Caution: These spicy dinner ideas are not for the faint of heart! This Thanksgiving menu adds fiery flavor to your favorite classic dishes (including sweet potatoes and an extra-hot Thanksgiving turkey). To set your guests' taste buds aflame and make your holiday a meal to remember, experiment with spice by adding chile peppers to your green bean casserole and a pinch of chili powder to your pumpkin pie.
Turn up the heat at Thanksgiving dinner this year with these six spicy recipes:
See photos and learn more about each of these spicy dish ideas below.
Set the tone for a meal celebrating spice by starting with zesty roasted beets and greens. Toss together leaf lettuce, roasted baby beets, and blood oranges, then pour on a cayenne pepper-spiced vinaigrette to take this salad from bland to bold. Toss the salad with a little of the spicy vinaigrette, then save the rest for drizzling onto individual servings for your more adventurous guests. You can also add this recipe to your list of spicy appetizers to serve if some of your guests show up starving.
Get the recipe: Roasted Beets and Greens with Spicy Orange Vinaigrette
Yep, even classic green bean casserole is getting an extra dose of spice. We added fresh serrano peppers and a pinch of chipotle chile peppers to give this Thanksgiving classic a real burst of fire. To keep it close to the traditional side, this recipe still has the creamy filling and a crispy panko breadcrumb topping. If you're looking for non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner ideas, this twist on a classic is a great way to breathe new life into an old menu item.
Time-Saving Tip: If your oven is going to be crowded this Thanksgiving, use French string beans (haricots verts) instead of regular green beans in this casserole. French string beans are thin and cook quicker than the traditional variety, so you'll only have to bake this dish for about 15 minutes.
Get the recipe: Spicy Green Bean Casserole
Alongside the turkey and green bean casserole, spoon tender slow-cooked butternut squash in a chipotle pepper sauce onto your plate. With cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and bacon mixed in, this spicy veggie side can almost replace traditional bread stuffing at your Thanksgiving feast. Skipping the stuffing might make for an unconventional Thanksgiving dinner, but this recipe is so tasty, you won't miss the more traditional Thanksgiving recipes at all.
Get the recipe: Chipotle Butternut Squash with Crunchy Topper
Give sugary, marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes the year off. To make this crowd-pleasing side, rub sweet potato skins with a mixture of salt and cumin before baking them for an hour. As the sweet potatoes cook, stir together some spiced butter to serve on top. Simply combine butter, maple syrup, and crushed red pepper flakes for an extra taste of sweet and spicy. This is easy Thanksgiving food at its finest!
Get the recipe: Cumin-Rubbed Sweet Potatoes with Sage
A super spicy mole sauce and a stuffing of fiery chorizo, tomatoes, and Anaheim chile peppers make this turkey recipe one that will change the way you think about poultry. To make the mole, combine ancho and guajillo chile peppers with fire-roasted tomatoes for a flaming hot turkey topper. It will make you forget all about gravy! It's definitely a non-traditional Thanksgiving turkey, but it'll be devoured just as quickly as any classic recipe.
Get the recipe: Roast Stuffed Turkey with Mole Colorado
That's right—even your pumpkin pie is getting a boost from spice this year! The combination of pumpkin and cinnamon-spiced Mexican chocolate is good, but a few pinches of chili powder and cayenne pepper take it to the next level. If you want to make the spice stand out even more, sprinkle your chocolate ganache-topped slice with a little extra chili powder before digging in. You can make a homemade piecrust for this recipe if you want, but it'll be just as good if you begin with a refrigerated crust for a head start.
Get the recipe: Mexican Chocolate Pumpkin Pie