Recipes

25 Best-Ever Thanksgiving Recipes | Eat This Not That


Thanksgiving is the biggest food-related holiday of the year, and we’re here to tell you that there’s no need to hold back in the name of weight loss. In fact, we’re giving you permission to forget your flat belly goals for the day, take out your stretchy pants, and indulge in all of your favorite dishes—seriously! It’s not as bad for your waistline as you might think. Because most of the fare served on Thanksgiving is homemade and packed with nutrients, it’s better for your body than indulging in fewer calories of processed foods like Snickers or Twinkies. Plus, it’s really difficult to gain any actual weight on Thanksgiving. (More on that here). And so long as you’re eating delicious worth-every-calorie dishes, we can proactively promise you won’t regret your Turkey Day feast!

To help you indulge without guilt, we’ve found the most mouthwatering Thanksgiving recipes on the web. Scroll down to discover the best turkeys for every type of celebration, a host of sensational side dishes, fall-themed desserts, and pies galore. Mix and match the dishes that look the most “worth it” to you, to create the Thanksgiving feast of your dreams.

And for more, check out these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.

Healthy Turkey Recipes

Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

When you find yourself in a pinch, this is the turkey recipe you need. It doesn’t take much time, as long as you just crank up your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit! Allow this recipe to serve as a reminder that you don’t have to spend all day cooking the bird.

Get our recipe for a 90-Minute Roasted Turkey.

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roasted turkey with herbed butter and roasted shallots
Courtesy of Cookin Canuck

Per 8 oz serving of meat, skin removed: 710 calories, 25.3 g fat (10. 4 g saturated fat) 512 mg sodium, 6.1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0.5 g sugar), 108 g protein

This mouthwatering turkey is stuffed with savory veggies and covered in herb butter for the ultimate Thanksgiving Day indulgence. For those who want to have a storybook celebration—and don’t care how many calories it costs—this is the dish you’ve been searching for.

Get the recipe from Cooking Canuck.

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orange herb roasted turkey breast
Courtesy of Inspired Taste

478 calories, 24 g fat (0.8 g saturated fat), 1,214 mg sodium, 7.5 g carbs (1.5 g fiber, 4.8 g sugar), 57.9 g protein

If the thought of cooking an entire bird makes your stress hormones skyrocket, this should be your go-to recipe. Bone-in turkey breasts are easy to handle and make a great whole-bird alternative for smaller groups. This herb-induced juicy recipe is sure to be a holiday hit!

Get the recipe from Inspired Taste.

Stuffing, Gravy & Glaze Recipes

Homemade gravy recipe in a gravy boat on a marble counter
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

You simply can’t have a Thanksgiving meal without its go-to sidekick: gravy. And while it, of course, is meant to be slathered over turkey, we wouldn’t blame you for pouring this stuff, well, over everything you eat!

Get our recipe for Homemade Gravy.

healthy orange cranberry relish
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

And what pairs perfectly with your turkey? Well, this cranberry orange relish! While it really is amazing with a Thanksgiving bird, it’s so good, there’s a chance your guests might just end up eating it with a spoon and nothing else.

Get our recipe for Cranberry Orange Relish.

bourbon apricot turkey glaze
Courtesy of Foxes Love Lemons

A glaze is a simple way to add flavor to your bird after it comes out of the oven. We love this recipe in particular because it’s made with just six easy-to-find ingredients. However, the best part about it is that the leftovers have tons of delicious uses. Throw a bowl of it on the table as a gravy alternative, or set it aside and use it as a Gobbler Sandwich spread.

Get the recipe from Foxes Love Lemons.

cornbread stuffing in baking dish
Courtesy of One Ingredient Chef

349 calories, 12.2 g fat (1.2 g saturated fat), 424 mg sodium, 53.6 g carbs (4.5 g fiber, 10.7 g sugar), 8.3 g protein

Sweet maple syrup and cornbread add a delicious depth of flavor to this Thanksgiving side. The blogger behind this creation says it’s “slightly reminiscent of a Mexican sweet corn cake.” Talk about a mouthwatering way to mix things up!

