, turkey. The centerpiece is a Cajun-seasoned bird served with a ‘Dirty Rice,’ chicken, and sausage stuffing — what’s not to love? It’s followed up with a pumpkin-based dessert with a twist: it’s not a pie, but a ginger-snap-based cheesecake! My mouth’s watering just thinking about it.
If you’re looking for some warming and spicy flavors to heat up your November evening, this is the recipe for you.
14. Red hot oyster and kimchi stuffing
This unique stuffing adds a Korean twist to your Thanksgiving spread. It takes a traditional stuffing-like recipe and adds succulent oysters and spicy kimchi – a traditional Korean side-dish made up of fermented cabbage and radishes. Throw in some bacon, mixed spices, mushrooms, and brandy, and you’ve got yourself a rich and wholesome stuffing!
If you’re not convinced yet, consider this: the whole thing’s drizzled with home-made garlic butter. What more could you possibly want in a side-dish? A word of warning, though: the addition of Tabasco sauce means the spice really is red hot! It’s not a dish for the faint-hearted…
13. Mac and cheese carbonara
This dish combines two of the most delicious pasta recipes ever: macaroni cheese and pasta carbonara. Boasting no less than five different types of cheese, it’s the ultimate comfort food, and super easy to make. The creamy cheese sauce perfectly compliments strips of streaky pancetta, and the whole thing is baked in the oven to give it some delicious crispiness. You can serve this as a side dish or as its own standalone dinner: it’s versatile like that! There’s no guarantee that you’ll have any leftovers, though. It’s way too tasty for that!
Check out how to make this mac-and-cheese masterpiece here.
12. Bourbon sweet potato casserole
Every self-respecting Thanksgiving spread needs a sweet potato casserole, and this one has it all. Just in case the potatoes weren’t sweet enough for you already, they’re mixed with vanilla and a hefty scoop of brown sugar. A generous swig of bourbon makes it into the mix, and the whole thing is topped with bacon and pecans. Yep, that’s right: bacon, the king of all savory foods, is crisped up and sprinkled on top to perfectly compliment the sweetness of the pecans.
Plus, the whole thing can be made well in advance to save you time on the big day. What’s not to love?
11. Mashed potatoes with caramelized onions
Mashed potatoes are one of those staple foods that never fail to provide comfort. They’re basically the feeling of being cozy in food form. However, they go from being an old favorite to a flavorsome phenomenon in this recipe. They’re given added sweetness thanks to the inclusion of caramelized onions, one of the world’s most underrated foods. Plus, a sprinkling of parmesan makes the potatoes even more creamy than usual. The whole mix is perfectly blended to give the smoothest texture possible.
If this potato-based deliciousness sounds like it’s down your street, you can find the recipe here.
10. Pumpkin pie cheesecake
You know what’s delicious? Pumpkin pie. You know what ELSE is delicious? Cheesecake. Can you imagine the food heaven that would be created if you combine the two? Well, imagine no more. This creamy Greek yogurt pumpkin pie cheesecake is the perfect dessert to combine Thanksgiving tradition with culinary ingenuity. A mix of yogurt, cream cheese, and pumpkin puree makes for a tasty filling, while a simple graham cracker base provides a bit of crunch.
It’s really an overnight job if you want the cheesecake to set properly, but it’s totally worth it. You’ll be dying for a slice of it come Thanksgiving morning!
9. Thanksgiving turkey sliders
If you fancy, pretending that your Thanksgiving dinner is a midsummer barbecue, this is the recipe you’ve been looking for. These delicious turkey sliders take the traditional meat-and-veg concept and flip it upside-down. All you need is some ground turkey, mayonnaise, onions, and you’re sorted.
If you don’t want to throw away a full roast dinner, why not grind the leftover turkey and make these sliders later on in the holiday weekend? Alternatively, you can go all the way on the day itself, and serve the sliders with onion rings, mushrooms, and cranberry mustard. You’ve got the BBQ food; now all you need is BBQ weather…
8. Cranberry ice cream
Who says that cold food is only for the hot weather? Instead of dolloping cranberry sauce on your turkey this year, why not save your berries to make an ice cream instead? The tartness of the cranberries is a sharp contrast to the sweetness of the ice cream, but it’s a combination that works surprisingly well!
