There are a few sauces you’re going to find at every Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe a few ingredients will be tweaked here and there, but the same basic sauces are always showing up as staples of this holiday meal.
I would like to share with you some sauces that should probably be at your Thanksgiving dinner as well if you want to make it a hit. Maybe you’ve never tried to make Thanksgiving dinner on your own before or you just want to make this one extra special. If you’re wondering about which sauces to have with the meal, I’ve got you covered. Below are a few key sauces you want to have, as well as recipes for how to make them.
Classic Cranberry Sauce
Homemade cranberry sauce can be a lot tastier than simply emptying a can of the sauce into a bowl. I have a recipe to share with you that uses fresh or frozen cranberries for a really flavorful, delightful version of the classic cranberry sauce.
You are using a cup of sugar, a cup of water, and four cups of frozen or fresh cranberries. Start by rinsing your cranberries off in a colander and getting rid of any ones that are bruised or damaged looking. Then, put your water into a medium saucepan with the sugar. Cook that on high heat and continue to cook until the water boils. Stir the sugar so it dissolves into the water.
Then, you can add in the cranberries and allow them to cook in the boiling water until they burst open. When adding the cranberries, keep the heat high until the water starts to boil again. It should stop boiling when the cranberries are added but should work its way back up to a boil. Once it’s boiling, lower the heat and allow the contents of the pot to simmer for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can wait until the majority of the cranberries burst open.
You can play around this recipe and reduce the amount of sugar, add oranges, pomegranates, or pecans, or add in canned cranberry sauce for filler. Don’t add any filler in right away, though. The sauce will be running when it you turn off the heat, but it will thicken as it cools.
Turkey Gravy Sauce
The best turkey gravy in the whole world is made from turkey drippings from after you roast your turkey in the oven. That’s what this recipe requires, but there are other ways you can make gravy for your mashed potatoes or turkey. If you’ve never used turkey drippings to make gravy, I highly recommend it.
Turkey Gravy Sauce
- Turkey Pan Drippings
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 1/4 cup Butter
- Black Pepper
- Kosher Salt
- 2 tsp Fresh Thyme Chopped
- Start by straining the drippings using a sieve with a fine mesh.
- Get rid of the leftover solids and set about 2 1/2 cups of the drippings aside for the gravy.
- On medium heat in a medium saucepan, melt the butter.
- Then, add in thyme and flour and mix with a whisk for about a minute, until your mixture is lightly browned.
- Add in reserve pan dripping slowly and mix with a whisk.
- Bring your gravy to a boil and then lower the heat and allow it to simmer. As the gravy is simmering, mix frequently with the whisk.
- Continue to stir until the gravy starts to thicken, which will take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add in your parsley, pepper, and salt to taste.
Cheesy Pasta Sauce
Not enough Thanksgiving dinners involve cheese, but those that do are extra special. A cheesy pasta is a great addition to any Thanksgiving dinner, and I’ll show you how to make one from scratch. When you make your own cheese sauce, you can control what goes into it, ensuring that it’s healthy and works with your diet. You can also modify it as you like to fit your tastes.
Start by melting butter in the microwave or a saucepan. Put the butter into a saucepan if it’s not there already and add in some flour. You want to whisk these together until you have a thick sauce. Even if it is thicker than a sauce and is more of a paste, that is okay, because you’ll be adding milk to thin it out.
Turn on low heat under the saucepan and add in milk gradually as you stir your mixture. You’re making what is called a roux, and this can serve as a base for many different kinds of sauces, but we’re going to make a cheese sauce from it.
Continue to whisk as you add in your milk until the sauce reaches the right consistency. It will thicken as it heats, so be aware of that. You could easily end up with a sauce that is much thicker than you want if you’re not careful. If you want to control the thickness and texture of the sauce, you can take it off the heat and continue to whisk it without adding anymore milk. This allows the sauce to cool down and reach its thickness level.
If you find that it’s too thin, you can keep it off the heat and add a little more flour to it. Also keep in mind that you will be adding cheese to the sauce, which will thicken it as well.
If your roux is too thick, add in a little more milk and whisk that until it spreads evenly through the sauce.
Then, add shredded cheese to your sauce. Add as much cheese as you like to give it a full, rich, cheesy flavor. Any kind of cheese will do. To help bring out the cheesy taste, you should probably use a dash of mustard rather than salt. Salt is not very good at accenting the cheesiness of your sauce. Mustard does a much better job, and you only need a tiny bit. Just a small, short squirt should do.
Now you have a cheese sauce you can use to cover pasta or other dishes, and you can add to it with a little parsley for color and flavor or other spices to season as you like.
There are other sauces you may want to try adding to your Thanksgiving dinner, including apple cider chutney, butter pesto sauce, and mustard sauce. Now you know how to make some of the basics, though, you can use these to accentuate your traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
You’ll save some money by making them on your own and be able to exercise better control over what’s in the sauces and how they taste. I find that homemade sauces usually taste a lot better than anything you can buy in the store.
There are plenty of variations on the sauces I have provided instructions for. You can find modifications for many of these to make them in a variety of different ways. You may want to make some alterations to fit your diet or to step beyond some of the norms of the traditional Thanksgiving sauce to try something special and unique.