Get the recipe from One Ingredient Chef.

stuffing balls in serving basket
Courtesy of Inquiring Chef

218 calories, 15 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 658 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 6 g protein

Stuffing is delicious. But stuffing balls are on a whole other level. Not only are they cute to look at, but they also help keep portions in check, which is always a plus. Plus, the less stuffing you shove in your mouth, the more room you’ll have in your belly for dessert.

Get the recipe from Inquiring Chef.

Potato & Biscuit Recipes

Vegan roasted garlic mashed potatoes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

When in doubt, deciding to make mashed potatoes is never a bad idea, as it truly is a Turkey Day staple. You can customize the creamy side dish however you like, whether you add garlic, freshly chopped chives, bacon, sautéed spinach, roasted onions, or green peppers. The possibilities are endless!

Get our recipe for Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

sweet potato casserole
Courtesy of VeguKate

237 calories, 7 g fat (2.8 g saturated fat), 102 mg sodium, 42.3 g carbs (5.9 g fiber, 6.8 g sugar,) 2.9 g protein

Anything that tastes this good and helps ward off post-Turkey Day bloat is a winner in our eyes. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup in this recipe lend a sweet flavor you’re sure to love, while the sweet potatoes, rich in salt-banishing potassium, help banish the bloat that typically kicks in after a sodium-filled meal.

Get the recipe from VeguKate.

rosemary dinner rolls
Courtesy of Cooking Classy

190 calories, 4.3 g fat (2.3 g saturated fat), 328 mg sodium, 32.5 g carbs (1.5 g fiber, 3.8 g sugar), 5.3 g protein

Everyone loves bread—especially the homemade variety. But it can take a while to make. Even this relatively simple recipe takes about two hours to get from the mixer to your mouth. To speed things along on Thanksgiving, make the rolls ahead of time and pop them in the microwave or oven right before the feasting begins.

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

parmesan herb roasted potatoes
Courtesy of Cooking Classy

256 calories, 10.9 g fat (2.9 g saturated fat), 403 mg sodium, 35.1 g carbs (3.2 g fiber, 1.3 g sugar), 7.9 g protein

Sick of mashed potatoes? These cheesy roasted spuds are to die for. The addition of fresh rosemary and parsley truly makes them a next-level side dish.

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy.

candied pecan sweet potato casserole
Courtesy of Le Creme De La Crumb

480 calories, 18.5 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 455 mg sodium, 75.8 g carbs (7.7 g fiber, 23.4 g sugar), 5.1 g protein

This dish is high in sugar, fat, and calories—and it’s worth every bite. The combination of creamy sweet potatoes, crunchy candied pecans, and toasted marshmallows is pure ecstasy for your taste buds. We dare you not to go back for seconds.

Get the recipe from Creme de la Crumb.

Casserole & Side Dish Recipes

corn slow cooker creamed corn
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

240 calories, 15.2 g fat (9.2 g saturated fat), 412 mg sodium, 24.8 g carbs (2.7 g fiber, 5.5 g sugar), 5.5 g protein

Corn, chives, butter, pepper, and cream cheese come together to create this savory dish. Bonus: It’s filled to the brim with vitamin B6, a nutrient that has been shown to reduce hangover symptoms by as much as 50%. So go ahead, indulge in that second glass of red!

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

brussels sprouts with bacon and feta

Brussels sprouts are anything but boring when bacon and cheese are involved. You’ll never complain about eating your veggies again!

Get our recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Feta.

Vegetarian green bean casserole
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Our green bean casserole honors the classic recipe you most likely know and love already, but we swap in fresh ingredients to create a dish with more texture and flavor than the original soup label recipe.

Get our recipe for Green Bean Casserole.

pineapple roasted acorn squash sliced with pomegranate seeds on white plate
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

191 calories, 11.8 g fat (7.3 g saturated fat), 94 mg sodium, 23.2 g carbs (2.9 g fiber, 6.5 g sugar), 1.5 g protein

This side dish needs to make an appearance on your holiday table!

