When it comes to Thanksgiving, the food is truly the star of the show, with the once-a-year feast centered around the classics—buttery potatoes, herby stuffing, saccharine pies, and of course, a perfectly-golden turkey. And at the heart of every dish is an ingredient or two that gives the food its tried-and-true traditional flavor. Whether you’re hosting for the first time or looking to make this year extra memorable, this round-up of essential spices and seasonings is exactly what you need to serve up a spread that will have everyone asking for seconds (and begging for another invite for next year).
With an herby, slightly earthy flavor, McCormick Whole Thyme Leaves can be used to add a savory note to a variety of dishes, including turkey brine, roasted vegetables, and stuffing. Bonus: The aromas wafting through the house will instantly transport you to traditions and meals of Thanksgivings past.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
There is perhaps nothing more quintessentially Thanksgiving than the rich, comforting taste of this mix of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg. McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice is a star in pie (of course) and on ice cream, but equally tasty on squash-based sides, and even warm drinks. Or if you want to level-up your meal without sacrificing the traditional flavors, consider mixing the spice into butter, which guests can dollop on wheat rolls or sweet potato casserole.
Not to spill grandma’s secrets, but McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract is likely the hidden ingredient in many generations-old family recipes. And there’s a good reason why: It delivers a rich, balanced, recognizable, warm vanilla flavor to everything from pies to streusels and other baked goods, to side dishes like candied nuts or casseroles with a sweet topping.
While not always thought of as a Turkey Day cooking staple, reach for parsley to bring clean, bright flavor to stuffing or stocks. And because of its mild flavor, the flat-leaf or Italian variety is good to have on hand in case your smorgasbord of brown dishes looks a little ho-hum—a dash of the seasoning over potatoes or noodles adds a welcome pop of color and flavor. Keep McCormick Parsley Flakes on hand so you’re never without.
Turkey Gravy Mix
All the Thanksgiving VIPs—turkey, stuffing, potatoes—shine when paired with the right sauce. An ingredient like McCormick Turkey Gravy Seasoning Mix makes it simple to create rich, heart, just-like-mom’s gravy with just a packet and water, and can be customized with drippings and giblets if you choose, too.
A handful of sprigs stuffed into your turkey imparts a piney, herbaceous flavor sure, but the woody spice works wonders on non-meat fare, too: Try finely chopping it into melty-cheese appetizers or spreads, adding it to a homemade salad dressing, or baking it into the tops of rolls. Save time without sacrificing flavor with dried McCormick Whole Rosemary Leaves–1 teaspoon of dried equals 2 teaspoons of fresh.
Sure, it tastes wonderful in stuffing, but this bold herb is equally as great as a pretty—and edible—garnish. Give it a try: crisp the velvety leaves and serve them atop pumpkin soup or sprinkle McCormick Rubbed Sage in a nice olive oil for guests to dip their bread.
An alternative to the ever-popular Thanksgiving cranberry, these ruby-red gems bring intense color and texture to your holiday menu. Their tart and crunchy composition make them perfect for flavoring up salads, cocktails, or even classic side dishes, like Brussels sprouts.