latin thanksgiving recipes
iStock

Growing up in a Latino family in the United States, I experienced Thanksgiving Day dinner as representative of two cultures. We always had the turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and stuffing, but arroz con gandules, pernil, and pasteles also made appearances at the table. My mom was definitely an ambitious hostess who aimed to please everyone during the holidays. We were spoiled, that's for sure. And while I appreciate the all-out efforts of my mother, I love the idea of merging cultures at the holiday table rather than keeping them parallel.

More from MamásLatinas: 30 Latino side dishes for your holiday dinner

Thanksgiving of course, is not a Latino holiday, but it is a holiday that exists largely because of the agricultural skill of the indigenous people of the Americas and stands as a symbol of their kindness and generosity. Those indigenous people share many things in common with the native people of Latin America, so it makes sense that a Latin spin works so well with many traditional Thanksgiving dishes.

Plus, there are lots of Latin American ingredients, including corn and pumpkin and spices like cinnamon and ginger, that are synonymous with the harvest holiday. Some Latin dishes like arepas and mashed yucca actually fit quite seamlessly into a classic Thanksgiving dinner.

Here are 30 Latin and Latin-inspired recipes for you to try this Thanksgiving.

Side Dishes: This one Latin ingredient adds major flavor to mashed potatoes. 1

Side Dishes: This one Latin ingredient adds major flavor to mashed potatoes.

iStock

There's nothing like uber-creamy mashed potatoes, but add in a bit of queso fresco and you'll get that tangy creaminess that gives dishes irresistible Latin zing.

Find the full recipe on MamásLatinas.

Advertisement

Side Dishes: These roasted sweet potatoes are way better than any casserole. 2

Side Dishes: These roasted sweet potatoes are way better than any casserole.

iStock

If you're anything like me and feel like there's no quicker way to ruin a delicious sweet potato than covering it in sticky sweet marshmallow and turning it into a casserole, you'll probably prefer these savory Mexican-inspired sweet potatoes featuring cumin, chili flakes, and lime.

Get the full recipe from Easy Peasy Foodie.

Advertisement

Side Dishes: Chipotle-spiced sweet potatoes are impressive. 3

The addition of both chipotles in adobo and sweet potatoes gives a delicious Latin twist to the traditional French potato pommes Anna. The thinly sliced and stacked roasted potatoes look incredibly impressive. This five-ingredient dish is actually super simple.

Get the full recipe from La Crema.

Side Dishes: Yucca is a simple swap for mashed potatoes. 4

Side Dishes: Yucca is a simple swap for mashed potatoes.

iStock

For many Caribbean Latinos, the flavor of root vegetables is absolutely nostalgic, making them essential during the holidays. Substituting mashed yucca for mashed potatoes is a natural swap.

Get the full recipe from Food Heaven.

Advertisement

Side Dishes: You've never had Brussels sprouts like these. 5

Side Dishes: You've never had Brussels sprouts like these.

iStock

If you don't like Brussels sprouts, you've probably never had them seasoned well. This classic Thanksgiving veggie is brought to another level when flavored with chili, honey, and lime.

Get the full recipe from Recipe Runner.

Advertisement

Side Dishes: This jalapeño cornbread is excellent for the bread course. 6

Side Dishes: This jalapeño cornbread is excellent for the bread course.

iStock

Instead of the standard dinner rolls or biscuits, whip up a batch of this spicy, savory jalapeño cornbread that's studded with tangy cotija cheese. It'll definitely be an unexpected addition to your holiday table.

Find the full recipe on MamásLatinas.

Advertisement

Side Dishes: Mashed potatoes don't have to be boring. 7

Side Dishes: Mashed potatoes don't have to be boring.

iStock

Classic mashed potatoes are absolutely delicious, but they can admittedly get boring year after year. Jazz them up with some cumin and ancho chili powder for a fun and festive twist on an old favorite.

Find the full recipe on MamásLatinas.

Side Dishes: Cilantro-lime green beans are zesty and flavorful. 8

Side Dishes: Cilantro-lime green beans are zesty and flavorful.

iStock

Stodgy green bean casserole can be a thing of the past. Charred cilantro-lime green beans are bursting with Latin flavors and much more interesting than soggy green beans swimming in canned soup.

Get the full recipe from A Beautiful Plate.

Advertisement

Side Dishes: Mashed plantains make for a sweet and savory side. 9

If your family is up for a completely new take on Thanksgiving mash, you could try this savory-sweet plantain puree, which is flavored with garlic, cumin, and chili powder and gets its beautiful color from achiote.

