Test kitchen chefs share their go-to dishes for Turkey Day

Believe it or not, your Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t need to be a big or elaborate production. Though crispy fried turkeys and eye-catching turduckens are a surefire way to get all your holiday guests excited about your spread, you also can’t beat classics like basic roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and other familiar delicious side dishes. No matter which menu you go with — over-the-top or traditional — your Thanksgiving feast is sure to leave all your guests adequately satisfied and appreciative. Don’t believe us? Just take it from the chefs, food stylists and recipe developers behind Food Network Kitchen. We asked them to share their go-to Thanksgiving recipes, and we have to admit, we’re craving an invite to their holiday feasts. Keep reading to see what dishes always have a spot on team FNK’s table.

Every year I like to switch up how I flavor my turkey (this year it might be a Mayo Roasted Turkey), but regardless I always spatchcock my bird. The meat cooks more evenly and in less than half the time — it’s a game changer when I have so many other dishes that need oven space! (Plus there’s no need for a giant roasting pan.) I also like to give my turkey a dry brine several days before Thanksgiving to ensure a moist, well-seasoned turkey.

— Sarah Holden, Culinary Producer

Every year I celebrate Thanksgiving with my small, immediate family, and our meal consists mostly of family heirloom recipes. (It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my grandmother’s cornbread stuffing.) But over the past few years, I’ve decided to throw some new recipes into the mix, including Food Network Kitchen’s Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole! This recipe is incredibly rich from the coconut milk and incredibly fluffy from the tender sweet potatoes. Plus, the whole dish has a nice crunch from the spiced pecan topping. There are no plant-based eaters in my family, but everyone enjoys this recipe and will go back for seconds.

— Amanda Neal, Recipe Developer

This stuffing is always a favorite with my family because you get the sweetness from the cornbread, but the crusty bread keeps it from getting too mushy. The chestnuts give it a rich, buttery, nutty flavor. One year, our turkey didn’t come with the liver, so we substituted sauteed shiitakes for umami and it was wonderful. I also use already roasted and shelled chestnuts because I’m all about the shortcuts on Thanksgiving.

— Jenny Bierman, Director, Culinary Production

Angel Biscuits

One of the recent staples of my Thanksgiving table are these Angel Biscuits. Somewhere between a biscuit and a soft dinner roll, these yeasted buttery rolls are easy to make and with an overnight rise option, easy to make ahead. I always make them because my son doesn’t care much for turkey or stuffing, so this is something a little special I know he will love. It doesn’t hurt that the extras are super tasty for breakfast the next day or for a turkey biscuit sandwich.

— Melissa Gaman, Recipe Developer, Food Network

It’s the bacon for me. The delicious aroma of it, that adds something a little extra to the house that already smells like Thanksgiving, with turkey roasting in the oven. These Brussel sprouts are rich, crispy, buttery and perfect in every way. The key is to not overcook them, as they will turn mushy, and to always double the recipe.

— Liza Zeneski, Culinary Producer

So every Thanksgiving my mother (who is also an amazing cook!) makes this recipe for the table. It is a staple. My mother will make it in advance because of all the juggling that needs to be done to get everything cooked and timed correctly, which is lovely about this recipe. It also comes together so quickly. The casserole is such a crowd-pleaser too. Sweet, crunchy, velvety, creamy — it’s truly the perfect partner to anything and everything on the Thanksgiving table. And when we have the grandkids with us at Thanksgiving, she adds marshmallows to half of it! How fun!

— Matthew Skrincosky, Food Stylist

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