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Plan your perfect Midwestern Thanksgiving with some of the most popular holiday recipes on Culinary Hill. This ultimate guide contains a planner to get ahead, a printable shopping list, menu cards, and links to all 12 recipes on the menu.

A plate of roasted turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, bread stuffing, veggie casserole, cranberry sauce with apples, and roasted asparagus.

When I think about my Ideal Thanksgiving Table, these are the recipes on it.

An amazing, show-stopping turkey with gravy made from the drippings. Creamy, fluffy (and EASY) mashed potatoes. A killer bread stuffing (traditional! no trendy ingredients!). A variety of savory vegetable sides (vegetable casserole with Velveeta and green bean casseroles are both non-negotiable). A sweet and puckery cranberry sauce, and buttery, homemade crescent rolls.

I love to finish up the meal with all the classic pies, enough so everyone can try a slice of each: apple, pecan, pumpkin. Whipped cream or ice cream are optional but recommended, and maybe a dusting of cinnamon and sugar too? This is the feast of my childhood and my dreams, and it’s certainly the menu I’m cooking up this year.

I already did all the planning for myself, and I’m sharing it with you! Below you’ll find the menu (with printable menu cards), a printable shopping list, and a printable timetable of events to help your orchestrate your schedule.

Wherever you are, I hope you’ll invite a touch of Midwestern Thanksgiving in to your home and on to your table.

Table of Contents
  1. The Menu
  2. Shopping list
  3. Thanksgiving planner
  4. Perfect Roast Turkey with Gravy
  5. Best Mashed Potatoes
  6. Classic Bread Stuffing
  7. Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
  8. Vegetable Casserole
  9. Roasted Asparagus
  10. Homemade Crescent Rolls
  11. Cranberry Sauce with Apples
  12. Best Apple Pie
  13. Best Pecan Pie
  14. Best Pumpkin Pie
  15. Homemade Whipped Cream
  16. How to Set a Table

The Menu

This menu feeds at least 12 adults (or fewer with ample leftovers).

Want a copy of the menu for your guests or to help you stay organized? This printable Thanksgiving menu has the complete list of recipes in a printer-friendly format.

A Thanksgiving menu graphic.

Shopping list

This printable Thanksgiving shopping list has EXACTLY what you need to make all 12 recipes in this collection.

Already have some ingredients on hand? Of course you do! Just go through your pantry and spice cabinet, identify what is already in there (ground cinnamon, sugar, etc.), and cross it off the list.

Thanksgiving planner

This printable Thanksgiving planner is a road-map to your Thanksgiving success. It tells you what to do and when, up to 5 days in advance, so you can get started as soon as possible.


Perfect Roast Turkey with Gravy

My idea of perfectly roasted turkey involves juicy meat, butter-crisp skin, and plenty of flavor. Luckily, there’s a way to get all three of those things without a giant bucket of salted water or a vat of boiling oil. Whether you’re a first-time turkey roaster or a seasoned Thanksgiving host, this recipe is easy to follow and always makes people come back for seconds.

Perfect Roast Turkey
The most Perfect Roast Turkey recipe relies on dry-brining and butter-basting for the juiciest, most delicious turkey you've ever had. Save your pan drippings too for an easy classic gravy recipe.
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A platter of roast turkey garnished with grapes.

Best Mashed Potatoes

No matter what’s on the menu for the holidays, mashed potatoes should always make an appearance. There are millions of recipes out there, but if you’re looking for an old-school, classic mashed potato recipe that really lets the flavor of the potato shine, make this one. It is tried and true and absolutely foolproof.

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.

Classic Bread Stuffing

This stuffing is rich and savory, soft but with crispy edges. There are some vegetables, but nothing so strange that it changes the overall texture. There are no walnuts, pears, or gorgonzola. There are no jalapeños nor bacon. It’s traditional, like your mom’s or grandma’s maybe, and I hope you love it as much a I do.

Classic Bread Stuffing
An easy Bread Stuffing made with all the classic flavors like onion, celery, and sage. Baked outside the bird but still buttery and moist, this recipe tastes just like Mom used to make!
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A baking dish full of classic bread stuffing.

Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

Traditional green beans casseroles can easily get mushy and bland, what with all the canned beans and canned soup and all. The only thing saving the texture is the canned onions! The better, tastier way is to use frozen green beans and make the mushroom sauce from scratch. And yes, let’s keep the canned onions!

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.

Vegetable Casserole

I’m not a food snob, and I don’t shame people who eat Velveeta. I love it! I don’t eat it every day, of course, but if I’m going to eat it, let me eat it like this. Colorful vegetables (but frozen because we’re busy), creamy Velveeta, and that buttery cracker topping. All good things!

