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How to Make a Totally Keto Thanksgiving Meal (Plus 28 Recipes)!

By Fitoru | 15 November 2018
keto thanksgiving meal

If you’re adhering to the keto diet rather than eagerly anticipating the upcoming holiday, you may be feeling a growing sense of dread. So many traditional favorites—like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry jelly—are basically lurking carb bombs ready and waiting to send you straight out of ketosis. It’s enough to put anyone on edge! Now, take a deep breath and prepare to have a deep feeling of gratitude envelop you: we’ve collected all the recipes you need to make a totally keto Thanksgiving meal.

It turns out, all you need for a keto-friendly Thanksgiving is a little bit of creativity. All the favorites you love, from appetizers to desserts, can be adapted with low-carb, keto-compliant ingredients. “There’s a substitute for everything,” said Los Angeles-area dietician Sarah Jadin of Keto Consulting.

Of course, if you’re headed to a loved one’s home for Thanksgiving, you’ll have less control over the menu. You should be able to fill up with turkey or other main-course meats, but exercise caution with side dishes. Even seemingly low-carb options like green beans or gravy are almost certain to contain flour.

Vivica Menegaz, a certified whole-food nutritionist, author, and blogger behind The Nourished Caveman, offers five rules to help you stay in ketosis over the holidays. Here’s our slightly adapted version:

  1. Eat the meat—turkey, ham, it’s all good—and the low-carb vegetables, like salads or savory cooked greens.
  2. Steer clear of bread (obviously), stuffing, dessert, high-sugar, high-carb side dishes.
  3. Consider making a keto-friendly holiday recipe to share—there are plenty of dishes so delicious enough that everyone will enjoy them.
  4. If options are limited, eat more of whatever is on plan, so hunger doesn’t lead you into temptation.
  5. Give yourself permission to be a little flexible. No one wants to feel deprived on a holiday. But beware of overdoing it, too, you don’t want to undermine your hard work.

Here are 5 rules to follow to have a successful keto Thanksgiving!

Whether you’re looking for a dish to bring to a Thanksgiving gathering or planning a whole menu for a celebration you’re hosting, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for on this list of 28 keto Thanksgiving recipes.

Appetizers and Breads

These decadent dishes will help set the tone of any celebration. Have one (or more!) of these waiting on the table to welcome guests, or bring one along to a celebration to ensure you’re the favorite guest.

1. Gluten-Free, Low-Carb Baked Brie

Nutritionist and author Maria Emmerich, who runs the blog Keto Adapted, uses blanched almond flour, psyllium husk powder, and a few other key ingredients to make her “healthified” take on a classic baked brie appetizer.

Get the recipe here.

2. Simple Grain-Free Cheese Straws

Katrin, who runs the blog Sugar Free Londoner, uses only low-carb, gluten-free, natural ingredients to create her delicious recipes. Her crisp, mouthwatering cheese straws make an attractive addition to any Thanksgiving spread and require just five ingredients!

Get the recipe here.

3. Keto Garlic and Cheese Biscuits

Melissa, who runs Satisfying Eats, a grain- and sugar-free recipe blog, writes: “What can I say, like most southern girls, I love biscuits and I consider myself a biscuit expert!” Melissa, who grew up in Aline, Georgia, managed to create a biscuit recipe that rivals those she remembers from childhood and that contains a whopping 1(!) net carb per serving.

Get the recipe here.

4. Cranberry Jalapeño “Cornbread” Muffins

Carolyn, the writer and recipe developer behind All Day I Dream About Food, which she calls “your low-carb, gluten-free test kitchen,” has found that coconut flour can mimic the taste and texture of cornbread. So, she whipped up these gorgeous, perfectly seasonal, oh-so-tasty cranberry jalapeño “cornbread” muffins.

Get the recipe here.

Main Dishes

We’re offering you not one, but two, takes on the traditional turkey centerpiece, plus two absolutely delicious alternatives that can easily take on the starring role.

5. Best-Ever Brined Turkey and Gluten-Free Gravy

Nutritional therapy practitioner and certified autoimmune protocol (AIP) coach Jaime Hartman, who shares recipes on her site Gutsy by Nature, had just mastered a gravy recipe so good that a few of her family members licked the last drops off their plates when she cut all grains from her diet in order to treat her Crohn’s disease. After several disappointing attempts to recreate her triumph, she cracked it: keto Thanksgiving gravy so good that this time, she was the one to lick it off her plate!

The secret, she believes, is using the drippings from her brined turkey. She gives detailed instructions for how to brine and roast the turkey as well as how to make her delectable gravy in her detailed post.

