Here are 5 of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes for a fool-proof menu that will still impress.

By Julia Heffelfinger
Updated May 23, 2017
Credit: © Christina Holmes

Friendsgiving is a whole different beast from your family’s Thanksgiving. You’re tight on kitchen space, you don’t want to break the bank on a $90 locally sourced turkey, and instead of worrying about who’s going to pick up Grandma from the nursing home, you’re nervous about your drunk friends sleeping through the dinner all together. However, Friendsgiving is still a sacred meal that only comes around once a year; no one should settle for that stuffing in a box. To guide you through this cherished holiday, here are 5 of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes for a fool-proof menu that will still impress.

Buttery Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes
These silky, 4-ingredient mashed potatoes get their bright color and subtle sweetness from the addition of canned pumpkin puree. Make these no-fuss potatoes a few days in advance or assign them to your most kitchen-incompetent friend on the day of the party (it would take some real skill to mess this recipe up).

Wilted Swiss Chard with Warm Piccata Vinaigrette
Every Thanksgiving meal needs the obligatory green thing, right? So why not make it incredibly delicious and ready in minutes? This super-easy swiss chard dish is inspired by classic chicken picatta and is flavored with garlic, lemon juice and tangy capers.

Credit: © Christina Holmes

Fennel, Red Onion and Focaccia Stuffing
It does not get much easier than this 3-step stuffing. Store-bought ingredients like onion focaccia and fennel seeds add a lot of flavor without much work. Assemble the stuffing a few hours in advance and then pop it in the oven right before your guests arrive.

Apple Cider-Braised Turkey Drumsticks
Roasting a whole turkey can be a very intimidating thing (especially if you’re already a few glasses of wine deep). Knock out your turkey and a rich, tangy gravy in one pot by braising whole turkey legs with aromatics and apple cider until they’re super-tender.

Credit: Alexandra Rowley

Braising drumsticks is as simple as roasting a whole bird and the gravy is equally delicious, but there’s no worry of over-cooking, plus you can prepare the dish ahead and serve it whenever you are ready.

Alexandra Rowley Alexandra Rowley

Skillet Apple Charlotte
Leave it to Jacques Pepin to create an elegant French dessert that’s also insanely easy. This apple charlotte is like a cheater tart Tatin: Apples are cooked with honey and maple syrup and then topped with a crust of standard sandwich bread that has been buttered and dusted with sugar. Simply bake, invert onto a platter and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.