This recipe does require an ice cream maker, but let’s be honest, that sounds like a worthwhile investment. Why not snap one up in the Black Friday sales? If it means you can make this tasty Thanksgiving-themed recipe, it’s definitely worth the money.
7. Brie and chive biscuits
Any recipe involving cheese is bound to be a winner, and these biscuits are no exception. They use French brie to create a creamy taste and smooth texture. Paired with delicious chives, the taste of these simple-to-make bundles of carbs are bound to be phenomenal. You can even be super lazy and make the dough with a food processor!
The addition of buttermilk makes the biscuits wonderfully moist, and they can be paired perfectly with traditional Thanksgiving fare like turkey. Or, if you’re a real cheese addict, you can grill them with a little bit of cheddar on top. Divine!
Check out the recipe here.
6. Sweet potato cornbread
Cornbread is delicious. Sweet potatoes are delicious. Combine the two and the results are pretty phenomenal. This simple yet effective recipe creates a bread that’s fluffy and thick. Adding a dollop of sour cream creates an extra richness that makes the whole thing irresistible! A sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg brings some fabulous Fall flavor to the bread, making it the perfect Thanksgiving side dish.
You’ll find it hard not to eat the whole pan at once! If you do manage to resist that temptation, the leftovers make a great breakfast. Alternatively, dip the bread in a good, wholesome chili for a guaranteed winter warmer.
5. Peach stuffing
Yep, really – they’re putting peaches in stuffing these days! It might seem a bit too unusual to be tasty, but trust us – it works. If Martha Stewart says so, it must be true! You start off with a pretty ordinary stuffing recipe — throw in your onion, your garlic, and your celery. Fairly standard herbs make an appearance too, with thyme, sage, and parsley all making it in. Throw in your breadcrumbs and that’s when things get interesting.
Instead of adding stock or meat, you chuck in some peaches and orange juice. It’s certainly unique and is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth!
4. Apple pie salsa with cinnamon tortilla chips
Salsa and chips are a staple snack food. It’s perfect for movie nights, parties, and… Thanksgiving? Apparently so! This sweet twist on a savory classic combines a tasty applesauce with home-made cinnamon-brushed tortilla chips. A brown sugar coating gives the apples a slight caramel tinge, and the whole thing can be topped with vanilla whipped cream for a bit of added sweetness.
It’s the perfect snack for when you’re seated around the fireplace with your family, watching all of the Thanksgiving TV specials and trying not to argue after being stuck together for a whole 24 hours. You can find the recipe here!
3. Pumpkin pie Popsicles
Don’t worry – we’re not suggesting you jam a Popsicle stick into a pumpkin pie and put the whole thing in the freezer. These ingenious lollies capture all of the best flavors of everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving dessert but add a pretty cool (literally) twist.
It’s a really versatile recipe, too: the only thing you definitely need is pureed pumpkin! Other than that, you can use goat’s milk, Greek yogurt, or even vegan alternatives like coconut or almond milk. If you’ve got a REALLY sweet tooth, you can add a drop of maple syrup or honey into the mix. The result is basically Fall in a Popsicle!
2. Ginger and squash cake
This simple recipe combines all of the best flavors of fall into one delicious cake. Putting squash in something sweet might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but it really does work! The cake is firm without being stodgy, and actually quite healthy for a sweet treat! The inclusion of ginger gives a beautiful hint of spice to the mixture, and chopped hazelnuts add a bit of crunch to each bite. The white chocolate frosting not only adds a bit of extra sweetness but makes the cake look pretty beautiful.
You’ve got yourself something tasty and an Instagrammable all in one handy snack! Check out the recipe here.
1. Pilgrim hat cookies
Who doesn’t love a good novelty cookie to add some extra fun to the holiday season? These adorable Pilgrim hat cookies are easy to make and tasty to boot! If you’re a fan of peanut butter, these are your cookies. The top of each hat is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (yum), and even more peanut butter attaches the two parts of the cookie together! With a bit of candy corn decorating each ~hat~, you’re basically in for a delicious sugar overload. Plus, there’s no baking involved! If you’re short on time, you can whip some of these up in a matter of minutes. It’s an ideal recipe for busy holiday evenings.