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Whether you’re hosting or attending a Friendsgiving celebration this year, you’ll need a dish to pass! I’ve curated 19 Easy Friendsgiving Recipes to feed the bellies (and hearts) of the ones you love, and I’ll explain why each one should be a top contender at your next Friendsgiving.

A plate of roasted turkey breast, mashed potatoes, and green beans.

I love the quote by Scott Lee when he said “You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends.” While Thanksgiving is often a family-centered holiday, Friendsgiving is a celebration of the people we associate with by choice, not by obligation.

Friendsgiving is also a great because it’s often a potluck-type meal where everyone brings a dish to pass. Thanksgiving can be like that too, but for Friendsgiving, it’s the rule rather than the exception.

If you’re lucky enough to host or attend a Friendsgiving, here is a selection of easy recipes to keep thing your mood light and your circle delighted.

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Hot Turkey Sandwiches
  2. 2. The Best Mashed Potatoes
  3. 3. Make Ahead Stuffing
  4. 4. Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
  5. 5. Vegetable Casserole
  6. 6. Sweet Potato Casserole
  7. 7. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
  8. 8. Dr. Pepper Ham
  9. 9. Boursin Mashed Potatoes
  10. 10. Cranberry Sauce with Apples
  11. 11. Rice Stuffing
  12. 12. Pumpkin Bars
  13. 13. Pumpkin Cheesecake
  14. 14. Cranberry Cheesecake Galette
  15. 15. Brandy Apple Cider Slush
  16. 16. Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts
  17. 17. Midwest Charcuterie Board
  18. 18. Homemade Chex Mix
  19. 19. Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider

1. Hot Turkey Sandwiches

If you’re hosting Friendsgiving this year, you were likely the ringleader of the whole operation, the gatherer of people. Or maybe you’ve been doing Friendsgiving for years, and this is your year to host.

You can certainly roast a turkey if you want to, but feel free to choose a less traditional main dish for Friendsgiving. Lean in to the judgement-free-zone of your friends who are just happy to be there and eating delicious food with you.

A Roast Turkey Breast is easy, but Hot Turkey Sandwiches (also made from a turkey breast) are even easier. This slow cooker recipe starts with a can of beer and ends with a stick of butter, and nothing could be more delicious piled on soft, pillowy dinner rolls.

Hot Turkey Sandwiches
These slow cooker Hot Turkey Sandwiches start with a can of beer and end with a stick of butter. So great for your next party! Or serve the shredded turkey for a fuss-free, delicious holiday meal any time of year.
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2 hot turkey sandwiches piled on a plate.

2. The Best Mashed Potatoes

Is there any more beloved side dish than Mashed Potatoes? Someone has to bring them, and it could be you. I love to bring mashed potatoes to potlucks because most of the prep is peeling and cutting potatoes, and all that can be done a day ahead (just store the peeled, cubed potatoes in the refrigerator, covered in water).

The recipe itself is an exercise in delicious simplicity. Once you’ve boiled and mashed all the spuds, just add butter, milk, and salt and pepper. I love to transfer mashed potatoes in a crock pot, so just load them up and plug it in upon arrival.

The Best Mashed Potatoes
The Best Mashed Potatoes in the world are just 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and so simple, they barely even need a recipe.
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The Best Mashed Potatoes in a blue Dutch oven.

3. Make Ahead Stuffing

I am not one to mess with traditions, and certainly not when it comes to Thanksgiving stuffing. What I love about this classic recipe (besides that it’s buttery-soft with crispy bits and just so delicious) is that you can make it ahead.

Just assemble the stuffing according to the directions, then cover with foil and refrigerate over night. The next day (or when you arrive to your Friendsgiving destination), just pop it in a 400-degree oven (25 minutes covered to heat it through, and 15 to 20 minutes uncovered to get crispy edges).

Make Ahead Stuffing
This is my favorite (and wildly popular) bread stuffing recipe updated with make-ahead instructions. It's a great way to get a jump-start on the holiday!
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Bread stuffing on a plate with a fork.

4. Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

If you can make Green Bean Casserole in a slow cooker, it means one less dish in the oven. But you can never sacrifice flavor and authenticity for convenience, and that’s what I love this recipe so much.

You get the best of both worlds: Zero green bean prep because you start with frozen green beans, but a delicious, creamy mushroom sauce that you make from scratch in minutes. Top it all off with canned fried onions, because we don’t fix it if it ain’t broken. Bonus: Tote it off to the party in the same slow cooker you made it in.

Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
This Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole is a great mix of convenience and from-scratch cooking and won't take up any oven space.
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Slow cooker green bean casserole on a patterned platter.

