60 Vintage-Inspired Thanksgiving Recipes (2024)

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60 Vintage-Inspired Thanksgiving Recipes (1)Caroline StankoUpdated: Feb. 12, 2024

    From fruity takes on turkey to molded salads, you'll feel like you're back in the 1950s with these vintage Thanksgiving recipes.


    Marinated Thanksgiving Turkey

    My family enjoys this Thanksgiving turkey because it cooks up tender, tasty and golden brown. Build up flavor by marinating the meat, then grill it to add a tempting barbecued flavor. —Ken Churches, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

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    Sweet Candied Carrots

    These tender, vibrant candied carrots have a buttery glaze and a mild sweetness. This is a simple dish, but it sure makes carrots seem special. —P. Lauren Fay-Neri, Syracuse, New York

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    Check out more nearly-forgotten Thanksgiving recipes here.


    A friend once told me about a potato dish her mother used to make. She remembered that Swiss cheese and butter were standouts. Here's my re-creation—and my friend actually liked it better than her mom’s version. —Barb Templin, Norwood, Minnesota

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    Chipped Beef Cheese Ball

    This delicious appetizer is near and dear to our family. It is a symbol of our family's Christmas and New Year's celebrations. My mom made this cheese ball for more than 30 years. —Molly Sumner, Creve Coeur, Missouri

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    Simply seasoned and flavored with garlic, this fantastic side dish will complement just about any entree. The colorful veggies are easy to prepare and look attractive on a holiday buffet...but you'll want to keep this recipe in mind for meals all year long.—Janice Mitchell, Aurora, Colorado

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    Pecan Tassies

    These pecan tassies are very good for parties and special occasions. You'll probably want to double the recipe, because they'll disappear in a hurry! —Joy Corie, Ruston, Louisiana

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    Chestnut Dressing

    I enjoyed this chestnut stuffing when I spent my first Thanksgiving with my husband, Mike. It's a family recipe his mother has been making for years. Italian seasoning and chestnuts add flavor and texture. —Sharon Brunner, Mohnton, Pennsylvania

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    Best Dinner Rolls

    These are the best dinner rolls around. If you can't decide which enticing topping to choose, just use them all.—Christina Pittman, Parkville, Missouri

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    Old-Fashioned Sweet Potato Casserole

    We like the marshmallow topping on this old-fashioned sweet potato casserole, but you can also vary it if you prefer a crunchier texture. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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    Deviled Crab

    Dip your spoon into this super rich deviled crab, and you might think you’re in heaven. Generous portions of crab are mixed with cream and eggs and are flavored with chives, onions and more. Mmm! —Doris Prillaman, Wilmington, North Carolina

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    Sweet Potato Casserole

    I make this classic sweet potato casserole without marshmallows for Thanksgiving, but I also have been known to serve it with meat loaf and even grilled meat. —Eleanor Sherry, Highland Park, Illinois

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    Dipped Gingersnaps

    I get tremendous satisfaction making and giving time-tested yuletide treats like these dipped gingersnaps. Dipping them in white chocolate makes much-loved gingersnaps even more special. —Laura Kimball, West Jordan, Utah

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    Dried Cranberry Sharp Cheddar Cheese Balls

    These personal-size cheese balls are such a pleasure to pass around at a party. They’re much easier to eat than their full-scale counterparts. —DonnaMarie Ryan, Topsfield, Massachusetts

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    Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

    My family loves gravy, so I can never have enough of this make-ahead turkey gravy recipe on hand for a holiday dinner. The base is prepared with turkey wings and can be prepped in advance. —Linda Fitzsimmons, Fort Edward, New York

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    Herb-Brined Turkey

    For an impressive main course, look here. The moist, flavorful bird will have guests counting the minutes until carving time. — Scott Rugh, Portland, Oregon

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    Puff Pastry Apple Turnovers

    I mentioned to a friend that I’d like to make puff pastry apple turnovers after I found a package of the shortcut ingredient in my freezer. She shared a recipe that I adapted for the puff pastry. These turnovers were a big hit on my first try! —Coleen Cavallaro, Oak Hill, New York

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    Turkey Giblet Gravy

    My mother used to make this old fashioned, southern-style gravy every holiday for the family, and now I make it for mine. It's a tasty variation of a turkey giblet gravy. You might be surprised how much you like it. —Dunya Johnson, Rochester, New York

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    Creamed Peas

    I can still taste these wonderful creamed peas in Mama's delicious white sauce. Our food was pretty plain during the week, so I thought this white sauce made the peas "extra fancy" and fitting for a Sunday meal.

