Don't miss these Italian Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas! My family's Thanksgiving feasts include a delicious mix of Italian recipes and traditional American favorites. You'll find Thanksgiving appetizers, side dishes, desserts and drinks from Cooking with Mamma C! There's turkey too!
There's no shortage of food at Italian Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States. We have to fit in the traditional American favorites like turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and pie while throwing in pasta, Italian greens and pizzelle for good measure.
Plus, we have to put an Italian spin on nearly everything.
In my family, we baste the turkey with wine and garlic and serve Italian bread to sop up the juices. Every veggie side dish, every single one, is Italian, including the salad.
We just can't help it.
So, if you want to feast like an Italian, I've got you covered! Here are my best Thanksgiving recipe ideas. They include vegan and vegetarian options too!
Italian Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas (with American Favorites!)
Italian Thanksgiving Dinner
Many Italian families living in America will incorporate some pasta into the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Shocker, right?! Typically, there will be either soup, lasagna or manicotti served as the primo piatto (first dish).
Nonna's Chicken Meatball Soup
In my family, this is our go-to holiday soup. You can serve it with the pasta or add escarole with the broth and meatballs instead. Enjoy this very special recipe from my Nonna!
Chicken Pastina Soup
If you like the idea of including chicken soup on Thanksgiving but want to make something relatively quick, this Chicken Pastina Soup is perfect! You could even make it with turkey breast tenderloins, which will cook faster than thick chicken breasts.
Homemade Manicotti with Crepes (Crespelle)
It's easier than you think to make homemade crepes for manicotti! These are thicky, study and pasta-like and will take your Thanksgiving meal to the next level!
Traditional Italian Lasagna with Ricotta
My favorite dish ever is over-the-top delicious! My family's lasagna is a meal in itself, so you might want to cut smaller portions to make room for the rest of the Thanksgiving food.
Thanksgiving Turkey & Gravy
Turkey on Thanksgiving is a must for Italians who want to embrace this American holiday. Of course, we'll put an Italian accent on it!
Mom's Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe
I always make Mom's Thanksgiving Turkey, and you should too! It's stuffed with citrus, onions and garlic, basted with a butter and wine sauce and topped with gravy!
Homemade Turkey Lunch Meat (Low Sodium)
If you don't need an entire turkey and want a no-fuss, healthy option, consider turkey breast tenderloins, which are ready in just over 30 minutes. Slice up the leftovers for sandwiches!
Do you have appetizers on Thanksgiving? Here are some that would be perfect. All of these are vegetarian, except for the poppers.
Italian Zucchini Bake
My family's go-to dish for gatherings is delicious! It's made from scratch with Pecorino Romano and Parmesan. Slice it into little squares for appetizer portions.
Stuffed Mushrooms with Cream Cheese
A delicious vegetarian option, these buttery mushrooms are stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese, Parmesan, mozzarella, lemon, basil and garlic! They're gluten free too!
Asiago Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Looking for a spinach appetizer for Thanksgiving? This creamy, cheesy Asiago Spinach and Artichoke Dip features red onions and a touch of spicy heat. So addictive!
Cream-Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Walnuts
A Thanksgiving tradition in my hubby's family, these stuffed dates are irresistible! They're so easy to make and fun for kids to help assemble. This is a great gluten-free appetizer.
Baked Parmesan Jalapeño Poppers with Prosciutto (Gluten Free)
These buttery jalapeño poppers have a crispy Parmesan crust on top and are filled with cream cheese and cubes of prosciutto. Make them as spicy or mild as you like!
Thanksgiving Side Dishes
On Thanksgiving, it's all about the side dishes! Am I right?
Amish Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
These are my absolute favorite mashed potatoes! They're mixed with cream cheese and garlic, then topped with brown butter instead of gravy. So good!
Oven-Roasted Potatoes with Seasonello
These buttery roasted potatoes are seasoned with a blend of sea salt, rosemary, garlic, sage and pepper. They're crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Yum!
Green Beans with Bread Crumbs
You'll love Mom's green beans with cheesy, buttery, Italian bread crumbs! Make these on the stove and save oven space for something else!
Creamed Spinach Soufflé with Artichokes
This is a family favorite for Thanksgiving! Creamed spinach, artichokes, Parmesan and garlic go so well together.
Broccoli Au Gratin with Fontina
Featuring creamy, cheesy broccoli with crispy homemade bread crumbs, what's not to love? I've been making this for decades.
Peas with Onions (and Bacon)
These Italian peas are delicious, with or without the bacon! Think smoky flavor, golden onions, olive oil, salt, peppery heat...yum! This is a vegan side dish if you exclude the meat.
Mashed Turnips with Bacon and Brown Butter
If you want a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, make these turnips for Thanksgiving! They’ve got a lightly sweet, savory and smoky vibe, thanks to the brown sugar, brown butter and bacon. Yum!
Mom's Spinach-Ricotta Pie
This fabulous Spinach-Ricotta Pie is perfect as a vegetable side dish or vegetarian entrée! You can even cut it into small squares for an appetizer.
