Take a trip to the tropics without leaving your house when you serve up this Hawaiian Thanksgiving menu.

By Sydney Price
Updated July 09, 2020
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Say aloha to a fresh island-inspired Hawaiian-themed Thanksgiving menu. These dishes feature plenty of pineapple and coconut that bring a taste of the tropics to your holiday. We've got a spicy salsa recipe for your appetizer, plus new takes on the usual stuffing and glazed ham (yes, ham!). Plus, we'll share our favorite Hawaiian Thanksgiving side dishes—including a few twists on old favorites. Dig into our recipes for purple potato soup and pineapple-glazed ham—they'll have your whole family saying "E ʻai kakou!" (Let's eat!) in no time.

Hawaiian Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

Add some island flair to your Thanksgiving feast with these seven Hawaiian recipes:

Appetizer: Sweet and Spicy Meatballs with Mango Salsa

Greet Thanksgiving dinner guests at the door with a platter of meatballs topped with an island-inspired mango and sweet pepper salsa. A trio of tasty meats (bacon, beef, and pork) joins forces to guarantee the bite-size apps are a juicy and flavorful start to your dinner. They'll quickly become one of your Hawaiian Thanksgiving traditions.

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • Toss together the salsa up to 24 hours in advance and chill in the refrigerator until it's time to party.
  • Bake the meatballs just before your crew is set to arrive, then keep them warm in a slow cooker set on low.

Soup: Purple Potato Soup

Watch out, entrée: This bright purple soup might steal the show! This vibrant starter gets its distinctive color from pureed purple potatoes (also known as ube, a popular ingredient in the Philippines and other island nations) and pomegranate juice. This gorgeous Hawaiian thanksgiving dish adds some of the bright colors of Hawaii to your holiday menu. Top with a swirl of sour cream and sprinkle with fresh marjoram to serve. This Thanksgiving soup recipe is as tasty as it is beautiful!

Get the recipe: Purple Potato Soup

Side Dish: Coconut Sweet Potatoes and Wild Rice

This sweet and spicy twist on sweet potato casserole features some unexpected ingredients: coconut milk, peanut butter, and red curry paste. Coconut milk makes this Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole richer and creamier, but it also adds a touch of Hawaiian sweetness to the side-dish recipe. Despite being layered with flavors, it takes just an hour to get it on the table. It's definitely not your usual sweet potato marshmallow casserole—this Hawaiian Thanksgiving side dish is better!

Tip: Prep a batch of rice to pair with dinner earlier in the week so you have cooked rice ready to add to this hearty side.

Stuffing: Savory Butternut Squash Dressing

Easily update any traditional Thanksgiving stuffing by swapping out your usual bread cubes for pieces of Hawaiian sweet bread for a tropical vibe. This butternut squash stuffing is one of our favorite recipes to add a Hawaiian twist to, because the thyme, sage, and fresh cranberries add savory and tart flavors to balance the sweetness of the bread. This Hawaiian stuffing recipe will taste amazing alongside turkey or ham—whichever one you're serving this Thanksgiving.

To make dry Hawaiian bread cubes:

  1. Cut six to seven slices of Hawaiian bread into half-inch cubes.
  2. Spread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan.
  3. Bake at 300°F for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes.

Entrée: Garlic and Pineapple-Glazed Ham

Turkey has had its turn. Wondering what to serve for Thanksgiving besides turkey? Try ham as the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving menu this year! A Hawaiian-theme feast wouldn't be complete without pineapple—and since ham and pineapple are a time-honored pairing, this entrée makes perfect sense. This recipe's sweet glaze of honey, pineapple, garlic, and crushed red pepper is brushed liberally over the ham halfway through baking. For a sweet-tangy finish, top with additional pineapple wedges.

Drink: Coconut Cream Island Punch

Transport yourself and your guests to a row of hammocks on the beach with this star fruit, grapefruit, and coconut rum punch. All that will be missing is the sound of crashing waves. Instead of meticulously planning wine pairings for Thanksgiving, opt for this creamy, fruity punch recipe with spiced rum to serve alongside your Hawaiian Thanksgiving dishes. It's a perfect complement to your Hawaiian Thanksgiving menu. And since it makes a large batch, you can have another glass to celebrate after the leftovers are packed away.

Tip: To cut down on added sugars, replace the grapefruit soda with grapefruit-flavor sparkling water.

Get the recipe: Coconut Cream Island Punch

Dessert: Coconut Meringue Cheesecake

Skip the traditional pumpkin pie and opt for a creamy, coconut-filled cheesecake that's sure to wow your holiday guests. The cheesecake is sandwiched between a cocoa crust and a perfectly crunchy layer of meringue. Toasted coconut flakes stick to the warm-weather theme while adding new flavors to this tasty Hawaiian Thanksgiving dessert.

Get the recipe: Coconut Meringue Cheesecake

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