Get the full recipe from Laylita.

Side Dishes: These pumpkin arepas are mouthwatering. 10

Side Dishes: These pumpkin arepas are mouthwatering.

iStock

The simple addition of a bit of pureed pumpkin or butternut squash makes traditional arepas a delicious and seasonally appropriate addition to Thanksgiving dinner. So yummy served with some honey butter.

Get the full recipe from The Year in Food.

Advertisement

Side Dishes: Mexican-inspired succotash looks and tastes like a harvest celebration. 11

Side Dishes: Mexican-inspired succotash looks and tastes like a harvest celebration.

iStock

Succotash is a dish that was traditionally prepared to use up different parts of the year's harvest. It's a wonderful combination of vegetables and beans that works very well as the veggie course at Thanksgiving. It tastes wonderful when seasoned with Mexican spices like poblano and cilantro.

Get the full recipe from The Wanderlust Kitchen.

Side Dishes: You can't go wrong with mashed sweet potatoes. 12

Side Dishes: You can't go wrong with mashed sweet potatoes.

iStock

There's no reason you can't serve up mashed sweet potatoes in lieu of traditional mashed white potatoes. Add some creaminess with coconut milk and extra flavor with fresh chopped cilantro and a dash of nutmeg.

Get the full recipe from Easy and Delish.

Advertisement

Soups and Salads: This apple and avocado salad is nice and light. 13

Soups and Salads: This apple and avocado salad is nice and light.

iStock

This salad combines one of Latin America's favorite ingredients--aguacate--with seasonal fall apples, walnuts, blue cheese, and a tasty vinaigrette dressing. It'll add a nice, light option to your Thanksgiving menu.

Find the recipe on MamásLatinas.

 

Soups and Salads: This Mexican salad will add lots of interest to the menu. 14

Soups and Salads: This Mexican salad will add lots of interest to the menu.

iStock

Since Thanksgiving isn't traditionally celebrated in most of Latin America, there's no reason we can't take some of our classic Christmas dishes, like this fruity Mexican Christmas salad, and serve them on Thanksgiving as well.

Find the recipe on MamásLatinas.

Advertisement

Soups and Salads: This coconut-infused butternut squash soup is an excellent starter. 15

Soups and Salads: This coconut-infused butternut squash soup is an excellent starter.

iStock

This lush butternut squash soup is fortified with sweet potato and creamy coconut milk and flavored with popular Latin American spices like cumin, cinnamon, and spicy chili peppers. It's sure to be a showstopper.

Get the full recipe from The Spruce Eats.

Soups and Salads: Spicy, toasted pumpkin seeds make this salad a winner. 16

Soups and Salads: Spicy, toasted pumpkin seeds make this salad a winner.

iStock

You can toast pumpkin seeds with Latin spices like cumin, chili powder, garlic, and coriander to add crunch, texture, and plenty of flavor to your Thanksgiving salad, so anyone watching their weight won't feel deprived.

Find the recipe on MamásLatinas.

Advertisement

Soups and Salads: This classic corn soup is upgraded with Latin-inspired toppings. 17

Soups and Salads: This classic corn soup is upgraded with Latin-inspired toppings.

iStock

This simple, creamy corn soup is totally fitting for Thanksgiving, and when topped with things like roasted poblano peppers and queso fresco, it has lots of amazing Latin flavor that offers a subtle but distinct kick.

Get the full recipe from Mexico in My Kitchen.

Soups and Salads: Pomegranate seeds add a festive touch to this salad. 18

Soups and Salads: Pomegranate seeds add a festive touch to this salad.

iStock

Jewel-like and juicy pomegranate seeds make this simple salad look and taste festive, while fresh papaya and avocado lend lots of classic Latin flavors. It's a light and tasty option at any holiday table.

Find the full recipe on MamásLatinas.

Advertisement

Sauces and Condiments: This cranberry sauce has an unexpected tropical ingredient. 19

Sauces and Condiments: This cranberry sauce has an unexpected tropical ingredient.

iStock

Fresh cranberry sauce is amazing, but it's even more tantalizing when you add a can of crushed pineapple. The pineapple adds a unique, tropical flavor that your Thanksgiving Day guests are sure to enjoy.

Find the full recipe on MamásLatinas.

Sauces and Condiments: Spiced cranberry sauce is another awesome upgrade. 20

Sauces and Condiments: Spiced cranberry sauce is another awesome upgrade.

iStock

Incorporating spices that are popular in Latin American countries--like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger--into your freshly made whole berry cranberry sauce, truly brings this Thanksgiving staple to another level flavor-wise.