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    Cranberry Fluff Salad

    It wasn't Thanksgiving without my grandmother's cool and tangy cranberry fluff. With only four ingredients, it's a cinch to make. Now my siblings and I carry on her tradition. —Leah Nicholes, San Diego, California

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    Easy Yeast Rolls

    These simple, tender yeast rolls bake to a golden brown and will disappear in no time. If you've never baked with yeast before, these rolls are the perfect starting point. —Wilma Harter, Witten, South Dakota

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    taste of home

    Grandma's Roasted Duck

    When I was growing up, my grandma always served roast duck for the holidays, and for other family events throughout the year. I always thought it was better than turkey! —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

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    Molded Cranberry-Orange Salad

    When I take this dish to potlucks during the holidays, people always ooh and aah. Feel free to top with whipped cream for added appeal. —Carol Mead, Los Alamos, New Mexico

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    Taste of Home

    Butternut-Pineapple Crumble

    I tried this sweet and crunchy casserole out on my 80-year-old parents and they loved it! Butternut squash now has a place at our holiday table year after year. —Barbara Busch, Henrico, Virginia

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    Pressure-Cooker Cranberry Apple Red Cabbage

    When I was looking for something new, I started playing with flavors and came up with this very tasty dish. My German grandmother would be impressed, I think! The colorful side is just right with pork. —Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts

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    Taste of Home

    Layered Cranberry Gelatin Salad

    Light and tangy, this gelatin is guaranteed to please. Kids go crazy for the marshmallow-cream cheese layer on top. —Irma Senner, Dixmont, Maine

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    Mashed Peppery Turnips

    I created this recipe in an attempt to use up a great turnip harvest from our garden, and to lighten up one of our favorite dishes. By using turnips in place of potatoes, I made a low-carb side. Now we rarely serve plain mashed potatoes! —Courtney Stultz, Weir, Kansas


    Cucumber Canapes

    I always get requests for the recipe for these canapes whenever I serve them. They're delicate finger sandwiches with a creamy herb spread and festive red and green garnishes. —Nadine Whittaker, South Plymouth, Massachusetts

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    Taste of Home

    When I was a culinary student, this creamy dish wowed me, and I don't even like spinach. This side is a keeper! —Chelsea Puchel, Pickens, South Carolina

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    Sugar-Glazed Ham

    This old-fashioned ham glaze gives a pretty golden brown coating—just like Grandma used to make. The mustard and vinegar complement the brown sugar which adds a tangy flavor to this glazed ham recipe. Be prepared to serve seconds! —Carol Strong Battle, Heathville, Virginia

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    Taste of Home

    Cauliflower au Gratin

    Count on this dish to make new vegetable converts. Whenever I serve it, people ask me for the recipe. Sometimes I’ll substitute broccoli for all or half the cauliflower, and the green veggie tastes just as good! —Jacki Ricci, Ely, Nevada

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    Icebox Rolls

    I remember my mom making these rolls almost every Saturday so they'd be ready to bake on Sunday for company or someone just dropping by. Although they take a little time to prepare, they're really not all that difficult to make. And there's nothing in the stores that can compare to them! —Jean Fox, Welch, Minnesota

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    Creamy Hash Brown Casserole

    This versatile side dish is so good with grilled steak, and is delicious with other meats as well. A creamy cheese sauce and crunchy topping make this potato casserole popular for family dinners and potlucks. —Teresa Stutzman, Adair, Oklahoma

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    Wild Rice Stuffed Squash

    I made this recipe when we invited both our families to celebrate our first Thanksgiving in our new home. There were 37 of us, and those who tried this dish raved about it. —Robin Thompson, Roseville, California

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    New Year's Oyster Stew

    Oyster stew is quite popular along the coast of Ireland, where oysters are served to celebrate many festivals. Immigrants brought the recipe with them to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the U.S. —Christa Scott, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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    Taste of Home

    Mustard Brussels Sprouts

    Mustard boosts the green flavor of the sprouts in this versatile side dish. Great served with breaded chicken or pork chops. —Leah-Anne Schnapp, Grove City, Ohio

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    Pumpkin Tartlets

    Refrigerated pie crust and a muffin tin make it easy to create these delicious spiced pumpkin tartlets. Dollop with whipped cream and you’re done! — Jessie Oleson, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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    Taste of Home

    Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

    A wedge salad gets the creamy treatment when topped with blue cheese dressing. Keep the dressing as a topper, or make it a dip for Buffalo wings. —Jenn Smith, East Providence, Rhode Island

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    Triple Mash with Horseradish Bread Crumbs

    Why settle for traditional mashed potatoes when you can enjoy three times the flavor? Combine spuds with rutabaga and parsnips, along with the zip of horseradish, for a taste treat. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia

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    Taste of Home

    Aunt Margaret's Sweet Potato Casserole

    My great-aunt made an incredible sweet potato casserole for our holiday dinners. I’ve lightened it up a bit, but we love it just the same. —Beth Britton, Fairlawn, Ohio

