15 Friendsgiving Recipe Ideas

by Beth - Budget Bytes
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Raise your hand if you’ve got a “friendsgiving” gathering to attend this weekend! 👋 Friendsgivings are becoming more and more popular, which is awesome from a budget standpoint, since they’re often conducted more like a potluck, with everyone pitching in. So I’ve compiled a few good friendsgiving recipe ideas to help you navigate this new cultural phenomenon. What makes these friendsgiving picks different than just any old Thanksgiving recipe? I selected these friendsgiving recipes because they travel well, don’t need to be served fresh out of the oven, are easy to scale up and make big batches, or are conducive to serving as small bites or serving buffet style. Ready to see what I’ve got?

You can also check out my Easy Thanksgiving Dinner for Beginners meal plan.

15 Friendsgiving Recipe Ideas

Turkey and Stuffing Meatballs dipped in cranberry sauce and gravy.

Turkey and Stuffing Meatballs – These cute little meatballs are made for friendsgiving. They’re the perfect small bite to set out for guests as an appetizer, and are super easy to make if you’re not exactly a master chef.

Double Spinach Artichoke Dip is PACKED with spinach, three types of cheese, and just enough spice to tingle your taste buds. BudgetBytes.com

Spinach Artichoke Dip – Serve this as an appetizer or a side dish with dinner! You can mix everything together before you leave the house or the day before, then just pop it in the oven to bake once you reach your destination.

Maple Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes are a simple way to add a little something extra special to your Thanksgiving table. BudgetBytes.com

Mashed Potatoes – What would Thanksgiving be without mashed potatoes? And luckily you can never have too much. Bring these Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes for a little something different, or stick to a classic like Fluffy Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes.

This Apple Dijon Kale Salad is tangy, sweet, and crunchy with Granny Smith apples, walnuts, raisins, and a homemade Dijon vinaigrette. BudgetBytes.com

Apple Dijon Kale Salad – I always breathe a sigh of relief when I see fresh greens in a Thanksgiving spread because all those rich and heavy sides can be a bit overwhelming. This salad is full of fall flavors, like apples and walnuts, and the kale holds up extremely well, so it’s perfect for making ahead. Keep the dressing separate until you reach your gathering, then dress and toss to coat. Even if the salad sits out for a while that kale will stay strong and sturdy!

This one quick, easy, and insanely flavorful Mushroom Herb Gravy will satisfy both meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Step by step photos. BudgetBytes.com

Mushroom Herb Gravy – I love the idea of bringing a separate gravy like this Mushroom Herb Gravy for vegetarians. So even if your host is making a turkey and traditional gravy from the pan drippings, everyone can have a rich and flavorful gravy to spoon over their mashed potatoes and stuffing, whether they eat turkey or not.

This simple cranberry sauce only requires three ingredients but has enough flavor to add excitement to your holiday meal. BudgetBytes.com

Cranberry Sauce – Such a classic that you can’t go wrong. This is one of the easiest recipes on the list, so if you’re a newbie cook this is one you can definitely conquer!

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole - BudgetBytes.com

Broccoli Cheddar Casserole – If you want to bring something that will get eaten until it’s GONE, it’s Broccoli Cheddar Casserole. No one can resist that creamy, cheesy, comfort food!

This Savory Vegetable Stuffing is full of so much color, texture, and flavor that it will be loved by meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. BudgetBytes.com

Savory Vegetable Stuffing – Another great option if your friendsgiving will include vegetarian patrons. You can bring a separate batch of this vegetarian stuffing for those who prefer to avoid the one prepared with turkey drippings, sausage, or other meat.

Colcannon is a simple Irish recipe that combines two hearty but inexpensive ingredients to make a delicious and filling side dish. BudgetBytes.com

Colcannon – Instead of plain mashed potatoes, add some greens! My biggest gripe with Thanksgiving food is that it is often lacking in the green area. Colcannon is a great fix for that. No one can resist buttery mashed potatoes, and you’ll get your greens at the same time. :)

baked sweet potato cornbread with butter on top

Sweet Potato Cornbread – This cult classic will have your friends talking for years to come. This rich, orange colored cornbread is almost dessert-like in its sweetness and is full of warm fall spices. This will make a stunning addition to your friendsgiving spread.

