Thanksgiving recipes: online resources

Thanksgiving recipes are the building blocks for a successful Thanksgiving dinner. If you are heading to the grocery store this weekend, consider some of these online resources for finding familiar recipes, new twists on traditional favorites, and tips for a stress-free meal.

Matthew Mead/AP
Traditional and basic Thanksgiving recipes are making a comeback this year.

It seems hardly anyone scours cookbooks to find new Thanksgiving recipes these days. Most people simply log on to the Internet for their recipe search. "Green bean" casserole" is one of the most popular search terms the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

You certainly can find a wealth of recipes within seconds just by Googling a search phrase or two. But there are also a number of online sites that are ready to coach you through the steps it takes to create a stress-free Thanksgiving meal, provide traditional recipes, and even offer up modern takes if sweet potato casserole covered in tiny marshmallows just isn't your thing.

Here are a few of our favorite online sources for planning Thanksgiving dinner:

PBS Food

If you are the type who likes to makes lists and check them twice, has what you need with their "Thanksgiving Planning Checklist." Their printable lists start three weeks out, but even if you are late to the game you can see if you are still on track. Make your long list of chores and errands more manageable with their handy day-by-day countdown. By this weekend you should be shopping for non-perishables, prepping anything that can be frozen, and cleaning the house.

Bon Appétit

Whether you want to host a "Friendsgiving" before heading home, add some flavor with duck fat, or spice things up with a chile-rubbed turkey, Bon Appétit magazine is offering "25 Ways to Reinvent Your Thanksgiving."


If you are out to impress your in-laws, or put your new cooking skills on display for friends, Saveur magazine offers illustrated steps in creating elegant sounding dishes that require relatively little fuss in "An Effortlessly Elegant Thanksgiving." Think: elaborate-looking pommes duchesses and decadent sides like creamed onion gratin. Many of their suggested dishes can be prepared a day or two in advance.

Cook's Illustrated

From planning your shopping list, to a survival guide for when things go wrong, to video tips, Cook's Illustrated "Thanksgiving Guide 2013" has you covered. Browsing their site requires a paid membership, but they do have a free 14-day trial membership you can test out during the holiday.

The New York Times

The New York Times has compiled all their best tips and recipes in their "Essential Thanksgiving"  interactive graphic. In each category, (sides, desserts, etc.) they provide their preferred recipe but also offer alternatives and invite you to use their recipes as building blocks as you mix and match to create your own unforgettable meal.

The Guardian

If you are hosting an international crowd, The Guardian asked 12 American food bloggers to come up with twists to the traditional Thanksgiving favorites from their own cultural backgrounds in a "Thanksgiving recipe swap". Think: Thai steamed pumpkin custard and sweet potato latkes with celeriac root and apple to bring a bit of Hanukkah to Thanksgiving.

The Chicago Tribune

If you don't mind spending $5, The Chicago Tribune has compiled their Thanksgiving recipes into an e-book called "Thanksgiving Recipes," which can be downloaded to Apple products, the Nook, and most non-Kindle readers.  Kindle readers can access it via You can also read it for free on your computer via Adobe Digital Editions.

Martha Stewart

The folks over at Martha Stewart have thought of everything – again – when it comes to prepping for a perfect day. Their "Everything Thanksgiving" includes how-tos (if you are still mastering grilling/roasting/brining/carving a bird), ideas for leftovers, and even meatless Thanksgiving meals.


This online repository of a vast array of recipes, has created a page with step-by-step instructions in a "Complete Guide to Brining at Turkey" (soaking a bird in salt water to create a moist and delicious meat). They provide tips for wet brining, dry brining, and how to pick the best salt.


The community blog site has recently expanded to include a store. They have assembled "Small Batch: Turkey" that features an array of classy items from pewter serving platters to a turkey fryer to add to your Thanksgiving toolkit. Unfortunately, the free-range birds are already out of stock. Check out their recipes page for lots of great ideas to bring to the table.

Food Network has a dizzying array of chef tips for your Thanksgiving planning purposes. On Saturday, Nov. 12 from 12-2 p.m. the network will host "Thanksgiving Live!", a call-in show to answer your most pressing concerns.


Surfing on Pinterest is a bit like sipping from a firehouse, but their steady stream of Thanksgiving ideas and recipes from bloggers around Web will fire up your imagination. We are talking about a lot of cute ideas here, like carving out mini gourds as tea light candle holders, Hershey kisses transformed into acorn cookies, and raw vegetable platters that look like turkeys.

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