How to Make a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner with Roast Turkey and Pumpkin Pie

6 to 8 serves

4 hours



Roast Turkey with Stuffing and Gravy

Roast turkey

  • 1 fresh turkey (9-11 lbs./4-5 kg)
  • Salt, to season
  • 1 oz./25 g softened butter

Turkey juices and gravy

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 turkey neck
  • 18 oz./0.5L water
  • 1 oz./25 g softened butter
  • 2 tsp. flour
  • 7 oz./200 ml sweet wine such as Port or Marsala

For the stuffing

  • 4 celery sticks
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 oz./25 g butter
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage
  • Salt and black pepper, to season
  • 7 slices of white sandwich bread
  • 3½ oz./100 ml 2% fat or semi-skimmed milk

Cranberry Sauce

  • 12 oz./340 g fresh cranberries
  • 6 oz./180 g sugar
  • 5 oz./150 ml water
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 large, unwaxed orange

Pumpkin Pie

For the base

  • 9 oz./260 g flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 oz./110 g cold butter
  • 4 tbsp. cold water

For the filling

  • 1 medium Hokkaido pumpkin
  • 8 oz./225 g condensed milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 7 oz./200 g sugar
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. grated nutmeg


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How to Make a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner with Roast Turkey and Pumpkin Pie

In homes across the US, families are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving. This historic, national holiday takes place annually on the fourth Thursday in November. Everyone celebrating it has the opportunity to show their appreciation for their relatives and friends, material comforts and any good fortune they’ve enjoyed over the past twelve months.

What better way to show how much your loved ones mean to you than by preparing a delicious, indulgent Thanksgiving meal? The special occasion is rapidly approaching, but it’s not too late to cook an unforgettable feast. You just need a step-by-step guide. That’s where our mouth-watering recipe for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner comes in. It features roast turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie: three classic, well-loved Thanksgiving treats.

Whether you’re in the US or living elsewhere and keen to try an all-American, celebratory meal, this recipe is for you. Preparation is the key – that’s why the recipe recommends that you begin the day before you intend to serve the dinner.
Rubbing salt and butter onto the turkey will help to ensure that its skin turns wonderfully golden and crispy in the oven. We’ve provided a suggested cooking time in the recipe, but the exact time will depend on factors such as your oven’s efficiency and the weight of the particular bird you select.

For accuracy and peace of mind, it’s worth calculating your turkey’s cooking time at 20 minutes per lb. or 40 minutes per kg.
In the past, the stuffing was typically cooked inside the turkey. However, current food safety guidelines strongly advise against that, so our recipe explains how to cook them separately.

Don’t forget to let the turkey rest after it’s been roasted. Resting leads to juicier, tastier meat. It makes carving easier too – so you can sit down and enjoy the meal sooner!

Step by Step

Roast Turkey with Stuffing and Gravy

  • Begin the day before you wish to serve the meal. Remove the turkey from your refrigerator, rub salt all over the skin and sprinkle generously inside the cavity. Return the turkey to your refrigerator.
  • On the day of the meal, remove the turkey from your refrigerator 1½ hours before you want to cook it so it reaches room temperature. Let it rest on a large plate on your kitchen countertop, away from strong light and heat.
  • Preheat your oven to 200°C/392°F/Gas Mark 6. While you’re waiting for it to reach the correct temperature, continue with the recipe.
  • Smear the softened butter all over the turkey’s skin.
  • Divide the onion into quarters and thickly slice the carrot then place them in a roasting pan (make sure the one you use has a rack). Add the turkey’s neck and the water.
  • Place the rack on the roasting pan and carefully lower the turkey onto it, with the breast facing upwards. Transfer to your preheated oven.
  • After 20 minutes, turn the oven temperature down to 180°C/356°F/Gas Mark 4. Continue cooking for between 3 hours 20 minutes and 4 hours. Regularly baste the turkey with the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan. If the juices begin to dry up, add freshly boiled water.
  • When the turkey has been roasting for about 3 hours, start to prepare the stuffing by cutting the bread into small squares. Whizz up the squares in a food processor to create breadcrumbs. Set aside for now.
  • Wash the celery and peel the onion before finely chopping them.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat then add the chopped celery and onion. Cook them on a medium heat until transparent then season with the sage, salt and pepper.
  • Add the breadcrumbs and milk to the pan then stir thoroughly. Transfer the stuffing mixture to an ovenproof dish. Set aside for now.
  • For the turkey to be safe to eat and thoroughly cooked, its internal temperature must reach at least 74°C/165°F. You can test the internal temperature by inserting a digital cooking thermometer right into the thickest area of the breast, the innermost area of the thigh, and the wing. You should test several spots in each of the three areas.
  • If one or more of the areas fails the test, continue cooking the turkey and test it again every 10-15 minutes, until the safe internal temperature is reached throughout.
  • When the turkey is safely, thoroughly cooked, remove the roasting pan from your oven (without turning off the heat) and place it on your countertop. Let the turkey rest, tented with foil and still in the roasting pan. Meanwhile, transfer the stuffing to your oven and cook for 30-40 minutes. Ensure that it’s piping hot throughout when you remove it.
  • After placing the rested turkey on a serving platter, you can prepare the gravy. Remove the onion, carrot and turkey’s neck from the roasting pan and discard them. Pour the juices through a sieve into a saucepan. If they’re very concentrated, add more water.
  • Add the butter and flour to a mixing bowl then knead them together to form a paste, known as beurre manié. Thicken the juices by adding the beurre manié, little by little, and whisking thoroughly. Stir in the sweet wine then pour the finished gravy into a sauceboat.
  • Carve moist, tender slices of turkey. Serve them with the stuffing and gravy (as well as the cranberry sauce you’ll make using the instructions below). Mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and cornbread make perfect companions.

Cranberry Sauce

  • Wash the cranberries (having first removed the stems and leaves, if present) and place in a saucepan.
  • Add the sugar, water, orange juice and zest. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring regularly. Boil for 5-10 minutes, still stirring regularly, so that the berries soften then disintegrate and the mixture begins to thicken.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and pour the cranberry sauce into a bowl. Allow the sauce to cool so that it develops a compote-like consistency. Serve at room temperature.

Pumpkin Pie

  • Preheat your oven to 200°C/392°F/Gas Mark 6. Meanwhile, wash and halve the pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp then discard them.
  • Place the pumpkin halves on a baking tray and cover with foil. Bake in your preheated oven for 1½ hours. Allow them to cool a little on your kitchen countertop while you continue with the recipe.
  • Make a start on the base by combining the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Chop up the cold butter and rub it into the mixture by hand.
  • Transfer the mixture to an electric stand mixer and mix while adding the cold water, little by little, to create dough.
  • Place the dough in the mixing bowl. Stretch food wrap over the top of the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, separate the cooled pumpkin flesh from the skin and weigh out 15 oz./425 g of it.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the weighed pumpkin flesh with the condensed milk, egg, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Blend with a hand blender or food processor to create a smooth filling.
  • Preheat your oven to 175°C/347°F/Gas Mark 4. Meanwhile, roll out the chilled dough to a thickness of 1/8”/3 mm. Place it in a 10”/25 cm diameter pie dish. Trim off any excess.
  • Pour the filling into the pie dish and spread it evenly over the base. Bake in your preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.
  • Let the pumpkin pie cool then serve, topping each slice with whipped cream.
  • As you’ve put a great deal of effort into making a delicious Thanksgiving dinner, we’re sure that your loved ones won’t mind taking charge of the washing up while you relax!

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©bodum®. all rights reserved.