While roast turkey and cranberry sauce are usually the star of the show, seafood makes a great traditional Thanksgiving dinner too. Whether you want a few seafood dishes or an entire pescatarian holiday meal, here are the top 75 best seafood recipes for thanksgiving and Christmas! From traditional to creative, fancy to comforting, one of these seafood recipes is sure to fit in perfectly.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are the time of year for quality time with family, friends and extended family and indulging in delicious food. If you and your family are seafood lovers, then this list is for you!
Traditional Holiday Seafood Recipes Around North America
In the Southern and Gulf Coast states, you'll find gumbo filled with shrimp, crab meat, and Oysters Rockefeller. And in the Pacific Northwest, grilled salmon is popular and Dungeness crab takes center stage in dishes like crab cakes or crab-stuffed mushrooms.
In New England, it's common to find dishes like clam chowder and lobster rolls on the Thanksgiving table. Lobster stuffed with breadcrumbs and baked until golden brown and clambakes are more East Coast favorites.
These regional specialties showcase the diverse flavors and culinary traditions of North America. Adding your own traditional thanksgiving dishes to your menu brings an extra element of excitement and interest to any Thanksgiving celebration.
These are the best seafood appetizers for your holiday feast. From traditional crab cakes made with delicious lump crab meat and a pinch of cayenne pepper to a fancy chilled seafood platter. Then there's three delicious versions of the classic shrimp cocktail, raw, baked and steamed oysters, and raw dishes like salmon crudo or ceviche. This collection of appetizers has all the family holiday favourites!
Salads are a great option for seafood and shellfish sides. Go light with the Italian marinated seafood or the Thai style prawn salad. For a creamy Southern-style side, whip up the easy special seafood salad recipe.
Seafood Stuffing + Dressing
What would thanksgiving or Christmas dinner be without stuffing or dressing?! My personal favorite, I think this tasty dish is even better with savory seafood in it. Go with a traditional oyster stuffing or try the Ultimate seafood dressing below. For a South American specialty, you've gotta try the shrimp stuffed pumpkin!
Centrepiece Main Courses
Pick a delicious seafood main dish for your holiday feast. From richly flavoured, roasted whole fish to Salmon Wellington, luxurious scallop recipes to all the cream sauced favourites, these seafood recipes make a wonderful thanksgiving meal. These are almost all easy recipes too!
Seafood Soup + Stew
Serve up one of these fish dishes this holiday season. Luxurious seafood stews, soups and curries are a particularly welcome thanksgiving feast when it's cold and stormy outdoors. These are a great way to take your taste buds on a trip. Travel to Italy, New England, New Orleans, Brazil, Nova Scotia, India, Thailand or France with one of these ultra flavorful fish soups or stews!
Hearty, rustic bread or rice make great side dishes for these thanksgiving recipes.
Salmon or scallop risotto is extra fresh and delicious with a sprinkling of fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon. These elegant recipes pair well with appetizers like oysters on the half shell, grilled or bacon wrapped shrimp or some oyster stew. Thanksgiving side dishes like green beans, roasted veggies, crispy salad or the Italian seafood salad above.
Pasta is always in great taste during the holidays. With classic Italian flavors of olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, cream or tomato sauce paired with delicate seafood, these are some of my favorite things. Pasta goes well with sides of grilled seafood, crisp green salad, baguette or rustic breads, and soup or shrimp cocktail as a starter.
Want to break out your smoker over the holidays? Try these delicious smoked seafood recipes for something extra ordinary! These make great conversation pieces during the day and tasty snacks to enjoy before your Thanksgiving day or Christmas dinner.
How To Build A Holiday Seafood Menu
Choose A Main Course
Start by deciding on the main seafood dish you want to serve, such as a whole roasted fish, a luxurious shellfish soup or pasta, Southern seafood boil or Spanish seafood paella. Then, think about the accompanying sides. Pair up coordinating side dishes. If your main dish is creamy, add a grilled or marinated seafood side and vice versa. If your seafood main course is light or tomato based, choose a rich or creamy seafood side dish.
Ideally, seafood appetizers will follow the theme of the dinner but since they are served separately, you can break this rule if you like. Shrimp cocktails are classics but get creative with a piquant Mexican version. Raw or grilled oysters feel festive while not too filling. Crab rangoon or seafood dips are great on buffets and tend to be crowd-pleasers.
Add Some Vegetables
It's a good idea to include some vegetarian dishes for those who may not eat seafood. Salads are a great veggie side that is refreshing, a good counterpoint to rich, creamy seafood recipes. Go with a simple green salad, a richer roasted veggie and blue cheese salad (great served with the Italian seafood pasta dishes)or tasty apple kale slaw (pairs well with rich sauces).
Include Some Traditional Holiday Recipes
Traditional dishes fit right into a seafood menu too. Stuffing or dressing is one of my favorite things, maybe even the best part. Go with a seafood or oyster dressing baked up in a casserole or stuffed into your turkey. Or bake up a classic stuffing to serve with your baked salmon.
Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes pair up well with roasted and baked fillets. Garlic butter roasted potatoes, nut studded rice pilaf and sautéed green beans are other delicious an traditional sides that pair well with these seafood thanksgiving recipes.
Finish With Dessert
And of course, don't forget the desserts. Traditional pumpkin pie or New Orleans bread pudding with bourbon sauce are a popular choice. Apple or key lime pie with light meringue or a simple, rich chocolate tart (below) are also a great option to finish off your holiday table.
I hope these recipes have inspired you to host a fabulous holiday meal with your favorite seafood recipes. And most importantly, enjoy your Christmas or thanksgiving weekend with those you love the most.
More Seafood Recipes
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Cheers and happy cooking, Friends! Sabrina