Classic Thanksgiving Recipes: Full Course Meal

The countdown to Thanksgiving has officially started. The holiday is known not only for giving thanks but also for overeating. With a few days to still prepare, we put together a list of recipes for a full course Thanksgiving meal that will impress anyone at family gatherings or Friendsgiving.

Thanksgiving Appetizers:

Thanksgiving Turkey-Shaped Cheese Platter Appetizer

By: Melanie Cooks

Photo: Melanie Cooks



  • 6 oz Ritz crackers
  • 3 oz Swiss cheese slices
  • 5 oz Cheddar cheese slices
  • 4 oz Salami slices
  • 2 chocolate chips


  1. Prepare a large plate or a tray, at least 16 inches in diameter.
  2. Cut out the turkey head, body and feet from the cheddar cheese slice and arrange on the bottom of the tray as shown on the picture. Add the chocolate chips for the eyes. Cut out the small triangle for the beak out of the Swiss cheese and add to the turkey head. Cut out of the small stripe for the beard from the salami slice and add to the turkey head.
  3. If your cheese slices are large size, cut them into quarters.
  4. Arrange the Salami slices around the turkey head and body as shown on the picture. The Salami slices should partially go under the turkey and should overlap each other.
  5. Arrange the Swiss cheese slices in an overlapping manner around the turkey, and have them partially go under the Salami slices as shown on the picture.
  6. Arrange another layer of Salami slices to go partially under the Swiss slices and overlap each other.
  7. Arrange the Cheddar cheese slices around Salami, to go partially under the Salami slices and overlap each other.
  8. Arrange the Ritz crackers around the Cheddar cheese slices, putting them partially under the Cheddar cheese as shown on the picture.
  9. Arrange the 2nd overlapping layer of Ritz crackers around the turkey.

Spicy Cranberry Barbecue Meatballs

By: Yellowblissroad

Photo: Yellowblissroad


  • 2 14-ounce packages frozen meatballs (if using homemade, about 55-60 small)
  • 1 14-ounce can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 17-ounce bottle spicy barbecue sauce



  • Combine sauces over medium heat in a large deep skillet and cook until bubbly.
  • Add meatballs in a single layer and stir to coat completely. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until meatballs are heated through; about 15 minutes for frozen.
  • Remove cover and continue to cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced and completely coating the meatballs.
  • Serve on their own as an appetizer, or as a main dish over rice.
  • For slow cooker method, place meatballs in the slow cooker and pour sauces over. Stir ingredients together and cook on low for a few hours or until ready to serve. Stir again just before serving.

Side Dishes:

Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallow & Pecan Streusel

By: Allison – Celebrating Sweets

Photo: Allison – Celebrating Sweets


Mashed Sweet Potatoes:

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes* peeled and chopped into large chunks, see note
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk or half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • salt to taste


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 -3 cups mini marshmallows


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and boil until tender (about 7 minutes, depending on the size). Drain and return to the pot. Add butter, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt to the potatoes and mash until smooth. Use a hand mixer, if desired, to make them extra smooth. Taste the potatoes and add additional seasonings, if desired.
  3. Transfer the mashed potatoes to the prepared casserole dish. Place in the oven until heated through (if they’re warm it will only take a few minutes).
  4. While the sweet potatoes are heating, prepare the topping. In a medium bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and pecans. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  5. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. Top with half the marshmallows, then sprinkle half the streusel over the marshmallows. Top with the other half of the marshmallows and sprinkle the remaining streusel over the top. Place back into the oven for 10-15 minutes, until the topping is bubbly and brown (keep an eye on it so the marshmallows don’t burn). You can also place it under the broiler very briefly to add a little more color to the marshmallows.

Easy Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

By: Yellowblissroad

Photo: Yellowblissroad


  • 2 ½ pounds broccoli florets, roughly chopped (7-8 cups)
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ butter
  • 1 3/4 cups half & half
  • 8 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 sleeve butter crackers (like Ritz)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a medium sized rectangle baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add broccoli and boil for 3-4 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, garlic powder and onion powder and cook for several minutes until golden. Add half & half and bring to a low boil until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese (reserve 1/4 cup for topping). Stir in salt and black pepper. Taste and add salt as desired.
  • Arrange broccoli in the baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over the broccoli and gently stir to coat.
  • In a small bowl, combine crushed crackers with melted butter and stir in the remaining cheese. Sprinkle cracker mixture evenly over the casserole.
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and topping is browned. If topping isn’t browned enough, place under the broiler for a few minutes.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Main Dishes:

Juicy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

By: Recipe Tin Eats

Photo: Recipe Tin Eats


  • 2 kg / 4 lb turkey breast, skin on, bone in or boneless (if using frozen, thaw it) (Note 1)
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 1 onion (brown, yellow or white), unpeeled, cut in half
  • 5 sprigs of thyme (or 2 tsp dried thyme leaves)
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5 grinds of black pepper
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Chicken stock/broth (or water), for topping up liquid (see Gravy step 1)
  • 4 tbsp / 50g butter
  • 1/4 cup / 35g flour
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Place Rub ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine, it should be a wet paste.
  2. Pat the turkey dry all over with paper towels. Slather with the Rub, using most for the side and top.
  3. Place the garlic, onion and thyme face down in the slow cooker. Place the turkey breast on top so it is elevated.
  4. Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.

