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Thanksgiving Recipes to Elevate Your Holiday

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

Thanksgiving is coming up fast and that means a few things: a much needed break from school, a delicious meal that doesn’t rely on a microwave, and an awkwardly long day where you will have to explain yourself and your life choices to the family members you see like twice a year. This can be either a great day or a pretty draining day, so why not make some new dishes to switch up your holiday and hopefully get your family members focused on something other than what you are going to do with your degree. Here are some incredible Thanksgiving sides and their recipes to elevate your holiday!


Mashed Potatoes

Every American knows that mashed potatoes are an essential part of the Thanksgiving meal. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them, so why not give them the spotlight for once and make some of the best mashed potatoes you have ever had. This recipe from Serious Eats adds a few easy, but ultimately game changing, elements to the spuds that will alter your views on this holiday forever. Not only does this recipe change the cooking method in order to give you a beautifully textured potato, but it also adds one of Earth’s best creations: Browned Butter. While they may not be on the healthiest of all side dishes, you can rest easy knowing you only get to eat these wonderfully buttery and delicious taters once a year. Feel free to add any seasonings you like to customize these game changers. 


Cranberry Sauce 

For most people, cranberry sauce is either hit or miss. You either love it and think it goes well with everything on your Thanksgiving plate, or you don’t like it and don’t even bother putting it on your plate. No matter which side of the spectrum you fall on, I promise that if you try YouTuber, Kristen Mcatee’s recipe for cranberry sauce, you will find yourself applying it to everything you can find. You may even eat it just by itself. This is not your ordinary cranberry sauce. It adds strawberries, raspberries, and even oranges to the mix and is seriously delicious. I highly recommend that you give it a try. This video also has two other cranberry sauce recipes in it if you are looking for something more traditional but still homemade. 



Yes, it is time to address the part of your Thanksgiving dinner that is actually desert but is served as an entree for some reason. Most people know this dish as a brown sugary glob with mini marshmallows on it, but it has the potential to be so much more. This recipe from Binging with Babish takes this pretty traditional dish and elevates it to a fantastic degree. It removes the mini marshmallows and instead adds ricotta, whiskey soaked craisins, and a drizzle of honey. These simple additions make this a dish that simply cannot be beat. With this recipe, you will also find a recipe for a delicious mashed potatoes and green bean casserole that you may want to add to your meal.



Stuffing is a side that (according to this author) cannot be beaten. It has everything. With delicious bread, sausage, celery, and onions, it truly is an american hero. However, a hero deserves to be the best it can be. With this recipe from bon appétit, you can take your stuffing to a whole new level. Impress your family and friends with sourdough bread, wonderful seasonings, and a flavor combination that any turkey would be glad to be served with. It is tried, it is tested, and it is fantastic. 



I believe that rolls are a very underrated part of the Thanksgiving meal. They usually just act as a filler to make the meal rounded and may even be left on the plate in a smooshed up ball, but they can be so much more. A good roll is one that makes you come back for a second one just so you can add some cranberry sauce to it and have yourself a pre-dessert. It acts as a mop for all of your leftover gravy. Heck, it may even be used to make a mini Thanksgiving sandwich. Far too many people sleep on the rolls when it comes to Thanksgiving, and I think it is because they have never been introduced to this recipe from bon appétit.



When it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, every family has their staples. Be it pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, some sort of cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, or even cinnamon rolls. However, this seems like an awful lot of baking to please a large crowd of people with very different tastes. Why not make a dessert that pleases the masses? This recipe from 3YummyTummies Pleases the pumpkin pie fans, the pecan pie fans, and even the cheesecake fans. That’s right. It encompasses all three of these delicious desserts into one, and it is incredibly easy and delicious. It really is a dessert that will change your Thanksgiving game forever. 


I know every family has their own traditions when it comes to Thanksgiving side dishes, but if you ever feel like you are in a rut or you are willing to try something new, all of these recipes will elevate your meal more than you thought possible. I strongly urge you to give them a try because they will make your holiday delicious, it will make you seem like an incredible chef, and it may even make your family tolerable. Happy cooking!


Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


Ry Iverson is a transgender sociology alum of the University of Utah. He grew up in Apple Valley, California and moved to Utah to be closer to family. He enjoys listening to music, reading, cooking, drawing, traveling, and helping others. He enjoys writing about his favorite TV shows, cooking, LGBTQ experiences, and advice, and in his free time he can be found laying on the ground outside taking in the world. Enjoy Ry's articles and everything he has to offer!
Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor