Celebrated in the United States every fourth Thursday of November, Thanksgiving is also renowned for being a day of great feast. Thanks to the delicious dishes commonly served during this popular holiday, even those who do not reside in the United States and/or are not American, happily opt to partake in the celebration. If you happen to be hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner this year, be sure to not disappoint by whipping up a hearty helping of must-have classics around on the dining table to enjoy with your loved ones.

Not sure where to start? Don’t fret, the team at BookCulinaryVacations.com here to help. Here are our picks of the top 5 favorite Thanksgiving dishes that will make this year’s celebration one to be remembered for years to come!


  1. Slow Roasted Turkey


It won’t be a thanksgiving feast without turkey!


As you probably already know, those who celebrate it often would refer to Thanksgiving as ‘Turkey Day’. In fact, a (whole) slow-roasted turkey is such a perrenial favorite that many feel a Thanksgiving dinner is simply incomplete without it being served up on the dining table.

Though there are countless ways that one can prepare their turkey dish, the conventional way to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey is to fill and stuff it with the various aromatic herbs or spices with a brush of melted butter. When preparing a slow roasted turkey, be sure to also whip up a deliciously creamy gravy sauce to complement the dish.

If you are seeking for an alternative to turkey, some people prefer to prepare other (smaller) types of poultry meat such as chicken or duck. Where as Tofurkey, a faux turkey substitute made of tofu, grains, herbs & spices, is a usual vegan/ vegetarian staple. 

Recipe suggestion:

Looking for a traditional turkey recipe with a twist? Give Oh Sweet Basil’s herb roasted turkey breast a try!


  1. Cranberry Sauce


‘Dress up’ your turkey dish with a tantalizing Cranberry sauce


Aside for gravy, one simply must accompany their turkey with a dollop of cranberry sauce! It may not be a meal in itself but this sweet yet delectable sauce is a must-have condiment to any Thanksgiving meal.

The most basic recipe of this simple yet delectable relish is usually done boiling cranberries with (diluted) sugar water but for more depth of flavors, you can also add other ingredients such as orange juice, zest, ginger, cinnamon or almonds, to elevate the flavors and tastes that are far beyond the run-of-the-mill cranberry sauce. Depending on your preference, you can either create it to be sweet and tangy or even hot and spicy!

Recipe suggestion:

For a more complex sweet flavor combination, we suggest you to include this simple yet flavorful homemade cranberry sauce to die for from A Sweet Pea Chef as part of your thanksgiving menu this year. 


  1. Mashed Potatoes


A bowl of succulent mashed potatoes anyone? Image credit: Fox News


Another classic Thanksgiving favorite that is always in high demand is none other than mashed potatoes. With its buttery, creamy texture, mashed potatoes is a familiar dish that is suited for kids and adults alike. The best part is, to create this simple yet heavenly-tasting dish, which all you need are potatoes, salt, butter, milk and pepper. You can also spice this classic mashed potatoes up by adding garlic, cheese, or bacon, depending on the types of flavors you would like to highlight.

To give it a little bit of more edge, you can use even sweet potatoes to create a sweeter version of this conventionally savory dish. On the other hand, if you are looking for potato dishes that are less traditional, you can also serve up scalloped potatoes, roast herb potatoes, or even potato salad along with your Thanksgiving feast.

Recipe suggestion:

Give your mashed potatoes an unexpected Asian twist and give this quirky miso butter mash potatoes recipe courtesy of I Am A Food Blog a go.


  1. Green Bean Casserole


Green bean casserole is an essential dish to the perfect thanksgiving meal! Image credit: Chow Hound


Need some greens to round out the rest of your Thanksgiving dishes? Instead of opting to serve plain or bland vegetables, why not please your guests by whipping them green bean casserole? 

With its rich and flavorful dish consists of green beans, mushroom soup and french fried onions, the Green bean casserole is indeed a quintessential staple at many Thanksgiving celebrations worldwide. To elevate this dish, why not “jazz” it up with some cheese for a creamier texture? Every mouthful will definitely bring joy as the bursts of flavors ‘explode’ in your mouth.

Recipe suggestion:

Looking for a diferent take of this dish? You’re in luck, Oh My Veggies may just have what you’ve been searching for with their unique recipe for a vegan green bean casserole.


  1. Pumpkin Pie


Pumpkin pie is a sweet treat to end the night


“Starting strong is good, finishing strong is epic,” said Robin Sharma a renowned writer and speaker. With the appetizers and mains you plan to serve up for Thanksgiving, you simply must never forget to have the perfect ending to your thanksgiving feast – the dessert. In our opinion, there’s no better way to top the night’s celebration with with a slice (or four) of pumpkin pie.

To make a great pumpkin pie, make sure to sharpen your skills on making its crust in advance, as there’s nothing worst than a pie with a soggy crust! Once mastered, you can move on to making the fillings of the pie. This can easily be done by combining and whisking the essential ingredients: pumpkin, condensed milk, eggs and spices (nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon). Pour the mixture in the crust, and watch it bake to perfection in the oven.

Recipe suggestion:

If you prefer to whip up a cake rather than a pie this year, surprise your guests by serving up Not Quite Nigella’s pumpkin pie magic cake that tastes exactly like a pumpkin pie!


Thanks for taking the time to check out this post. To read more great content on food, wine and travel, please visit our blog section. If you’ve been wanting to become an expert at preparing classic American dishes, why not check out one or more of our US based cooking holidays