It’s feasting time, y’all! ’Tis the season for big ol’ plates piled high with all manner of beiges, browns, and greens, from gravies and carbs to sweet, sweet slabs of pie.
While the building blocks remain the same year after year—turkey, starches, veggies, and desserts—the specifics of a Texan’s Thanksgiving spread is dependent on delicious, easy-to-accomplish recipes, whether they’re passed down through generations or more new-age.
Below, we’ve got all of the classics you’ve come to expect at the holiday table, a plethora of desserts to split over football, and a few novel dishes your guests will adore.
Cocktails and Starters
Instant Pot Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs
This recipe makes a real case for using your Instant Pot to hard-boil eggs—and we’re not ones to argue during the holiday season. If you aren’t the proud owner of a pressure cooker, you could always prepare your eggs the old-fashioned way, because, topped with bacon and featuring a creamy jalapeño filling, these deviled eggs are a crowd favorite no matter how you prepare them.
Christmas came early, all right? You don’t have to save the sweet nectar that is eggnog for December. You can get a head start on decking the halls by offering your Thanksgiving guests a glass of this rum, bourbon, and cream concoction.
If you’re feeling festive, but not quite fa-la-la-la-la, try a boozy Texas classic: the Mexican Martini. Playing slightly with the ratios of green-olive brine or fresh orange juice can personalize the sipper for those who like things salty or sweeter, and a salt-rimmed martini glass ties the production together.
Instant Pot Pimento Mac and Cheese
Potatoes this, potatoes that. The holidays always wind up being a little starch-focused, but this pimento mac and cheese recipe offers a slightly spicy kick to a carb-heavy favorite—all without peeling a single potato. This recipe relies on the handy Instant Pot and can easily be prepped ahead of time and heated closer to serving.
Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce With Three Texas Twists
Cranberry sauce needn’t be an accoutrement afterthought. As evidenced by these three flavorful Texas takes, additions including tequila, chipotle in adobo, and grapefruit juice can reimagine the often overlooked staple and give your guests something to talk about.
Listen, you can skip the rolls. You really can. You can skip the kneading and the shaping and the rising and the egg-washing. You can skip it all and you can do what any smart Texan would and serve your Thanksgiving guests a beautiful pan of cornbread. A humble bread, yes, but a good cornbread provides a warm, sweet vehicle for slabs of salted butter and is perfect for sopping up any puddles of sauce a diner might encounter.
Make use of fall’s bounty with a pecan-centric side dish. This pecan dressing is a crunchy but fairly traditional take on the classic Thanksgiving side. As the recipe says, you are welcome to doctor up the dish (just, please God, no oysters), and although it’s cooked in a casserole dish, you are welcome to stuff it.
Proceed with caution: This popular turkey-cooking method requires a safety checklist. We’ve all seen the videos of a dummy fully engulfed in flames, and this holiday season we’d prefer if y’all didn’t try to recreate any of them on your home turf. Instead, make sure you check your safety boxes before taking on this deep-frying endeavor, and you’ll have crisp meat as the star of your meal.
Tandoori Turkey in Spiced Yogurt
You could also opt to switch up your entrée this year with a bit of Indian flavor with this Tandoori turkey recipe that features a spiced yogurt sauce for dipping.
Tamales are traditionally unwrapped and feasted on during Christmas, but there are plenty of delicious exceptions to that rule. If you’re skipping the bird altogether this year, consider warm pork tamales as your Thanksgiving entrée instead. Yes, tamales are hard work—it’s part of what makes them so special. Rope in a few helping hands by promising them a delicious holiday meal, turn on some good music, and enjoy your company.
The Best Pecan Pie Recipe on Earth
It’s a big claim, but just trust us on this one. This family recipe features Texas pecans, Karo syrup, and special spices, and it’s also “the best pecan pie recipe on Earth.” Originally published in our pages in 1994, this recipe has undergone nearly thirty years of “testing”—and it’s still on top.
Southern Pecan Pie Laced With Whiskey
How about a boozy interpretation of a classic? If you’re hoping to pair your after-dinner drink with an after-dinner pie that could also serve as a drink . . . this whiskey-laced pecan pie is a strong contender.
Let’s get this holiday season rolling. Joke! But really, this pumpkin roll is a sweet, neat, and fairly simple dessert option for those looking to try something outside the pie dish, while keeping to classic fall flavors like pumpkin and spice.
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