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I Made 10 Of The Most Popular "Miracle" Thanksgiving Recipes On The Internet — Here's What I Thought Of Each

Instant Pot turkey with gravy, air fryer apple fritters, and everything in between.

If I had to choose one holiday meal to eat for the rest of my life, it would be Thanksgiving dinner, hands down, no question. It is easily the most delicious day of the year. Best of all, when Thanksgiving is over and you're feeling the post-holiday blues, there are tons of leftovers to get you through.

Hannah Loewentheil

But when it comes to cooking Thanksgiving dinner, where do you even begin? There are sooooo many recipes, how do you choose? So I did some of the work for you. I browsed the internet for some of the most promising Thanksgiving recipes — dishes that call for time-saving hacks, minimal ingredients, creative flavor-boosters, and more — and I tried them all.

Hannah Loewentheil

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So here's how some of the most intriguing Thanksgiving recipes on the internet actually taste.

Hannah Loewentheil

1. Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner

lifemadesweeter.com

There are countless versions of this on the internet, and I've always been fascinated with the idea of cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal — turkey or another main and all the sides — on one easy-to-clean, easy-to-prepare sheet pan. I think it's such a great idea if you're having a small Thanksgiving celebration for two or with intimate family. I followed a recipe from Life Made Sweeter, although you can find plenty of variations. It basically calls for turkey, vegetable sides, stuffing, and cranberry sauce all made on one sheet pan. I used sweet potato, green beans, carrots, and Brussels sprouts, but you can customize your sheet pan with whatever veggies you like best.

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Here are the ingredients — and everything going into the oven on a sheet pan:

Hannah Loewentheil

You basically just chop the vegetables, coat the turkey in olive oil and seasonings, and assemble the stuffing in a layer topped with a mixture of spices, egg, and broth. Toss everything in olive oil and spices, add some fresh herbs if you're feeling fancy, then throw everything onto a sheet pan (or two if you need some more room) and roast it in the oven at 425°F for 35–45 minutes. Keep an eye on your food while it roasts and flip the veggies a time or two. My stuffing started looking very golden brown early on, so I covered it with a piece of tin foil to prevent burning.

And here's the plated result:

Hannah Loewentheil

I used boneless turkey tenderloin because I was having trouble finding a small boneless turkey breast, but the result was super moist and tender. Of course, you could swap in anything from chicken thighs to ham or Cornish hen. Whatever works for your Thanksgiving table! This really was so easy and delicious. And you can definitely customize it according to your preferences — bake the sweet potatoes whole sprinkled with cinnamon and marshmallows, toss some fried onion pieces over the green beans, drizzle the Brussels sprouts with honey and balsamic, etc. There are so many ways to make this sheet pan Thanksgiving dinner your own. 

Recipe: Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner

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2. Tyler Florence's Creamiest Mashed Potatoes

Taylor Miller/BuzzFeed

Here are all the ingredients you need, all of which go into a pot on the stovetop.

Hannah Loewentheil

Everyone has a recipe for mashed potatoes, and everyone has an opinion about how mashed potatoes should be: slightly lumpy or perfectly creamy, skin left on for texture or peeled, etc. Well, I came cross Tyler Florence's mashed potato recipe, which stood out for one major reason: rather than boil the potatoes in water, he actually boils them in heavy cream. Say what?! In addition to cream, the potatoes are boiled in smashed garlic, thyme, and bay leaf.

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Once the potatoes are boiled, it's time to mash 'em up.

Hannah Loewentheil

Once tender, the potatoes are strained from the cream mixture and the garlic and herbs are discarded. Then you fold the cream back into the mashed potatoes and finish them with butter, olive oil, and grainy mustard. I topped mine with some fresh chives as well because IMO, chives make everything better.

And here's the plated result.

Hannah Loewentheil

These mashed potatoes were decadent. They were thick and dense and really rich. Spooning them onto my plate felt like a small arm workout. I am personally a lover of fluffy and airy mashed potatoes so these were a bit much for me, but they were certainly a treat and an excellent vessel for gravy. Would I make these again? Probably not. But if you love creamy, rich mashed potatoes, give 'em a try.