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.

Roasted Asparagus

With everything else going on, the asparagus needs to be easy! And it is. Simple, flavorful, delicious. Good enough to go up against everything else at the feast, too.

Roasted Asparagus
An easy recipe for Roasted Asparagus with olive oil, garlic, and lemon. The high oven temperature cooks it to tender-crisp perfection in 10 minutes or less.
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A baking sheet full of roasted asparagus with lemons.

Homemade Crescent Rolls

Growing up, grandma’s Homemade Crescent Rolls were always a tradition at all the holiday tables. They looked like store-bought crescent rolls but had a sweet, buttery taste that is unmatched by anything you can pop out of a can. Even the fussiest eaters (hello, children!) can’t resist homemade rolls. If they eat nothing else on the table, they’ll eat these!

Homemade Crescent Rolls
Pillowy soft with a sweet, buttery taste, these Homemade Crescent Rolls are perfect for all the holidays or a weekend baking project.
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A basket of homemade crescent rolls.

Cranberry Sauce with Apples

In my family, Thanksgiving is all about traditions. So when it comes to cranberry sauce, there isn’t a whole lot of wiggle room. It must still look and mostly taste like cranberry sauce. But I can get away with adding apples! Apples add an element of surprise without upsetting anyone, and apples mixed with cranberries somehow makes a lot of sense.

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.

Best Apple Pie

Raise your hand if your brother is an apple aficionado who has an orchard and grafts his own apple species! Just me, then? My brother Matt, aforementioned apple genius (no, not THAT kind), always makes an Apple Pie at Thanksgiving. He uses a variety of apples, more species than the rest of us could name collectively, and that pie puts all other apple pies to shame.

But if you don’t have time to take up an apple orchard hobby, you can get the same fantastic results with just a few good baking apples and this easy recipe.

The Best Apple Pie
The best Apple Pie can be on your table in just one hour. No one will guess this classic apple pie starts with store-bought pie crust; the filling is just like your favorite bakery's desserts!
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A slice of apple pie on a light blue plate.

Best Pecan Pie

You’ll love this recipe because the homemade crust is easy to make (make it ahead!) and so flaky and buttery. The pecan filling is sweet and soft without being too jelly-like, and you can top it off with a decorative touch or just a pile of chopped pecans. Easy!

The Best Pecan Pie
The Best Pecan Pie has a flavorful, balanced filling that's just sweet enough, tucked inside a flaky, buttery crust that never gets soggy.
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Slices of pecan pie on a board.

Best Pumpkin Pie

The Best Pumpkin Pie is the one that’s easiest to make! You can have a delicious, semi-homemade pumpkin pie without sacrificing an ounce of authenticity.

The Best Pumpkin Pie
The Best Pumpkin Pie just so happens to be an ultra-easy dessert recipe. Start with a store-bought crust, whisk together a tasty filling, and bake. No one will guess this is a semi-homemade pumpkin pie!
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A slice of pumpkin pie on a gray plate.

Homemade Whipped Cream

For desserts that are truly over-the-top, you need to make your own whipped cream. What it lacks in convenience, it makes up for in cool, creamy richness that is never properly imitated by the store-bought cans. If you can’t swing it, no worries! FYI: Although it’s best made soon before you need it, you can get away with making it up to 10 hours in advance. Just store it covered in the refrigerator.

How to Make Whipped Cream
By mixer or by hand, I'll teach you how to make whipped cream (so much better than canned!) with 3 ingredients and in 5 minutes! Use this homemade whipped cream in shortcakes, pies, sundaes, and so much more.
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A bowl filled with piped whipped cream.

How to Set a Table

Growing up, some Thanksgivings called for heirloom China, while others called for Dixie’s best paper plates (fewer dishes to do, am I right?). Really, it’s just about being together, and sometimes it doesn’t matter what you eat off of. And no matter what you choose this year, a casual event or a formal affair, you can find your preferred way to set the table for Thanksgiving.

How to Set a Table

Whether it’s a quiet supper for one or a dinner party for 12, setting a pretty table makes the occasion even more special. Break out your best china and polish the glassware; here’s a breakdown…

View Recipe
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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Comments

  1. You gotta be old to make this comment. When growing up, I remember my grandmother using that cast aluminum cookware on a wood and coal-fired cookstove. Talk about hot in the summertime! We also popped corn in a wire basket with a sliding lid that was constantly shaken over the firebox. The corn was dried hung outside on the porch on the cob. Good memories with incredible aromas when I see that cookware.

    BTW, Do you happen to have the clamp-on handle that turns that pot into a saucepan? That’s why the handles are cast in that interesting shape. “Form follows function.” :-)