Get the recipe here.

6. Oven-Roasted Turkey with Rosemary-Thyme Gravy

Given how central turkey and gravy are to many people’s Thanksgiving experience, we couldn’t give you just one recipe option! This one comes from Craig Clarke, who runs Ruled.Me, a blog and online forum for learning about and living a ketogenic lifestyle. Craig punches up the flavor by adding an unexpected spice to his basting mixture: cayenne!

He also uses a component of the turkey as a gravy base: not drippings this time, but innards. He slow cooks them in a richly flavored stock, which he then thickens with heavy cream and a tiny bit of xanthan gum.

Get the recipe here.

7. Ridiculously Juicy Lemon Roast Chicken

The clear alternative for those who don’t like turkey but want to serve an equally impressive roast. This paleo and keto roast chicken recipe is bursting with juicy flavor and looks just beautiful. Paola, who runs recipe blog Gnom-Gnom, uses genius substitutions like radishes and blackstrap molasses to produce a decadent roasted chicken and vegetables main dish that looks like it took way more effort than actually needed.

Get the recipe here.

8. Paleo Braised Lamb with Butternut Squash Mash

If you want to head away from poultry altogether, why not try this braised lamb? Meghan Little and Angel Ayala Torres, who co-author the blog Paleo Effect, say you’ll know the lamb is done when the bones are falling out of it—literally. Can you say delectable? Plus they pair it with fluffy, flavorful mashed butternut squash.

Get the recipe here.


We all agree the sides are the best part of any Thanksgiving meal, right? And since stuffing tops so many people’s lists of favorites, we’re giving you four versions of keto Thanksgiving stuffing to choose from, along with low-carb renditions of beloved standbys like green bean casserole and candied yams. Get into it.

9. Keto Thanksgiving Stuffing

This recipe from Thanksgiving & Co, a site devoted to seasonal holiday recipes, gets you as close as you can to eating classic stuffing you remember while staying in ketosis. The base for this low-carb version? Keto bread, either homemade or store-bought. Then add leeks, celery, and an assortment of savory herbs and spices that the recipe promises yields a flavor “that will have you thankful for each bite.”

Get the recipe here.

10. Low-Carb Cauliflower, Sausage, and Walnut Stuffing

Mellissa Sevigny, who authors the blog I Breathe, I’m Hungry and wrote the book Keto for Life, used a reliable low-carb substitute—cauliflower—to create this ketogenic Thanksgiving stuffing. She notes that the lack of bread does influence the texture, but writes: “The cauliflower soaks up all of the other flavors and has a nice soft texture, the sausage makes it hearty, and the nuts give it a nice crunch – it’s pretty awesome if I do say so!”

Get the recipe here.

11. Minimalist Pecan Stuffing

Dr. Annisa Slusher and her daughter Harper, who jointly run the recipe blog Simply So Healthy, hope to make it easier for people to make healthy choices about food. They say their minimalist, low-carb pecan stuffing is “Thanksgiving flavors in a bowl.” With two kinds of sage, plus other herbs and spices, this fragrant stuffing will fill your house with a delicious aroma. Annisa and Harper recommend it as a perfect pairing for turkey, chicken, game hens, or pork.

Get the recipe here.

12. Keto Green Bean Casserole

This green bean casserole recipe holds a special place in Kyndra Holley’s heart. Holley, a cookbook author who runs the Peace, Love, and Low Carb recipe blog, set out to create a healthy version of the classic recipe her family made every Thanksgiving. And now we can all enjoy the result of her successful endeavor—lucky us!

Get the recipe here.

13. Healthy, Sugar-Free “Candied Yams”

Martina at the Keto Diet came up with this recipe in response to a request from a reader. Substituting low-carb pumpkins for starchy yams was simple enough, but developing a marshmallow replacement proved quite challenging. “I tried several ingredients until the marshmallows were just right—fluffy and amazing!” Martina writes. “The consistency is similar to meringue, but a lot firmer. Best of all, they can be grilled!”

Get the recipe here.

14. Over-the-Top Mashed Cauliflower with Crispy Onion Rings

Vanessa, who shares her ingenious paleo recipes on the blog Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind, really took mashed cauliflower to the next level. Her indulgent but totally keto-compliant recipe instructs you to mix bacon and chives into buttery, fluffy mashed cauliflower, and then top it all off with onions fried in coconut flour batter!

Get the recipe here.

