Thanksgiving Dinner on 2 Sheet Pans

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An ENTIRE Thanksgiving Dinner (turkey breast + gravy, candied sweet potatoes, dressing, and parmesan brussels sprouts) all made on two sheet pans. I chelseasmessyapron.com I #thanksgiving #dinner #sheetpan #brussels #sweetpotato #dressing #easy #turkey #turkeybreast

An entire Thanksgiving Dinner (turkey breast, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, dressing, and Parmesan Brussels sprouts) all made on two sheet pans.

Be sure to check out the quick (2 minutes, 7 seconds) video overview below of this Thanksgiving Dinner! In this post, you’ll find helpful tips and the full recipe. Enjoy!

Overhead image of Thanksgiving Dinner on a plate, ready to be eaten.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Earlier this year I shared an entire Easter dinner all prepared on two sheet pans and have loved seeing all the many re-creations! I had so many requests for a similar concept for Thanksgiving dinner, so I’ve worked hard on perfecting this two-sheet-pan Thanksgiving dinner and I’m very excited to share it with you now!

I’ll add a disclaimer at the top of this post that this Thanksgiving dinner recipe is more sensitive to exact quantities, products, and cooking temps/times than a typical recipe is. I’ve tested this recipe several times and have it pretty dialed in, but in order to get perfect results, you’ll want to follow exact pounds/sizes in the recipe (especially for the turkey breast) and make sure your oven is calibrated. Let me also add that the video doesn’t include every step in the process (it’s a brief overview), so make sure you carefully read through the instructions before starting.

I hope you love this simplified Thanksgiving dinner!

Process shots-- images of the stuffing, turkey, Brussel sprouts, and sweet potatoes cooked on two sheet pans.

What’s a Thanksgiving dinner without turkey? In order for the turkey to cook properly in this meal, you’ll want to make sure you plan ahead and have it completely thawed beforehand. Prepping and cooking the turkey just right is the most difficult part of this recipe, so here are some tips that will help in this process.

Here’s how to get a perfect turkey breast

  • Find a 6-7-pound turkey BREAST. Purchase one that is bone-in and skin-on.
  • Safely thaw the frozen turkey. You can do this one of two ways (1) thaw it in the refrigerator (allow 24 hours in the refrigerator for every 4-5 pounds of turkey), or (2) thaw the turkey in cold water (allow 30 minutes for each pound of turkey). The second option is faster but requires a lot more attention so it’s thawed safely. To achieve that, keep the turkey in its original wrapping and then put it in a larger plastic bag. Squeeze out any air and seal the bag. Place the sealed bag breast-down into a bucket or sink. Fill the sink or bucket with cold water and place some cans on top of the turkey to keep it submerged. Change the water every 30 minutes to keep the water very cold. Cook the turkey IMMEDIATELY after thawing. Food safety note: Never thaw a turkey at room temperature.
  • Once you have thawed the turkey you can add a wet or a dry brine to your turkey to give it a bit more flavor.
  • Before putting the turkey on the sheet pan, you’ll want to remove the two breast halves from the bone.
  • Once the turkey is in the oven, keep a food thermometer handy. You’ll want to test the turkey multiple times to make sure you don’t over- or under-cook it (no one likes dry turkey!). The turkey is done when the thickest part of the turkey breast reaches 165 degrees F. I pull my turkey out at 160 degrees as it will cook those extra 5 degrees while it’s sitting.
  • Prepare the gravy. Follow the directions on the included gravy package, if your turkey came with one, or make some from scratch. I found a great recipe hereIf you’re looking to save some time, pre-made turkey gravy is a great option. I like McCormick’s® Simply Better Turkey Gravy* best.
  • Let the turkey rest for about 10 minutes before carving into it. Tent it with foil to keep it nice and warm!

*I’m not receiving any compensation for mentioning specific products in this Thanksgiving Dinner post – I do this only because these are my favorites!

Up-close image of the cooked turkey on the sheet pan.