5. Vegetable Casserole

Nothing gets people to fight over broccoli and cauliflower like a block of Velveeta cheese and a sprinkling of crushed crackers (I think this is a leftover trick from the 80’s that my mom always did). And if you’re looking for an easy side dish, this one is easy!

If you start with a frozen veggie blend, it’s just 4 ingredients overall (the others being butter, crackers, and Velveeta). You can build it at home and bake it upon arrival. Easy!

Vegetable Casserole
Vegetable Casserole, just like mom used to make! Made with frozen veggies, Velveeta, and buttery cracker crumbs, it's always the first side dish to disappear.
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A pan of vegetable casserole with Velveeta and cracker crumbs.

6. Sweet Potato Casserole

I usually prefer sweet potatoes in savory recipes, but I make an exception for this, my very easy, very delicious Sweet Potato Casserole. The marshmallow topping is just so good, it’s like a hint of summer S’mores on a cold fall day.

This is another good one to assemble ahead and bake upon arrival (it needs just 5 minutes in the oven if the sweet potatoes are still warm).

Sweet Potato Casserole
Grandma will be so proud when you bring this classic Thanksgiving side dish recipe to the table. My easy Sweet Potato Casserole is just sweet enough and requires just 5 minutes of bake time.
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Sweet potato casserole in a baking dish.

7. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Vegetables are a tough sell on Thanksgiving (unless they’re covered in Velveeta, of course). Who wants to devote real estate space to veggies when there is stuffing and mashed potatoes to drown in gravy? But these Brussels Sprouts, tossed with salty bacon and caramelized onions, are worth the stomach space (family code to describe if we will eat something).

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
For a flavorful yet easy side dish, try Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon. Smoky bacon and caramelized onions help this sheet pan vegetable recipe shine.
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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with bacon in a gray dish.

8. Dr. Pepper Ham

You’ll be eating enough turkey to sink a ship any day now, so for Friendsgiving, consider a delicious Baked Ham. Using a spiral-cut smoked ham is easiest (no slicing!) and the easy, 10-minute glaze is made with Dr. Pepper (obviously), orange juice, sugar and Dijon. Use an oven bag so the ham doesn’t dry out.

And I know I’ve said this before, but load the baked ham into a crock pot to take with you (if you’re not the host). Store-bought dinner rolls would be a nice addition, too!

Dr. Pepper Ham
Your search for the best baked ham recipe ends here. A Dr. Pepper glaze and an oven bag (trust me!) make this the ultimate holiday ham recipe.
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A Dr. Pepper ham on a serving platter.

9. Boursin Mashed Potatoes

I don’t usually mess with the classics, but stirring a block of Boursin Garlic & Herb Cheese into mashed potatoes is never a bad idea. These mashed potatoes are made with thin-skinned baby potatoes, too, so you don’t need to peel them. Add a sprinkle of fresh chives just before serving, and you just upgraded a classic in a delicious way.

Boursin Mashed Potatoes
This easy recipe for Boursin Mashed Potatoes uses baby potatoes with soft skins so you don't even have to peel them! And the garlic and herb soft cheese melts like a dream, making every bite creamy and unforgettable.
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Boursin mashed potatoes in a light green bowl.

10. Cranberry Sauce with Apples

Tart Cranberry Sauce is on the plate to cut through the richness of everything else, but what cuts through the tartness of the cranberry sauce? Sugar works, but it has a flat, one-dimensional taste. The addition of apples (naturally sweet) and a sprinkle of cinnamon is the perfect antidote.

As with pretty much any cranberry sauce, you can (and should) make this ahead of time. In fact, as soon as you see cranberries at the grocery store, stock up! Make a double, triple, or quadruple batch (enough for Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, and leftovers) and freeze it all. You’re way ahead of the game now!

Cranberry Sauce with Apples
Update your Homemade Cranberry Sauce with apples for a simple and sweet twist on the classic Thanksgiving side. Tasty without getting too crazy!
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A bowl of cranberry sauce with apples.

11. Rice Stuffing

This Rice Stuffing might seem out of place, but it’s actually a really thoughtful offering for anyone who is avoiding gluten. It has a lovely flavor profile (curry powder, cumin, and garlic) with a delicious array of mix-ins for texture (cranberries, nuts, and scallions). It’s a little bit off the beaten path, but it pairs perfectly with any poultry.

Rice Stuffing
This Rice Stuffing is made pilaf-style with cranberries, pecans, scallions, and a little curry powder for warmth. Outstanding with any holiday menu, but easy enough to make every night of the week.
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A plate of rice stuffing with a spoon resting in it.

12. Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Bars are a fun way to experience the season of pumpkin without eating just pie. It probably comes down to personal preference, but I’ve always loved cake more than pie, and Pumpkin Bars are my favorite way to fake cake.

The cream cheese frosting is delicious with a good cake-to-frosting ratio. Since this is made in a jelly roll pan, it is probably easier to cut the bars at home and bring them in containers lined with parchment or waxed paper. Or, you can do that fun tent thing with toothpicks and plastic wrap.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
These easy Pumpkin Bars are moist, delicious, and loaded with cream cheese frosting. They are perfectly spiced without being too sweet.
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Pumpkin bars on a white plate.

13. Pumpkin Cheesecake

If you’re the baker of the group, you’ll definitely want to sign up for this Pumpkin Cheesecake. It’s a heavenly combination of Pumpkin Pie and Vanilla Cheesecake, all piled on a spiced graham cracker crust.

Every bite is luscious and silky on your tongue, and you might never be satisfied with regular Pumpkin Pie ever again.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
My best Pumpkin Cheesecake features a graham cracker crust topped with a rich, creamy, and warmly-spiced cheesecake filling. Master how to make cheesecake from scratch for Thanksgiving (or any day).
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A slice of pumpkin cheesecake with whipped cream on a plate.

14. Cranberry Cheesecake Galette

I always suggest this Galette as a way to use up your leftover cranberry sauce, but you can easily make extra cranberry sauce right now to enjoy this galette! It reminds me of a Cheese Danish combined with a jelly-filled donut, but only if the jelly is made with cranberries. The flaky crust is excellent and it’s a unique dessert (or brunch) for Friendsgiving.

Cranberry Cheesecake Galette
This Cranberry Cheesecake Galette is an easy free-form tart with a rich cheesecake filling and cranberry sauce. Keep things easy with store-bought pie crust and your leftover cranberry sauce from the holidays!
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Cranberry cheesecake galette on a piece of parchment paper over a cooling rack.

15. Brandy Apple Cider Slush

As with all good slush recipes, this one is made in an ice cream pail. It’s easy to make, easy to freeze, and a dream to haul off to Friendsgiving. It’s unique and creative and a not-so-hot way to celebrate the flavors of fall. I bet no one else is bringing a frozen drink to Friendsgiving this year!

Brandy Apple Cider Slush
Who says all fall cocktail recipes must be warm? My easy and festive Brandy Apple Cider Slush recipe can act as an after-dinner drink and dessert all in one.
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Brandy apple cider slush in a mason jar next to a stack of four brown donuts.

16. Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

You don’t really want people to fill up on appetizers before the main event, but these little Bacon-Wrapped Bites are perfect to take the edge off. If you don’t have too far to travel, make them at home and show up with them hot and ready to go. A slow cooker works well here to keep them warm and succulent.

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts are salty, sweet, and incredibly addictive (in the best way). Top with 2-ingredient barbecue sauce and broil for a crowd-pleasing party snack recipe in just 20 minutes.
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Bacon wrapped water chestnuts on a gray plate.

17. Midwest Charcuterie Board

Or any Charcuterie Board, really. Mix and match a collection of cheeses and crackers (omit the usual cured meats if you want to keep things light), fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables. It’s nice for people to have something to graze on, and great for the host if it’s all at room temperature and easily refillable.

Midwest Charcuterie Board
A Midwest Charcuterie Board ripe with regional offerings is perfect for all-day grazing and parties with people you love. Make a few things, buy the rest, enjoy it all!
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Midwest Charcuterie board on a gray countertop.

18. Homemade Chex Mix

This might seem a little retro, but a big bowl of Chex Mix is really fun for Friendsgiving. I especially like to station it near the drinks. People love a small handful of salty mix to snack on between sips, and it won’t fill them up too much either. It’s quick and easy to make (just 10 minutes in the microwave) and it’s better than you remember.

Homemade Chex Mix
Make Homemade Chex Mix in the microwave in 10 minutes or less! Adapted from the original Chex Mix recipe (but I use more butter so it's better).
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A bowl of Chex mix on a gray background.

19. Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider

I suggest this drink for winter holidays all the time, and with good reason! It’s easy to make and easy to serve. Just combine apple juice, cranberry juice, sugar, and spices in a crockpot with a stack of mugs and a ladle, and let guests help themselves. Stash a bottle of Bourbon nearby for the 21+ crowd.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider
Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider is simple to make, sweet, and delicious. This welcoming, spiced hot beverage makes the whole house smell amazing, too.
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Slow cooker cranberry apple cider in a clear mug.

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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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