Get the recipe from Half Baked Harvest.

tart cherry glazed brussels sprouts
Courtesy of Love and Olive Oil

219 calories, 14.9 g fat (1.9 g saturated fat), 196 mg sodium, 20.8 g carbs (4.2 g fiber, 11.5 g sugar), 4.9 g protein

Just one serving of this side dish packs an impressive 121% percent of the day’s vitamin C.
The nutrient has been proven to elevate mood (which can ward off emotionally-fueled munching) and counteract stress hormones that trigger abdominal fat storage, making it an important nutrient for those trying to lose weight. Oh, and the dish? It tastes amazing!

Get the recipe from Love and Olive Oil.

squash parmesan butternut squash gratin
Courtesy of Cooking Classy

161 calories, 8.5 g fat (5.4 g saturated fat), 191 mg sodium, 20.5 g carbs (3.1 g fiber, 3.3 g sugar), 3.8 g protein

No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without a serving of butternut squash. Whipping up a batch of this crispy, cheese- and panko-topped dish is a no-brainer.

Get the recipe from Cooking Classy.

glazed carrots rosemary and ranch glazed carrots
Courtesy of Grateful

198 calories, 11.5 g fat (7.3 g saturated fat), 479 mg sodium, 22.7 g carbs (2.8 g fiber, 12.1 g sugar), 1.1 g protein

These carrots are so delicious, even your kids will want a second helping! The fact that they pack nearly 400% of the day’s vitamin A into one serving is sheer fcoincidence.

For more fall-inspired recipes, check out these 8 Best-Ever Fat Burning Soups!

Get the recipe from Grateful.

brussels sprout latkes
Courtesy of My Name is Yeh

Per two-latke serving, calculated with 1/4 cup canola oil for frying: 271 calories, 17.7 g fat (5.8 g saturated fat), 216 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (3.1 g fiber, 8.2 g sugar), 7.2 g protein

Thanksgivukkah may not come around again for a loooonggg time, but if Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fell in love and had a baby, this dish would be it.

Get the recipe from My Name is Yeh.

Healthy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

pumpkin pie slice
Courtesy of Minimalist Baker

258 calories, 12.7 g fat (2.7 g saturated fat), 152 mg sodium, 34.6 g carbs (2.5 g fiber, 11.2 g sugar), 1.4 g protein

Nothing completes your Turkey Day meal like a delicious slice of pumpkin pie. The fact that this dish is vegan and gluten-free is just a bonus. Your taste buds will never be able to tell it’s not the real deal.

Get the recipe from Minimalist Baker.

raw pecan pie tartlets
Courtesy of My Darling Vegan

Per 2-tart serving: 281 calories, 18.3 g fat (1.2 g saturated fat), 32 mg sodium, 27.4 g carbs (4.6 g fiber, 21.1 g sugar), 7.6 g protein

Whole foods like walnuts, dates, and pecans join to create this better-for-you dessert. Not only is its small, bite-size stature a standout feature in a sea of giant pies, but it also makes it easier to mind your portions, which is always a win.

Get the recipe from My Darling Vegan.

dessert pumpkin spiced apple pie
Courtesy of Minimalist Baker

339 calories, 17.7 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 417 mg sodium, 42.6 g carbs (1.9 g fiber, 15.4 g sugar), 3.8 g protein

Why choose between a pumpkin-infused dessert and one filled with apples when you can just eat this and have both at the same time? This sweet dish brings together the best of fall’s flavors to create a recipe that’s not soon to be forgotten.

Get the recipe from Minimalist Baker.

healthy pear apple crisp with quinoa
Courtesy of Simply Quinoa

413 calories, 10.6 g fat (6.6 g saturated fat), 74 g carbs (7.5 g fiber, 26 g sugar), 8.6 g protein

Gluten-free oats, quinoa, nutritious coconut oil, and sweet maple syrup get a dusting of cinnamon and are swirled with bubbly, roasted apples. Feeling extra decadent? Top it with a scoop of one of these ice creams.

Get the recipe from Simply Quinoa.

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