  5. Remove turkey from the slow cooker and let it rest for 20 minutes before crisping the skin.
Crisp the Skin
  1. Preheat gril/broiler to high.
  2. Place an oven shelf 30cm / 1 foot from the heat source.
  3. Remove turkey breast from the slow cooker into a heatproof serving dish.
  4. Place on the oven shelf and broil for 3 to 5 minutes until the skin is crispy. Keep an eye on it – it browns very quickly!
  5. Serve immediately with gravy on the side.
  1. Strain the liquid into a measuring jug, squishing the garlic etc to extract all the flavour. If you are short of 2 cups, top up with chicken broth (I usually get 2 cups of liquid from a 4 lb / 2 kg turkey breast).
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and mix to combine. Pour about 1/2 cup of liquid into the flour mixture and mix until it forms a paste. Slowly add remaining liquid, stirring as your go. Use a whisk if required to make the gravy smooth. Simmer until thickened – take it off before it is as thick as you want because it will continue to thicken.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with turkey.

Maple-Glazed Turkey with Bacon and Sage Butter


Photo: FIVEheartHOME


  • 1 (12- to 14-pound) fresh or frozen turkey (completely thawed)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional aromatics to stuff inside turkey (such as whole garlic cloves, quartered onion, cut lemons, oranges, or apples, etc.)
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 8 strips bacon
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock/broth (OR turkey stock/broth)
  • 1/2 lemon


  1. An hour before roasting, take turkey out of fridge, unwrap, and remove bag of giblets and/or neck (check both neck cavity and body cavity). Place turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan, breast side up, to allow it to dry and come to room temperature.
  2. Place oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and remove the top rack. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Stir minced fresh sage into softened butter until well combined. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Liberally sprinkle the turkey, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Carefully slide your fingers under the skin of the breast and drumsticks to lift it away from the meat. Slip spoonfuls of sage butter underneath the skin and gently smooth over the top of the skin to spread out the butter in a thin layer. Repeat everywhere that you can reach under the skin until all of the butter has been used.
  5. If you are stuffing your bird, fill it with dressing without packing too tightly (cook leftover dressing in a separate baking dish). If you aren’t stuffing your bird, you may place a few aromatics inside the cavity (I used a head of garlic, peeled and separated into cloves, and a large quartered apple for this turkey), but it’s not required. Truss the turkey legs.
  6. Combine maple syrup and hot water. Use a basting brush to baste the entire turkey. Place turkey in the oven for 2 hours, basting with maple syrup every 30 minutes. If the breast and/or the tops of the drumsticks turn golden brown before the rest of the turkey, shield them with foil.
  7. After 2 hours, remove the turkey from the oven and insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into the meatiest part of the thigh (without touching the bone). Baste the turkey with syrup once more and arrange the strips of bacon over the top of the turkey with no gaps in between them, until they cover the entire breast. Return the turkey to the oven for about 30 minutes, then baste with syrup again (bacon and all). Continue cooking, watching the bacon closely so that it turns crisp but does not burn. If the bacon is done before the thermometer inserted in the turkey reads 165°F, shield the bacon with foil (as well as any other parts of the turkey that are brown enough, which might end up being the whole turkey) and continue cooking until the turkey is done. (Depending on a variety of factors, a turkey typically takes anywhere from 13 to 20 minutes per pound to cook. The 12 1/2 pound turkey in these photos took about 3 hours to cook).
  8. Once the temperature of the turkey reaches 165°F and the juices are running clear, tilt the turkey in the pan so that the liquids run out of the cavity. Transfer turkey to a cutting board, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  9. In the meantime, skim the excess fat from the pan drippings. Pour the drippings into a medium pot, scraping brown bits at the bottom of the roasting pan from the turkey but leaving behind any burnt maple syrup sludge. Set pot over medium heat and whisk flour into the drippings until smooth. Gradually add chicken stock while continuously stirring. Raise heat to high and bring to a simmer while stirring regularly, until gravy is thickened to your preferred consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.


No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Pie

By: Crazy for Crust

Photo: Crazy for Crust


  • 1 Nutter Butter Crust, Oreo Crust, or Graham Cracker Crust
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces whipped topping (or 3 cups freshly whipped cream)
  • 2 cups peanut butter cups chopped, divided
  • Hot fudge ice cream topping, optional


  • Beat cream cheese until smooth using a hand mixer. Mix in granulated sugar and peanut butter, then mix in vanilla, beating until smooth and no lumps remain. Fold in the whipped topping, then stir in 1 1/2 cups of the chopped peanut butter cups.
  • Place filling in prepared pie crust. Sprinkle with remaining chopped peanut butter cups and drizzle with hot fudge ice cream topping. Chill at least 4 hours before cutting and serving.
  • Pie lasts up to 3 days in the refrigerator or you can freeze it for up to one month


Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.