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  • Writer's pictureKirsten Smith

Simple and Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes My Whole Family Loves

If you’re looking for family-friendly Thanksgiving recipes, you’ve come to the right place! I’ll be sharing recipes my family has used for years.

Preparing your hearty Thanksgiving feast can be exciting, but it isn’t easy picking out the perfect table spread for your loved ones to enjoy. Luckily, I’ve narrowed down Thanksgiving to a few amazing recipes. These foods are sure to be a hit with everyone that is celebrating Thanksgiving at your home!

Best Thanksgiving Recipes For Families in 2023:

1. Cajun Fried Turkey

The first recipe I’ll be introducing is a twist on a classic Thanksgiving dish! Everyone loves a good turkey, but if you want to add more flavor to this meal, I suggest using my recipe for cajun-fried turkey.


- 1 full turkey (frozen or fresh)

- ¼ cup of your favorite hot sauce

- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

- 2 cups of butter

- ½ tablespoon of onion powder

- ½ tablespoon of garlic powder

- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

- 2 tablespoons of salt

- 2 tablespoons black pepper

- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

- 3 tablespoons of cajun seasoning

- 3 gallons of peanut oil

Recipe Instructions:

Step 1: First melt your butter in a pan. You’ll want to add in the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of your cajun seasoning. Simmer this mixture on low for around five minutes.

Step 2: When your marinade is simmered fully, add in the lemon juice and mix it in well. Set this mixture aside and start preparing your turkey. You’ll need to get rid of its neck and gibbets.

Step 3: Use a syringe to inject the marinade into the turkey. Inject the arms, wings, legs, thighs, and breast. Then get a plastic bag out and put the turkey inside to marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 4: After the turkey has marinated you can prepare to fry it. Take it out of the bag and put it into the cooking basket. Get your frying pot ready and fill it with peanut oil. The temperature of the oil should reach around 350 to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, lower your turkey so that it is submerged fully. Deep fry your turkey for 30 to 40 minutes or until your meat thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 5: Carefully take your turkey out of the basket. Dab any excess oil with a paper towel once the chicken cools. Then you can add the rest of your cajun seasoning to the meat.

2. Cornbread Dressing

Cornbread dressing is one of my favorite meals to make in November. My whole family loves this dish and it’s been one of the most requested recipes during Thanksgiving. So, if you want to cook a meal that your family will really devour, I recommend adding this to your Thanksgiving spread!

There are two parts to this recipe. I’ll go over how to prepare the chicken for this dish, then I’ll talk about how you can prepare the dressing.

Ingredients For Chicken:

- 1 full Chicken

- 1/2 bell pepper chopped

- 4 chunks of celery

- 1/2 onion chopped

-3 tablespoons of chicken bouillon

- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder

- 2 table onion powder

- 2 tablespoons paprika

- 1 tablespoon black pepper

Recipe Instructions:

Step 1: Start by preparing your chicken. You should rinse it in water, then place it in a large pot.

Step 2: Rinse and chop up your bell pepper, onions, and celery chunks. Put your vegetables in the pot with your turkey. Cover up the chicken fully with the vegetables.

Step 3: Add water to your pot. Your chicken should be entirely covered by the water.

Step 4: Then start seasoning the meat and veggies. You should add in your chicken bouillon, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and paprika. If you prefer any other seasoning you can add this in too!

Step 5: Push the chicken and the ingredients down into the water. Make sure everything is submerged, then cook it for an hour on medium heat until your chicken is fully tender and ready to eat!

Dressing Ingredients:

- 2 packs of your favorite cornbread

- 1 package of stuffing seasoning mix

- 2 cans cream of chicken

- 2 cans of cream celery

- 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning

- 3 tablespoons softened butter

- 4 to 5 cups of homemade stock

- 2 cups shredded chicken

Dressing Recipe Instructions:

Step 1: For the next part of this recipe, get your cornbread mix out. I like to use a mix that you just add water to. Follow the instructions on the back of the pack and make sure to preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Pour the cornbread mix into a greased pan. Then bake it according to the instructions. After your cornbread has cooled, crumble it up. Crumble it fully so there are not any big chunks left.

Step 3: Next, go back to your chicken. If it's tender, get a strainer and another pot. You’ll want to strain the chicken and keep the chicken stock for the dressing.

Step 4: Once the chicken is strained and cooled pull it apart in pieces. Set it aside and prepare for the next step.

