If you find yourself more worried than excited about Thanksgiving dinner, it's time to take back control of this holiday meal. These easy Thanksgiving recipes can help you make simple, fast dishes that are just as tasty as the classics.

By BH&G Holiday Editors
Updated July 31, 2020
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Yes, you can serve a delicious Thanksgiving dinner without spending all week (or even all day) in the kitchen. This quick and easy Thanksgiving menu allows you to enjoy simple yet flavorful fare and enjoy time with your guests as well. So go ahead: Sleep in, watch the Thanksgiving parade, and take your time getting ready. With this set of easy recipes, planning your Thanksgiving meal is a snap whether you’re planning a meal for two or for a crowd.

Editor’s Tip: Cut down on Thanksgiving day stress by starting early. Follow our Thanksgiving Countdown Planner for a totally no-sweat holiday.

Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

Make quick work of preparing your holiday meal with these easy Thanksgiving recipes:

See photos and learn more about each dish below.

Blaine Moats

Easy Thanksgiving Starter – Salad: Cherry-Apple Slaw

Start to Finish: 25 minutes

This fall salad is the perfect starter for your quick Thanksgiving menu. The layers of flavor from the Brussel sprouts, cherries, apples, and walnuts make it taste like it came from a gourmet restaurant!

Prep Tip: Use a mandolin to cut the Brussel sprouts into thin slices.

Get the recipe: Cherry-Apple Slaw

Carson Downing

Easy Thanksgiving Starter – Soup: Red Curry-Lime Sweet Potato Soup

Start to Finish: 35 minutes

Whip up this flavorful coconut milk-based soup for a quick-fix starter. Instead of fussing with a vegetable masher, this low-fat creamy soup reaches its velvety consistency after just a few spins with an immersion blender.

Ingredient Info: Olive oil, cilantro, and freshly ground black pepper work well as toppers.

Jason Donnelly

Easy Thanksgiving Main Dish: Shortcut Braised Chicken

Start to Finish: 20 minutes

If you're on board for a quick and easy Thanksgiving menu, but are unconvinced that you can short-cut an impressive main dish, you haven't seen this Thanksgiving chicken recipe. It's ready in only 20 minutes thanks to a purchased rotisserie chicken! Serve it with plenty of crusty bread for soaking up all the juices.

Get the recipe: Shortcut Braised Chicken

Jason Donnelly

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish – Fruit: Cranberry-Fig Relish

Start to Finish: 10 minutes

This Cranberry-Fig Relish can be made in less time than it takes to listen to three of your favorite dinner party songs. Chill for a few hours until your guests arrive, and your relish is ready to serve.

Time-Saving Tip: Don't want to make your relish on Thanksgiving Day? No problem! This relish can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container. Want to prep even earlier? Freeze for up to 6 months, then thaw overnight in the fridge.

Get the recipe: Cranberry-Fig Relish

Andy Lyons

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish: Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Gouda and Crispy Pancetta

Start to Finish: 40 minutes

Start with two kinds of potatoes, then add cheese and green onions (if you wish). Top the finished dish with a generous sprinkle of crispy pancetta. Make this easy Thanksgiving side dish up to 24 hours before serving.

Blaine Moats

Easy Thanksgiving Dessert: Easy Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Star to Finish: 60 minutes

Combine two of your favorite desserts—cupcakes and pie—and serve these Easy Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes instead of fussing over pie. With plenty of pumpkin and cinnamon flavor, fall dessert cravings will be cured. There are even graham crackers on top so you get a crunch, just like with a piecrust! Orange frosting topped with a dollop of white frosting mimics the look of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

Get the recipe: Easy Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Bonus: Thanksgiving Menu Planning Tips

Don't spend all November sweating about your Thanksgiving meal. Sit back and relax this holiday season with our successful shortcuts.

  • Plan your menu in early November: Choose your dishes and make your shopping list. Pick up nonperishable items over regular trips to the store between early November and Thanksgiving Day to lessen the strain of that pre-Turkey Day shopping trip.
  • Don’t be shy about assigning tasks: With your guest list finalized, get specific about what you want attendees to do or bring and keep track of who’s doing what.
  • Review your recipes and determine which prep tasks can happen ahead of time: Defrosting a turkey, peeling potatoes, and other kitchen tasks can be done days or even weeks ahead.

Get more Thanksgiving planning tips in our Thanksgiving Countdown Checklist.

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