12 Easy Recipes for a Thanksgiving Beginner


Melissa Clark’s recipe for simple roast turkey will not steer you wrong. So many readers say this is the best turkey they’ve ever made. If you want an organic, farm-raised bird, be sure to place your order a few weeks in advance, and invest in oven and meat thermometers. (Accurate oven temperature is one of the keys to success here.)

Hungry guests are not happy guests. While you put the finishing touches on the meal, set out a platter of something that isn’t too filling and tastes completely different from the rest of the menu, like Alexa Weibel’s bright and spicy marinated feta with herbs and peppercorns (which takes just a few minutes to set up the night before).

View our collection of Thanksgiving Appetizers.

This stunner of a tart from Sue Li is a great vegetarian alternative to turkey or side dish. Store-bought puff pastry makes this a cinch to put together, and you can use a number of cooked vegetables in place of the carrots: onions, parsnips, beets, zucchini or pumpkin.

You could go to all the trouble of mashing a bunch of sweet potatoes and covering them with a blanket of marshmallows, but it’s not necessary. In this simple Melissa Clark recipe, baked sweet potatoes are peeled and sliced, then drenched in a combination of melted butter, cider and maple syrup that’s been seasoned with cinnamon, cloves and orange zest.

Cranberries, orange juice, orange zest and sugar. Simmer until the berries burst. That’s it. If you’d like, Sam Sifton said you could add an allspice clove or two, a little freshly grated ginger or a handful of chopped nuts.


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