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Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes

Perhaps you saw me numbering things on my Instagram story last week. Well, that’s just us making and eating a Thanksgiving dinner one day at a time over here. Wait, why don’t we do this every November? S-p-r-e-a-d out this massive meal and enjoy the parts? Since I wasn’t hosting this November holiday and had recipes to test, we’ve been living in the holiday smells and snacks over here. Did we have whipped sweet potatoes with brown sugar and pecan topping on a random Tuesday afternoon? You bet we did. But that’s not all. Keep reading for the updated list of our favorite gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes, from the prep tips to the eating part.

stone bowl of kale and Brussels salad with pecorino shavings, almonds, with gold fork on marble table.

I love a mix of old and new Thanksgiving recipes for this potluck-style holiday. Give me juicy turkey with a new twist on the stuffing, perhaps savory bites of gravy and mashed potatoes, and plenty of all the classics. Don’t forget a little sweet and salty with those complimentary dishes, something green, orange, crunchy, and always throw something new in the mix, I say!

white plate of rosemary and garlic cloves rolled into bacon pieces on the counter.

By something new, maybe it’s adding Ina’s warm olives, toasted nuts, and a cocktail to start the festivities or a spin on your family’s usual side dish. Obviously, you can make this holiday what you want from beginning to end. Keep reading for a few of my family’s favorites. Everything here can be gluten-free, and with some substitutions for dairy, you have options for most dietary needs.

Starters: salad choices and soup suggestions

1. Kale and Brussels Salad
This is a perfect savory salad to go along with the sweeter side of things like sweet potatoes. With tart lemon vinaigrette, salty pecorino shavings, and toasted (ok, fried!) almonds, it's a favorite for lunch or special occasions. You'll want to make extra nuts for pre-dinner snacking, and the green mix of hearty kale and thinly slice Brussels is the perfect colorful crunch to this meat and potatoes meal!
Check out this recipe
2. Honey-Roasted Pear Salad
This whole salad is delicious, but the recipe's method of cutting these honey-roasted pears and fanning them out is the hit visually and taste-wise. When it comes to a simple side or topping a salad, I make these pears to elevate the occasion. Make a quick Thanksgiving salad platter layered with mixed greens, blue cheese, toasted nuts, lemon dressing, and these honey-roasted pears from Bon Appetit – yum!
Make these pears!
red and yellow pears sitting on marble counter
3. Roasted Pumpkin or Squash Soup (V)
Use this method for my pumpkin soup, but any squash will taste delicious too. For Thanksgiving, I like to serve in a small glass for sipping or a small dish drizzled with coconut milk (sour cream or crème fraîche works for non-vegan options), a small sprig of thyme, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Get this vegan recipe!

Main course: turkey, stuffing, and gravy recipes and tips

4. The Best Roast Turkey by Jamie Oliver
This recipe stuffed with delicious sausage & apricot stuffing taught me to release the skin from the breast meat gently and insert stuffing into the pocket between the skin and meat. This creates a barrier that cooks the stuffing and keeps the white meat juicy! Brilliant. Also, the flavors in this roasted meat make the best gravy. We've tried others and are left wishing for this one instead. See my recipe notes below and give it a try!
You have to try it!

How to prep this Thanksgiving turkey recipe ahead of time:

  • Thaw your frozen turkey 3-5 days ahead in the refrigerator. See thawing guidelines!
  • Brine or salt? I don’t usually do a brine, but I do prep and salt turkey the night before cooking. To do this prep, rub with salt, put in a large clean bag, and refrigerate overnight for up to 24 hours. On the day of roasting, rinse the salt off, pat the turkey dry inside and out with paper towels, and proceed with the recipe!
  • Stuffing and bacon rolls for tucking in, as this recipe teaches, can be made a day or two ahead.
Thanksgiving turkey stuffed and  ready to roast tied with string and filled with bacon rolls, orange, herbs in a pan on the counter.

How to make Thanksgiving stuffing recipe gluten-free:

  • Dry bread is good. If your bread is too fresh or homemade, let it dry on the counter before or after cutting.
  • Cut gluten-free bread into cubes rather than using a food processor. Gluten-free bread can fall apart too much in a food processor.
  • Keep the crusts on the slices. It works great for stuffing recipes.

What is the best gluten-free bread for Thanksgiving stuffing?

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Thanksgiving side dishes: shortcuts and gluten-free substitutions

5. Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
While Ina Garten has at least four mashed potato recipes, this is my favorite on Thanksgiving. These mashed potatoes are so delicious, have the perfect consistency to hold gravy on your potatoes and plate, and are super easy because they are not smooth. Perfectly seasoned with salt and pepper, butter, cream, and a little sour cream make this dinner side something you definitely want all by itself.
My go-to mashed potatoes!

Can you make mashed potatoes ahead of time?

YES, you can, but for this recipe, prepping the parts ahead of time and finishing while the turkey rests is the best option.

Try these mashed potato shortcuts and tricks:

  • Peel and cut potatoes according to the recipe a couple of hours ahead of time or even the night before. Cover them with cold water and set them in the fridge covered overnight or on the counter if a few hours before making mashed potatoes. Water will keep potatoes from turning gray. Drain, rinse off potatoes (to remove extra starch), and proceed with the recipe with new water as directed in the recipe.
  • Measure milk and butter into a small saucepan and have it ready on the stovetop.
  • This recipe takes about 30 minutes from start to finish if the parts are prepped.
  • When a recipe is complete, and it’s not quite time to eat, cover mashed potatoes with tinfoil if eating within 20-ish minutes. If you need more time, set the covered boil over low simmering water to keep warm!
white plate on marble surface with gold fork sticking into mashed potatoes next to turkey and stuffing with gravy

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6. Make-Ahead Gravy
This pro-tip is brilliant and so worth your consideration. When feeding a large group, extra gravy is always welcome, and if made ahead, you might even choose to skip the last-minute gravy prep and save those pan drippings for later. Either way, this gravy is delicious and can be made ahead or frozen for a future meal. And if you are short on space, extra hands, or time, this make-ahead part of your Thanksgiving dinner might become the star of your show.
Grab this recipe for now and later!
stockpot of carrots, celery, onions, chicken frying

How to make gluten-free gravy:

  • I prefer Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free all-purpose flour or one-to-one flour; any gluten-free all-purpose flour mix should work well. I like to whisk 2-3 tablespoons of flour into a couple of tablespoons of broth or fat before adding to the larger pot.
  • I use my Instant-Pot Chicken Bone-Broth, which makes a little over 8 cups, for this recipe. Or we like and use Pacific Chicken Broth at Whole Foods or Thrive.
  • This extra gravy can be made up to five days in advance.
  • Reheat once your turkey is ready to be carved.
7. Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar Pecan Topping
Is this a sweet potato side or a prelude to dessert, you get to decide. I made it once and have been required by the fam to make it every year since. Its sweet, crunchy topping does not take away from the sweet potato taste and makes sure you get the best of both in every bite.
A little bit of sweet on the side!

Try these tips and tricks for whipped and baked sweet potatoes:

  1. For gluten-free corn flake cereal that is Celiac-safe, I use Nature’s Path Organic Fruit Juice Corn Flakes or Nature’s Path Honey’d Corn Flakes!
  2. I get my gluten-free pecans from Nuts.com. Read about their gluten-free protocols.
  3. I often use less sugar for the sweet potatoes and sometimes the topping too! You could cut half if you want and still love this dish. Sweet potatoes are sweet, and so is the cereal!
Corn flakes, sweet potato, egg, pecans, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar on a marble table

When do I prep and bake Thanksgiving side dishes like these sweet potatoes?

  • Choose recipes like these sweet potatoes that you can prep the day before. Here the two parts can be prepared and kept separate in the refrigerator.
  • Pick dishes to bake while the turkey rests and the gravy is in process. This recipe can sit out and come to room temperature an hour before baking. And when the turkey is out, bake the potatoes. (You can also bake the whipped sweet potato part the day before and add the topping to bake right before serving!)
  • Covered with foil or a cover, most hot foods like these potatoes will keep warm for 30 minutes.
8. Crispy Shallots for your Green Bean Casserole
We don't make a green bean casserole every year, but we love these crispy shallots as a garnish when we do! Make and bake a gluten-free version of Smitten Kitchen's homemade mushroom sauce with green beans ahead of time, instead of frying onion rings, rewarm them with these pre-made crispy shallots on top while the turkey is carving. Win-win!
Check out this recipe

Desserts: gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes for your grand finale!

