Modern Thanksgiving Menu

Sous vide turkey breast sliced and fanned out on a cutting board with crisp turkey skin shards and gravy served alongside

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

If your family is anything like mine, your Thanksgiving dinner is rooted in tradition. The same dishes fill our table each year: savory stuffed mushrooms (my grandfather’s recipe), creamy mashed potatoes with chives, a syrupy sweet potato casserole, and a hefty roast turkey. Don’t get me wrong—my mom is an amazing cook, and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, in part because of these dishes. But there are so many ways to experiment with traditional recipes, and I’ve been longing to breathe some fresh air into our usual menu.

You, too, may be longing to upgrade your classic Thanksgiving spread, or at least add on to it, so we’ve put together a modern menu to help you do so. Pull out your sous vide circulator (and, yes, a waffle iron) for exciting new twists on all the classics. If you’re looking for more recipes and Thanksgiving cooking tips, check out our whole guide to Thanksgiving here.

Sous Vide Turkey With Crispy Skin

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

What better way to free up your oven for other tasks than to cook your turkey sous vide? This method involves tying the two breast halves into a cylinder for even cooking and a gorgeous presentation. The skin is cooked separately in order to maximize its roasted flavor and crispness. Minimal supervision required, optimal flavor guaranteed.

Sous Vide Turkey With Crispy Skin Recipe »

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Red Wine–Braised Turkey Legs

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

While your turkey breasts are living their best sous vide life, you can give your turkey legs the braised treatment. It’s a foolproof method that transforms the generous amount of connective tissue in the turkey’s legs into gelatin, which in turn lubricates the meat, making it extra moist. And when cooked in a mixture of red wine, stock, and vegetables, you’re left with a ready-made foundation for gravy. The best part? The mouth-watering aroma that’ll float through the house.

Red Wine–Braised Turkey Legs Recipe »

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Sous Vide Glazed Carrots

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

We have to admit that sous vide cooking is not meant for everything, and that includes most vegetables. Carrots, however, are one of the few exceptions. Their sweet, natural flavor intensifies when cooked in a sealed bag with a little bit of butter, sugar, and salt. The glaze makes them shine like the stars they are, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley is the perfect finishing touch.

Sous Vide Glazed Carrots Recipe »

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Hasselback Potato Gratin

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

We’ve never met a potato dish we didn’t love, but this one has definitely earned “greatest of all time” status. The creamy, tender interior of a potato gratin combined with the crispy ridges of a Hasselback potato makes for one glorious dish. The key to getting it right is to toss the potato slices with the cream and cheeses first, guaranteeing an even distribution in the baking dish. This roughly translates to one perfect bite after another.

Hasselback Potato Gratin Recipe »

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Stuffing Waffles

[Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt]

Every Thanksgiving, stuffing wars are known to break out across homes in America. With only four corners to a baking dish, how do you decide who gets the crispiest—and overall best—part of the stuffing? Our simple solution is to cook the same sage-and-sausage stuffing we know and love in a waffle iron. It’s best served with a drizzling of gravy, and maybe even some maple syrup if you’re still in a breakfast mindset.

Stuffing Waffles Recipe »

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Apple-Pecan Bourbon-Caramel Pie

[Photograph: Jennifer Latham]

Don’t worry about choosing pecan or apple pie—here, we’ve mashed up these two American classics. The filling is best made with crisp and tart apples, like Golden Delicious or Jonathans, and a mixture of butter and flour. In place of a top crust, we fold toasted pecans into a bourbon caramel sauce and spoon them over the entire pie. Together, they make the sweet and nutty pie of which autumnal dreams are made.

Apple-Pecan Bourbon-Caramel Pie Recipe »

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