A spread of classic Thanksgiving dishes, including pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes.

Nothing But the Classics

We put our best Thanksgiving recipes to the test and found your perfect menu.

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Every year food editors and brands try to come up with something new to talk about for Thanksgiving. As someone who has worked in food media for over a decade, I've seen it all—celebrity Thanksgiving menus; a Thanksgiving menu generator based on allergies, the number of people you're hosting, or how much time you have; Thanksgiving mains that aren't a turkey; Friendsgiving potluck dishes; shortcut grocery Thanksgiving recipes. The list goes on.

These things are all great, but when it comes down to it, most home cooks are really just searching for classic recipes: the pumpkin pie, the green bean casserole, the cranberry sauce. Maybe you throw in a new dessert or a side dish you saw on Instagram, but otherwise your menu might remain the same year after year.

The classics are what make Thanksgiving the best food holiday—and this year, Allrecipes is leaning all the way in. We're here to help you plan and perfect your Thanksgiving menu by giving you the very best versions of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and every other side your table can hold. Let's dig in.

Arie Knutson, Editorial Director

How We Tested Our Top Thanksgiving Recipes

To find the best, most classic Thanksgiving recipes on Allrecipes.com, we looked at our top-reviewed and trafficked recipes across eight different categories: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. We then tasked our test kitchen in Des Monies and one of our contributors Grace Elkus to test the recipes and come up with their top choices.

5 of the best turkey recipes on a Thanksgiving table.

Dotdash Meredith Studios

The Turkey

The turkey is the crown jewel of any Thanksgiving table, and arguably the easiest recipe to mess up on the big day. But no more! We tested five of our most popular Thanksgiving turkeys—including a turkey that's made in a bag, one that's deep-fried, and another that's classically roasted. Elkus explains in her review that the winning bird would take the throne based on looks alone, but that it's also incredibly "moist, tender, and buttery through and through."

Read the story: I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes and Found a Serious Showstopper

5 of the best stuffing recipes on a Thanksgiving table.

Dotdash Meredith Studios

The Stuffing

There are many kinds of stuffing (or dressing) recipes out there—cornbread, the boxed kind, the seafood variety, and of course sausage—but for this taste test we kept it classic. Think: aromatics, bread, broth. Nothing too fancy. The winning recipe, according to Elkus and our test kitchen, "is the kind of stuffing you look forward to all year long." It's perfectly crispy up top, and moist below.

Read the story: I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Stuffing Recipes and Found a Foolproof Thanksgiving Classic

5 of the best mashed potato recipes on a Thanksgiving table.

Dotdash Meredith Studios

The Mashed Potatoes

If you get weak in the knees when you see a bowl of mashed potatoes, you've come to the right place. There's just something about those ultra creamy and buttery spuds that always elicits joy. The winner in our taste test turned out to be the easiest of the bunch, and only requires five ingredients. "They’re smooth, fluffy, and pair well with everything on the plate, proving there’s really no reason to mess with perfection," writes Elkus.

Read the story: I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Mashed Potato Recipes and Fell in Love with the Easiest One

a top down view of the 5 best green bean casserole.

Dotdash Meredith Studios

The Green Bean Casserole

When it comes to green bean casseroles, there are two roads to travel. The first is the classic option: the canned or frozen green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup, and store-bought crispy fried onions. The other road? Well, anything that deviates from the first option. Is it worth it to branch out and try something else? We tested our five most popular green bean casserole recipes and the winner really took us by surprise. "If you think there’s a better recipe, I dare you to find it," Elkus writes.

Read the story: I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Green Bean Casseroles and the Winner Took Me By Surprise

5 of the best sweet potato casserole recipes on a Thanksgiving table.

Dotdash Meredith Studios

The Sweet Potato Casserole (No Marshmallows)

When we were trying to decide which sweet potato casserole recipes to test for this story, there was a fierce debate among the editors: to marshmallow, or to pecan streusel? We looked at what the data showed us, and it turns out more people went for the non-marshmallow variety. So we did just that. The ultimate winner in our taste test lets the sweet potato shine. "Most sweet potato casseroles could double as dessert. But thanks to a whopping six potatoes and just a touch of sugar, this one lets the flavor of the earthy veggie shine," Elkus explains.

Read the story: I Tried 5 Marshmallow-Free Sweet Potato Casseroles and Found My New Thanksgiving Go-To

5 of the best turkey gravy recipes on a Thanksgiving table.

Dotdash Meredith Studios

The Gravy

A good gravy is super smooth, deeply flavorful, and well-seasoned. It also shouldn't cause you any undue last-minute stress. Our taste test winner checks all of those boxes. Elkus says the #1 recipe is "the perfect consistency for pouring over turkey and mashed potatoes." You can also make it up to four days in advance of Thanksgiving. A miracle!

Read the story: I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Thanksgiving Gravy Recipes and Found a Make-Ahead Stunner

5 of the best cranberry sauce recipes on a Thanksgiving table.

Dotdash Meredith Studios

The Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is often the only non beige-adjacent dish on a classic Thanksgiving table, and thus must be protected at all costs. And lucky for you, there was a clear favorite in our taste test. "Thanks to a fragrant blend of cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and allspice berries, this ruby-red sauce perfumes the whole house as it simmers," writes Elkus of our top choice.

Read the story: I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Cranberry Sauce Recipes and Found a Flavor-Packed Favorite for Thanksgiving

the best pumpkin pie recipes on a festive thanksgiving table.

Dotdash Meredith Food Studios

The Pumpkin Pie

It's not Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie for dessert. That pairing of creamy custard, warming spices, and flakey crust is just perfection. But which recipe do you go with for Thanksgiving? In her review of our five most popular pumpkin pie recipes, Elkus said she "can't find a single flaw" with her #1 pick. The winner uses Chinese 5-spice powder and nutmeg for extra flavor, and the whole thing comes together rather quickly.

Read the story: I Tried Our 5 Most Popular Pumpkin Pie Recipes and the Winner Is Perfection

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