Recipe: Tyler Florence's Grainy Mustard Mashed Potatoes

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3. Instant Pot Turkey Breast With Gravy

Jo Cooks / Via jocooks.com

Here's everything you need to make it:

Hannah Loewentheil

It's no wonder why the Instant Pot has such a loyal fan club. This miracle appliance cooks food so darn fast. So when I came across a recipe for Instant Pot turkey and gravy, I was intrigued. Roasting a whole bird takes quite a while, but in the Instant Pot, you can cook a four pound turkey breast in about 30 minutes flat. If this actually worked, it would be a godsend for busy, time-pressed Thanksgiving hosts everywhere.

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You use the sauté setting on your Instant Pot first to brown the turkey before pressure cooking it.

Hannah Loewentheil

You can use either a boneless or bone-in breast here. I opted for the latter because it's all I could find. First, rub the turkey breast in olive oil and spices. Start by turning the Instant Pot to the high sauté setting and searing the turkey on all sides until the skin is golden brown. Next, turn on the Instant Pot and set the timer for 25 minutes. I read some comments in the recipe that claimed there wasn't enough liquid, so I also added about half a cup of turkey stock. After 25 minutes, release the steam and open the lid to find a moist and juicy, fully cooked turkey breast. If you want to continue with the gravy, just add butter, flour, turkey broth, and half-and-half to the drippings and continue sautéing until the liquid thickens.

And here's how it all turned out!

Hannah Loewentheil

This was absurdly easy and virtually impossible to mess up since the Instant Pot does all the work for you. Because this turkey doesn't roast for hours absorbing the aromatics, I would say to add more spices and seasonings than you might think necessary in order to give it a flavor boost. IMO, I think using a bone-in turkey breast makes the final dish more tender juicy. I also think finishing the turkey under the broiler was a crucial step here. Sure, you could skip it, but getting the outside of the turkey nice and brown and crispy made a huge difference. Most impressive of all though was the gravy. It was ready in about five minutes and it was so thick, creamy, and savory, I couldn't eaten it by the spoonful. 

Recipe: Instant Pot Turkey Breast and Gravy

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4. Four-Ingredient Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Spend With Pennies / Via spendwithpennies.com

These are the four ingredients you need, and they all go into one saucepan.

I love cranberry sauce. I actually think it's one of the most important sides on the holiday table because it goes with literally every other side and the sweetness/tartness perfectly compliments the rest of the rich foods. And while I am not above a can or store-bought, jellied cranberry sauce any other day of the year, Thanksgiving is a time to go the extra mile and make this dish from scratch. Which brings me to the easiest, four-ingredient cranberry sauce anyone can whip up. Side note: I always thought cranberry sauce must be annoying to make since there are so many store bought options, but turns out I was very very wrong.

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As for the result, here's how mine turned out:

Simply combine fresh cranberries, orange juice, a cinnamon stick, and granulated sugar in a sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for about ten minutes until the cranberries begin to break down and the sauce thickens. Once you take it off the stove it will be pretty loose, but give it an hour or so to cool and it thickens up perfectly. This cranberry sauce is delicious with a great texture to it — it's spreadable but you can still taste the whole cranberries a bit. It's also on the sweeter side. so next time I would add a little bit of orange zest and a pinch of salt. As an added bonus, it gets better the longer it sits in the fridge so you can make it well in advance of Thanksgiving dinner.

Recipe: Four-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce

5. Air Fryer Apple Fritters

Simply Scratch / Via simplyscratch.com

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Here are the ingredients you need to make 'em at home:

Hannah Loewentheil

Apple pie is so overdone, so why not get your guests excited with a totally unique apple dessert — one you've probably never thought you could make at home. These apple fritters come together in the air fryer, so they get nice and crispy and golden with zero deep-frying in oil required. Pretty magical, huh?

First step: make the batter.

Hannah Loewentheil

I don't like to bake so I thought this recipe looked intimidating, but turns out it was really easy. You just combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another, and then you mix them together into a sticky batter. Peel core, and dice some Honeycrisp and Granny Smith apples and add them to the mix. Now, it's time to air fry. I placed a piece of parchment paper on the wire wrack of my air fryer so the gooey dough wouldn't stick, then I sprayed it with non-stick cooking spray. I placed big spoonfuls of the dough onto the rack and air-fried it for about seven minutes at 390°.

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Next, pop them into the air fryer.

Hannah Loewentheil

At first I was skeptical that these fritters would come out well, but upon opening the door to my air fryer I was taken aback: These dough blobs turns into fluffy, crispy, golden apple fritters. I flipped the fritters and air-fried them for about two minutes more until fully cooked.