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    Slow Cooker Candied Nuts

    I like giving spiced nuts as holiday gifts. This slow-cooker recipe with ginger and cinnamon is so good, you just might use it all year long. —Yvonne Starlin, Westmoreland, Tennessee

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    Taste of Home

    Cranberry-Orange Roasted Turkey

    You'll have an elegant centerpiece to your meal with this tender, juicy turkey. The cranberry makes it so good. It has such a wonderful aroma and flavor. —Kara de la Vega, Santa Rosa, California

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    Taste of Home

    Herbed Bread Twists

    A blend of herbs and a special shape dress up ordinary frozen bread dough in this unbelievably easy recipe. —Deb Stapert, Comstock Park, Michigan

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    Fluffy Cranberry Delight

    This was originally my daughter's recipe, and she or I will make it for one or more of our holiday get-togethers. It can be served as a fruit salad along with the meal or as a light dessert. It's particularly pretty in a cut-glass bowl on a buffet. —Ruth Bolduc, Conway, New Hampshire

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    Taste of Home

    Pumpkin Pie Pudding

    My husband loves anything pumpkin, and this creamy, comforting pumpkin pudding recipe is one of his favorites. We make our easy pudding all year long, but it's especially nice in the fall. —Andrea Schaak, Bloomington, Minnesota

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    Taste of Home

    Baked Cranberry Pudding

    This is an old-fashioned pudding that's a cranberry lover's delight. Serve warm topped with whipped cream for an elegant look, or in bowls with rich cream poured over for a homey touch. —Lucy Meyring, Walden, Colorado

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    Taste of Home

    Creamed Green Beans

    A family favorite for years, this special green bean recipe is a cinch to double and can be assembled ahead of time. When my nephews are coming for dinner, it’s an absolute must! —Betty Shaw, Weirton, West Virginia

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    Holiday Cranberry Jelly

    Spread some holiday cheer with this rosy pink cranberry jelly. —Nancy Davis, Tualatin, Oregon

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    Cranberry Waldorf Gelatin

    We enjoy this easy-to-make salad in the fall when apples are in season. Their crisp freshness adds so much to a favorite dish. — Debbie Short, Carlisle, Iowa

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    Taste of Home

    Candied Citrus

    This tart and sweet candied citrus is so easy to make, and it adds a zippy pop to drinks, desserts and more. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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    Pork Loin with Raspberry Sauce

    Raspberries add rub red color and fruity sweetness to the sauce that enhances this savory pork roast. This is an easy way to transform everyday pork into a special-occasion main dish. —Florence Nurczyk, Toronto, Ohio

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    TMB Studio

    Old-Time Custard Ice Cream

    I think my most memorable summertime dessert for get-togethers has always been homemade ice cream. This recipe is so rich and creamy and is the perfect splurge on a hot summer afternoon. —Martha Self, Montgomery, Texas

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    Potluck Candied Sweet Potatoes

    To make it easier to bring this traditional southern staple to a potluck or gathering, I updated it so that it can be cooked in a slow cooker. It's hard to go wrong with candied sweet potatoes when it comes to pleasing a crowd. —Deirdre Cox, Kansas City, Missouri

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    Originally Published: November 19, 2021

    60 Vintage-Inspired Thanksgiving Recipes (53)

    Caroline Stanko

    Caroline has been with Taste of Home for the past seven years, working in both print and digital. After starting as an intern for the magazine and special interest publication teams, Caroline was hired as the third-ever digital editor for Taste of Home. Since then, she has researched, written and edited content on just about every topic the site covers, including cooking techniques, buzzy food news, gift guides and many, many recipe collections. Caroline also acts as the editorial lead for video, working with the Test Kitchen, videographers and social media team to produce videos from start to finish.When she’s not tip-tapping on a keyboard, Caroline is probably mixing up a killer co*cktail, reading a dog-eared library book or cooking up a multi-course feast (sometimes all at once). Though she technically lives in Milwaukee, there is a 50/50 chance Caroline is in Chicago or southwest Michigan visiting her close-knit family.

    60 Vintage-Inspired Thanksgiving Recipes (2024)


    What did people eat on Thanksgiving in the 1950s? ›

    Thanksgiving back then wasn't just for turkey - many families incorporated seafood into their feasts. Shrimp co*cktail loaf and clam dip were typical dishes of the decade.

    What did people eat on Thanksgiving in the 70s? ›

    On the menu was turkey, harvest apple salad, dressing, sweet potato topped apples, corn soufflé, and Parmesan green beans with croutons. I did omit the soufflé as I said in the introduction post nobody has time to mess with a soufflé on Thanksgiving day.

    What were the original Thanksgiving dishes? ›

    The first Thanksgiving banquet consisted of foods like venison, bean stew and hard biscuits. And while corn and pumpkin had their place on the table, they hardly resembled the cornbread stuffing and pumpkin pie we feast on today.