15. Rosemary-Balsamic Glazed Butternut Squash

Holistic nutritionist and weight-lifting coach Steph Gaudreau, who runs the truly delightful site Stupid Easy Paleo, says this is one of her all-time favorite side dishes. Requiring only four ingredients, this caramelized roasted butternut squash drizzled with an infused rosemary balsamic glaze is, Steph writes, “a mouthful of autumn awesome.” And if you’re burnt out on butternut by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, she says another hard squash—like acorn or kabocha—will work equally well.

Get the recipe here.

16. Spinach Salad with Brown Butter Dressing

If you want to round out your Thanksgiving offerings with something lighter that’s delicious enough to actually compete with comforting favorites, give this fresh and vibrant salad recipe a try. Recipe developer Sarah E. Crowder says the delectable and unctuous brown butter dressing makes this salad a true star. Tangy pickled onions, savory Pecorino, and toasted pecans amp up the flavors even more.

Get the recipe here.


There are two essential Thanksgiving sauces: gravy and cranberry sauce. Both can tricky to adapt to the parameters of the keto diet.

Here are some tips on how to make the perfect keto friendly Thanksgiving gravy.

First, let’s talk about gravy. As Laura Dolson, who develops low-carb and gluten-free recipes for home cooks, points out, “With each tablespoon of flour you use to thicken the sauce, you will be adding no less than 6 grams of carbs to the dish. The same applies to alternative thickeners like cornstarch and arrowroot which add 7 grams per tablespoon. Even popular, gluten-free options like rice flour add 8 grams per tablespoon, puncturing the commonly held belief that gluten-free equals low carb.”

That doesn’t mean you need to go without gravy, though! Here are Dolson’s tips for how to make rich, mouth-coating gravy.

  • Add fiber with vegetable gums. Both xanthan and guar gum contain no carbs, but add fiber. Be very careful when adding either to your gravy. You only need a tiny amount to achieve the desired texture. If you add too much, your gravy will turn rubbery.
  • Thicken with reduced cream or half-and-half. Turkey or chicken gravy can be thickened with cream. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons per cup of stock and cook down for several minutes over medium-high heat.
  • Go country-style with cream cheese. Since it’s low in carbs and high in fat, you can use cream cheese to create a decadent, keto-friendly country gravy. Adding about a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce will take the flavor to the next level.
  • Consider the “au jus” option. This entirely carb-free option isn’t as thick or creamy, but it is intensely flavorful. Instead of adding thickening ingredients, simply cook the drippings—the fats, juices, and “sticky caramelized goo” from the bottom of the roasting pan—until they’ve reduced to a glossy, thick sauce.

You can also branch out from the traditional gravy formula with fantastic results. Here are two keto gravy recipes that use unconventional ingredients to great effect.

17. Umami Gravy

When Michelle Tam, who majored in Nutrition and Food Science at Berkeley and went on to found the award-winning site Nom Nom Paleo and write a New York Times best-selling and James Beard Award nominated cookbook, tells you this is the gravy recipe to whip out for company, you listen. She uses bone broth (or rich chicken stock) as the base for her flavor-packed, make-ahead Umami Gravy, and then adds tomato paste, fresh and dried mushrooms, and fish sauce.

Watch Michelle make her mouthwatering gravy.

Get the recipe here.

18. Creamy Keto Thanksgiving Gravy

This recipe comes from medical biophysicist and mom Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, who runs the incredibly informative site The Paleo Mom. The inspiration for this recipe came to her when she was contemplating what to do with a batch of overcooked cauliflower. When she pureed it, “something magical happened,” and thus, cauliflower gravy was born! It’s simple, versatile, and incredibly nutrient-rich.

Get the recipe here.

You didn’t think we forgot about cranberry sauce, did you? There are so many variations on this traditional Thanksgiving sauce, and everyone has their own views on what makes for the best one. So, we’re giving you a simple, four-ingredient, sugar-free cranberry sauce recipe that you can tweak to your heart’s content.

19. Simple Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce

Taryn, who shares gluten- and sugar-free recipes at Joy Filled Eats, says this simple cranberry sauce “tastes just like fall.” It takes less than five minutes of hands-on cooking time and yields a gorgeous cranberry sauce that strikes the ideal balance between tartness and sweetness and contains less than a gram of sugar per serving.

Get the recipe here.


What holiday meal would be complete without a show-stopping dessert? We found you the best keto adaptations of the Thanksgiving classics—pumpkin and pecan pie—as well as a few delicious and eye-catching alternatives.

20. Easy Keto Pumpkin Pie

Maya Krampf, founder of Wholesome Yum, creates keto-friendly recipes with natural, unprocessed ingredients. And each recipe she shares uses 10 ingredients or less! This easy keto pumpkin pie recipe tastes every bit as delicious as the “real” thing, and looks gorgeous too! The trick to avoiding cracks, Maya says, is to be careful not to over-bake it. And if you’re really committed, you can bake it in a water bath.