Next up is the turkey dressing or stuffing. I’ve played a lot with dressings over the years and my philosophy is the simpler the better. I like a good hearty sourdough or ciabatta bread, plenty of fresh herbs, an egg and chicken broth.

Here’s my go-to recipe for a full-sized Thanksgiving dressing, but this post includes a halved version of that same one and we love it.

The keys to a great Thanksgiving dressing

  • The secret to avoiding soggy dressing is to use stale, dried bread. Even with stale bread, I still like to toast it in the oven to ensure it’s completely dry. For this recipe, I toast the bread at 250 degrees F for about 20 minutes. It’s optional, but it really ensures a good dressing.
  • Use fresh herbs. I like to use a generic packet of poultry herbs, which include spices such as sage, rosemary, and thyme. Poultry herbs are found in the produce section of the grocery store near the fresh-cut herbs. Just one poultry herb packet is enough for the dressing. I also add a bit of fresh parsley in the mix as well.
  • You can assemble the dressing ahead of time! The dressing can be completely assembled and refrigerated overnight or up to 24 hours (cover it tightly in the fridge). If you are baking the dressing right from the fridge, expect to add an extra 10 or so minutes to the baking time.

QUICK TIP

What’s the difference between stuffing and dressing? Nowadays, the terms are used interchangeably, but in years gone by, dressing was a side dish that was prepared separately from the turkey. The stuffing was–as you might guess–stuffed and roasted inside the turkey cavity.

Up-close overhead image of the roasted Brussel sprouts on a sheet pan are part of this Thanksgiving Dinner.

The first sheet pan holds the turkey and dressing, and the second sheet pan will contain our Parmesan roasted Brussels sprouts and candied sweet potatoes.

Tips for the Brussels Sprouts

  • Use fresh Brussels sprouts. Look for outer leaves that are dark green and vibrant and stem ends that aren’t dried out.
  • For a quick prep time, you can buy pre-washed Brussels sprouts. But if not, prep those ahead of time by removing any dead leaves and washing them thoroughly. You want the sprouts COMPLETELY dried before starting this dish.
  • Cut off and discard the stem end. Pull off and discard the outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts (just the first layer or if you want a less-intense flavor, you can peel off more leaves until you get a softer green).
  • Halve the Brussels sprouts if they’re large but keep small sprouts their full size.
  • Serve roasted Brussels sprouts hot or warm – they will keep delicious and warm for up to 30 minutes if you cover them and set them in a warm place. I use Brussels sprouts in this sheet pan meal because it allows for a little leeway in cooking the other things. (They’ll stay warm if everything else needs a little longer).

Up-close overhead image of the candied sweet potatoes on a sheet pan.

 

Last but not least, we’ve got the candied sweet potatoes next to the Brussels sprouts.

Candied sweet potatoes

  • It can take well over an hour to cook whole sweet potatoes. To take a shortcut, we’ll first cook them in the microwave and then finish the process in the oven.
  • Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. These small holes all over the sweet potato allow the steam to escape as the potato cooks. This also keeps the sweet potato from exploding and making a mess all over the microwave (been there, done that!). You’ll want to prick the potatoes about 8-10 times all over; you only need small holes for the skin — don’t worry about piercing the potato all the way through.
  • Wrap a cold damp paper towel (that has been wrung of excess water) loosely around the sweet potato. This will help provide a steaming effect and keep the potato moist with softer skin.
  • Be aware that cooking times will vary, depending on the size of the potato and the power of your microwave. Most medium-large potatoes take about 7-13 minutes to cook at full microwave power. Start with the potato cooking for 5 minutes and then flip it on the other side and cook for another 3-4 minutes. If it’s still not tender, continue cooking and checking it every 1 minute. (Note that cooking more than 1 potato at a time will almost double the cooking time.)
  • To get delicious crispy and candied sweet potatoes, we’re going to partially cook the potatoes in the microwave (about 6-10 minutes depending on size per sweet potato) and then roast for 10 minutes. We’ll remove these potatoes and then add the candied topping and cook it for another 15-20 minutes; they should be done right at the time the Brussels sprouts are finished.

