How to Modernize Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

Put a tasty new twist on classic Thanksgiving dinner recipes with these ideas.


Up next in Thanksgiving Survival Guide (12 videos)

Don't host another Thanksgiving without these tips and tricks.

You Will Need

  • Willingness to experiment
  • Open-minded guests


  1. Step 1

    Spice up the soup

    Serve a curried pumpkin soup to kick off Thanksgiving dinner. Recipes for this spicy starter range from easy to complicated, so do a little research to find one you like.

  2. Step 2

    Roast turkey in parts

    Traditional Thanksgiving turkey may be carved tableside, but roasting it whole often dries it out. Roast your bird in parts to avoid overcooking the breast meat while waiting for the dark meat to cook.

  3. Try spices such as Chinese five spice, ginger, cumin, ancho chile, and coriander for new flavor profiles.

  4. Step 3

    Use brioche in your stuffing

    Bread's not the only stuffing anchor. Give quinoa, wild rice, polenta, or dried fruit and nuts a whirl. If you crave a bread stuffing, try brioche or challah for a different take on the traditional Thanksgiving dinner recipe.

  5. Step 4

    Replace sweet with heat

    Instead of topping yams or sweet potatoes with marshmallows, drizzle this hot and spicy mixture over them before baking: 1/2 stick melted butter combined with 2/3 cup maple syrup, 1 teaspoon cardamon, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

  6. Increase the cayenne if you and your guests can take the heat.

  7. Step 5

    Update green bean casserole

    Update green bean casserole by ditching the canned soup and milk in favor of homemade sauce. Sauté 10 ounces fresh mushrooms and 3 tablespoons minced shallots, and then slowly incorporate 1/4 cup flour, 1 cup half-and-half, and 1 cup chicken stock.

  8. Frozen green beans are actually better than what you'd find in the produce aisle in November.

  9. Step 6

    Don't mess with dessert

    Don't mess with traditional Thanksgiving dinner desserts unless you want a revolt on your hands. But consider adding an extra dish, like pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Because the only thing better than Thanksgiving leftovers are leftover Thanksgiving desserts.

  10. The original recipe card for green bean casserole is in the National Inventors Hall Of Fame in Akron, Ohio.