`13 Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas For Large Families

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to celebrate with friends and family and give thanks. However, for those with large families, preparing a Thanksgiving dinner can be a daunting task. From the menu to the decorations, there are many factors to consider. In this article, we will explore some Thanksgiving dinner ideas that are perfect for large families.

1. Turkey and All The Trimmings

No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without a succulent turkey and all the trimmings. For a large family, consider buying a 20-pound turkey or larger, and be sure to have plenty of sides such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, green beans, and sweet potatoes. These traditional dishes are sure to please everyone at the table.

2. Potluck Style

Another option for large families is to have a potluck-style dinner. This allows everyone to contribute their favorite dishes, reducing the workload for the host. To make sure everyone brings something different, consider assigning specific dishes or categories such as appetizers, sides, and desserts.

3. Buffet-style Dinner

If you don’t have enough seating for everyone at one large table, consider a buffet-style dinner. This allows guests to serve themselves and choose the dishes they want, while also allowing for more mingling and socializing. Be sure to have a variety of dishes, including vegetarian options and desserts.

4. Outdoor Thanksgiving

If the weather permits, consider hosting an outdoor Thanksgiving dinner. This is a great way to accommodate a large number of guests while also enjoying the beautiful fall weather. Set up tables and chairs outside, and consider having a fire pit for guests to gather around after dinner.

5. Non-traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider mixing up your Thanksgiving menu with some non-traditional dishes. For example, you could serve ham or prime rib instead of turkey or include dishes from different cultural backgrounds. This is a great way to add some excitement and variety to your dinner.

6. Beef Tenderloin

For a more upscale Thanksgiving dinner, consider serving beef tenderloin. This elegant dish is sure to impress your guests and can be served with a variety of sides, like roasted vegetables, garlic mashed potatoes, and a salad.

7. Vegetarian/Vegan Options

If you have vegetarian or vegan family members, it’s important to have some meatless options available. Try making a vegan lentil loaf, vegetarian lasagna, or roasted root vegetable pot pie. These dishes are not only delicious, but they’re also hearty enough to satisfy even the biggest appetites.

8. Desserts

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without dessert! Some classic options include pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pecan pie. For a twist on tradition, try making a pumpkin cheesecake or a pecan pie tart.

9. Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving side dish that’s loved by all. To make enough for a large family, use 10 pounds of potatoes or more. Peel and boil the potatoes until they’re soft, then mash them with butter, milk, and salt. For extra flavor, you can add garlic, chives, or cheese.

10. Stuffing

Stuffing is another Thanksgiving favorite that’s perfect for large families. To make enough for a crowd, use a large roasting pan and mix together bread cubes, vegetables, and herbs. You can also add sausage or chestnuts for extra flavor.

11. Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is a simple and delicious side dish that’s perfect for Thanksgiving. To make enough for a large family, use several cans of green beans and a large can of cream of mushroom soup. Mix together the beans and soup in a large baking dish, then top with crispy fried onions before baking.

12. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a healthy and flavorful Thanksgiving side dish that’s loved by all. To make enough for a large family, use 10 pounds of sweet potatoes or more. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes, then boil them until they’re soft. Mash the sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, then top with marshmallows and bake until golden brown.

13. Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is a classic Thanksgiving dessert that’s perfect for large families. To make enough for a crowd, use several cans of pumpkin puree and a large amount of spices. Mix together the pumpkin, spices, eggs, and condensed milk in a large bowl, then pour into several pie crusts and bake until set.


Hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for a large family can be a challenge, but with the right planning and preparation, it can also be a fun and rewarding experience. By choosing dishes that can be prepared easily and efficiently, you can create a delicious and memorable Thanksgiving meal that everyone will love. Remember to plan ahead, shop early, and involve everyone in the cooking process to make the day extra special.

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