Let These Iconic Thanksgiving Dinners from TV Make You Hungry

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A Blast From Interviews Past: “Gilmore Girls”

What do you get when you combine the magic of television and Thanksgiving? A mouthwatering experience.

Traditionally, most TV shows commemorate the United States’ Turkey Day by whipping up very special episodes, which often include family high jinks, cooking chaos and, you guessed it, a sit down dinner worthy of a Michelin star.

Take Friends, for example. The NBC comedy, which ran for 10 seasons between 1994 and 2004, had a Thanksgiving episode every season. Meaning, viewers took in 10 Thanksgiving meals perfectly curated by Friends‘ props department. Yet, one meal stood out among the rest. (For that answer, you’ll have to keep reading.)

Gilmore Girls, starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel as the titular mother-daughter duo, also had its fair share of holiday episodes. In fact, one Thanksgiving episode from season three featured Lorelai and Rory attending not one, not two, not three, but four festive feasts. If that doesn’t make you hungry, we don’t know what will.

Curious to learn more about the best Thanksgiving dinners TV has offered up over the years? Keep reading:


This Is Us

This Is Us always outdoes itself when it comes to Thanksgiving episodes, and while not all of them seem delicious (sorry Pilgrim Rick, but hot dogs just don’t do it for us), each holiday meal is sure to come with a warm side of heartfelt emotions. The most scrumptious feast, though, no doubt goes to season three’s “Six Thanksgivings” episode, in which we get not one but six Thanksgiving dinners with the whole spread. 

Fox Network

That 70’s Show

The 70’s may have had some weird food (see: Watergate salad?!) but That 70’s Show kept the Thanksgiving menu traditional in season one with a delicious-looking turkey and all the trimmings. 


Bob’s Burgers

A ding, a ding, what’s that sound? It’s the gravy boat, comin’ around! Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) is known for his adventurous menu planning, especially on Thanksgiving. But the delectable meal Bob prepared as a ruse for his landlord Mr. Fischoeder (Kevin Kline) to woo back an ex-lover during “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal” looked especially scrumptious with a specially-seasoned, free-range turkey from an elite farm.


New Girl

When Jess (Zooey Deschanel) hosts her divorced parents, played by Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis, for Thanksgiving, she pulls out all the stops in the kitchen. It’s no wonder that Jess’ parents rekindle their romance over a very sexy dinner featuring cornbread stuffing and an oven-roasted turkey.  


How I Met Your Mother

What’s Thanksgiving without a side of slaps? Yes, we’re talking about the infamous How I Met Your Mother “Slapsgiving,” in which the only thing redder than Barney’s (Neil Patrick Harris) face is the cranberry sauce on the table. 


The Mindy Project

Is it getting hot in here, or is the oven still on? Mindy (Mindy Kaling) couldn’t stop her blood from boiling over after seeing her ex Dennis (Ed Helms) at a friend’s Thanksgiving party…and she ultimately fights his new girlfriend. Sure, there’s plenty of drama, but we can’t take our eyes off their festive dessert buffet featuring pumpkin, apple and pecan pies.  



OK, so we might have been feasting our eyes on Friends guest star Brad Pitt but we still saved room for some of those candied sweet potatoes.  


Master of None

Lena Waithe won an Emmy for writing (and acting in!) a powerful Master of None Thanksgiving episode in which her character Denise comes out to her family. As Denise opens up about her sexuality and family politics ensue, the honest on-screen conversation is held over what looks like an award-winning Thanksgiving dinner with casseroles and greens.

The CW

Gossip Girl

Leave it to the O.G. Gossip Girl to go all-out for Thanksgiving. We’re definitely thankful for the tongue-in-cheek (tongue-in-pie?) title of the very first Thanksgiving-themed episode “Blair Waldorf Must Pie” which includes a montage to Nelly Furtado‘s “Promiscuous” (iconic) and a very posh presentation for what sure seems to be a culinary perfection of a dinner. 

Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Will & Grace

It certainly was a “Moveable Feast” for Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing) as they joined their pals’ respective families for a very traditional—a.k.a. dysfunctional—dinner. We can’t keep our eyes off of this juicy turkey though as Debbie Reynolds and Blythe Danner co-star.


Fresh Off the Boat

Fresh Off the Boat‘s “Huangsgiving” captures the frantic last-minute lead-up to Thanksgiving dinner that all families experience. However, with mere hours to host the big holiday, Jessica (Constance Wu) puts together a picture-perfect feast for her family (with just a few faux pas along the way). Can we grab a plate?



Thanksgiving becomes a mission to have a traditional family meal for the sake of getting Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Lillith’s (Bebe Neuwirth) son into private school. It doesn’t take a psychoanalyst to realize that their family dysfunction during “A Lillith Thanksgiving” is relatable…but their Michelin-starred meal is not. #Goals! 


The Sopranos

Turkey with a side of gabagool? It’s not a Sopranos family dinner without some ziti and some zingers as Tony (James Gandolfini) tries to get Carmela (Edie Falco) to cancel Thanksgiving in “He Is Risen.” What, like we’d turn down Carmela’s cooking? 



Not every year has a “Happy Thanksgiving,” but the Parenthood episode of the same name shows off what the holiday is really about: getting together with extended family and EATING. Just look at that banquet table full of side dishes! 


Everybody Loves Raymond

Turkey or fish, that is the question. As the Barone family struggles to create new traditions while still honoring the old, we can’t get over the ingenious double entrée idea. 

Colleen Hayes/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images via Getty Images

Modern Family

There’s nothing like “Three Turkeys” (the name of the iconic Modern Family episode and also the theme of our Thanksgiving daydreams) to whet an appetite. It’s not a “backup” turkey; it’s called the proper way to do Turkey Day.

The CW

Gilmore Girls

“A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving”? Sign us up! Ultimate cozy show Gilmore Girls served up a series of fall-themed Thanksgiving episodes, but our favorite remains the one where Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) try to have four Thanksgiving meals in one day. We can’t pick a favorite dish, but the belly-aching fullness of watching the mother-daughter duo chow down is aspirational.


The Nanny

The Sheffield family might be expanding, as Fran (Fran Drescher) has her mind set on getting pregnant in “Oh Say Can You Ski.” One thing is for certain, though: We would definitely have a food baby after consuming the lavish assortment of Thanksgiving dishes that only uptown wealth can buy.

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