Tips For Hosting A Food-Allergy-Friendly Thanksgiving Meal

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Preparing Thanksgiving dinner can be stressful under the best of circumstances! But when you have a guest with food allergies, menu planning can be even more of a challenge. Read on for a few recipes and tips for hosting a food-allergy-friendly Thanksgiving meal: 

Many Thanksgiving Favorites Are Naturally Allergy Friendly

Milk, wheat, egg, soy and nuts are common food allergens and also present in many holiday foods.  Fortunately, many Thanksgiving favorites are either naturally allergy friendly or easily modified.

Turkey and Main Dishes

Turkey is the centerpiece of the harvest table. When roasted with olive oil and spices, it is naturally free from common allergens.  If one of your guests has a wheat allergy or is gluten-free, simply cook the stuffing separately.  Roasting a separate, smaller turkey breast is also an option.

You could also provide a hearty dish that incorporates several foods and flavors, as found in the recipes below. 

Recipes: Thanksgiving Turkey Meatloaf; or Butternut Squash & Quinoa Casserole (substitute pumpkin seeds for pecans if nut allergic.)

Mashed Potatoes

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without mashed potatoes.  Often made with milk and butter, mashed potatoes can be easily modified for milk-free diets. Substitute butter with a dairy-free version, and using cooking water to moisten the potatoes.  A bit of salt and garlic and you never miss the milk!

Recipe: Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes


Cranberry salad and roasted vegetables are also staples, as long as they are made without nuts.

Meal Planning

Not every single dish must accommodate your guests’ restrictions. A well-rounded meal would include a protein, starch (mashed potato), a vegetable, and a fun tradition (cranberry sauce).

Link to other recipes: More allergy-friendly tips and recipes


No holiday is complete without dessert.  This pumpkin pie is both festive and allergy friendly!

Recipes:  Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie


Learn more about the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders (513-636-2233) and Allergy and Immunology  (513-636-2601) at Cincinnati Children’s.



Alison Cassin, MS, RD, LD

About the Author: Alison Cassin, MS, RD, LD

Alison Cassin is a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in pediatric nutrition at Cincinnati children's. She works primarily with kids and adults with food allergies and eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders. Allison loves to cook (an essential part of being a dietitian!) and lives in a historic neighborhood in Cincinnati with her husband and dog Burger.

Write a comment


  1. Megan Horsley December 06, 09:16
    Great Job Alison. Well written with some great tips. We love our allergy dietitian!
  2. Dr. Marc Rothenberg MD, PhD November 23, 03:28
    Alison-Thanks a lot for this wonderful advice. Best wishes to all of the patients and families inflicted by food allergies. Hope they can be comforted to read Alison's blog and also know how much we at Cincinnati Children's are doing to alleviate and eventually cure food allergies and related disorders.