Our 2021 Thanksgiving menu is here and my oh my is it delicious. We’re sharing every recipe you need for your Thanksgiving table as well as our week-of checklist to leave you feeling prepared and stress-free going into Thanksgiving Day.
Hellooooo, 2021 Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving, friends! This year we’re taking things up a notch with some amazing new recipes to add to your Thanksgiving table. We’re talking a SMOKED turkey, amazing sides and the most beautiful apple tart you’ve ever seen.
Regardless if you’re hosting this year or heading over to a family member or friend’s house, we’ve got you covered with the ultimate Thanksgiving menu and our go-to tips to help you feel prepared and stress-free going into Thanksgiving Day. Let’s get into it, shall we?!
Thanksgiving Menu 2021
What we’re making
Ultimate Smoked Turkey w/ Smoked Turkey Brine (serves 15)
Please note that the number of servings for this dish will depend on the size of your bird!
Delicious Mushroom Gravy (serves 8)
Our mushroom gravy is a MUST at your Thanksgiving table. It’s super rich and flavorful, and can be made quickly ahead in the days leading up to Turkey Day and then reheated on the day of. What’s not to love?!
Smoked Turkey Gravy — you can also prepare a quick and easy gravy using the drippings and yummy juices that the turkey makes during smoking, the leftover basting liquid (if you have any), and 1 cup of broth.
Crockpot Mashed Potatoes (serves 16)
Mashed potatoes – is there really a better Thanksgiving side dish? I think not. These 7 ingredient Crockpot mashed potatoes are amazingly creamy, buttery, and oh-so easy to make!
Please note that these Crockpot mashed potatoes serve 16, so feel free to 1/2 the recipe if you’re serving less people (unless you’re looking to have ample leftovers like we are!).
Green Bean Casserole with Bacon (serves 6-8)
Our green bean casserole with bacon is a homemade version of a classic green bean casserole, but instead of using a cream of mushroom soup it features an amazing bacon roux. Yes, we said BACON ROUX.
Smoked Mac and Cheese (serves 6)
Our sister site, The Cheese Knees is comin’ in clutch with an incredible smoked mac and cheese recipe to serve at your Thanksgiving table. Your smoker is already up and running for your turkey, so why not whip up this smoked mac and cheese featuring The Cheese Knees’ FAMOUS mac and cheese sauce.
Favorite Thanksgiving Salad (serves 4-6)
This Thanksgiving Salad has been our go-to for YEARS. This delicious salad features massaged kale, apple, walnuts (this year we’re using pecans!), goat cheese, dried cherries, and our favorite vinaigrette! You truly can’t go wrong with this salad.
Lemon Ginger Cranberry Sauce (serves 6)
Why make boring ol’ cranberry sauce when you can make lemon ginger cranberry sauce from scratch?! We’re using fresh cranberries, grated ginger, lemon zest, and maple syrup for sweetener.
Beautiful Apple Tart (serves 9)
This apple tart recipe is made with a delicious gingersnap crust and a gorgeous apple rose in the middle. It is baked to perfection and brushed with a simple honey butter reduction.
Week-of Prep Guide
Since we’re Thanksgiving obsessed AND we care about *you*, we did a little test run for week-of Thanksgiving preparation!
Check out our Monday – Thursday preparation guide to make your 2021 Thanksgiving as stress-free as can be.
PS: for this guide, we’re assuming you’re making everything from this menu so that we can give you a day-by-day breakdown!
- Make grocery list.
- Go to the grocery store.
- Turkey >> if your turkey is frozen, make sure to start thawing it today if you haven’t already.
- Prepare >> Lemon Ginger Cranberry Sauce
- Prepare >> Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
- Prepare >> Mushroom Gravy
- Store >> Let all 3 recipes cool completely. Then, cover and refrigerate until Thursday.
- Set the table.
- Prepare >> Smoked Mac and Cheese (wait to smoke until the day of).
- Prepare >> Green Bean Casserole with Bacon (wait to add the breadcrumb topping until the day of).
- Prepare >> Favorite Thanksgiving Salad (wait to toss ingredients together until the day of).
- Prepare >> Smoked Turkey Brine (turkey will brine overnight).
- Prepare>> Apple Tart (wait to add the butter reduction til day of).
- Store >> Let all recipes cool, then cover and refrigerate until tomorrow.
Thursday – Thanksgiving Day!
You will be reheating many of your dishes from the last few days. We recommend heating all dishes at about 350ºF for 20-40 minutes depending on the recipe.
- Prepare >> Smoked Turkey (if you have a 12-15 lb. bird, it will need to smoke for 6+ hours — grab a cup of coffee and preheat that smoker!).
- Finish Preparing >> Smoked Mac and Cheese (place on smoker for 45-60 minutes).
- Finish Preparing >> Green Bean Casserole with Bacon (prepare breadcrumb topping and broil).
- Finish Preparing >> Thanksgiving Salad (toss ingredients together).
- Finish Preparing >> Smoked Turkey Gravy (you’ll use the drippings after your turkey comes off the smoker) OR
- Reheat >> Mushroom Gravy
- Reheat >> Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
- Reheat >> Lemon Ginger Cranberry Sauce
- Reheat>> Apple Tart (brush the tart with any leftover butter reduction to make it shine).
- SERVE AND ENJOY!
Inexpensive Decor Ideas
Decorative Vases + dried flowers
We have been obsessed with small decorative vases that we can put dried flowers in. These really fill any hole on your thanksgiving table and are so pretty!
Candles, candles, candles
Candles can make any meal feel special. We love candle sticks, tea candles, and big candles! This year, keep things simple and use little jars you already own with tea candles or candle sticks from around your house.
Dress up your bird!
There’s no reason why you can’t finish off your amazing smoked turkey by dressing it up a bit before serving on your Thanksgiving table. We opted for orange slices, fresh cranberries and fresh herbs for a gorgeous and easy finish surrounding our turkey on its serving platter!
More Thanksgiving Recipes
You can find all of our most popular Thanksgiving recipes here, but we thought we’d list out our favorites from over the years.
- Sous Vide Turkey Breast (serves 6)
- Herby Ranch Roasted Turkey Breast (serves 6)
- Juicy Baked Turkey Tenderloin (serves 8)
- Whole Roasted Chicken (serves 6)
- Bacon Wrapped Green Beans (serves 10)
- Healthy Mashed Potatoes (serves 8)
- Cornbread Stuffing (serves 10)
- Sausage Stuffing (serves 10)
- Sweet Potato Casserole (serves 6)
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad (serves 6)
- Easy Roasted Delicata Squash (serves 4)
- Healthy Green Bean Casserole (serves 8)
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (serves 8)
- Cheesy Roasted Scalloped Potatoes (serves 10)
- Festive Hot Toddys (serves 2)
- Spiked Apple Cider (serves 1)
- Raspberry Mulled Wine (serves 4)
- Apple Cider Champagne Cocktail (serves 4)
- ALL Thanksgiving Cocktails