Find the full recipe on MamásLatinas.

Advertisement

Sauces and Condiments: You won't believe this twist on cranberry sauce. 21

Sauces and Condiments: You won't believe this twist on cranberry sauce.

iStock

Who knew there were so many ways to make cranberry sauce? The secret ingredient in this one is sweet, tropical mango--a flavor that is pretty much synonymous with Latin America. Add in a bit of jalapeño, some cilantro, and--OMG--passionfruit juice and you've got a winning recipe.

Get the full recipe from Laylita.

Sauces and Condiments: Up your game with this chipotle gravy. 22

Sauces and Condiments: Up your game with this chipotle gravy.

iStock

Everyone at your Thanksgiving table is sure to be amazed by this gravy. Simply adding a can of chipotle peppers in adobo to a traditional chicken or turkey gravy makes a huge impact on the flavor.

Get the full recipe from The Youngrens.

Advertisement

Sauces and Condiments: This Latino-style gravy is super simple. 23

Sauces and Condiments: This Latino-style gravy is super simple.

iStock

Latin food is all about flavor, so even though this turkey gravy recipe is pretty traditional, the addition of sauteed onions and pork--one of Latin America's preferred proteins (bacon!)--is sure to leave even the American guests at your table wanting more.

Get the full recipe from Que Rica Vida.

Sauces and Condiments: This guava marmalade is a great accompaniment to turkey. 24

Sauces and Condiments: This guava marmalade is a great accompaniment to turkey.

iStock

MamásLatinas' very own Veronica Almonte makes an amazing guava marmalade to serve with her Thanksgiving turkey. Though she doesn't always measure precisely, here's how she makes it:

  • Guava paste, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps. white wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Pinch of salt

Pour all the ingredients in a pot. Cook on medium heat. Mix until everything is combined.

Advertisement

Desserts and Cocktails: Pumpkin adds a fall feel to this classic cake. 25

Desserts and Cocktails: Pumpkin adds a fall feel to this classic cake.

iStock

The addition of a bit of pumpkin puree and fall spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves turns the traditional tres leches cake into a festive fall dessert that everyone is sure to go crazy for. Make sure to save room!

Get the full recipe from Muy Bueno.

Desserts and Cocktails: This pumpkin pie has a surprising Latin-inspired flavor element. 26

Desserts and Cocktails: This pumpkin pie has a surprising Latin-inspired flavor element.

iStock

There is absolutely nothing like homemade pie on Thanksgiving, and while classic pumpkin pie is always satisfying, there's no reason you can't give it your own spin. Mixing just a couple of tablespoons of orange marmalade into the filling gives it a bit of Latin-inspired flare.

Get the full recipe on MamásLatinas.

Advertisement

Desserts and Cocktails: Who wouldn't love boozy pecan pie? 27

Desserts and Cocktails: Who wouldn't love boozy pecan pie?

iStock

Pecan pie is an American Southern stand-by throughout the holiday season, and it's not uncommon to add in a bit of liquor. Traditionally, though, bourbon would be used. Instead, try adding some dark rum for a more Latino flavor profile.

Get the full recipe from MamásLatinas.

Desserts and Cocktails: This pumpkin pie is jazzed up with yummy toppings. 28

Desserts and Cocktails: This pumpkin pie is jazzed up with yummy toppings.

iStock

This pumpkin pie is heavily spiced with cinnamon, clove, ginger, and molasses, giving it a warm flavor reminiscent of budin de pan or arroz con dulce, and then topped with toasted pepitas and crystallized ginger to really bring home the flavor.

Get the full recipe from MamásLatinas.

Advertisement

Desserts and Cocktails: This apple cider margarita makes a great holiday cocktail. 29

Desserts and Cocktails: This apple cider margarita makes a great holiday cocktail.

iStock

I love to serve a signature cocktail along with beer and wine on Thanksgiving, and this apple cider margarita is definitely on my short list this year. Tequila and cider might sound strange, but it actually tastes incredible. The citrus really ties everything together for an unexpectedly amazing libation.

Get the full recipe from 3 Yummy Tummies.

Desserts and Cocktails: This simple apple sangria is a crowd-pleaser. 30

Desserts and Cocktails: This simple apple sangria is a crowd-pleaser.

iStock

Honeycrisp apples are a favorite during autumn in the States and the star of this super-simple but ultra-festive sangria. You can whip up a pitcher in no time, and thanks to the addition of cinnamon and a bit of apple cider, it bursts with classic fall flavors.

Get the full recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction.