Thanksgiving Recipes: Carbs, Carbs, and More Carbs

In the great debate between Team Turkey and Team Sides for Thanksgiving, my allegiance lies firmly with Team Sides–in particular Team Carbs. On the one day a year when you’re free to eat whatever you want and everyone expects you to come to the table in your stretchy waistband pants, I say live it up and serve carbs from sunup to sundown! I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite carb recipes from around the web.

On the one day a year when you’re free to eat whatever you want and everyone expects you to come to the table in your stretchy waistband pants, I say live it up and serve carbs from sunup to sundown!

Just a quick warning: a few of these recipes call for you to make yeast breads. I used to be scared of making yeast breads, until a few of my favorite food bloggers showed me that baking with yeast isn’t so scary! One of the things that always deterred me was the amount of time it took to let things rise–and almost all yeast breads have to rise twice. No busy mom has time for that ever, let alone on Thanksgiving morning! Here’s a busy mom pro tip: Make yeast breads the night before you need them. After the first rise, shape your bread, cover and keep in the fridge until the next morning. Bring to room temp and allow for the second rise the next day. 

thanksgiving carbs recipes

Morning Carbs

My husband and I are firmly split on whether you should even serve breakfast on Thanksgiving, let alone on whether or not it should be an indulgent breakfast. He thinks you should starve yourself until the “real meal” is served in the afternoon, while I believe its perfectly OK to indulge starting at the crack of dawn. Just as well get your pancreas firing insulin on all cylinders first thing in the morning!

All of that is to say, I think you should start Thanksgiving with something to eat that’s warm, gooey, and dripping with sugar. I usually make these no-yeast cinnamon rolls because they come together really quickly and they taste darn good. Although I think I’m going to try making these pumpkin cinnamon rolls this year instead. Take your pick!

Carbs for the Main Event

I know mashed potatoes are pretty much a given on Thanksgiving, and if I have to choose my favorite, it’d be these garlic mashed potatoes. (The garlic is an awesome touch). But if I’m being honest, I’m not really a mashed potatoes kinda girl. I don’t really like gravy, and one of my kids always manages to find and point out the rogue “lump” in my masterpiece. The good news is if you do decide to make mashed potatoes, you can make them the day before, store them in the fridge, and reheat over a pot of boiling water the next morning. (Don’t submerge your mashed potatoes in the boiling water, just put the pan of potatoes in a simmering water bath to reheat and to keep from drying out.) Here’s a good explanation.

I really like to make these crispy sweet potatoes instead of mashed. They, too, can be made a day in advance, but make sure to cover the potatoes tightly if you’re using white potatoes instead of sweet. They will turn gray when exposed to air, and while the taste doesn’t change, your lovely children will likely point out the unsavory color in front of your guests.

I’ve searched far and wide for a favorite stuffing recipe, but that ends up being one of the carbs that I always seem to change up from year to year. Last year I made this quinoa and mushroom stuffing. But I think Stove Top stuffing might be my all-time favorite.

And you gotta make these Parker House Rolls. I usually double the batch and freeze the extra pans (after the first rise) to give as Christmas gifts. If you’re going to make these rolls (which you totally should) you have to serve it with this honey butter. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to Texas Roadhouse. Trust me.

Carbs for the Aftermath

At this point why would you stop eating carbs? The day’s already shot! This is the one day of the year I buy a loaf of Wonder Bread. We make Leftover Thanksgiving Sandwiches. Thanksgiving leftovers just don’t taste the same unless they’re stacked between two pieces of white bread and slathered with mayo.

So, maybe don’t share this post with your family physician or your personal trainer, but do make sure you share these goodies with whomever you spend the day with! Your friends and family will thank you! And your body should recover from all that refined sugar and white flour in time for Christmas!

No-Stress Turkey Recipes
Egg-Free Pumpkin Spice Cake
Hostess Hacks (coming Thursday)

Happy Thanksgiving!



Kate is the mom to Jack (2006), Liz (2007), and Alice (2011) and an avid Cubs fan through marriage. She's an assistant professor of mathematics and STEM education at St. Ambrose University and also moonlights as a mathematics teacher at South East Junior High in Iowa City. Between soccer, running club, tumbling, and piano lessons she likes to cook, run, and do yoga. She's also a sucker for 5Ks with cool swag and awesome medals.


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