Step 5: Put your cornbread in a large bowl and add your ingredients. Put in cream of chicken, and cream of celery. Slowly add in the chicken stock you just drained. Don’t add in the stock too fast do it slowly this way you can control the moisture of the dressing.

Step 6: Add your poultry seasoning to the mix and the softened butter. You can use the stuffing mix seasoning as well for extra flavor. Also, keep adding the stock and mixing it. Finally, add in the chicken pieces and stir them in with the stock.

Step 7: The consistency should be smooth and moist. Then you can bake the cornbread dressing. Get a casserole dish or cast iron pan and grease it, then put it in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake your dish for 40 minutes then prepare to serve it. You can put cranberry sauce on top, gravy, and any leftover chicken or turkey.

3. Macaroni and Cheese

Baked macaroni is perfect for Thanksgiving. This filling and cheesy meal is pretty easy to make and even the pickiest eaters will love digging into this dish!


- 64 oz water

- 32 oz of elbow macaroni

- 16 oz of whole milk

- 1 tsp salt

- 32 oz heavy cream

- 8 cups of cheese of your choice

- 1-2 large eggs

- 1 stick of butter

Seasoning Ingredients:

- 1 pinch garlic powder

- 1 pinch onion powder

- 1 tablespoons paprika

- 1 teaspoon black pepper

- 3 tablespoons salt

Recipe Instructions:

Step 1: Start by getting your water and putting it in a large pot. Add in water, salt, and a bit of olive oil.

Step 2: After the water boils add your macaroni to the pot. Stir the macaroni and let it cook fully. You can taste the pasta to see if it's soft enough or cook it for eight minutes.

Step 3: Drain the pasta then put it in a bowl. Add butter to a warm pot and let it melt. Wisk in the milk, heavy cream, and cheese into the pot. I recommend using different types of cheese. Usually, I include cheddar cheese with a mix of medium and sharp. You can add whatever cheese your family likes!

Step 4: Add in the seasoning mix. This includes paprika, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt then stir.

Step 5: Add the cooked pasta and 1-2 eggs to the cheese mix and gently stir.

Step 6: Grease a large cast iron pot or pan. Start putting the macaroni into your cooking dish.

Step 7: Top the macaroni with any extra cheese you have. I suggest adding mozzarella and more cheddar to your dish.

Step 8: Bake your macaroni and cheese for 45 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Then serve it to your family!

4. Sweet Potato Pie

For this final recipe, I’ll be sharing my family's favorite Thanksgiving pie recipe. I know a lot of people enjoy having pumpkin pie in November, but in our house, we love a good sweet potato pie! This sweet potato pie recipe is easy to make and will have everyone at your table going for a second piece!


- 4-5 medium-large sweet potatoes

- 3 Lg eggs (room temp)

- 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour

- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

- 1 cup whole milk

- 2 cups sugar

- 1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

- 2 1/2 sticks of salted butter

- 3 Traditional Pie Shells (Not Deep Dish)

Recipe Instructions:

Step 1: Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse potatoes and place them in a large pot. Fill the pot with water and boil the potatoes until they are soft enough to blend with an electric mixer ( 45 min.- 1 hr.)

Step 2: Remove boiled potatoes from the pot. While still hot, use a fork to remove the skin from each potato

Step 3: Place the hot potatoes in the mixing bowl with the butter and alternate: adding the milk, flour, and eggs bit by bit until all have been added. Mix on medium speed

for about 5-10 minutes, making sure that mixture is well blended. In order to avoid strings in your pies, you must use an electric mixture.

Step 4: Add the nutmeg cinnamon, and Vanilla extract ( I like a bit more nutmeg....taste and add more to suite your taste)

Step 5: Fill each pie shell and place in pre-heated oven on 350 for 45 min-1 hr.

(I prefer my pies a bit darker).

Step 6: To prevent the edge of the pie crust from burning, or browning too fast, cut foil in strips and cover the edges before placing pies in the oven. Foil strips can be removed in the last 3-5 minutes of baking.

Final Thoughts on Thanksgiving Recipes For Families

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to gather with our families and really talk about what we are thankful for in 2023! Hopefully, my recipes will help make your Thanksgiving celebration memorable and delicious.

I know this can be a hectic holiday, but making food that your family and friends really enjoy is worth all the effort. Comment below if these recipes have helped you or if you have other recipes you want to share. I’d love to hear from you!

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