Ina Garten Just Shared Her Thanksgiving Menu—and It Has Plenty of Make-Ahead Options
Whether you're a kitchen dweller who views Thanksgiving as the most important day of the year or just a casual home cook who contributes one or two dishes to the family potluck, the time to think about this year's menu is fast approaching. Thanksgiving's rich fall flavors are so wide-ranging—including everything from sage and garlic to cranberry and citrus—that there are infinite dishes to swap in and out of the lineup.
To help you narrow it down, Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa herself) has teamed up with Williams Sonoma to curate a dreamy Thanksgiving menu that includes recipes new and old—and even several you can whip up in advance. The lineup includes the all-important turkey and dressing, a trio of sides, some desserts, a couple of appetizers and even a festive cocktail to start the meal off with a bang.
You can check out all the details around Garten's big collab on the Williams Sonoma website, where she has also shared some of her favorite entertaining tips and kitchen gear for the big day.
Ina Garten's Thanksgiving Menu
Garten shared this recipe from her Modern Comfort Food cookbook with us back in 2020, and it's a delicious twist on a classic gin drink. Each batch serves six, so everyone can raise a glass—just multiply the ingredients if you have more guests.
It's no surprise to see this simple appetizer on the menu, since Garten recommends pairing her fruity gimlets with these six-ingredient toasts. This easy combination of country bread, fig spread, goat cheese and toppings tastes "like grown-up cream cheese and jelly sandwiches," Garten promises.
If you're not much for figs, here's another appetizer option for you. Since you can prep your mustard dip ahead of time, it could take as little as six minutes to pull together this quick but satisfying starter. Serve it up with toothpicks and let your guests go to town.
In a Thanksgiving Q&A with Williams Sonoma, Garten was quick to share her secret to having all the food ready at the same time: make as much of it in advance as you can. This game plan for the star of Thanksgiving will help you do just that. Once the bird is roasted, simply carve it and arrange the pieces over a bed of gravy on an oven-safe dish to keep your main dish warm but not dry.
Speaking of that all-important gravy, here's an herbaceous recipe that would come in handy for a make-ahead turkey. For extra helpfulness, you can make the gravy base up to a week in advance so all you have to do is add wine and the base to your roasting pan for homemade gravy that's practically instant.
If you're a canned cranberry sauce purist, feel free to ignore this entry on the list—but if you love making your own twist on a fruity relish, this 20-minute recipe from Barefoot Contessa Parties is a sure win.
This pan of stuffing—or dressing, depending on who you ask—includes lots of leeks and mushrooms, plus savory pancetta and ooey-gooey Gruyère cheese for lots of flavor.
This classic Thanksgiving side is another dish you can make well in advance. Blanch the green beans and make your zesty gremolata, then store both in the fridge and follow Garten's instructions to reheat.
Though you can't make these sprouts ahead, they'll cook in very little time—about 30 minutes. Just be sure you cut them into manageable pieces—halves may work for smaller sprouts, but cutting the veggies into quarters will help large sprouts cook in time.
This mashed potato alternative is a little preview of Go-To Dinners, Garten's forthcoming cookbook. You can make the puree in advance and heat it gently on the stovetop, but even making it on Thanksgiving Day should be headache-free—this recipe requires just parsnips, butter, salt and pepper.
The options for Thanksgiving breads are endless—a fresh loaf, warm rolls, flaky biscuits or buttery cornbread. Brown butter brings something deep and nutty to this batch of cornbread, another recipe excerpted from Go-To Dinners.
This classic dessert combines three of Garten's favorite ingredients: chocolate, pecans and a little bit of bourbon. The best part? She actually recommends using a store-bought crust for this recipe, making prep even easier.
For more of a dessert project, try your hand at this luxurious ginger-infused Swiss roll. This autumnal pumpkin cake is baked in a sheet pan, cooled and filled with a mascarpone-based frosting. Even an imperfect rolling job will result in pretty swirled slices once it's time for dessert.