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11 Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Dish Ideas

by | Nov 11, 2020

Thanksgiving will be a lot different this year! Most of us will be staying home and just celebrating with family or close friends.

What does that mean for you?

You can’t just bring the pies, or the green bean casserole. You’re making EVERYTHING this year!

I’ve scoured the internet looking for fun new dishes to make this year, but I had to make sure I didn’t choose anything TOO exciting that will offend the picky eaters in my group!

The Turkey

I’m always astounded by all of the “kid-friendly turkey recipes” I see out there.


I personally think that on Thanksgiving day, the turkey should be left alone. Roast it like you always do, and if the kids don’t like it? Well, they’re out of luck 😉

The Appetizers

When I was a kid, we would drive from Concord, NH to Enfield, CT to visit my dad’s family. It was about a 3 hour drive, probably more because of all the potty breaks…

There were three of us kids, and my mom, while she knows how to make a good dish when she needs to, didn’t really enjoy the cooking. Especially when she had to transport 8 pies and 3 noisy kids to her in-laws!

When we got there, though, there was a big table of appetizers, and we would visit for over an hour before we sat down for the meal.

Kids don’t really know how to pace themselves. I would eat an entire can of olives, plus all the cheese and crackers, dips, and everything else I could possibly stuff in my belly.

When it was time to eat, I was stuffed. And dessert? Forget about it!

I think it’s best to keep the number of appetizers to a minimum on Thanksgiving. Let the apps whet your appetite, but for goodness’ sake, if there’s too much to choose from, we humans (especially little humans) just can’t help ourselves!

I recommend making this Pumpkin Dip for your appetizer this year.

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Whip it up in 10 minutes and then just throw it in the fridge.

Ingredients are pumpkin puree, powdered sugar, cream cheese, cinnamon, cool whip, and then dipping fruits and crackers such as apple and pear slices, or graham crackers.

Is there ANYTHING there that your kids won’t like?? Well, maybe the pumpkin — but they’ll hardly know it’s there with all the other deliciousness going on.

The Bread

What is Thanksgiving without the bread rolls? If you’re looking for something simple, try these Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits.

Or if you’re looking for something easier, that even the kids can throw together, try these Cranberry Crescent Rolls.

You know those yummy Pillsbury crescent rolls you can buy at the store? Pick up a package of those, and a can of cranberry sauce, and you’ve got your bread taken care of for this Thanksgiving!

If your kids are a little more adventurous, make this Pumpkin Pull-Apart Loaf instead.

OH. It looks SO GOOD! For this, you can just buy a package of Pillsbury Grands rolls (no, I’m not an affiliate for Pillsbury, I promise. Ha!), and add a little bit of deliciousness and a yummy glaze. Prep time is 20 minutes.

The Side Dishes

The side dishes is where the kids go crazy at Thanksgiving. We all have that one amazing dish we remember from Thanksgiving dinners when we were kids. For me, it was my mom’s green Jell-O. And later on, my sister’s sweet potato casserole.

Yep, side dishes on Thanksgiving are where memories are made! Here are a few ideas for your own table this year:

These are great because they’re not overloaded with sugar, but they’re not just boring old sweet potatoes. Great option if you’re trying to keep your meal a little healthier, or don’t want the kids to be too crazy before they’ve even gotten to dessert!

Prep time is 8 minutes. 8 MINUTES. You can’t NOT make this, it’s so easy and the kids will love it!

This is a good way to sneak some veggies in for picky eaters. A nice alternative to green bean casserole if your children aren’t cream of mushroom soup fans.

What’s the only thing better than mashed potatoes? Ultra Creamy and Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole.

Bacon? Check. Tons of cheese? Check. And sour cream. YUM.

Bacon? Check. Tons of cheese? Check. And sour cream. YUM.

Chances are, you’ve got plenty of potato on your Thanksgiving table. This is another way to get some veggies into the kids’ bellies without them realizing it. Sure, there are probably HEALTHIER ways to consumer cauliflower, but come on, it’s Thanksgiving!


I feel the same way about dessert as I do about appetizers. Everyone always goes crazy and makes 1,000 desserts, and then I get a bunch of FOMO (fear of missing out) because I can’t eat everything.

I mean, I KNOW it’s necessary to have pecan pie, apple pie, blueberry pie, pumpkin pie, pudding pie, peanut butter pie…….

But other than those staples, just keep the dessert choices to a minimum 😉

Especially here in New Hampshire, it’s not Thanksgiving if there isn’t some form of apples on the table. This is a great alternative if you’re getting tired of apple pie!

I have never tried a Pioneer Woman recipe I didn’t like. I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but it will definitely be on my table this Thanksgiving.


What do you think of this list? Is there anything on here your kids would absolutely hate? Anything you’re excited to try? Let me know in the comments!

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