When it comes to dessert options on Thanksgiving, not everyone loves pumpkin pie (hello, me!), or they prefer a little bit of everything (hello, also me!). These apple desserts are not only what I love, and they’re seasonal and ideal for adding a little gluten-free option to what’s typically a gluten-filled dessert buffet.

9. Gluten-Free Apple Crumble
This dessert is the perfect warm cinnamon apple dish with oatmeal crumble on top to pass for those wanting a little scoop of fall next to their pumpkin pie. This recipe can be doubled, cut in half, or made individually in small custard or baking dishes. Serve warm and with ice cream or whipped cream. Thanksgiving is about the options, and this one fits the bill!
Get this favorite recipe!
10. Apple Crostata
Another Ina recipe I've made for years works with Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour as a flour substitute if needed. Everyone loves this apple tart, and it couldn't be simpler to make. It's the perfect pie-like dessert to make with your kids, as rolling out dough, piling on apples, and pinching the crust are all involved, and nothing about it needs perfection.
Check out this recipe
Child's hands patting together an apple tart on a baking sheet next to glass bowl.
11. French Apple Tart
This Ina Garten recipe is another good one for making ahead and also for cutting into small portion sizes if you are serving multiple things. The buttery dough, thinly sliced apples, and apricot glaze give Thanksgiving a twist that isn't cinnamon but equally as delightful. This crust does work well with Bob's Red Mill All-purpose Gluten-free flour as a substitute flour. Just be sure to cook it until the center is done. Yum!
Check out this recipe
buffet table row of apple tart, then pumpkin pie, and another apple tart

Leftovers: Make these recipes with your Thanksgiving turkey!

Arguably, this might be the best part. When all is said in done, grab everything you trimmed off your turkey (skin, bones, and pieces that you won’t eat) and toss it into a large stock pot or instant pot and cover it with water. Do you know that person who does this every year? Well, that person could be you.

Make your own turkey broth!
Use this recipe as a method for Instant Pot or stovetop broth that can be used with your turkey bones, skin, and meat parts you don't want to eat. You'll literally dump all the parts in a tall stockpot or your pressure cooker. See notes below for how to adjust!
Get the recipe, and make this turkey broth!
instant pot full of bone broth ingredients with carrot and onion on top
  • Instant Pot Instructions for leftover turkey broth: Read the recipe. Add all leftover turkey parts + 2 quarts of water, half the salt (1 teaspoon), the rest of the ingredients, and vegetables if you have them, and proceed as directed.
  • Stovetop Instructions for leftover turkey broth: See the recipe above for stovetop instructions. Read the recipe. In your stockpot, add all leftover turkey parts, half the salt (1 teaspoon), the rest of the ingredients, and vegetables if you have them, and cover with cold water, to submerge the ingredients. Simmer for 4-6 hours as the recipe directs, adding water a cup at a time if it starts to cook down too much.
Best Chicken Vegetable Soup
Use your homemade turkey broth and make this soup! Use your trimmed and leftover turkey instead of chicken if you have leftovers. Add more vegetables or fewer and do noodles or beans instead, but do yourself a favor and try rutabaga if you haven't because it will soak up the delicious savory broth! With most broth soups, I love to add a handful of thinly sliced kale at the end.
Put it on your list!
Best Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Do you get the idea? Make the turkey bone broth above, use your leftover turkey instead of chicken, and add Minnesota-grown wild rice for the WIN. This soup is so nourishing and satisfying. Whether you eat it right away or make enough to freeze, pulling this soup out will be a gift to your December self. Enjoy!
Cook this next week!
spoon scooping out of a bowl of wild rice chicken soup with kale

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Last Updated on November 19, 2023 by Heather Bursch

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