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40 Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Recipe Ideas You Must Try

Here are some of the best non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner recipe ideas to mix it up and make your spread 2022 a bit more special. From unconventional appetizers to out-of-the-ordinary Thanksgiving desserts - find some recipes inside!
40 Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Recipe Ideas You Must Try
40 Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner Recipe Ideas You Must Try
Anna at SideChef
Content Creator. Bitten by curiosity bug. Obsessed with words. Fuelled by coffee. Powered by Google. Love cheese, chocolate, and cherries. Don’t judge your taco by its price.
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Anna at SideChef
Content Creator. Bitten by curiosity bug. Obsessed with words. Fuelled by coffee. Powered by Google. Love cheese, chocolate, and cherries. Don’t judge your taco by its price.

Who doesn’t love traditional Thanksgiving foods? Those reliable festive recipes might be great, but there are so many alternative appetizers, sides, and desserts to put on your festive dinner table.

It’s time to spice it up and cook some non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner recipes! Ditch the tired green bean casserole and mashed potatoes and make a savory galette and a fall-flavored salad instead, or turn a bland pumpkin pie into a pumpkin cheesecake!

You don't even have to stick with the classic roasted turkey - make it interesting and go for an unconventional main dish like a perfectly glazed ham or an impressive turkey roulade.

No matter what kind of dinner spread you decide on, you will definitely find the best non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner recipe ideas in our roundup. Let’s make Thanksgiving 2022 truly special!


Appetizers before the main dinner are not just a tradition. Serving appetizers or a Thanksgiving charcuterie board can help keep the guests at bay while you are finishing up in the kitchen, and they can buy you more time in case of any kitchen mishap or emergency.

1. Grilled Brie with Balsamic Strawberries


Grilled Brie with Balsamic Strawberries


Grilled brie is always a hit. This appetizer is out of this world - it's creamy, sweet, and tangy.

The best part about this recipe is that it's easy to tweak. You can make it on a stove or bake the brie instead; if you have no strawberries, use any other sweet berries - it will still make an impressive, delicious appetizer.

2. Apple Gruyere Stuffed Mushroom Caps


Apple Gruyere Stuffed Mushrooms

Jeanie and Lulu's Kitchen

Sweet apples and melted savory gruyere cheese stuffed in meaty mushrooms make for a unique festive appetizer.

You might want to double the recipe cause these disappear off the platter at the speed of light.

3. Fried Goat Cheese with Tarragon and Honey


Fried Goat Cheese with Tarragon and Honey

Vodka & Biscuits

Add these fun savory cheese balls drizzled with honey onto your appetizer platter or charcuterie board.

4. Cranberry Brie Puff Bites


Cranberry Brie Puff Bites

Tina Sawasdee at SideChef

You will be surprised by how quick and easy this recipe is. In under 30 minutes, you can have the most delicious festive-looking bite-sized appetizer ready to go!

5. Pumpkin Pie Dip


No Bake Pumpkin Pie Dip

SideChef Everyday

This creamy pumpkin pie dip comes together in minutes, requires no baking time, and is a beautiful non-traditional twist on the classic flavors. Serve it with your favorite cookies or apple slices.

6. Quick and Easy Halloumi Fries


Amazing 2-Ingredient Halloumi Fries

Kitchen Mason

These crispy, cheesy delights will be ready in 20 minutes and are guaranteed to be a hit with your guests.

7. Pull-Apart Pigs in a Blanket with Queso Dip


Pull-Apart Pigs in a Blanket with Jalapeño Queso


This is a fun way to serve a traditional appetizer everyone loves. The jalapeno cheese dip takes the dish to a whole different level - crunchy, spicy, creamy, and perfect.

8. Goat Cheese Crostini with Honey, Pecans and Thyme


Goat Cheese Crostini with Honey, Pecans and Thyme

Kim's Cravings

This elegant appetizer could not be simpler to whip up, and all the flavors go so well together. Sweet notes from the honey meld perfectly with the smooth and creamy goat cheese, which is then topped with fresh thyme – all complimented by the crunch from the pecans.

9. Fried Green Tomato Caprese


Fried Green Tomato Caprese

Pretty Little Dishes

This mouth-watering combination of traditional Southern fried green tomatoes and an Italian classic will leave your guests in awe.

Main Dishes

Thanksgiving might be called Turkey Day, but it doesn't mean you must make it every single year. Plenty of non-traditional Thanksgiving mains fit the mood and add an exciting, delicious twist to the celebrations.

Ham is always a popular choice - it's easy to prepare and full of flavor. Or go for something a little more adventurous, like a turkey roulade. This is an excellent option if you're short on time since it's a rolled-up turkey breast stuffed with stuffing or other flavorful ingredients. Another fun option is the cranberry rib roast - a rack of ribs glazed with cranberry sauce.

Choose from our selection of not-so-classic Thanksgiving main dishes and get cooking!