 

Image of gravy being poured over the freshly cooked plate of Thanksgiving Dinner.

Thanksgiving Dinner serving suggestions

Serve this 2-sheet pan Thanksgiving Dinner with this creamy grape salad, dinner rolls, some cranberry sauce, and one of these delicious pumpkin desserts:

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Thanksgiving Dinner

5 from 5 votes
An entire Thanksgiving Dinner (turkey breast, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, dressing, and Parmesan Brussels sprouts) all made on two sheet pans.
Print Recipe

Thanksgiving Dinner

5 from 5 votes
An entire Thanksgiving Dinner (turkey breast, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, dressing, and Parmesan Brussels sprouts) all made on two sheet pans.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, thanksgiving
Keyword thanksgiving dinner
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 1133kcal
Author Chelsea, highly adapted from the Food Network
Cost $20.51

Ingredients

Special equipment: 2 extra-large sheet pans (15x21 inches each) + parchment paper and foil

  • Freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt

Turkey Breast

  • 1 (6-7 pounds) WHOLE skin-on, bone-in turkey breast (I use honeysuckle which also has a gravy packet included). Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry brine is added if desired) (breast halves removed from the bone with skin attached so you have 2 breast pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: seasoned salt, paprika, Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH: dried parsley, dried sage, dried thyme, freshly cracked pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Dressing

  • 7 cups stale (brioche or sourdough) bread cubes (cubed into 1/2-1 inch pieces)
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter separated
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley diced
  • 1 package poultry herb seasoning mix (next to fresh-cut herbs in the produce section of the grocery store) (OR: You'll want to have a total of 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh sage, and 1 tablespoon fresh thyme and 3/4 tablespoon fresh rosemary)

Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts halved
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese optional (or use pomegranate arils as well!)

Candied Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (~ 1 and 3/4ths pound)
  • 1/4 cup butter softened to room temperature (not melted)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows separated

For Serving

  • Dinner Rolls + Butter
  • Gravy for serving (either packaged and prepared or using a gravy package that comes with the turkey)
  • 1 can (or homemade) cranberry sauce

Instructions

  • NOTE: Before starting, read through this entire recipe. It will help with timing and flow. Essentially, you'll be making the dressing and turkey first because that cooks for 30 minutes alone. While that is cooking you can prepare the second sheet pan (the Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes) so it's ready to go in with the first sheet pan and cook for another ~30 minutes.

PAN ONE: Dressing and Turkey

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Cube the bread and put it on a tray in one even layer. Bake for 20 minutes, remove, and set aside. (Start microwaving sweet potatoes as you start this prep; see instruction #2 under PAN TWO: Brussels and Sweet Potatoes).
  • Position the oven racks to the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line both sheet pans with parchment paper (for much-easier cleanup). Use foil to make a "bed" for the dressing -- fold it up so it's like a separate pan on the sheet pan.
  • On one side of the first sheet pan, place down the "foil bed" for the dressing. In a very large bowl, add the egg and whisk it until smooth. 
  • Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • Add the dried bread cubes to the egg mixture in the large bowl and toss. Add in the celery-onion mixture, tossing gently to combine. Pour this dressing mixture into the prepared foil tray. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and place evenly all over the dressing. Cover the dressing with foil.
  • Check the post for directions on properly thawing the turkey breast and removing the two breasts from the bone. Do not remove the skin. Wash and pat the breasts dry. Add salt (don't add any more salt if you've done a dry brine) and pepper to both breasts -- make sure to get it above and below the skin. Melt the butter and mix it with all of the seasonings (again, eliminate salt if you've done a brine) until you have a thick mixture. Rub this mixture generously over the breasts, especially under the skin. Rub it on top of the skin as well and then pull the skin to completely cover (as much as possible) the meat. Place these two prepared breasts on one half of the lined sheet pan. See cooking directions under "cooking the two pans."