Get the recipe here.

21. Perfect Paleo Pecan Pie

Indulge in a sweet treat without sending your blood sugar sky high! Caitlin Weeks, a certified nutrition consultant, cookbook author, and full-time blogger at Grass Fed Girl, says the key to getting the rich caramel flavor you know and love into this sugar-free pecan pie recipe is to use browned butter. Plus, optionally, a 1/2 teaspoon of molasses, which augments that flavor and adds nominal carbs.

Get the recipe here.

22. Low-Carb Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

This cheesecake is surprisingly easy to make, given how fabulously impressive it looks! Lisa, a home cook who shares her favorite healthy recipes at Low Carb Yum, uses finely ground pecans to duplicate the crumbly texture of a graham cracker crust. Plus, this dessert needs to cool overnight, so you can check at least one thing off your holiday meal checklist in advance—phew!

Get the recipe here.

23. Decadent Keto Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

This recipe delivers traditional pumpkin flavor in an unexpected form: a decadent pumpkin roll filled with luscious cream cheese frosting. Dominic, who runs the keto recipe site No Bun Please, admits upfront that this dessert does take some time to create. Your efforts will be rewarded, though, when you hand beautifully-spiraled slices to your awestruck guests.

Get the recipe here.

24. Healthy Low-Carb Apple Fritters

Andrea Wykoff, a cookbook author and blogger at Forest and Fauna who believes in the healing power of food, created these beautifully rustic apple fritters that we feel fully deserve a spot on a Thanksgiving dessert table. She uses a mixture of almond flour, coconut flour, chia seeds, and other keto-compliant ingredients to create fritter batter that dries up perfectly. And her vanilla icing is out of this world good!

Get the recipe here.

25. Sophisticated Sugar-Free French Silk Pie

Kim, who shares delicious keto recipes on her blog Low Carb Maven, sees French Silk Pie as the epitome of chocolate desserts. It took a bit of playing around to get the perfect texture for her sugar-free version, and she says the key is to use a powdered sweetener that mimics confectioners sugar. And to make the chocolate flavor even richer, she adds a sprinkle of espresso powder and a dash of brandy! All that, with only 3 net carbs per serving.

Get the recipe here.


Adding themed beverages to your celebration bestows an extra layer of festivity. Kick your holiday off with a pumpkin spice hot buttered coffee, or brew a batch of low-carb cranberry juice to make seasonal mimosas!

Nutritionist Sarah Jadin does suggest exercising caution when it comes to the hard stuff, however. “Alcohol tends to affect people on the keto diet sooner and harder compared to people eating a general diet,” she noted. She suggests sticking to one or two boozy drinks at most, and opting for pure distilled spirits or dry wine to keep your carb and sugar intake as low as possible.

26. Pumpkin Spice Hot Buttered Coffee

This healthy creamy seasonal drink is flat-out delicious. Health and fitness professional Vanessa, who runs the site Healthy Living How To, set out to create a pumpkin spice coffee that rivals the versions offered by certain coffeeshops, and she certainly succeed. This keto pumpkin spice coffee gets you your flavor fix without the blood sugar spike, and wheezing it in a blender gives it a thick, foamy texture you won’t be able to get enough of!

Get the recipe here.

27. Keto Cranberry Juice

You thought you couldn’t have juice on keto? Well, you’re right most of the time, but the geniuses behind the beloved recipe blog Fluffy Chix Cook came up with a recipe for a bright, acidic, keto cranberry juice that you can use to whip up whatever holiday drink creations strike your fancy.

Get the recipe here.

28. Low-Carb Mulled Wine

Wind down at the end of a long day of Thanksgiving feasting and fun by sipping this keto-compliant mulled wine, created by Candace, a certified holistic health coach who runs The Glow Getter. It offers everything you’d hope for in a comforting holiday beverage. Warming spices evoke the spirit of the season, and the impact on your total carb consumption is quite minimal.

Get the recipe here.

Tips for a totally keto Thanksgiving meal.

Click here to read more about the keto diet!


  1. I am new to keto, and your blog is really helpful. I’m preparing to start my weekly keto meal plan. And thank you for for listing all this awesome recipes. Now I know what to put in my shopping cart. I am excited, NO cheating, i promise!! 😉

    1. You’re welcome, Josefine! Good luck on your Fitness journey and enjoy all this recipes. No cheating, I like that. 🙂


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