8 Non Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes You May Not Have Considered Making

Are you ready? It is almost Thanksgiving. What is going to be on your dining table this year? I have a few easy non traditional Thanksgiving dinner recipes for you that you may not have considered making.

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner of the classics consists of roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, cornbread and pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving table setting idea to serve Non Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

Over the years I have broken from this traditional Thanksgiving menu and served recipes that my family loves instead, as not every one likes their potatoes mashed, their corn creamed or pumpkin pie.

So if you are asking yourself, What’s an alternative to Thanksgiving dinner?

Organizing behind the scenes for Thanksgiving where I am going to serve Non Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes.
French White Oven to Table Serveware

Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

What I serve for Thanksgiving dinner to go with the main entree of turkey may not be the usual Thanksgiving fare, but I can promise they are all easy, delicious and worth trying.

Most of these non-traditional thanksgiving dinner ideas included in this list you can make ahead of time so that you won’t need to spend all of Thanksgiving Day in the kitchen. You will have time to enjoy your family and guests.

Thanksgiving Appetizer

Sweet and spicy bacon on skewers on a white plate with gold dots. Text overlay says Sweet & Spicy Bacon Skewers

1. Sweet & Spicy Bacon Skewers

Everyone seems to like Bacon and when you season it with garlic, pepper, brown sugar and a few other spices and put a piece on a skewer, Sweet & Spicy Bacon Skewers make for festive finger food.

Main Course Recipes

Non Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes that include fast fire flank steak .being served

2. Fast Fire Flank Steak

Fast Fire Flank Steak is the recipe in my recipe box that is the most popular amongst guests so if want to serve a red meat instead turkey, this is a crowd pleaser.

Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Herbed Encrusted Canned Potatoes in a white serving dishes are one of my Non Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

3. Herbed Canned Potatoes

If mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes with marshmallows are not your jam when it comes to spuds, these canned potatoes, browned in butter are fast and easy to make, plus they taste delicious with turkey. They are a family Thanksgiving recipe favorite at my house.

baked mozzarella orzo can be served as a Non Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes

4. Baked Mozzarella Orzo

Pasta dishes are something that usually don’t make it to a Thanksgiving spread, but this recipe for Baked Mozzarella Orzo compliments turkey so well. The creamy texture and melted cheese will melt in your mouth. It may become a new Thanksgiving tradition in your house.

Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

When you need a little sweetness to end Thanksgiving dinner, try making one or more of these delicious dessert recipes served warm with a big mound of whipped cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream.


5. Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

For those who don’t like pumpkin pie, I always make an Apple Crisp. The flavor of the spices with the apples taste so good. Another reason to make this is that it can be made ahead of time. In fact, it tastes better the day after baking. Topped with a big mound of whipped cream – double yum!

Image of a plate filled with delicious baked apples wrapped in pie crusts called Cannon Ball apple dumplings. They make delicious Non Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes.

6. Baked Apple Dumplings

This Baked Apple Dumpling recipe has a fun story behind it. They do have to be served warm, so you can make them ahead of time and then warm up in the oven right before serving will have everyone at the table ooohing and aaahing…. “these are so good“.

Old Fashioned Pound Cake Recipe and Wrapping loaf cake  on a white plate

7. Old-Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake

This recipe for Old-Fashioned Lemon Pound Cake has been in my recipe box for over 35 years. I always have all the ingredients on hand and don’t even need the recipe anymore when I make it.

Stacked crumb-cake-muffins

8. Cinnamon Crumb Cake

Individual Thanksgiving Desserts are great when you are hosting a large crowd and serving dinner buffet style. I usually make this Cinnamon Crumb Cake recipe into muffins, but for Thanksgiving it can be made into a cake form.

What is your Thanksgiving menu going to have on it this year – traditional or a few non-traditional foods and recipes?

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  1. I love your alternatives to the standard fare, especially the desserts! And those bacon skewers look scrumptious. Honestly, autumn/Thanksgiving is the only time I ever eat turkey. This year I made pumpkin dump cake for 3 different autumn dinner parties, so by the time big day rolled around I couldn’t even look at pumpkin. I made my mom’s apple pie instead. My sweet mom always made apple, pumpkin, and blueberry pie for Thanksgiving, but apple was her specialty. Making her apple pie recipe for holiday gatherings makes me feel like a part of her is still with us. I bet your dumplings were just as delicious!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nancy – Pumpkin dump cake sounds good. I have never heard of it. I agree with you that when using a loved one who is no longer living recipes, it does make you feel like a part of them. It makes me smile too when I take out a recipe card that was my mom’s and see her handwriting. :-)

  2. We’re excited to be hosting Thanksgiving again this year! Years ago, my family had what I laughingly call an ‘intervention’. It went something like ‘Your turkey is great, but what we’d really love is your fried pecan chicken!’ So fried pecan crusted chicken strips it has been going on almost 20 years now.

  3. These recipes look great especially the lemon loaf and the cupcakes. However, other than the potatoes, I’m not sure these would fit into my current lifestyle. A friend of mine (guess who) turned me on to the vegan food and I am really hooked. I owe my friend a debt of gratitude (thank you, Diane) as I feel better everyday so I’m committed. I really don’t miss sweets at all.

  4. Hi Diane,

    Thanks for sharing some of your recipes, I am definitely going to try the canned potatoes- I just happen to have the Everglades Spice.

    Hello to Ed –


  5. All looks great….I will need to make this Lemon Pound Cake. My husband loves lemon.
    Thank you for the recipes 💗

  6. I can vouch for those canned potatoes. Never would have bought canned potatoes, but boy, are those good! I’ve made them ever since you first posted the recipe.

  7. I can’t believe people dont like homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream!!! I dont like bought pumpkin pie though. Your recipes look good except the potatoes–I would never buy canned potatoes.! But everything else looks yummy!! Traditional thanksgiving in Canada has brussel sprouts but no green beans, no cornbread either. To me the best part of thanksgiving in the US is the next day sales. We celebrated Thanksgiving this year at my daughter and husbands cottage on the Lake surrounded by beautiful maple in all their colourful glory! It really felt like Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving Diane and family.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Pat – I will take Brussel sprouts over green beans any day. :-) As for the canned potatoes, I used to think like you about them, until my mother-in-law who worked for a high end caterer made the recipe for us and we couldn’t believe they were from a can. It sounds like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving- I will be celebrating at my younger daughter’s new home. I am looking forward to it and hope there is still some colors left in the leaves as she has a beautiful mountain view from her home.