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Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

There is something very special about Thanksgiving – probably because families and friends get together for a satisfying big meal, enjoyable company and in all that, tradition is being gradually built to create life long memories.

But it does take a lot to plan that satisfying big meal – whether you decide to stick to what is traditional or get adventurous in your kitchen and create a new, gourmet style feast.

If this year is the first year you are hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner, I have put together the very basic, traditional menu, complete with easy to make recipes.

The Menu:

  • Turkey with Basic Bread Stuffing
  • Turkey Gravy
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Glazed Carrots
  • Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

This menu is pretty much guaranteed to satisfy all your dinner guests – and there is something special about sticking to tradition.

Basic Bread Stuffing


Enough for an 8 to 10-pound turkey.

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 4 cups bread cubes
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • turkey or chicken broth



  1. Sauté onion and celery in the butter until softened.
  2. Combine onion mixture with bread, pepper, eggs, salt, sage and poultry seasoning in large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in broth until well moistened.
  4. Stuff the inside of your turkey and close off the opening
  5. Or, bake in a greased covered shallow casserole at 325° for about 35 to 45 minutes.
  6. Take the cover off the last 5 minutes to brown.

Basic Turkey Gravy


  • Pan drippings
  • Flour
  • Water


  1. Pour the turkey or chicken pan drippings into a 2 cup measuring cup and skim the fat off.
  2. Put about 1/4 cup of the fat into a saucepan and stir in 1/4 cup of flour (all purpose).
  3. Add enough water to the drippings (throw the rest of the fat away) to make 2 cups of liquid.
  4. Pour the 2 cups of liquid into the flour/fat mixture.
  5. Cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbling.
  6. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe makes about 2 cups of gravy.

Mashed Potatoes


  • 3 pounds potatoes
  • water to cover
  • salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  1. Peel potatoes and cut into large pieces.
  2. Cover and cook in boiling salted water for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are tender.
  3. Drain potatoes.
  4. Put potatoes through a ricer or mash in a large mixing bowl until no lumps remain.
  5. Add milk in small amounts, beating after each addition, until desired consistency is reached.
  6. Add butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper, beating until mashed potatoes are light and fluffy.

Glazed Carrots


  • 16 ounces baby carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup water
  • dash salt
  • pepper, to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the baby carrots with remaining ingredients.
  2. Stir to blend ingredients. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling (uncovered) for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until carrots are tender and the liquid has evaporated.

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie


  • 1 -1/4 cups pumpkin puree, canned or fresh
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 unbaked pastry shell (9-inch)



  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, spices, and flour in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Add eggs; mix well.
  3. Add evaporated milk, water, and vanilla; mix well.
  4. Pour into pastry-lined pie pan.
  5. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350° and bake about 35 minutes longer, or until centre is set.

If you are interested in putting together a more advanced gourmet Thanksgiving feast, you will find complete menu and recipes here: Gourmet Thanksgiving Dinner Menu and Recipes


And to go along with your traditional Thanksgiving menu – don’t forget to set up your table! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed these recipes and that they helped you make a good old fashioned Thanksgiving dinner. Please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences, your input is always welcome and very much appreciated!

About the author

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, step mother to Abbie Gateman and is also a brand new Grandmother. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

Dede - October 8, 2010

Your stuffing is very similar to mine. Was thinking about adding pork sausage this year! I am not the best gravy maker so thanks for the recipe!!!

    Hanna Trafford - October 9, 2010

    Glad you found the information of help – I hope your gravy turns out perfect and if you find the time, please let me know!

Megan - October 22, 2010


This is my first year hosting Thanksgiving! I came acrossed your website and Im glad I did.. Im have a Pre-Thanksgiving to try everything out first..

Thank you so much!!

    Hanna Trafford - October 22, 2010

    Thanks Megan and I am so very glad that my posts are of help to you. I am sure your Thanksgiving will be great and if there is anything you need or have any questions I could help with, please send a message, I will be happy to help! And if you let me know how your Thanksgiving went, I will much appreciate it!

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Lynda - November 5, 2012

This will be my first year hosting Thanksgiving Dinner for my husband and his family. I am very excited and nervous! I have a lot of people coming and if something goes wrong I will just die! I am thankful that I have found your website as I have never made my own gravy before but I am looking forward to it!

    Hanna Trafford - November 12, 2012

    Good luck Lynda! I know you will do a great job – because you are looking forward to treating your family to a special Thanksgiving dinner! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need anything!

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