Baked Sweet Molasses Dinner Rolls

Sweet Molasses Dinner Rolls – If you want to go all out and impress, these homemade Sweet Molasses Dinner Rolls will do it. They’re soft, subtly sweet, and have the most gorgeous brown color. Double up the recipe for larger gatherings, or divide the dough into smaller pieces if you anticipate people needing to fill their plates with small bits of several dishes.

These easy Mini Pecan Pies studded with dark chocolate make the perfectly balanced and pre-portioned dessert for all of your holiday gatherings. Budgetbytes.com

Mini Dark Chocolate Pecan Pies – I actually had friendsgiving in mind when I made this recipe! I imagined a pyramid of these pretty  little pecan pies sitting out on a buffet table as the perfect sweet treat to cap off a meal. …And if by some strange reason there are any leftover at the end of the party, you can freeze them for later. ;) But there won’t be any leftover.

This Cranberry Almond Cake is super fast to prepare and the perfect festive dessert for the holiday season. BudgetBytes.com

Cranberry Almond Cake – This cake is stunning! And super easy. So if you want a great fall/winter themed cake to bring to your gathering, this is it. Those cranberries will bring lots of gorgeous color to the table!

This Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse is a super light and fluffy dessert packed with fall spices and just enough sweetness to balance the pumpkiny flavor. BudgetBytes.com

Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse – Just because it’s November doesn’t mean pumpkin is over! Bring this mousse to serve as an appetizer with Cinnamon Pita Crisps for dipping. A little dessert before dinner doesn’t hurt!

Candied Almonds

Candied Almonds – I’ve actually brought these candied almonds to a friendsgiving in the past and they were a hit! Your friends won’t be able to stay out of them. They’re the perfect little crunchy bite to nibble on as you wait for the main course.

What are your favorite recipes to bring to friendsgiving?? Share in the comments below!

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  1. Love your blog. I’m going to make the Sweet Molasses Dinner Rolls to take to our family potluck this Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing all your interesting recipes.

  2. I LOVE your Blog, Beth. And I LOVE your Recipes (more than I can count which I’ve made and my Family has enjoyed!). But I feel I MUST object to your including Colcannon in your Friendsgiving suggestions/recommendations. While I can agree with you that “green” is all too often lacking on too many a Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) table, there ARE alternatives other than one of the most traditional of all traditional recipes associated with St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) to suggest/recommend as a Friendsgiving offering. I’m of Italian descent (absolutely NO Irish ancestry from any side in my blood) and while I make Colcannon more than a few times during the course of the year (my Family likes it; it happens to be a particularly flavorful way to present BOTH Cabbage and Potatoes alongside of pretty much any Sausage you may like — especially if/when Sour Cream is presented as either a Garnish or an Option!), I ALWAYS make it on St. Patrick’s Day (along with a Corned Beef Brisket) but would never even consider making it for either Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving. Want “Green” for Friendsgiving? I humbly suggest your “Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts”, your “Easy Cheesy Broccoli Rice”, and/or your “Beer Braised Collard Greens”. But not — no, never — Colcannon.

    1. Yeah, I’m definitely a no-rules type of person when it comes to food. If something is delicious, I’m going to eat it any time of year. ;)

  3. Who thinks up this stuff?  Thanksgiving, by any other silly name is still Thanksgiving, so HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone!  Be safe & stay healthy.

    1. “Friendsgiving” is a term that was first uttered on a “Friends” episode in the late 1990s but which is mostly recognized as having been established at some point during the early 2000s. While a Friendsgiving gathering can be “convened” at any time, Friendsgiving is a day that is “traditionally” celebrated among FRIENDS (no Family members included) on the Wednesday of the week before Thanksgiving. It’s intended to allow persons (e.g., neighbors, co-workers, persons without families, persons who — for whatever reason — can’t “get home” for the Holiday, etc. — to feel “connected” to the “communities” (other than their Family) in which they navigate. I, personally, LIKE the idea of Friendsgiving. I, personally, began hosting Friendsgiving gatherings (with neighbors and others in my personal environs) in 2013 (both of my elderly parents had died within 6 months of each other that year, and I NEEDED the comfort). Given the Pandemic, I did NOT host a Friendsgiving in 2020. Hopefully, 2021 will allow that I can resume the “tradition”.