The Thanksgiving Recipes Food Network Staffers Can't Live Without
Subpar stuffing is not an option.
Unsurprisingly, Thanksgiving is a big deal to us foodies. Yes, it’s a day to be thankful and spend time with loved ones, but it’s also the most important meal of the year. That’s why we don’t mess around when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. From buttery turkey to classic pumpkin pie, these are the dishes Food Network staffers have to have on turkey day.
Traditional Appetizers (with a Twist)
Growing up, we always always had artichoke dip as part of our Thanksgiving appetizer spread, and I looked forward to it every year. Our version didn’t even have spinach, which you’d typically find in dips like these. It was all about the super savory notes of the artichokes and parmesan cheese. The dip went into retirement when my generation became adults — but I think it’s time to bring it back.
- Lauren Piro, Director, Editorial
For a quick appetizer with a fun cranberry twist, I love Valerie’s Cream Cheese Log with Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Relish. It’s a jalapeno and cranberry relish that’s also filled with cheese! Best of all, I can make it the day before and throw it together when everyone starts to wander into the kitchen.
- Mary Beth Bray, Director, Culinary Production
A Seriously Flavorful Turkey
Normally, the turkey is my least favorite part of the Thanksgiving dinner table — but not this year! Thanks to this Butter-Blanketed Turkey recipe from Food Network Kitchen, I can’t wait for turkey time. A cheesecloth soaked in butter, plus the usual layer of butter under the turkey’s skin, is the secret to a seriously flavorful bird. The meat is perfectly moist, the skin is crispy and, of course, buttery. I have a feeling I’ll never make turkey any other way from now on.
- T.K. Brady, Senior Editor
All the Fixin's
I have been very slowly taking over all the Thanksgiving cooking/menu-planning responsibilities from my mom since I went to culinary school. I like to think I’ve been really sneaky about it — subbing the store-bought pie dough for Ina’s because I happened to have some extra time, etc. — but I know my mom knows what I’m doing. My biggest win in transforming our Thanksgiving table is this focaccia stuffing. My family was skeptical, but it’s the perfect mix of salty, cheesy (!) and just a little bit crunchy around the edges. As good as it is on the big night, you have to try it with some fried eggs the next morning.
- Julie Hines, Managing Editor
I know these Parkerhouse rolls with sea salt are not the classic pull-apart oblong shape but I doubt any of your guests will be critical. These buttery rolls are clover-shaped and baked in muffin tins. I love to make the dough early Thanksgiving morning and let the kiddos help make them. There won’t be a single roll left—guaranteed.
- Leah Brickley, Senior Editor, Culinary
Here’s my controversial opinion: mashed potatoes are the best part of the Thanksgiving meal. Sure, stuffing and turkey are great, but they really shine when paired with creamy, gravy-topped potatoes. I always think simple is better (after all, the dish is competing with an entire table of food), which is why I love Tyler Florence's super-easy five-star recipe.
- Leah Scalzadonna, Associate Editor
Bobby Flay’s Country Bread Stuffing with Goat Cheese, Kale and Bacon is always a favorite. Bobby made it for Thanksgiving Live when I was an intern at Food Network and the recipe looked so good, I decided to make it that year —my first time hosting Thanksgiving! Seven years later and I’m still hosting — and it’s always on the Thanksgiving table, along with Ina's Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
- Sarah Holden, Digital Culinary Producer
Pies and Beyond
My mom doesn’t eat pie. So, even though she always made pies for the rest of us to eat on Thanksgiving, she would also make something she would actually enjoy. A no-frills yet deliciously impressive cheesecake like Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Cheesecake was always on our Thanksgiving table, and this is apparently a tradition I’m going to continue to pass down — I now have a daughter who refuses to eat pie!
- Meghan Cole, Associate Editor
The first year my now-husband joined my family for Thanksgiving, a critical oversight meant there was no pumpkin pie. Crisis! We realized the omission ahead of dinner, and gamely dug into our savory food, though the pie-shaped void cast an ominous shadow, especially for my Thanksgiving-devoted dad. At one point, my fiancé slipped away, and was mysteriously gone for about 20 minutes. He finally returned holding a pumpkin pie aloft like Simba. He saved the day — and our spirits — and instantly solidified his status as a welcome member of the family. We never asked how he made that holiday miracle happen, but now we are sure to always have pumpkin pie present and accounted for. I love the warming flavors the bourbon lends to both filling and crust in this recipe.
- Erin Hartigan, Senior Managing Editor