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42 Best Southern Thanksgiving Recipes

Southern Thanksgiving recipes bring warmth and comfort to our dining tables, adding rich flavors and unique textures that make every bite a celebration.

Southern Thanksgiving menus include comforting classics like candied sweet potatoes, pecan pie, and roast turkey or baked ham.

Photo collage of southern thanksgiving recipes

From appetizers and side dishes to show-stopping centerpieces and decadent desserts, these recipes will inspire you to create a memorable Thanksgiving meal this holiday season.

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What Thanksgiving Recipes Can You Make Ahead of Time?

Making a Thanksgiving meal is no small feat, and planning ahead will ensure a successful Thanksgiving feast. When preparing for a Southern Thanksgiving feast, we know that time is of the essence. To help you out, here are a few classic dishes that you can make ahead of time, so your Thanksgiving Day can be less stressful and more focused on enjoying time with family and friends.

These easy side dish recipes can be made ahead of time but do not take a lot of time to prepare. One of the most popular make-ahead dishes is cornbread dressing. This flavorful side dish can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for up to two days before baking. Just be sure to store the dressing in an airtight container to keep it fresh. Sweet potatoes are another versatile option. Opt for dishes like Sweet Potato Crunch or a traditional sweet potato casserole. Prepare these dishes ahead and simply add the toppings before baking on Thanksgiving Day.

Looking to add some greens to the table? Collard Greens and Green bean casserole can be prepped in advance as well. Assemble the casserole, cover it, and store it in the refrigerator. On Thanksgiving, remember to add the crispy fried onions and bake it until hot and bubbly. 

Don't forget about the pies! Both pecan pie and pumpkin pie can be made ahead of time. In fact, they are often better once they have cooled to room temperature, as it allows them to set and not become a sloppy mess when sliced. If you desire, you can reheat them before serving.

Lastly, whip up a batch of deviled eggs the day before Thanksgiving and store them in the refrigerator. Deviled eggs are a great make-ahead appetizer, as their flavors meld and improve overnight. They are the perfect side dish for the holiday table! Don't forget the cranberry sauce, it's another classic Southern side.

So, there you have it—a variety of Southern Thanksgiving dishes that can be easily made beforehand to help ease the holiday stress and ensure a delicious, memorable meal with loved ones.

How to Store Leftover Southern Thanksgiving Recipes

With Thanksgiving, comes leftover Thanksgiving food.  With proper food storage, you can enjoy these delicious Southern comfort foods for days after the holiday meal.

For leftover turkey, ham, or pork, start by removing the meat from the bone, cutting them into smaller portions, and storing them in airtight containers or resealable bags. When stored properly, they can last for up to 4 days in the refrigerator, or they can be frozen for up to 3 months. Make sure to label the containers for safety and freshness. Refrigerate all leftovers within two hours at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder.

Casseroles, corn puddings, and baked macaroni and cheese should be stored in airtight containers or well-wrapped plates in the refrigerator. They can last for three to four days when stored properly. If you prefer freezing, transfer the leftovers to freezer-safe containers, and they'll be good for two to three months. For best quality, store in the refrigerator because the texture of the pasta is affected when freezing. 

For sides like green bean casserole, brussels sprouts, and green beans, store them in airtight containers as well. These vegetables will remain fresh in the refrigerator for three to five days.

Biscuits and dinner rolls should be stored at room temperature in plastic bags or any container with a tight-fitting lid. It's not advised to refrigerate bread as it may lose its quality, but if you wish to store your biscuits for a longer period, freezing is the best option. Wrap the rolls individually in plastic wrap and then put them in a resealable bag or an airtight container. They'll stay fresh in the freezer for up to a month. When ready to eat, let them thaw at room temperature and heat them in the microwave before enjoying. 

As for the delectable desserts like pecan pie, apple pie, and sweet potato pie, cover the pies loosely with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and store them in the refrigerator. These pies will last for three to four days when stored this way. 

Ensure the proper storage of your Thanksgiving leftovers, so you can continue enjoying your scrumptious feast even after the holiday is long gone.

Make sure to use the proper freezer-safe bags and containers to store your Southern food not only safely but also to retain freshness and flavor!

Southern Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

We are excited to share some mouth-watering Southern Thanksgiving recipe ideas that will surely impress your family and friends. Here are some easy recipe ideas for a typical southern Thanksgiving dinner. From a flavorful turkey or ham to delectable classic Southern side dishes and sumptuous desserts, your Thanksgiving table will be bursting with flavor and Southern flair. Most of these recipes are made with simple ingredients but have delicious flavors.

We hope these Thanksgiving recipe ideas bring warmth and delight to your turkey dinner, showcasing the best of what Southern cuisine has to offer. Enjoy the feast!

Essential Tools for a Southern Thanksgiving Dinner

roasting pan with a rack is crucial for cooking your turkey ham. It allows the air to circulate evenly around the meat, ensuring even cooking and a crispy exterior.

Aluminum foil is used by wrapping it around the ham while it is baking in the oven.  It locks in the moisture and prevents the ham from drying out as it bakes. It also is useful in side dishes.

Sheet pans are versatile and handy for preparing various side dishes and roasting vegetables.

meat thermometer is essential for monitoring the internal temperature of your turkey and ham, so you don't overcook or undercook it.

Basting tools, such as basting brushes and bulb basters, help you keep your turkey or ham moist and juicy during the cooking time. By applying the cooking liquid or glaze at regular intervals, your turkey and/or ham will stay tender and delicious.

Casserole dishes are a must during the holiday season for your Southern side dishes.

Pie Plates are useful when making homemade pie crust pies.

42 Best Southern Thanksgiving Recipes pin

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-have Southern side dishes for Thanksgiving?

When it comes to Southern side dishes, you can never go wrong with classic recipe ideas like Classic Cornbread Dressing, Southern baked macaroni and cheese,  or classic sweet potato casserole. These best ever stuffing balls and hasselback sweet potato casserole are also some of my family's favorite sides.

Which Southern desserts are popular during Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving celebrations in the South are never complete without a delicious dessert table with recipes including pecan pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, and apple pie. Bread pudding, red velvet cake, and cobblers with seasonal fruits such as peach or apple can also be served to satisfy your guests' sweet tooth as well as other family recipe favorites. 

Can I serve ham instead of turkey for Thanksgiving?

If you want to break from tradition and serve something other than turkey, consider serving a delicious homemade honey baked ham. Serving both turkey and ham is very popular on Southern Thanksgiving tables. 


Thursday 12th of October 2023

What a fabulous collection of recipes, so many I've printed off, thank you!