Easy Thanksgiving Recipes For Seniors-How To Make The Holidays Easier

These recipes, from traditional favorites like turkey and stuffing to delicious desserts, are easy to prepare and will be a hit with your guests too! So go ahead and try these - your holiday dinner will be all the better!

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Looking for some tasty – but easy – Thanksgiving recipes that are perfect for seniors? Look no further!

As the holiday season quickly approaches, many of us scramble to prepare holiday dishes for family and friends. If you’re a senior with a fixed income and find yourself stuck in a bind, fret not!

I’ve compiled fifteen easy Thanksgiving recipes that have healthy ingredients, aren’t too time-consuming, and will help seniors enjoy their Thanksgiving celebration without working themselves to the bone.

list of easy thanksgiving recipes for seniors
© Graying With Grace – Reproducible With Attribution and Link to Source

Easy Thanksgiving Appetizers

When it comes to hosting Thanksgiving dinner, the appetizers often set the tone for the entire meal.

Look no further if you’re looking for some easy and delicious Thanksgiving appetizers sure to please your senior guests!

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar and Parmesan Cheese

One of the favorite easy Thanksgiving appetizers is Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar and Parmesan Cheese.

This dish is simple to prepare and made ahead of time, making it ideal for busy hosts. It’s a superb way to sneak more vegetables into your guests’ diets!

Brussels sprouts roasted and seasoned with parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and a little olive oil make the tastiest and most flavorful vegetables you can serve.


Drain the parboiled Brussels sprouts, then steam them. Put everything in one layer on a baking sheet. Combine with oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs for seasoning. Add some cheese grated on top. Bake at the oven’s highest setting. Result! Crispy, caramelized, cheesy Brussels sprouts!

Source: AllRecipes.com

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

This dip is fantastic; it has a ton of flavor and cheese. Mix ingredients together to make a simple appetizer. If you don’t like artichokes, you won’t even notice that there are any. Simply put, I wonder if eating it straight off the plate with a spoon is okay.


Spinach and artichokes should be boiled in a cup of water until soft, then drained. Throw away fluids. Cream cheese should be warmed and soft after one minute in the microwave. Serve hot after incorporating the remaining ingredients.

Source: FoodNetwork.com

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

You can’t go wrong with a seafood cocktail when you want something tasty and savory but light. It’s a tomato-based sauce made from chilled clam, shrimp, tomatoes, horseradish, creamy avocado, and more.

It also contains some Mexican spicy sauce for a little kick. Ideal for entertaining or as a lunch, snack, or dinner that doesn’t require cooking — especially when it’s too hot to cook! Easy right?


Place the shrimp in a large bowl. Stirred in are red onion, cilantro, and garlic. Ketchup, horseradish, spicy sauce, lime juice, tomato and clam juice, and ketchup are added and adequately combined. Salt is a seasoning. Mix thoroughly after adding avocado—cover, and chill for two or three hours.

Source: AllRecipes.com


The best hummus recipe, hands down! It’s not only quick and simple but also really creamy and tasty. It’s the traditional hummus you know and love, but with a few healthy ingredients, and it just takes three minutes to make with a powerful blender!


Combine the garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, salt, and garlic in a blender or food processor; until smooth, blend. Put the mixture in a bowl for serving—drizzle olive oil on the garbanzo bean mixture and some parsley and paprika.

Source: AllRecipes.com


Although avocados may have been a popular element in American cuisine for a while, guacamole is in a class by itself.

This wildly popular Mexican dip may be served on the side of just about any entrée and is a wholesome addition to vegetables, crackers, and chips of all varieties.

You wouldn’t get fatigued from the laborious dinner preparations if there were just two easy steps to follow.


Combine the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and garlic in a medium mixing bowl with the mashed avocados, lime juice, and salt. Add cayenne pepper and stir. Serve immediately, or cover and chill for an hour to improve the flavor.