PAN TWO: Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes

  • Microwave the sweet potatoes: scrub the potatoes until clean (leave the skin on). Using a fork, pierce the potatoes evenly all over, about 8-10 fork pierces throughout the skin. Wet 4 paper towels in cold water and wring out the extra liquid. Wrap each potato loosely in the paper towel. Place each potato (one at a time -- See Note 1) in the microwave and microwave for 5 minutes at full power. Remove and turn the potatoes onto their other side and microwave for another 3-5 minutes or until potatoes are tender enough to cut open (but don't cut them yet). Remove and allow to cool. 
  • Place the Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt, pepper (I use about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper), and garlic powder on one side of the second tray. Toss on the tray and then spread into an even layer (if they are on top of each other they will steam instead of roasting) Place the mostly-cooked-through potatoes on the side of the tray. See cooking directions under "cooking the two pans"
  • To make the sweet potato streusel: In a large bowl (quickly rinse out the dressing bowl and use that), mix the room-temperature butter, brown sugar, and flour together until it looks crumbly. Add the cinnamon, salt, pecans, and 1/4 cup marshmallows. Stir until ingredients are combined and set aside.

Cooking the two pans

  • NOTE: Avoid opening the oven more than the recipe indicates; that really cools it down and will take longer to bake. When you open the oven, be very quick to close it up again.
  • Put the sheet pan with the turkey breast and stuffing on the rack in the upper third of the oven and bake for 30 minutes (remove the foil from the dressing at the 30-minute point). While the first tray is baking, you can prepare the second sheet pan of Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. After 30 minutes, put the second sheet pan on the rack in the lower third of the oven. Cook 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the streusel for the potatoes (See step #3 under PART TWO: Brussels and Sweet Potatoes). After 10 minutes, remove the bottom sheet pan from the oven and rotate the top turkey pan (keep in the oven).
    On the second sheet pan, toss the Brussels sprouts and then cut the sweet potatoes in half, fluff them with the fork and add the streusel evenly to each of the potatoes. Return this second pan to the oven and cook for another 20-25 minutes or until sprouts are roasted and tender and sweet potatoes streusel is evenly cooked through. At this point, check the turkey for doneness. The turkey is done when a thermometer reads 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the turkey. I pull it out at 160 degrees, as it continues to cook a bit once removed. While everything is cooking you can prepare the gravy, whip together a quick dessert, or set the table.
  • Remove the sweet potato pan and add the remaining marshmallows on top and add Parmesan cheese to the Brussels sprouts (unless you want to use pomegranate arils instead). Add to the oven for another 2-4 minutes, or until the marshmallows are bubbly (watch closely) and the Parmesan is melted.
  • Transfer the turkey breasts to a cutting board to rest at least 10 minutes before slicing. Slice the turkey breasts and return them to the sheet pan with the stuffing to serve. Serve with gravy, dinner rolls and cranberry sauce as desired.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: You can microwave more than one potato at a time, but note that it will take nearly twice as long. (A single potato that would take 10 minutes, will take 16 minutes for two.) I like to microwave one potato at a time to ensure each is evenly microwaved.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 1133kcal | Carbohydrates: 145g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 1176mg | Potassium: 1883mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 34496IU | Vitamin C: 159mg | Calcium: 423mg | Iron: 9mg

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Nutrition Facts for this Thanksgiving Dinner do not include the gravy, cranberry sauce, or dinner rolls. It also assumes all of the ingredients will be split equally into six servings.

 

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17 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi!I’m so in love with this recipe I’m excited to try it this year…One question…You started with putting the turkey breasts in first for how long should they cook before adding the dressing to the first sheet pan,also can I just buy turkey breast with no bone in and skin on?

    1. I hope you love it! The turkey breasts go in first WITH the dressing (it’s covered with foil). The dressing bakes the same amount of time as the turkey! You can get turkey breast without bone and skin but it will have less flavor and will likely be a bit more dry (the skin keeps a lot of the moisture in). I hope you love this 🙂

    1. If you have two ovens (and four sheet pans) I think it would double perfectly! I wouldn’t try to cram double the amounts on the two pans

  2. I love this and would like to try it but brussel sprouts aren’t very popular with my kids. Any suggestions for what would substitute well?

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