10. Holiday-Perfect Glazed Baked Ham


Holiday-Perfect Baked Glazed Ham

SideChef Everyday

This delicious glazed ham is a true holiday delight! The recipe is easy to follow and only takes about 2 hours from start to finish - a fantastic main dish option if you haven't done your Thanksgiving menu planning and grocery shopping in time.

11. Creamy Golden Risotto


Creamy Golden Risotto


Just take a look at this glorious golden color! This creamy risotto is an excellent vegetarian option for any festive dinner table.

12. Lemon Butter Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Vegetables


Lemon Butter Sheet Pan Chicken with Roasted Vegetables


If you don't have a crowd to cook for, then roasting a whole turkey will leave you with enough leftovers to last till Easter.

Making a simple sheet pan chicken roast is a quick and practical option for a small Thanksgiving gathering.

13. Cranberry Pork Rib Roast


Cranberry Pork Rib Roast

Compelled to Cook

This pork rib roast is a stunning centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. The meat turns out juicy and flavorful with apples and cranberry sauce, adding the perfect sweet holiday flavors. It's easy to carve and perfect for a crowd.

14. Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast with Mustard Maple Glaze


Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast with Mustard Maple Glaze

SideChef Everyday

This Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast with Mustard Maple Glaze Recipe is the perfect solution if you're looking for a smaller, more convenient holiday turkey alternative. This recipe is easy to follow and makes a juicy, tender, and flavorful main dish. The key to success is in the seasoning - a mixture of herbs gives this turkey breast a beautiful flavor that is perfect for the holidays. And the maple mustard glaze not only makes this dish look stunning on the table and adds a delicious festive touch.

15. Parmesan Apple Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin


Parmesan Apple Stuffed Turkey Tenderloin

Garlic & Zest

This tender, juicy turkey tenderloin is perfectly complemented by the savory parmesan apple stuffing and sage wine gravy and is bursting with flavor. And it's ready in just over an hour! This is a worthy alternative to a demanding Thanksgiving turkey. So go ahead and enjoy your holiday without all the stress.

16. Quinoa and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash


Quinoa and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Garlic & Zest

An excellent vegetarian main full of fall flavors - sweet apples, creamy roasted acorn squash, and pecans.

17. Baked Chicken Thighs in Cranberry Balsamic Marinade


Baked Chicken Thighs in Cranberry Balsamic Marinade

SideChef Everyday

Another superb non-traditional main dish for a small Thanksgiving celebration - this roasted balsamic chicken with cranberries is succulent, tender, and perfect for your holiday dinner table.

18. Herb Roasted Turkey Legs


Herb Roasted Turkey Legs

Pups with Chopsticks

These oven-roasted, flavourful, and juicy turkey legs are for when a whole turkey is just too much food, or you are cooking for a smaller party where everyone enjoys dark meat and wants a turkey leg all to themselves.

19. Lasagna



Electrolux APAC

Don't be surprised - a traditional homemade lasagna is a smashing non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner idea!

Packed with a showstopper meat sauce full of flavor from tomato and wine layered in everyone's favorite noodles, this savory dish will make everyone at the table grateful.

20. Lamb Chops in Red Wine Marinade


Lamb Chops with Red Wine

Passionate About Baking

These perfectly cooked lamb chops marinated in red wine and herbs overnight make for a terrific elegant, and sophisticated Thanksgiving main dish. This dish is full of character, flavor, and depth - a guaranteed winner.

21. Roasted Turkey Roulade


Roasted Turkey Roulade

Hapa Nom Nom

This turkey roulade stuffed with homemade pork sausage dressing is a deserving rival to classic Thanksgiving turkey. It might even win if you ask us - it takes less time to cook, turns out moist and flavorful, can be made ahead of time, and if you have any leftover dressing, it becomes an extra side dish! It might just be the perfect alternative Thanksgiving main.

Side Dishes and Salads

There is a reason people say that Thanksgiving is all about the sides. You may have the most perfect roasted turkey, but it is the side dishes that bring everything on the plate together.

You don't have to ditch every beloved Thanksgiving classic for a new dish to make this celebration special. But it can sure make it more exciting if you shake it up and swap a couple of sides or add a new one altogether.

22. Garlic Roasted Smashed Potatoes


Garlic Roasted Smashed Potatoes

Lauren Holdcroft at SideChef

Swap the tired mashed potatoes for these cool and hip smashed potatoes. It is a foolproof recipe that only takes 30 minutes. The potatoes turn out tender, crispy, buttery, and garlicky - everything you'd want them to be.

23. Kale Apple Cranberry Salad with Sesame Dressing


Kale Apple Cranberry Salad with Sesame Dressing

Berry Sweet Life

Add this crunchy and colorful salad to your Thanksgiving spread. It's full of fall flavors like apple and cranberries and is a nice contrast to the usual heavy holiday side dishes.

