10 Southern Skillet Recipes Your Thanksgiving Table Needs

Thanksgiving Side Dish: Skillet Squash Blossom
Photo: Iain Bagwell

Your trusted cast-iron skillet just made Thanksgiving a whole lot tastier. Looking for a Thanksgiving recipe that will stand out among the fluffy sweet potato casseroles, savory stuffings, and buttery breads? Sometimes, the key to a stunning Thanksgiving dish lies completely in the presentation—and what better way to up your recipe presentation than with a perfectly rustic cast iron skillet? Cast iron skillets are a Southern favorite for many reasons: they are durable, efficient, useful, and oh-so photogenic. They can get screamin' hot, and stay that way for as long as you need them to. Perfect for searing meats, frying chicken, sautéing vegetables, and even baking perfectly-crusted pies, cast iron skillets are versatile and one of the most useful pots in Mama's cabinet. Retire your sheet pans and your glass casserole dishes, and try these delicious skillet Thanksgiving recipes, handpicked by the Southern Living editors to ensure your holiday spread is perfectly stated and utterly Southern.

01 of 10

Skillet Caramel Apple Pie

Caramel Apple Blondie Pie
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Skillet Caramel Apple Pie

Swap out your usual pie plate for your trusty cast-iron skillet and prepare to be impressed with the results. Not only does a skillet make a dramatic presentation, it can also make a better pie.

The rich, bourbon-y caramel sauce makes the tender, lightly spiced apple filling and flaky crust even more irresistible. Although this recipe can be made with most apples, Fuji apples are our test kitchen's preference here. The tart-sweet flavor works well with the sweet caramel, and the apples hold their shape when baked instead of turning to mush.

02 of 10

King Ranch Chicken and Mac and Cheese

King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Recipe: King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese

This over-the-top mac and cheese side dish puts all other mac and cheese dishes to shame. It's safe to say that it will steal the show at your Thanksgiving gathering, but this just might be your go-to mac 'n cheese prep for the long haul.

Get this on the table any night of the year. If you're really short on time, consider picking up a rotisserie chicken and buying pre-shredded cheese also. Follow these shortcuts and you're guaranteed to get this crowd-pleasing casserole on the table in a snap.

03 of 10

Skillet Squash Blossom

Thanksgiving Side Dish: Skillet Squash Blossom
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Skillet Squash Blossom

Is it the tasty, caramelized edges, or the intriguing visual appearance that makes this side dish pretty enough to be a Thanksgiving centerpiece? The Skillet Squash Blossom is fresh and flavorful; you won't miss the heavy cheese sauces that usually accompany squash casseroles.

The cast iron skillet serves multiple functions in this stunning squash dish—you'll fry the bacon, sauté the onions, and bake the combined dish in the same skillet.

04 of 10

Skillet Cornbread

Thanksgiving Skillet Dishes Cornbread
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Skillet Cornbread

This is a classic cornbread recipe, enhanced with bacon drippings and made with just the right amount of rich flavor from buttermilk. The skillet serves to both evenly bake the bread and to yield a dark, golden crisp crust.

Quickly incorporate the hot bacon drippings into the batter with a fork. When you pour it back into the hot skillet, listen for the sizzle. That sound means your crust will result as it shouldm and be dark, golden and crisp.

05 of 10

Pecan Pie Cobbler

Pecan Pie Cobbler
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pecan Pie Cobbler

Instead of dumping fruit in the middle of this cobbler, we make a variation of a pecan pie filling that's rich with the sweetness of brown sugar and vanilla and enriched by small additions of melted butter and bourbon.

As the cobbler bakes, the sugar mixture liquifies, soaking into the batter and creating a sticky sweet cobbler with extra crunch and flavor.

06 of 10

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots

CROP Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots
Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots

Here's a crowd-pleasing, holiday-ready take on a classic combo: Brussels sprouts and bacon. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to try out this casserole, but we love it for a regular weeknight as well. This dish is best with small, compact Brussels sprouts because they have a milder flavor than the large, leafy ones.

07 of 10

Spatchcock Chicken

Garlicky Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Spatchcock Chicken

Achieve the ultimate crispiness when roasting a chicken without worrying about dryness by butterflying the bird. Also called spatchcocking, the process removes the backbone (something your butcher can assist you with) to flatten out the chicken. This allows the breast and legs to cook at the same level on your pan, resulting in meat that cooks quicker and more evenly. Plus, the exposed surface on the pan will create a wonderfully crispy chicken skin.

08 of 10

Skillet Apple Pie

Easy Skillet Apple Pie
Photo: Luca Trovato

Recipe: Skillet Apple Pie

The method of preparing pie in a cast-iron skillet is decidedly Southern. This is our easiest apple pie ever, baked just like Grandmother made it and sliced straight from the skillet. If you've never tried making a pie in a skillet, this is the perfect entry point.

The mix of Granny Smith and Braeburn apples gives the filling a bright blend of crisp and sweet apple flavor, while the bottom crust bakes in a thin layer of brown sugar caramel simmering on the surface of the cast-iron skillet, making for a gooey and delicious caramel-infused pastry.

Watch: Easy Skillet Apple Pie

09 of 10

Pineapple-Ginger Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple-Ginger Upside-Down Cake
Antonis Achilleos

Recipe: Pineapple-Ginger Upside-Down Cake

If you ask us, the best part of a pineapple upside-down cake is the layer of sticky caramelized fruit. So we added twice as much of it! When arranging the sliced pineapple in the skillet, make sure the pieces overlap to prevent big gaps as the cake bakes.

Any crisp dry white wine—a Spanish Albariño, an Italian Arneis or an Austrian Grüner Veltliner, for example—will bring out the bright qualities of the pineapple. Dry rosé is another excellent option and is probably the best choice if you want to serve a single wine with this pleasing final course.

10 of 10

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potato Bake

Caramelized Onion Mashed Potato Bake
Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Caramelized Onion Mashed Potato Bake

Give your mashed potatoes a little something extra with the addition of caramelized onions, Gruyère cheese, and fresh parsley. It takes only seven ingredients and two simple steps to make rich, fluffy mashed potatoes. For the absolute creamiest texture, use warm liquids whether stock, cream, or milk instead of cold liquids when you begin mashing the potatoes.

Learning to carmelize onions comes in very handy when trying to get the most out of your preparations. Our slow-cooker recipe will allow you to go hands free and still get the sweet result of this classic treatment for onions.

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