Here's how my air fried fritters came out:

Hannah Loewentheil

Next: the icing. Sure, you can buy a store-bought icing, but this homemade version is so simple. Melt butter in a sauce pan and then remove from the heat. Add confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and a dash of half-and-half. Stir, stir, stir, and bam: easy homemade icing you can drizzle all over the fritters. These were absolutely delicious. They aren't greasy at all because they never touch oil, but they are still crunchy on the outside and melt in your mouth once you take a bite. I also love that you can really taste the fresh apple chunks. 10/10 I would make these for a crowd and I know they would impress. 

Recipe: Air Fryer Apple Fritters

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6. TikTok's Jiffy Cornbread Bake

Here are the few ingredients you'll need to make it:

Hannah Loewentheil

There are plenty of ways to include corn on your Thanksgiving table like creamed corn, cornbread, and corn pudding. So when I came across this TikTok dish that appeared to be a mixture of all these corn recipes in one, I felt compelled to try it for myself. This corn bake only requires a few ingredients: canned corn, Jiffy corn bread mix, heavy whipping cream, an egg, and honey.

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There are really just two steps to making this side dish, and it couldn't be easier:

Hannah Loewentheil

It couldn't be much easier to make. You pour two cans of corn into a mixing bowl and add a box of Jiffy corn bread mix. Add an egg, the cream, and a drizzle of honey. Mix it all together and pour into a baking dish. Then, sprinkle the second Jiffy corn bread mix all over the top of the corn bake. Pop it into the oven at 350°F for about 40 minutes until the top layer is golden and slightly crispy.

And voilà: Here's how my version of TikTok's Jiffy cornbread looked:

Hannah Loewentheil

In theory, this recipe is delicious, but there was one main issue: the second box of Jiffy corn bread mix was far too much. As a result, the top layer was too crumbly and loose and never really set. If I make this again, I would use half a box for the crumbly topping. Secondly, it tasted better after it sat in the fridge for a few hours. At first the corn bake was too loose and jiggly and difficult to cut and serve. But after a little time in the fridge, it became sliceable. I really liked the flavors: the inside is almost like creamed corn while the top layer is similar to corn bread and all together it tastes like a custard-y pudding. It's very unique and tasty and a fun addition to your holiday table.

Recipe: TikTik's Jiffy Cornbread Bake

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7. Three-In-One Sheet Pan Pie

Grand Baby Cakes / Via grandbaby-cakes.com

Here are the ingredients you need to make it:

Hannah Loewentheil

I had seen this trendy three-in-one sheet pan pie all over Instagram, and it looked pretty neat. As someone who has zero equipment like pie and cake pans, the idea of making pie on a sheet pan was pretty appealing. It's also a really fun idea to add variety to your dessert selection because of the three different fillings, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and sweet potato pie. I should mention that I really hate baking (besides for bread), so making pie never really excites me much. But at a glance this sheet pan pie recipe seemed easy, convenient, and creative enough that maybe it would be my new go-to Thanksgiving dessert.

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First step: prepare the dough on a sheet pan and make the three fillings.

Hannah Loewentheil

Despite my high hopes, it didn't take long to realize that this recipe was going to be a real pain in the ass. It was difficult enough rolling three crumbly and broken store-bought pie crusts into one cohesive rectangle that could be placed onto a sheet pan. This first step took me about an hour. And then, there are the fillings. Now, it would have been really cool if this recipe used a similar, basic base for all three fillings, but no: you're essentially prepping for three totally different pies. On top of that, the instructions seem pretty straightforward, but there are a bunch of little sneaky tricks throughout. For instance, you have to cook and mash the sweet potato, roast the pecans, and melt the butter then wait for it to cool. All of this added up to take a pretty significant amount of time.

Now that the hard part is over, it's time to assemble and bake.

Hannah Loewentheil

Once the three fillings were complete, it was time to assemble the pie. This part actually went much better than expected. I thought that each of the fillings would run into one another creating a Jackson Pollock-like pie, but in fact they more of less stuck to their third of the sheet pan. I baked the sheet pan pie at 350°F for about an hour until the filling seemed set and the crust was beginning to turn golden. Next, I let the pie cool at room temperature and then wrapped the sheet pan in foil to sit in the fridge for six hours.

