Thanksgiving Dinner in April

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I cooked a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this week for my family. Except that it’s April! We love this dinner, so why wait until November?

It was delicious and reminded us of the many wonderful Thanksgiving celebrations we have had in the past.

Thanksgiving Dinner in April

Thanksgiving Dinner in April

We love Thanksgiving dinner so much. I’m not sure why we only have it during the holidays. So I decided to make it this week.

Plus the leftovers are a nice bonus.

We have six of us living at our home and even the smallest of meals are a production. Last week when I was placing my grocery order with Instacart, a frozen turkey popped up on the screen. That’s when I got the idea to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

I ordered two thirteen pound turkeys, cornbread, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, and onions and decided I could make it happen. Of course, the sweet potatoes didn’t make it in the order so I tried again. Fortunately, I found them and had them delivered by Amazon Fresh.

Because the weather has been so warm, we have been enjoying dinners outside on the back porch. And that is where I decided to serve our Thanksgiving Dinner in April.

You. might remember when I did a table setting inspiration for Thanksgiving on our back porch last year.

Thanksgiving Dinner

We had just received our gorgeous Arhaus Hamptons dining table and chairs and I thought this would be a fun place to host a Thanksgiving dinner. 

Thanksgiving Dinner on the Back Porch

I have listed here some of the items you can find on our back patio.

Of course, things were a bit different this week as the only flowers I could find online were tulips and my kids set the table while I was cooking, So it wasn’t fancy, but to be honest, it didn’t matter. This meal was all about family and good food. And enjoying traditions while “sheltering at home”.

thanksgiving dinner dining outside

We filmed a movie here called “The Way Back” last year and they filmed a Thanksgiving scene on our back patio. (The movie was released in March and is on pay per view right now.) It seemed an unusual Thanksgiving dinner location at the time, but we decided to re-enact the dinner, just as if Ben Affleck was sitting at dinner with us. 

Ok, just kidding. 

(Although I do remember watching this scene being filmed at our home and wondering why they didn’t have the dinner in our dining room?)

The Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

thanksgiving dinner food

I have always said that thanksgiving is an easy meal to prepare. This was even easier than the last Thanksgiving because I was cooking for six instead of thirty-five.

Our menu consisted of turkey, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (with brown sugar topping), gravy, apple butter, and fresh cranberry sauce. 

If you are wondering where I found the cranberries this time of year, don’t forget I freeze about 15 bags of cranberries every year. If you haven’t started doing this, I highly recommend it! It allows me to cook recipes, such as my Cranberry Orange Scones, with fresh cranberries all year. 

We cooked one turkey in the oven and cooked the other one in the Green Egg smoker. (Instructions on how to smoke a turkey can be found here.) I didn’t even start cooking the meal until 3 pm. because it is that easy!  It was ready and we all sat down on the back porch to enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner at 7:30pm. 

And the meal was fabulous.

My Favorite Thanksgiving Dinner recipes

I wanted to share some of my recipes because they are classics and ones I have cooked for years.

Yield: 12 servings

Mom's Cornbread Stuffing

Thanksgiving Dinner recipes

This is my favorite stuffing recipe ever! The cornbread is so delicious and Thanksgiving would never be the same without it,

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • One 16 oz. package of cornbread mix
  • 10 slices white bread, stale or dried in the oven
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 6 TBL butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth


  1. Make cornbread according to the recipe on the box.
  2. Toast the bread on the oven rack at 350 degrees for three minutes per side until crusty. Crumble.
  3. Cook celery and onions in butter until soft, about eight minutes.
  4. Combine all ingredients.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees until warm, about 30 minutes.
Yield: 12 servings

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar Pecan Topping

Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar Pecan Topping Recipe

These are the best sweet potatoes in the world. You might want to double the topping recipe because everyone eats it before I can get it into the pan!

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • Sweet potatoes
  • • 22 ounces red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams; about 4 large), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • • 1 large egg
  • • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • • Pinch of salt
  • Topping
  • • 1 1/2 cups cornflakes, crushed
  • • 1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cook sweet potatoes in a large pot of boiling water until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add butter.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add egg, sugar, spice, and salt; beat to blend.
  4. Transfer mixture to an 8” x 8” baking dish. (Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.)
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the topping and mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  6. Spoon topping evenly over potatoes.
  7. Bake until beginning to brown around edges and slightly puffed, about 25 minutes.

Yield: 8 servings

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • One 12-oz package (4 cups) of cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice


  1. Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to boil water, orange juice, and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries and return to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes until cranberries burst.
  3. Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.
Yield: 10 serrvings

Homemade Apple Butter

Homemade Apple Butter Recipe
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 5 medium cooking apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice


  1. Prepare apples. Heat apples and water over medium heat. When the mixture starts to boil. reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes until tender.
  2. Stir in brown sugar and spices. Heat to boiling and stir until apples are soft.
  3. Cool apple butter and place in mason jar and store in the refrigerator.
Thanksgiving Dinner in April

I hope you are inspired to try some “not so traditional things” this month. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner in April was a blast. And it was delicious. And it reminded us of a time when things were much simpler.

And did I mention how great it is to have leftovers?

Pin the image below to your Recipe or Thanksgiving boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

My Favorite Outdoor Dining Finds

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  1. We make cornbread stuffing exactly the same, yum yum. Glad to know the frozen turkeys are smaller, just 2 of us stuck inside..Ive always loved your backyard dining area, you make people feel special sitting at the dining table. I’m doing a Debra Huse Paint Along on Zoom, fun and something to look forward to.

  2. Leslie…
    My husband and I made a thanksgiving dinner too! I got a frozen bone in 6lb turkey breast.
    It was perfect, except the fact I didn’t buy enough cranberries to freeze last fall 🙁
    So, no sauce….
    I really enjoy your blog.

  3. Wonderful idea! I mean, come on…who doesn’t like Thanksgiving Food!!! YUM!!! I too buy bags and bags of cranberries, thanks to my MIL suggestion years back. I make cranberry jello all year❤️

  4. You may not believe this but I did the same this past Sunday. We absolutely loved it. Talk about being thankful…it truly made us stop and think about things!
    Stay safe.

  5. I also cooked a turkey about a month ago and I loved it. Mostly I love the turkey and rice soup I make with the leftovers, I truly love that! Thanks for sharing.

  6. It’s amazing I am cooking a turkey breast on Sunday for a small thanks-giving for my hubby and me. Since we are in quarantine I may invite a friend/neighbor who is also stuck here in our FloridA condo association. Her daughter and grand daughter do not want her to fly home so she has been alone all of this time. So it will be sort of a friends-giving. Toodles

  7. Last night I made Baked Stuffed Pork Chops, Mashed Squash, fresh green beans, and cranberry sauce, Everything was fresh and homemade except the cranberry sauce that was canned, I usually make my own I will now buy and freeze Cranberry’s thank you for the idea! It was kind of Thanksgiving and it was delicious!

  8. Wonderful idea, and FABULOUS post. I love your home and your outdoor living area. Thank you for bringing us such wonderful ideas and inspiration. I look forward to seeing each one. Stay safe and Cheers from Tennessee!

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