Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes


Some of my favorite things about Thanksgiving are spending time with family, counting the many blessings I’ve had throughout the year, and enjoying the scents and flavors of the food! Below are my favorite Thanksgiving recipes to make each year, and I hope you can enjoy some (or all) of them too!

Banana Bread

Okay, go with me on this . . . Banana bread for breakfast the morning of or for snacking while making dinner. I found this recipe here Sally's Baking Addiction Banana Bread Recipe and it is the best banana bread I’ve ever made! I’ve even added chocolate chips and/or Kraft™ caramel bits. Oh my goodness!!
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 1 loaf


2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)1 teaspoon baking soda1/4 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (8 Tbsp; 113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

3/4 cup (150g) packed light or dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup (80g) plain yogurt or sour cream, at room temperature

2 cups (460g) mashed bananas (about 4 large ripe bananas)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Optional: 3/4 cup (100g) chopped pecans or walnuts


    • Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Lowering the oven rack prevents the top of your bread from browning too much, too soon. Grease a metal 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
    • Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then beat in the yogurt, mashed bananas, and vanilla extract until combined. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no flour pockets remain. Do not over-mix. Fold in the nuts, if using.
    • Pour and spread the batter into the prepared baking pan.
    • Bake for 60–65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few small moist crumbs. This may be after 60–65 minutes depending on your oven, so begin checking every 5 minutes around the 60-minute mark.
    • Remove bread from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan set on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and store banana bread at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Banana bread tastes best on day 2 after the flavors have settled together.

    Turkey Recipe

    I’ve always thought that turkey could use a little more . . . je ne sais quoi. Then I realized what it was lacking – FLAVOR! Enter brining said turkey. I found this amazing recipe on Alex Guarnaschelli’s Instagram page here: Alex Guarnaschelli's Turkey Recipe. And you can use it for whole chickens too if you, like myself, don’t like leftover turkey.
    Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes


    6 quarts tap water

    1 pound kosher salt

    1 cup molasses

    2 cups honey

    1 cup soy sauce

    1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes

    1 tablespoon dried sage

    Large bunch fresh thyme

    2 heads garlic broken into individual cloves, unpeeled

    5 pounds ice cubes

    14 to 18-pound turkey, cleaned, innards removed1 pound unsalted butter, softened

    2 medium lemons, zested


      • In a medium pot, bring 3 quarts of the tap water to a boil over medium heat.
      • Put the kosher salt in a large bowl and slowly (and carefully!) pour the boiling water over the salt. Stir to blend.
      • Add the molasses, honey, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sage, thyme and garlic to the salt and water mixture. Stir to blend.
      • Add the remaining 3 quarts of cool water. Add the ice to a cooler or bucket large enough to hold the brine and the turkey. Pour the brine over the ice and use a large whisk to blend all of the ingredients. Submerge the turkey, breast side down, in the brine. Make sure the cavity of the bird fills with the liquid as you are submerging it.
      • Cover the cooler and allow the bird to sit in the brine overnight or for about 12 hours. If using a bucket, refrigerate. Turkey MUST stay cold while brining.
      • Remove the bird from the brine and dry it thoroughly with thick (absorbent) kitchen towels. Take care to wipe inside the cavity as well. Discard the brine.
      • Whisk together the butter and the lemon zest. Gently lift the skin covering 1 breast of the turkey and spread half of the butter right on the meat under the skin. Repeat with the other breast. The butter will add extra moisture and richness as the bird roasts.
      • Preheat the oven to 350F. Arrange the turkey in a roasting pan fitted with a rack. Put on the lower rack of the oven and roast until the internal temperature of the turkey taken from the thickest part of the thigh reads 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 1/2 hours.
      • Remove the turkey from the oven to a cutting board or serving platter and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.

      Sweet Potato Casserole

      Back when I lived in northern Illinois, the holidays were a pretty big deal. My extended family would get together for a HUGE dinner with all the fixings. My Aunt made these rich, scrumptious sweet potatoes one Thanksgiving, and I begged her for the recipe. Maybe it will become one of your favorites too!
      Cook Time 30 minutes


      1 large (40 oz.) can of sweet potatoes (no syrup), drained

      1/2 c. white sugar

      2 eggs, beaten4 T. butter, softened

      1/2 c. half & half

      1/2 t. vanilla extract


      1/2 c. packed brown sugar

      1/3 c. all-purpose flour

      3 T. butter, softened

      1/2 c. chopped pecans


        • Mix all ingredients together except topping.
        • Pour in a 9x13-inch buttered casserole pan.
        • For topping, mix flour and sugar, cut in butter until mixture is coarse; add pecans and sprinkle over potatoes.
        • Bake at 325F for 30 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. Serves 12.

        Pecan Pie

        Not everyone is a fan of pecan pie, but it is my favorite! Seriously, I don’t need the excuse of a holiday to eat it. This recipe from Epicurious is a party in your mouth – especially if you like a little citrus flair. And I rarely make my own crust; frozen pie crusts in the tins work just fine for me! They’re a huge time-saver and headache-reliever. You can find the recipe here: Old Fashioned Pecan Pie.
        Cook Time 1 hour


        6 Tbsp. (¾ stick) unsalted butter1¼ cups (packed; 256 g) light brown sugar

        ¾ cup (234 g) light corn syrup

        2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

        ½ tsp. finely grated orange zest

        ¼ tsp. kosher salt

        3 large eggs

        2 cups pecan halves (½ pound)

        Sweetened Whipped Cream or vanilla ice cream (for serving; optional)


          • Place rack in middle of oven; preheat oven to 350° and place a baking sheet on the middle rack.
          • Melt 6 Tbsp. (¾ stick) unsalted butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat.
          • Add 1¼ cups (packed; 256 g) light brown sur to melted butter, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in ¾ cup (234 g) light corn syrup, 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract, ½ tsp. finely grated orange zest, and ¼ tsp. kosher salt.
          • Lightly beat 3 large eggs in a large bowl; whisk in corn syrup mixture.
          • Put 2 cups pecan halves (½ pound) in unbaked pie shell and pour corn syrup mixture evenly over them.
          • Bake on hot baking sheet until filling is set, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (if using).

          Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Again, I hope you were able to enjoy one, two, or maybe all of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes this holiday season!

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