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And here's how it all came out:

Hannah Loewentheil

Ultimately, this three-in-one sheet pan pie was actually really delicious (what could be bad, really?). It was so tasty that I almost forgot what a headache it was to make. But no, I will not be making this again. And unless you want to torture yourself, I would suggest you avoid it, too. Just make three damn pies. It's the same thing, and you get more of each. Also, pumpkin and sweet potato aren't that different. I would much rather have swapped one out for an apple filling. But that's the end of my baking rant.

Recipe: Three-In-One Sheet Pan Pie

8. Five-Minute Miracle Gravy From Scratch

Crazy for Crust / Via crazyforcrust.com

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Here's what you need to whip it up at home:

Hannah Loewentheil

Obviously, if you're already cooking a Thanksgiving turkey, making gravy is only a small additional step. But what if you're not making turkey and you still want gravy on the table. Introducing: five-minute miracle gravy featuring just a handful of cheap ingredients.

It all comes together in a sauce pan.

Hannah Loewentheil

Start with your favorite stock. Chicken or beef work, but try to find turkey because duh, Thanksgiving. Add two chicken bouillon cubes to the stock and microwave or stir over the stove top until the bouillon is dissolved in the liquid. In another sauce pan, melt the butter, then add the flour and spices. Stir in the stock mixture slowly, whisking as you go to make sure it's all incorporated and smooth.

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And here's the final result:

Hannah Loewentheil

Continue whisking for about a minute longer until the gravy starts to thicken. You'll be able to tell right away. Then transfer to a bowl and serve. This gravy was thick and creamy, despite the fact there's actually no cream or milk involved. It also has a ton of flavor, thanks to that miracle bouillon cube and a few spices. Of course, if you're a fan of really creamy gravy, stir a little half and half in here after the flour. That will give it that very rich flavor.

Recipe: Five-Minute Gravy

9. Winter Aperol Spritz

How Sweet Eats / Via howsweeteats.com

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Step one: Gather the ingredients.

I mourn the end of summer for a number of reasons, but one major source of my sadness is that come November, it's no longer seasonally appropriate to drink Aperol spritzes, one of my absolute favorite warm weather cocktails. But enter: the winter Aperol spritz. There's nothing groundbreaking about this cocktail recipe, but I wish I thought of it sooner. The simple addition of cranberry juice and a rosemary spring takes a summertime drink and makes it totally seasonally appropriate. Genius!

Step two: Drink!

OK, I'm not going to lie and say this is as excellent as a traditional Aperol spritz, but it's definitely good. And while Aperol usually tastes like summer in a glass, the combination of Prosecco, rosemary, cranberry, and orange makes it taste fall festive. You could use any cranberry juice, of course, but I went with Trader Joe's sparkling cranberry punch, which IMO feels like it was basically created as a cocktail mixer. It tastes like a cranberry punch spritz, and I can definitely get behind that.

Recipe: Winter Aperol Spritz

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10. Leftover Stuffing and Egg Breakfast Cups

Here's what you need to make these:

Hannah Loewentheil

I'm always looking for creative ways to reuse Thanksgiving leftovers because Thanksgiving dinner really is the gift that keeps on giving. So when I saw this video on Tastemade for leftover stuffing breakfast cups, I was really excited to give it a try. All you really need is leftover stuffing and eggs. Then you can add whatever extras you like such as bacon, sausage, and/or shredded cheese. 

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If you've got leftover stuffing, these take almost no time to prepare.

Hannah Loewentheil

Grab a muffin tin and add a big spoonful of stuffing into each hole. Press the stuffing down and make a little well in the middle of each for the egg. Crack an egg into each stuffing cup. For this part, I would suggest buying medium-sized eggs because I had a good amount of egg white leakage with extra large eggs. Bake the stuffing cups at 350°F for about 10 minutes, until the egg whites are opaque and the yolk is set.

And here's how they came out:

Hannah Loewentheil

These were really delightful. And while these would make an amazing day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast, I wouldn't necessarily save them for leftovers. You could easily serve these at Thanksgiving dinner as a creative take on stuffing. I love how the egg yolk stays a bit runny so that when you cut into it, it makes the stuffing super moist and delicious.

Recipe: Leftover Thanksgiving Stuffing and Egg Cups

Did you try one of these recipes, or do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe everyone should know about? Tell us in the comments below!

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