Source: AllRecipes.com

easy Thanksgiving recipes for seniors main dishes
There are plenty of other Thanksgiving dishes that need less effort to prepare.

Simplified Thanksgiving Main Dishes

The traditional Thanksgiving selection for the main meal is turkey. But plenty of other dishes are equally fantastic and require far less work if you don’t feel like preparing a whole bird.

Think about cooking some boneless, skinless turkey breasts, thighs, or even just some breasts. You can even choose an unconventional option like shellfish or roasted chicken. No matter what you decide, prepare enough food for your hungry guests!

The sides frequently elevate Thanksgiving dinner.

If you’re short on time or energy, simplify your side dishes by choosing pre-prepared or easy-to-prepare foods. You can save time and effort using canned cranberry sauce, frozen vegetables, and store-bought stuffing mix.

Don’t forget the mashed potatoes, of course! For a good reason, they are a Thanksgiving classic!

Air Fryer Parmesan Shrimp

Cooking is now even more straightforward thanks to innovative kitchen appliances like the air fryer. In less than 30 minutes, try making this seafood dish with help from the air fryer.

About 10 minutes are needed to create these shrimp, which start with a bowl of parmesan cheese, garlic, and herbs.


In a big bowl, combine garlic, parmesan cheese, pepper, oregano, basil, onion powder, and olive oil. Sprinkle shrimp with the mixture, gently tossing until coated.

Place shrimp in the nonstick spray-coated air fryer basket. Cook shrimp for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until the seasoning has caramelized. Before serving, squeeze the lemon over the shrimp.

Source: BitznGiggles.com

Air Fryer Turkey Club Roulades

This turkey roulade with leeks and asparagus topped with oven-roasted provolone cheese elevates a weeknight meal when prepared in an air fryer or rotisserie. This turkey dish is both delicious and sophisticated. Furthermore, no roast turkey will be easier to slice than this one!


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees. Put asparagus in the air fryer basket on the oiled tray. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender, tossing halfway through. Place aside.
  2. Spread Dijon mayonnaise on the turkey cutlets. Add ham, cheese, and asparagus to the layer and pepper and poultry seasoning. Make a tight roll and cover it with bacon.
  3. Place roulades on a greased tray in the air fryer basket in batches. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, sometimes rotating, until the bacon is crisp and the turkey is no longer pink. Serve the roulades with the sauce which you have combined.

Source: TasteofHome.com

Low-Calorie Bourbon-Glazed Ham With Peach Chutney Recipe

You may bake one of these anytime, not just during the holidays. Baked ham is often only served once a year, during the holiday season, making it as uncommon a table guest as a roast turkey. However, ham’s simplicity and all-around goodness are challenging to match.

That’s unless you’re brining and smoking your own (and why would you when excellent ready-to-cook hams are waiting for you at most supermarkets across the country?).


  1. Set the oven to 400°F. In a mixing bowl, combine the marmalade, bourbon, mustard, and a good amount of black pepper. Using a knife, score the ham’s skin side by making diamond-shaped cuts one inch into the meat.
  1. Spread the glaze over the ham and work it into the scoring-induced fissures. Place on the center oven rack and bake for 45 minutes until the ham’s ice turns caramelized and golden.
  2. While the ham cooks, combine peaches, onion, garlic, jalapenos, juice, and vinegar in a pan over medium heat.
  1. After boiling it, reduce the heat slightly to maintain a simmer. Cook for around 15 minutes until the fruit is tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve the chutney and sliced ham together.

Source: EatThis.com

Green Bean Casserole

This version of the Thanksgiving staple is prepared quickly and easily with just four pantry or refrigerator staples: canned green beans, condensed mushroom soup, French-fried onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.

It is the finest green bean casserole you’ll ever cook, made with tender green beans and crispy onions in a creamy, cheesy sauce.


Combine the beans and soup in a bowl heated in the microwave. Add half the cheese and mix. Until melted and well-combined, microwave. Place in a prepared baking pan. Add the remaining cheese and fried onions on top. Until the cheese has melted and the onions are browned, bake in the oven.

Source: AllRecipes.com

Sweet Potato Casserole

Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, this baked sweet potato casserole with delectable pecan toppings is a sure hit. I’m confident that if you make this dish, it will become a new family tradition. Separately, combine the flour and brown sugar.

Cut butter, then the pecans are added to the mixture of sweet potatoes, and top with the topping. After about 30 minutes in a preheated oven, the topping has browned.


Add water to a saucepan with the sweet potatoes after they have been cubed and peeled. Drain and mash with a potato masher after cooking for a bit of time over medium-high heat.

Sweet potatoes mashed (and cooled), white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk, and vanilla extract should all be thoroughly incorporated in a large mixing basin. Place the mixture in a baking dish.

Brown sugar and flour are combined separately. After cutting the butter over the sweet potato mixture, stir the pecans and top with the topping. For about 30 minutes, bake the topping in a preheated oven until lightly browned.

Source: AllRecipes.com

easy Thanksgiving recipes for seniors dessert and treats
Cookies, cakes, and pudding are some of the easiest Thanksgiving desserts to make.

Easy Thanksgiving Dessert and Treats

Many desserts are easy for seniors to cook, such as pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pecan pie. These pies can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer until ready to serve.

Other easy-to-make Thanksgiving desserts include cookies, cakes, and pudding. With planning and help from family or friends, seniors can enjoy making and eating these festive treats!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie

One of the most well-liked pumpkin recipes is for these pumpkin oatmeal cookies! They have a flavor similar to oatmeal cream pies with a healthy twist.

They are entirely plant-based and produced with nutrient-dense rolled oats. Instead of butter, use coconut oil to make them, and add powdered sugar frosting. If you prefer them to be less sweet, omit the icing; they still taste great! 


The dry ingredients—flour, baking soda, rolled oats, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt—must be combined. Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and coconut oil in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer.

After adding the dry ingredients, add the pumpkin and vanilla. The dough needs 30 minutes of cooling. Using a size 40 cookie scoop, transfer the cookies to a baking sheet—11 minutes of baking at 375 degrees, followed by cooling.

Source: ACoupleCooks.com

Caramel Apple Pretzel Bites

This tasty delicacy, which is simple to make, is enjoyed by people of all ages—prepared with three simple ingredients: Rallos candies, apples, and pretzels. Making this with a pair of small hands will allow you to spend quality time with your grandchildren.


Please turn the oven to 350 degrees and remove the foil from your Rallos. Make apple slices. Put the pretzels on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Then, sprinkle Rallos candies on top of your pretzels. Bake it for three minutes.

Insert a toothpick into the apple chunk. Place the toothpicks and apples in the center of the melted chocolate and caramel after baking for 3 minutes. Be careful not to keep them there longer than recommended.

You can leave them out to harden for about 30 minutes, or place them in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, allow them to sit for 5 minutes before serving, or the caramel will be a bit hard.

Source: SeetheHappy.com

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Older people enjoy baking and love this simple dish. There aren’t many ingredients to prepare, and baking is a simple process. Make luscious, swirling pumpkin cheesecake bars instead of your usual pumpkin pie recipe.

A treat like this would be a wonderful addition to a Thanksgiving care package for elderly folks also!

These creamy, vibrant slices are not only a fantastic Thanksgiving dessert but also create a lovely fall treat we want as soon as the temperature drops. After all, the season’s purpose is to consume as many pumpkin-based dishes as possible before the new year.


Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9-in. square baking pan with cooking spray, then line with parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides. To make the crust, finely chop the cookies, pecans, and sugar in a food processor.

Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan’s bottom after adding the butter and pulsing—Bake for 12 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

For the filling, pulse cream cheese, sugar, and eggs in a clean food processor. Combine by pulsing in the salt and flour and removing 1/4 cup of the mixture. Pumpkin puree and pie spice are blended into the remaining mixture using a food processor.

