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Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner

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Looking for an easy sheet pan Thanksgiving dinner recipe? This recipe combines Cornish hens, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and Brussels sprouts roasted all together for a perfect dinner for 4 option!

Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner on a platter getting covered in gravy.

Another holiday means another sheet pan meal!

I feel like I’m starting to just want to do every. single. holiday. on a sheet pan and honestly, I’m here for it!

It makes cooking so much easier and feeds a family of 2 or 4 so easily and quickly!

If you don’t remember last year I did a Sheet Pan Thanksgiving with turkey breast, sourdough stuffing, roasted sweet potatoes, and green beans. And I went ahead and did a fun Sheet Pan Easter Dinner too!

For this year’s version, I went with Cornish hens because they are a household favorite, cook up easily, and pair perfectly with all the other delicious Thanksgiving staples like Brussels sprouts, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole.

If you’re looking for the PERFECT EASY Thanksgiving this post is just for you!

Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner uncooked showing how to set it up on the sheet pan.

How to cook Thanksgiving dinner on a sheet pan

I think the hardest part about making this dish is realizing that you only need a few standard dishes to make it feel like Thanksgiving.

Now, I know that everybody/every family always has a different view on “makes” Thanksgiving dinner but for my family that meant:

  • Turkey or chicken
  • Stuffing/Dressing
  • Sweet potatoes with marshmallows
  • Some sort of vegetable

Yes, I fall strongly into the “it’s not a meal without a vegetable” family.

Of course, you can alter this slightly to fix what you love but you’ll want to make sure it can all be cooked together in the timeline I set in the recipe.

The biggest tip I can offer is to make sure you do not crowd your pan too much. You don’t want to steam your food you want to roast it!

I like to make sure to use a large half sheet pan for recipes like this.

Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner served on a platter.

Ingredients for sheet pan Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Cornish hens
    • Cornish hens are a great alternative to turkey because they cook up quickly but still give you that classic white and dark meat combo. Just like turkey you’ll want to make sure to remove any giblets from the cavity.
    • I love the combination of butter and olive oil on the hens. It adds great flavor while keeping the meat moist and helping the skin brown.
    • I like to use garlic powder on the outside of the hens because fresh garlic tends to burn and become bitter.
    • I’m using parsley and rosemary but feel free to use any herbs you like – sage or thyme would also be delicious!
  • Dressing
    • Chicken stock keeps the dressing moist so it doesn’t dry out.
    • Egg binds the dressing together so it doesn’t become too crumbly.
    • I love carrot, celery, shallot and garlic in my dressing but feel free to add anything you like– onion, leek, mushrooms, etc. 
    • We’re using fresh rosemary to add freshness to our dressing but thyme or sage would be delicious– just make sure it’s fresh!
    • Dried cranberries add a delicious sweetness and tartness to the dressing.
    • I’m using 2 cups of leftover stale sourdough bread and 2 cups of stale cornbread but this recipe can be made with any combination of breads that you have on hand!
    • Butter helps the dressing brown on top and adds a bit of richness and butter flavor!
  • Sweet potato casserole
    • Canned yams make the sweet potato quick and easy to make but you could also bake 3 sweet potatoes and use the flesh from those.
    • Half and half keeps the casserole moist and soft.
    • Brown sugar adds a bit of sweetness that is delicious with the sweet potatoes.
    • Butter adds richness to the sweet potatoes as well! 
    • Egg makes the casserole a little more like a custard so it’s creamy and indulgent! 
    • Mini marshmallows are a classic topping for sweet potato casserole but you could also leave it uncovered or use a brown sugar streusel.
  • Brussels sprouts
    • I’m using Brussels sprouts in this recipe but you could also use thick asparagus or green beans. Just make sure to keep an eye on them and adjust the cooking time as needed.
    • Olive oil helps the Brussels sprouts roast without burning. 
    • Garlic powder adds great flavor and doesn’t burn the same way minced garlic does!
Pouring gravy over cut up Cornish hens.

What is the difference between stuffing and dressing?

