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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.
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. Hot Turkey Sandwiches
- 2. The Best Mashed Potatoes
- 3. Make Ahead Stuffing
- 4. Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
- 5. Vegetable Casserole
- 6. Sweet Potato Casserole
- 7. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- 8. Dr. Pepper Ham
- 9. Boursin Mashed Potatoes
- 10. Cranberry Sauce with Apples
- 11. Rice Stuffing
- 12. Pumpkin Bars
- 13. Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 14. Cranberry Cheesecake Galette
- 15. Brandy Apple Cider Slush
- 16. Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts
- 17. Midwest Charcuterie Board
- 18. Homemade Chex Mix
- 19. Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider
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
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 the potatoes and mashed them, 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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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 Apple Sauce
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.
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
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 Recipe
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
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
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
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
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.
Chex Mix Recipe
I suggest this drink for the 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
Plan your perfect Thanksgiving with some of the most popular holiday recipes on Culinary Hill. This Ultimate Guide to a Classic Midwestern Thanksgiving contains a planner to get ahead, a printable shopping list, menu cards, and links to all 12 recipes on the menu.View Recipe
Cooking for just a couple this year? Skip the roast turkey and prepare a pair of Cornish hens with stuffing. I’ve also scaled down the most important side dishes, and you can complete your meal with two mini pumpkin pies. It’s a perfectly proportioned feast for you and your plus one.View Recipe
Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.