Believe it or not, your Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t need to be big or elaborate. While crispy fried turkey and eye-catching turkey are a surefire way to get all your holiday guests excited about your dish, you can’t beat basic roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and other familiar goodies Side dishes and other classic dishes. No matter which menu you choose — over the top or traditional — your Thanksgiving meal is sure to please and appreciate all your guests. Don’t believe us? Just get it from the chefs, food stylists, and recipe developers behind Food Network Kitchen. We asked them to share their Thanksgiving recipes, and we have to admit, we were dying to be invited to their holiday feast. Read on to find out what dishes are always on the FNK team’s table.
Every year I like to change up the way I season my turkey (maybe mayonnaise roast turkey this year), but I always spit out my bird no matter what. The meat cooks more evenly in less than half the time – a game changer when I have so many other dishes that require oven space! (Plus, no huge roasting pan required.) I also like to dry-brine my turkey a few days before Thanksgiving to make sure it’s moist and well-seasoned.
—Sarah Holden, Cooking Producer
Every year I celebrate Thanksgiving with my younger immediate family, and our meals are mostly heirloom recipes. (It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my grandmother’s cornbread stuffing.) But over the past few years, I’ve decided to add a few new recipes, including Food Network Kitchen’s Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole! The coconut milk in this dish is so rich and the tender sweet potatoes are so fluffy. Plus, the whole thing gets a crunch from the addition of spiced pecans. There is no vegetarian in my family, but everyone loves this recipe and will go back for seconds.
— Amanda Neal, Formulation Developer
This filling is always a favorite in my family because you get the sweetness from the cornbread, but the crust keeps it from getting too mushy. Chestnuts give it a rich buttery and nutty flavor. One year our turkey didn’t come with liver so we substituted sautéed shiitake mushrooms for the umami and it was delicious. I also used chestnuts that were already roasted and shelled, since I was all about shortcuts for Thanksgiving.
— Jenny Bierman, Culinary Production Director
One of the recent staples of my Thanksgiving table has been these angel food cookies. A cross between a biscuit and a soft dinner roll, these leavened butter rolls are easy to make and, with an optional overnight rise, are easy to make ahead. I make them all the time because my son isn’t much of a fan of turkey or stuffing, so I knew he’d love something a little bit special. It doesn’t hurt that the next day’s extras for breakfast or a turkey biscuit sandwich are delicious.
— Melissa Gaman, Food Network Recipe Developer
This is my bacon. Its delicious aroma adds something extra to a house that already smells like Thanksgiving, with turkey roasting in the oven. These Brussels Sprouts are rich, crunchy, buttery, and perfect in every way. The key is not to overcook them as they will become mushy and always double the recipe.
— Liza Zeneski, Cooking Producer
So every Thanksgiving my mother (who is also an amazing cook!) makes this recipe for the table. It’s a staple. My mom makes it ahead of time because of all the juggling it takes to get everything cooked and timed correctly, and it’s a lovely dish. It also gathers so fast. Casseroles are also very popular. Sweet, crunchy, soft, and creamy – it really is the perfect accompaniment to anything on the Thanksgiving table. When we’re with the grandkids at Thanksgiving, she’ll add marshmallows to half the meals! how interesting!
—Matthew Skrincosky, food stylist