Are you excited for the holidays? Or a little overwhelmed with your holiday to-do list?
Putting together a scrumptious Thanksgiving feast is no small task! So, let’s make it easier with this simple and free Thanksgiving menu template. No need to run around last minute this year!
When the big day comes, you’ll have a huge smile on your face knowing that you did a little prep ahead of time. Then, you can focus on what really matters – the gratitude you feel for family and food.
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In this post you’ll find:
- Tips to plan a delicious Thanksgiving menu
- Essential family food items
- Exact steps to prepare ahead
- The free Thanksgiving menu template – which includes areas for all of your food items, plus a separate spot for prep ahead and a shopping list!
How do You Plan a Thanksgiving Menu?
If you haven’t planned your feast often, these are some essential first things to consider!
Start With the Must Haves
First, we all have favorite traditional foods that are a MUST at Thanksgiving. So, start with the dishes that mean the most to you, and will appear no matter what.
Plan a Variety
Then, use the free Thanksgiving printable to make sure there’s a variety of drinks, appetizers, desserts, etc. This will make sure you’re not repeating the same types of foods too much.
Decide What to Delegate & Prep Ahead
And share the work! Everyone in the family has something to contribute. So, consider these questions to make the menu as easy as possible:
- What can others bring?
- Do you need to buy something already made?
- What can you prep and/or freeze beforehand?
- What can your kids and partner help with?
Now, read on for Thanksgiving menu ideas and more ways to organize ahead of time!
Easy Menu Plan Ideas for Thanksgiving
Here are the foods most often found at a Thanksgiving place setting. Scan each of the sections to get you brainstorming!
Fun Drink Ideas
- Water/Sparkling Water
- Tea (hot or cold)
- Cocktails – Check out this Hard Cider Sangria!
- Dips (artichoke dip, bean dips, cranberry cream cheese dips, etc.)
- Cheese and crackers
- Veggies and dip
- Stuffed peppers or mushrooms
- Cheese fondue
- Slider sandwiches
- Bacon wrapped pineapple or anything
- Check out this AWESOME fall charcuterie board!
The Main Entree
- Herbed chicken
- Prime rib
Savory Side Dishes
- Mashed potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Cranberry sauce
- Green beans with almonds
- Traditional Stuffing
- Cold salads
- Roasted squash
- Roasted brussel sprouts
- Green bean casserole
- Baked mac and cheese
- Creamed spinach
- Pecan pie
- Pumpkin pie
- Chocolate pie
- Pumpkin cupcakes
- Cream pie
- Fruit Trifle
- Apple pie
- Fruit cobbler
- Pumpkin spice cake
- Caramel apple dump cake
How Can You Prepare Ahead of Time?
Next, Thanksgiving is hectic if you’re the one doing the planning. And while some tasks have to be done on the day, a lot can be organized ahead to make your holiday as carefree as possible.
Here’s what to do:
- Make a guest list – First, decide who’s eating and what they are bringing to the feast!
2. Fill out your Thanksgiving menu template with the rest of your food items.
3. Make a shopping List! What items can you buy ahead?
4. Chop, mix together and bake days ahead. Decide which dishes can have small items done a day or two before. Often desserts and casseroles do not need to be done on the same day! We also like to make breakfast items ahead of time so that we ALL enjoy the Thanksgiving Day parade together!
Do You Have a Thanksgiving Agenda Yet?
Check out these 11 Thanksgiving Activities to make your family day even more special!
And for TONS of memorable holiday traditions, shop my super affordable ebook – with 260+ family activity ideas for both holidays and ordinary days! Don’t miss out!
Get the Thanksgiving Menu Printable Now!
If you love meal planning pages, check out The Free Weekly Meal Planner post too!
Something to Consider With Your Thanksgiving Menu
Finally, have fun! Smile! Focus on the good stuff, and try not to stress too much about your Thanksgiving planning.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, then perhaps it’s time to let other family members contribute more to the food and festivities. So that you make sure you’re enjoying the special day too!
Fall Gratitude Articles to Read (All With FREE Printables!)
- 60 Fierce Gratitude Quotes for a Blessed Fall (Wall Art)
- 50 Gratitude Journaling Prompts
- The 30 Day Gratitude Challenge – Try it Now!