How to SPICE Up Your Traditional Thanksgiving Mains and Side Dishes

How to SPICE Up Your Traditional Thanksgiving Mains and Side Dishes

For most people, the Thanksgiving holiday main dish is an amazingly cooked whole turkey with delicious stuffing. This said, not everyone likes the traditional turkey dinner, so we've included a couple ideas for other delicious Thanksgiving mains that you might want to try out this year if you're not feeling turkey!

Keep reading to see how you can spice up your holiday cooking this Thanksgiving!

Turkey Gravy and Cranberry Sauce


If you've been using the same roasted turkey recipe for years, you might be looking for a change. Typically, a roasted turkey will feature traditional herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage, as well as plenty of onion and garlic.

Maybe, instead of using a typical mix, you'd like to opt for a different taste by adding smoked cherrywood sea saltĀ or trying out a new maple glazed turkey instead. This recipeĀ features a delicious mix of apple cider, maple syrup, thyme, marjoram, lemon zest, onion, celery, carrots, bay leaf, apple brandy, and salt and pepper.


Some people prefer pork for their holiday meals. If this sounds like you and your family, you might enjoy a delicious coffee rub pork loin or a light and inviting citrus pepper pork chop.


If youā€™re a vegetarian, vegan, or otherwise not wanting to make a meat main this year, this delicious roasted pumpkin lasagnaĀ makes a great autumnal and hearty main dish. You can spruce it up with some delicious sage and nutmeg, which both go excellently with pumpkin!

Seasoning Your Side Dishes

While the main is an integral part of your Thanksgiving, the best part of the night is usually the delicious side dishes. So if you're looking for a way to make this year special, give your sides a little bit of love ā€” and by love, we mean seasoning, of course!


A basic Thanksgiving stuffing recipe consists of simple ingredients like:

  • Bread cubes
  • Onion, celery, and garlic
  • Chicken broth
  • Butter
  • Seasoning

How can you spice your stuffing up for this year? Well, your stuffing can take on a completely different flavor depending on what seasonings you use. So, this year, maybe try using a new spice mix for your stuffing. If you usually use a pre-made poultry spice mix, try using a homemade seasoning mix that features sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, or any other spices you love!

creamed potatoes and scallions

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple for any home. Of course, every house has its own go-to mashed potato recipe, but if you're aiming to spruce it up this year, you might want to try a new spice mix. If your usual go-to is Italian herbs, maybe try out this delicious potato seasoning mixĀ that features nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, tarragon, and vegan bacon flavor.


Gravy is another Thanksgiving tradition for most families. Traditionally, Thanksgiving gravy is made from the drippings from your turkey, some broth, flour, and some additional seasonings. However, an easy way to spice this up is to change how you're roasting your turkey ā€” mentioned above ā€” and add a few extra herbs into the gravy itself. Some delicious go-tos for this are sage, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.

Green Beans

Rather than relying on the classic garlic and salt for your green beans this year, why not spice it up a bit with a unique garlic pepper seasoning mix? This mix features a blend of spices, including garlic, cherrywood, smoked salt, black pepper, onion, lemon peel, smoked paprika, parsley, and more.

Homemade Rolls

If you want to add some delicious baked elements to your Thanksgiving meal, look no further than these super easy homemade rosemary dinner rollsĀ that are ready in just an hour and 15 minutes. These use delicious chopped fresh rosemary, but if you only have dried rosemaryĀ on hand, or prefer a different herb, you can easily substitute it!

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

Maybe you want to jazz up your cranberry sauce this year rather than eat it straight from the can! Luckily, you can elevate that classic Thanksgiving staple in tons of ways.

For all of these additions, you will want to add your canned cranberry sauce to a pan and heat it. Once your cranberry sauce is on the stove, you can add any combination of the following delicious additives!

  • Vanilla
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Lemon zest
  • Cinnamon
  • Maple sugar
  • Honey
  • Apples
  • Raisins or other dried fruit
  • Ground ginger
  • Port wine
  • Chopped nuts

Donā€™t Forget About Dessert!

Most families will agree that while the classic roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans are essential to Thanksgiving, the holiday would not be complete without the perfect desserts. There's more to the perfect Thanksgiving meal than cooking, after all. Your oven's likely already seen some use, but the holiday isn't complete until you have the delicious sweet smell of baking pies wafting through the house!

Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is a classic Thanksgiving dessert that is so incredibly reminiscent of the autumn weather. Try spicing your favorite recipe with maple sugar, cardamom, or star anise!

If you donā€™t already have a go-to pecan pie recipe, you can try out this spiced maple pecan pie!

DIY Pumpkin Spice Gift Set

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is an essential part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. But, instead of relying on a store-bought or pre-made pumpkin pie spice mix, why not create your own unique blend of spices that can genuinely set your pumpkin pie apart from the crowd?

Typically pumpkin pie spiceĀ is a combination of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. A basic pumpkin spice recipe would be something like:

  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • Ā½ tsp ground clove

But you could alter this basic recipe depending on your personal preferences. For example, you can add to it by adding ground cardamom, which pairs deliciously with cinnamon or ginger! Or you could try adding a touch of maple to your pumpkin pie by adding maple cinnamon seasoningĀ in place of ground cinnamon.


Whether you're looking for a one-time change of pace to liven up your Thanksgiving get-together or find a new Thanksgiving staple for your family, you can get a lot out of simply switching up your spices. If you're not so much a fan of mixing your own spices, you can find some delicious and versatile organic seasoning mixesĀ here.

If, on the other hand, you love having individual spices to mix to your heart's content, you can check out FreshJaxā€™s organic spices!


My Favorite Spices Pack

Get Inspired!

Harissa Spices on a cutting board
Date Nut Bread with butter and Milk

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.