Technically speaking stuffing is a bread-based mixture used to stuff and cook inside the turkey while roasting.

Dressing is made and cooked outside the bird.

However, nowadays it’s used pretty interchangeably.

I almost always use the term stuffing and have never stuffed a bird.

I’m a rebel like that.

In this recipe, I made a fairly simple classic stuffing made with a combination of stale bread, cornbread, fresh herbs, carrot, celery, and dried cranberries.

It’s a delicious sweet and savory stuffing that is a twist on classic sage and cornbread stuffing.

Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner on a sheet pan with a spoon scooping up Brussels sprouts.

What can I make with the leftovers?

If you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers here are a few recipes that you can try! Some of them might call for turkey but you can use Cornish hen meat in place of the turkey.

Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner fully cooked on a sheet pan.

Love this sheet pan Thanksgiving dinner?

Why not try a few of my other delicious Thanksgiving recipes?

Easy Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner

Easy Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Looking for an easy sheet pan Thanksgiving dinner recipe? This recipe combines Cornish hens, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and Brussels sprouts roasted all together for a perfect dinner for 4 option!

Ingredients

For Cornish hens:

  • 2 Cornish Hens (about 3 pounds each)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

For stuffing:

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 cups stale bread cubes, about 1”
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes

For sweet potato casserole:

  • 1 can (40 ounces) yams, drained
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows

For roasted Brussel sprouts:

  • 1/2 pound brussel sprouts, halved
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

For Cornish hens: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Create a foil bowl that is about 1/4 the size of your sheet pan - making sure it’s just large enough to hold both cornish hens. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, olive oil, garlic powder, parsley, and rosemary. 
  3. Pat the cornish hens dry with a paper towel and rub them all over with the herb butter. Season the hens with salt and pepper and place them in the foil bowl on your sheet pan, making sure to tuck the wings under so they don’t burn. If your hens don’t have the legs tied together, secure them with kitchen twine. 
  4. Cover the hens with more foil and roast them for 25 minutes while you prepare the sides. 

For dressing:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the chicken stock and egg. Season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Add the carrot, celery, garlic, rosemary, and cranberries. Stir to combine. 
  3. Add the bread cubes and mix just until the bread is moistened. Set the dressing aside until ready to use. 

For sweet potato casserole:  

  1. In a large bowl, mash together the yams, half-and-half, brown sugar, butter, egg, and cinnamon until your desired consistency. Add a small pinch of salt. 
  2. If you want a very smooth casserole, you can also puree the mixture with a mixer or immersion blender. 
  3. Set the mixture aside until ready to use. 

For Brussel sprouts:

  1. Add the Brussels sprouts, olive oil, and garlic powder to a large bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside until ready to use. 

For final roast: 

  1. Uncover the hens and baste them with juices from the pan. If you don’t have any juices to baste with, use one tablespoon of melted butter to baste the hens. 
  2. Create another foil bowl that is 1/4 the size of the pan and add the sweet potatoes to the bowl. 
  3. Add the dressing to another 1/4 of the sheet pan, making sure to spread it out into an even layer. Top the dressing with the butter cubes. 
  4. Lastly, add the Brussels sprouts, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. We want them to roast, not steam! 
  5. Roast everything together for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and flip the Brussels sprouts. Base the hens again with juices from the pan, or melted butter. Add the mini marshmallows on top of the sweet potato casserole. 
  6. Return the pan to the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the hens is 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer and the marshmallows are golden brown. 
  7. Enjoy immediately or keep warm in a 200 degrees F oven for up to 30 minutes. 

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Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner pin for Pinterest.

Sheet Pan Cornish Hens - a delicious and easy way to make Cornish hens!

Friday 19th of November 2021

[…] Craving holiday dinner but super easy? Try my Sheet Pan Thanksgiving Dinner. […]

Beck & Bulow

Wednesday 17th of November 2021

I followed these directions (modifying it just a bit for our 20 lb. turkey) and it came out wonderful. Moist and Golden. Would definitely recommend and make it again. Thanks!!

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