    What did people eat for Thanksgiving in the 1800s? ›

    Erica Boynton, Remick museum program manager, says a typical New England Thanksgiving meal of the period included a rich assortment of simple, seasonal foods, with ample vegetables, wild game, fish and other meats — and, of course, several pies.

    What was in a typical Thanksgiving menu in the 1960s? ›

    Today I will be sharing the main course which had the following items on the menu: roast turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans almond, classic Waldorf salad, cranberry sauce, and rolls.

    What food was popular in the 50s and 60s? ›

    Popular packaged foods included Kellogg's Frosted Flakes and Special K cereals, General Mills' Trix and Cocoa Puffs cereals, Star-Kist Tuna, Minute Rice, Eggo Waffles, Pepperidge Farm Cookies, Ruffles potato chips, Rice-A-Roni, Ramen Noodles, and Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream.

    What is the old tradition Thanksgiving? ›

    People used to pull apart the wishbone of the turkey on Thanksgiving day. In many households in the 20th century, the breaking of the wishbone was a hallowed tradition. It also promoted patience and being together with family longer because only a dry wishbone would break!

    What food was most likely not served at the first Thanksgiving? ›

    It is also worth noting what was not present at the first Thanksgiving feast. There were no cloudlike heaps of mashed potatoes, since white potatoes had not yet crossed over from South America. There was no gravy either, since the colonists didn't yet have mills to produce flour.

    What were the only two foods historians are certain were on the menu Thanksgiving? ›

    However, the only two items that historians know for sure were on the menu are venison and wild fowl, which are mentioned in primary sources.

    What president refused to declare Thanksgiving a holiday? ›

    Thomas Jefferson was famously the only Founding Father and early president who refused to declare days of thanksgiving and fasting in the United States.

    What popular Thanksgiving food was not on the table in 1621? ›

    11 Thanksgiving Dishes the Pilgrims Didn't Eat
    • Green Bean Casserole. Much of the produce associated with Thanksgiving wasn't present at the Pilgrims' dinner table. ...
    • Pumpkin Pie. kajakiki/iStock via Getty Images. ...
    • Gravy. ...
    • Cranberry Sauce. ...
    • Mashed Potatoes. ...
    • Apple Pie. ...
    • Wheat Rolls. ...
    • Macaroni and Cheese.
    Nov 11, 2021

    What was the first Thanksgiving meal really like? ›

    Although turkeys were indigenous, there's no record of a big, roasted bird at the feast. The Wampanoag brought deer and there would have been lots of local seafood (mussels, lobster, bass) plus the fruits of the first pilgrim harvest, including pumpkin. No mashed potatoes, though.

    What was Thanksgiving like in the 1700s? ›

    In the late 1700s and early 1800s, a festive meal would consist of a baked or roasted ham and maybe a hen with large bowls of sweet potatoes, greens and freshly baked bread. The meal would end with a nice slice of freshly baked apple pie and it would all be washed down with apple cider or a cup of wine.

    What was on the Thanksgiving menu during colonial times? ›

    There are two primary-source historical records that give us a clue as to what was part of the 1621 feast. They suggest that the feast likely consisted of wild turkey and other fowl, venison, cod, bass, and corn.

    What did the natives eat for Thanksgiving? ›

    But according to the two only remaining historical records of the first Thanksgiving menu, that meal consisted of freshly killed deer, assorted wildfowl, cod, bass, and flint, and a native variety of corn harvested by the Native Americans, which was eaten as corn bread and porridge.

    How was Thanksgiving celebrated in the 1950s? ›

    A traditional 1950s Thanksgiving would have included a turkey fresh from the oven, but leftovers would have looked nothing like the sandwiches we enjoy today. Instead, leftover turkey was likely to be tossed into a gelatin mold and served cold for dinner in the upcoming weeks.

    What did Americans eat for dinner in the 1950s? ›

    1950s Dinners

    There was no such thing as the keto diet in the 1950s—meat and potatoes reigned supreme. You'd find hearty main dishes like Salisbury steak, beef stroganoff and meat loaf on a '50s dinner menu, plus scrumptious sides. Casseroles were also popular, particularly those featuring seafood or ham.

    What were 3 foods that were eaten during Thanksgiving? ›

    So, to the question “What did the Pilgrims eat for Thanksgiving,” the answer is both surprising and expected. Turkey (probably), venison, seafood, and all of the vegetables that they had planted and harvested that year—onions, carrots, beans, spinach, lettuce, and other greens.

    What did they eat at the first Thanksgiving instead of turkey? ›

    So while our Thanksgiving dinner table has a big ol' turkey plated in the center, the first Thanksgiving table was likely filled with ducks, geese, eels, lobster, and venison.


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