The centrepiece on every Thanksgiving holiday dinner spread has to be a show-stopping main dish. Whether you are going for a traditional Thanksgiving whole roast turkey for a large gathering this year, or hosting something smaller with turkey breast or whole chicken as the main, or looking for a Thanksgiving entree that is plant-based, vegetarian, or just not turkey, we have got you covered. We are sharing over 40 most popular and best Thanksgiving main dishes from turkey, chicken, vegetarian Thanksgiving mains, and anything else you can think of that is just not turkey (like beef, lamb, or pork).
Thanksgiving Turkey Main Course
The best and juiciest roast turkey cooks faster that traditional methods and requires no brining. It's so tender and juicy every time. And use the giblets and drippings to make delicious homemade turkey gravy.
Asian five-spice roast turkey is tender and juicy, marinated with a delicious flavourful Asian rub and has a crispy brown skin. The perfect holiday dinner.
Easy juicy roasted turkey breast is the perfect holiday dinner, minus the headache…tender meat, crispy skin, and a layer of roasted onions. Serve it with easy 2-ingredient gravy made with the drippings.
Soft, tender and juicy slow cooker turkey breast with the crispiest skin and fresh fall herbs is the easiest way to cook a turkey this holiday season. Serve it with make ahead cranberry sauce.
Tender juicy Asian sesame soy turkey roast is a creative take on a holiday classic, packed with sweet, salty, and savoury umami flavours in every bite.
Soy glazed braised turkey breast with Asian five-spice is moist, tender, succulent and the juiciest turkey ever with browned and crispy skin. So flavourful. Serve it with delicious cornbread stuffing.
Tender, succulent and flavourful, easy roasted turkey legs with crispy skin and vegetables is a complete wholesome turkey dinner and family favourite. It's perfect over a side of creamy mashed potatoes.
Chicken Main Course for a Smaller Thanksgiving
Easy Dutch oven whole roast chicken with the crispiest golden skin is juicy, tender and succulent and packed with flavour. Just takes 15 minutes to prep. Serve with creamy potatoes au gratin on the side.
One of my favourite chicken recipes is quick, easy, one pan apple cider chicken with butternut squash, apples, and thyme, cooked in an apple cider sauce. Serve this fall meal in just 40 minutes. Don't forget some crusty bread to soak up all that juice.
Quick and easy roasted spatchcock chicken (butterflied chicken) seasoned with garlic and thyme is juicy, tender, delicious and flavourful with minimal prep. Serve with some creamy mashed potatoes and garlic green beans.
Give your chicken breasts an upgrade by stuffing them to make fancy, juicy chicken roulade with spinach and mushrooms topped with a creamy alfredo sauce. Serve it over spaghetti alfredo with spinach and mushrooms.
Easy Greek lemon garlic whole roast chicken is tender, juicy and succulent with the crispiest skin. Prep this flavourful one pan meal in just 15 minutes.
Tender and juicy apple dijon braised chicken thighs with potatoes is juicy, tender and so succulent that it falls off the bone, yet so crispy outside. Serve with some bread to soak up all that juice. Try homemade ciabatta rolls or green onion dinner rolls.
Slow cooker whole chicken is soft and tender and literally falls off the bone. It is the easiest way to cook a rotisserie chicken with a few minutes prep. Shred it and use it in lemon chicken orzo soup, 30-minute BBQ chicken pizza, or baked pasta with chicken.
If you’re scrambling to figure out dinner with less than 30 minutes on hand, this sweet and tangy roasted balsamic chicken with cranberries will save the day. Serve with some creamy mashed potatoes or garlic mashed cauliflower.
One pan garlic roasted chicken and baby potatoes is an easy to make, delicious, and wholesome meal for the entire family. Prep this sheet pan in 10 minutes.
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Main Course
Healthy, hearty and wholesome butternut squash with wild rice and mushrooms is an easy cozy vegetarian dinner or side dish for fall. It's the best vegetarian fall dinner idea!
Butternut Squash Lasagna - coming soon!
Wholesome, hearty, curried chickpea stuffed acorn squash with curry flavours is the perfect vegan and gluten-free fall comfort food for your holiday dinner.
Take comfort food to another level with the best creamy spinach and tomato vegetarian lasagna. You won't even miss the meat!
Warm yourself up this fall with a big bowl of comforting pumpkin chickpea coconut curry with cashews. Easily substitute the pumpkin in this vegan and gluten-free recipe for butternut squash. Serve it with a side of easy coconut rice.
Easy vegan stuffed bell peppers are filled with brown rice, mushrooms, veggies, and seasonings, then baked for 40 minutes. It's a perfect weeknight dinner.
Thanksgiving Main Courses That Aren't Turkey
Easy holiday glazed baked ham is juicy, succulent and flavourful, coated in a brown sugar honey glaze with and baked until caramelized and golden brown.
Easy one pan honey glazed roast pork is moist, tender, and juicy, coated with an irresistible honey glaze and packed with potatoes, green beans and apples.
Sheet pan lamb chops with vegetables are healthy and delicious, easy to make, and easier to clean up. Perfect for busy weeknights or a holiday dinner.
Ground beef meat pie with a flaky puff pastry double crust pie is filled with ground beef cooked with vegetables and seasonings. The ultimate comfort food and a classic French Canadian dish on Christmas eve.
Easy roast lamb with vegetables is tender, juicy, and succulent and packed incredible flavour. This fancy holiday dinner is easy to prep in just 15 minutes.
Quick and easy, glazed honey balsamic pork chops are tender and juicy, seared in thyme and coated with a honey balsamic sauce. Make it in under 30 minutes.
This hearty classic meatloaf with a caramelized glaze will nourish your body and soul. Feed the whole family with a simple yet flavourful classic.
Juicy, tender, and delicious 18-minute air fryer lamb chops is marinated in a dijon sauce and will change the way you cook lamb forever.
Skillet shepherd's pie is a savoury and hearty traditional comfort food. With flavourful beef and fluffy potatoes, this cozy meal it will warm you up.
This delicious garlic and herb-crusted rack of lamb is tender, juicy, and flavourful. It is surprisingly quick and easy to make at home in about 30 minutes.
Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Dinner
- Plan your menu ahead of time. You can prepare some of these dishes in advance. Some can be frozen and reheated from frozen, others can be made and stored in an airtight container for a few days at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Check individual recipe for full make ahead instructions.
- Prep your ingredients as much as possible. Once you have decided the main dish that you will be serving (and all the other dishes), prepare as much as you can in advance. Whether that is chopping vegetables, marinating meat, or throwing together a salad. You can store all the prepared ingredients in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
- Set the table the night before. Take out the fancy holiday dinnerware, flatware, glasses, placemats, and napkins and set the table the night before. It's one less thing to worry about on Thanksgiving.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
Once you have figured out the main dish that you will be serving on your Thanksgiving dinner menu, start planning the appetizers, sides, and dessert. Find everything you need in my most popular holiday recipes:
- 30 Best Thanksgiving Appetizers
- 50 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- 25 Warm and Cozy Fall Soup Recipes
- 25 Best Thanksgiving Desserts
- 15 Thanksgiving Bread Recipes
Did You Make Any of These Thanksgiving Main Dishes?
Please leave a comment and rating below, and let me know what you thought of these Thanksgiving main dishes. Be sure to snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.Print