Vegan Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Looking for Thanksgiving sides without eggs or dairy? These amazing Italian side dishes all happen to be vegan!
Broccoli with Gremolata
You love this sautéed broccoli mixed with olive oil, lemon zest, fresh parsley and garlic! This is my go-to vegan side dish for Thanksgiving.
Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes
Roasted with olive oil and accented with my favorite seasoning from Italy, these butternut squash cubes are my favorite winter side dish! They're so easy and more than perfect for Thanksgiving!
Rapini (Broccoli Rabe) with Garlic
In my family, these slightly bitter Italian greens are synonymous with the holidays. Enjoy the rapini with a chunk of Homemade Italian Bread to sop up the olive oil!
Italian Carrot Salad with Basil
Served at room temperature, this Italian Carrot Salad is so refreshing and delicious! Its beautiful colors will add a festive flair to your Thanksgiving table.
Escarole with Raisins and Pine Nuts
This vegan, sweet-and-savory dish from Naples is one of my absolute favorites! Even children love it! We have this on Christmas Eve, but it's also the perfect Italian side dish for Thanksgiving.
Italians love salad with every holiday meal! It's a must for Thanksgiving.
The Best Italian Green Salad with Homemade Dressing
My family makes the best Italian Green Salad with Homemade Dressing! This is our go-to salad for every occasion.
Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Pancetta
This is such a festive and delicious option for Thanksgiving. You'll love the refreshing orange vinaigrette!
Apple-Mozzarella-Pecan Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Refreshing and slightly sweet, this Fall salad goes so well with Thanksgiving fare. You can even add leftover turkey to it and eat it for lunch the next day!
It's fun to make special drinks for Thanksgiving! Here are some your guests will love, and most of these make great gifts as well.
No-Boil Apple Pie Moonshine (Easy!)
Is it even Thanksgiving without Apple Pie Moonshine?! My hubby's recipe is so easy and tastes incredible. Everybody waits for it!
Dark Cherry Amaretto Sour
Use frozen, pitted cherries for this delicious Cherry Amaretto cocktail! It's colorful and festive and puts everyone in a holiday mood!
Coquito (Coconut-Rum Drink)
Coquito is my favorite drink ever! My friend gave me the recipe for this Puerto Rican holiday drink, and if you love coconut, you have to try it!
Amazing Chocolate Liqueur Recipe
You need this Chocolate Liqueur to pour over cheesecake, ice cream and add it to coffee for dessert time! Don't miss this recipe that came straight from Italy.
Our Italian Thanksgiving feasts usually include traditional American desserts with some Italian ones added for flair. Mom's cannoli is legendary at Thanksgiving, but her recipe is in the vault!
Cranberry Pie with Sugar Cookie Crust
Accented with orange, this Cranberry Pie is so delicious! It's a great way to incorporate cranberries if you're not a fan of cranberry sauce. Serve it with whipped cream!
Fluffy Crustless Cheesecake
My favorite cheesecake ever happens to be gluten free! It's become a Thanksgiving tradition for so many Cooking with Mamma C readers. Top it with chocolate liqueur, amaretto or some Italian Strawberries!
Single-Layer Carrot Cake Without Nuts (So Moist!)
After one bite, people will swoon and tell you this is the best carrot cake they've ever had! Might as well get some veggies in with our dessert, right?!
Italian Pizzelle Cookies (Almond or Anise)
Pizzelle Cookies are perfect for any occasion! Make these with almond extract or traditional anise and enjoy with coffee.
Brownie-Bottom Chocolate Pudding Pie
You always need something chocolate for dessert, right? This chocolate pudding pie is ridiculously good and is one of my most popular recipes!
Traditional Tiramisu Recipe
Tiramisu means "pick me up," and we all know we could use that after eating turkey! This is my favorite dessert!
The Best Jewish Apple Cake Recipe
You will never taste a better apple cake, period. I make mine with olive oil (obviously) and this is the most beloved dessert in my family!
Amaretto Pear Cake with Canned Pears
This is perfect if you have a small celebration with up to eight people. This pear cake is so easy and really hits the spot!
I hope you'll try some of these Italian Thanksgiving dinner recipes! I'm thankful for all of you!
And don't miss these 63 Italian Appetizer Recipes!
(Originally published on November 16, 2018 and updated now with additional text and recipes.)
That chocolate pudding pie with brownie crust has my name written all over it!
Mine too! It's to die for. Thanks, Lisa!
Oh yes!! So many ideas here! I love the stuffed mushrooms and the jalapenos, but that turkey really takes the cake as well as beautiful photography and light in in the pics. Thanks for the ideas!
I'm so glad you like my photography! I still have lots of room for improvement. Thanks, Adrianne!
I love all of these ideas. I can't wait to try a few recipes.
I hope you do! Thanks, Sandi.
Thanksgiving recipes are really my favorite, and these ones look awesome!
So many family favorites here. Thanks, Tayler!
So many great ideas! I can't wait to try them for Thanksgiving!
Thanks, Jessica! Enjoy.