24. Crispy Parmesan Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts


Crispy Parmesan Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts

Lana Damian at SideChef

These Crispy Parmesan Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts are a breeze to make. Tossed in some savory spices and parmesan cheese, pop them in the air fryer, and in just a few minutes, you'll have a guaranteed crispy and delicious side dish for your holiday spread.

25. Caramelized Leek and Pancetta Galette


Caramelized Leek and Pancetta Galette

Well Worn Fork

A galette is like a pie's free-spirited cousin. It's rustic and relaxed, with a beautifully imperfect ruffled crust. The salty pancetta balances the sweet caramelized leeks, and the whole thing is enveloped in a flaky, buttery crust. This is the perfect dish for your non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And the best part? It's so easy to make!

26. Persimmon Fennel Pomegranate Salad


Persimmon Fennel Pomegranate Salad

Feasting at Home

Persimmons are a breathtaking seasonal orange food bursting with flavor and color! This beautiful persimmon fennel salad drizzled with pomegranate seeds is a superb addition to your Thanksgiving dinner spread.

27. Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pomegranate-Pistachio Guacamole


Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Pomegranate-Pistachio Guacamole

Domesticate Me

This is an excellent alternative to classic mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole. The flavor of the sweet potatoes and guacamole together will blow your mind. And it makes for an impressive visual presentation with everyone at the table getting their individual sweet potato side.

28. Thanksgiving Green Bean Salad


Thanksgiving Green Bean Salad

SideChef Everyday

This salad is chock-full of holiday goodness, with crunchy pecans, tart cranberries, and blanched green beans, bringing flavor and texture to the table. And since you can serve it at room temperature, there is no need to worry about the precious refrigerator space. This Thanksgiving, ditch the tired green bean casserole and mix things up with this delicious green bean salad.

29. Parmesan Corn Ribs


Parmesan Corn Ribs

Lauren Holdcroft at SideChef

You've had ribs, but have you ever tried Parmesan Corn Ribs? These vegetarian delights are a fantastic idea for a non-conventional Thanksgiving side. The colorful little "riblets" burst with flavor from spices and parmesan, and they are so fun to eat!

30. Air Fryer Asparagus Fries with Lemon Aioli


Air Fryer Asparagus Fries with Lemon Aioli

Lana Damian at SideChef

This recipe will only take 25 minutes of your time and is a surefire hit for any occasion. The asparagus fries get super crunchy thanks to the air fryer, and when dipped in the heavenly lemon aioli, they make for a great holiday side.

31. Brussels Sprout Casserole with Bacon and Gorgonzola


Brussels Sprout Casserole with Bacon & Gorgonzola

Climbing Grier Mountain

This is a nice twist on traditional Thanksgiving casseroles - you can't go wrong with creamy cheese and delicious bacon.

32. Pumpkin Mac and Cheese


Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Candid Appetite

Pumpkin mac and cheese may not be a revolutionary idea, but this recipe definitely puts a nice twist on the Thanksgiving classic.


There are many delicious possibilities to play with seasonal flavors and create something exciting for your Thanksgiving dessert spread.

You could tweak the classics like pumpkin pie and turn it into a pumpkin cheesecake instead. Or go entirely against tradition and make an exquisite apple tart or a rich chocolate sheet cake.

33. Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding


Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding

SideChef Everyday

This Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding is made with just a few simple ingredients and only takes 30 minutes. They are infused with the rich flavor of cinnamon, making them the perfect holiday treat for any cinnamon lover.

34. Chocolate Orange Shortbread


Chocolate Orange Shortbread

SideChef Everyday

These luscious bars are bursting with the classic flavor combination of rich chocolate and zesty orange. This non-traditional Thanksgiving dessert will indeed become a pleasant surprise for everyone at the table.

35. Banana Cream Pie


Banana Cream Pie

Lana Damian at SideChef

Banana Cream Pie is one of the most famous desserts in American food culture. A sweet, crunchy crust, creamy filling, and fluffy whipped cream pair perfectly with bananas. This from-scratch version is an excellent dessert idea for the holiday spread.

36. Chocolate Pistachio Rolls with Orange Glaze


Chocolate Pistachio Rolls with Orange Glaze


These decadent rolls marry pistachio and chocolate to take a beautiful twist on a traditional sweet roll. We promise the proofing is worth the wait.

37. Pumpkin Cheesecake


Pumpkin Cheesecake

Blender Babes

Take your Thanksgiving dessert to another level with this twist on traditional pumpkin pie: smooth, rich, and delicious pumpkin cheesecake in a super easy-to-make homemade gingersnap crust!

38. Glazed Apple Tart


Apple Tart with Apple Glaze

Julie Yoon

Apples scream fall season - the smell of this simple apple tart baking in the oven is intoxicating and tastes even better.

39. Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet


Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet

LG Original Series

Making a giant chocolate chip cookie in a skillet is a guaranteed win for any holiday. This is a kind of fun dessert everyone can get excited about!

40. Coconut Pecan Blondies


Coconut Pecan Blondies

Garlic & Zest

These rich and nutty Coconut Pecan Blondies are the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dinner!

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