Dispense pumpkin mixture over cooled crust. Using a butter knife, swirl the pumpkin after dropping spoonfuls of the remaining cream cheese batter on top of it.

Source: GoodHousekeeping.com

Cranberry Pear Cobbler Filling

Seniors may easily make cranberry pear cobbler because they must combine the ingredients, pour them into a baking dish, and bake.


Turn the oven on to 375 degrees. Set aside a 9-inch pie dish brushed with butter and mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add cold butter pieces and rub them into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small mixing bowl, together combine the egg and milk. Pour over the flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms. Mix in the cranberries and pear slices. Knead the dough for a few minutes on a floured surface and roll the dough to a pin.

Source: GoodHousekeeping.com

Blooming Apple Pie

The fact that blooming apple pie is simple to prepare has numerous benefits. The direct nature of the ingredients is one factor. Another advantage is that the dessert can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until it is time to serve.

The blooming apple dessert is effortless to prepare because it only needs a short amount of time to be ready before serving.


Apple has thin skin and is tiny and sour. Wash the apple and cut it into small pieces before cooking. After that, add some sugar and cinnamon to a baking tray with the slices.

Bake the apple until it is tender and fragrant at a low temperature. Enjoy with ice cream or whipped cream, or just as is.

Source: Delish.com

easy Thanksgiving recipes for seniors modify
The right techniques can help ease up the preparation of traditional Thanksgiving dishes.

How to Modify Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes to Make Them Easier to Prepare

There are a few techniques for simplifying traditional Thanksgiving dishes.

Prepare Thanksgiving foods in smaller quantities to make them easier. Recipes cut in half, or use little utensils to achieve this.

Another way to make Thanksgiving meals simpler is to use premade ingredients. 

To make things easier, have someone else cook for you, such as using premade pie crusts instead of homemade ones. The prospect of cooking a traditional Thanksgiving feast for their loved ones appeals to many senior adults.

Whatever you do, never forget that the essential ingredient in a recipe is the love that goes into it.

Tips on How to Prepare a Holiday Meal
Without Exhausting Yourself

Thanksgiving is a time for gathering with friends and family to have a meal. Dessert time is also here! Seniors can easily prepare many desserts, including pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pecan pie. These pies can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the freezer until needed. 

Thanksgiving desserts that are also simple to prepare include cookies, cakes, and pudding. Seniors can enjoy creating and consuming these seasonal sweets with some preparation and assistance from family or friends!

Here are some tips to not wear out yourself while preparing a holiday meal:

  • Plan dishes that can be prepared in advance, or at least in part.
  • Give your family and friends responsibilities. Assign someone to assist with preparing the meal, setting the table, and cleaning up afterward.
  • Utilize your slow cooker or Instant Pot for meals that may be prepared ahead of time and then warmed up just before serving.
  • Avoid using elaborate recipes with uncommon or too many ingredients. Stick to simple foods prepared ahead of time.
  • Use store-bought conveniences like pre-cut vegetables, pie crusts, and rotisserie chicken.
  • Make your desserts a day or two in advance and store them in the refrigerator.
tips for preparing holiday meals
© Graying With Grace – Reproducible With Attribution and Link to Source

Summary and Final Recommendations

Thanksgiving is a beautiful time to gather and enjoy with family and friends.

Still, it can be a lot of work preparing a holiday meal. These recipes make things easier, from appetizers and desserts to simplified main dishes. You can have a delicious Thanksgiving feast that won’t wear you out with a few adjustments. 


Keep Reading About Thanksgiving for Seniors

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Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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2 thoughts on “Easy Thanksgiving Recipes For Seniors-How To Make The Holidays Easier”

  1. Wonderful! Makes the approaching holiday a time to look forward to with pleasure and less
    anxiety about preparations!

    • Thanks Bonita! An endorsement from a professional like you is quite an endorsement! Looking back, my own grandmother struggled with Thanksgiving dinner although I didn’t realize it at the time. –Scott

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