More than any other holiday, Thanksgiving revolves around food and that can be stressful when you are following a special diet for any reason — including IC. However, you can easily have an IC friendly Thanksgiving with just a bit of planning. Whether this is your first or 15th holiday season with IC, these recipes will help you safely enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. (Check out also these tips for managing the IC diet during the holidays.) Unless otherwise noted, all the following recipes use food only from the “Usually Bladder Friendly” section of the IC Diet Food List.)

Let’s talk turkey

The star of most Thanksgiving dinners is the turkey. Fortunately turkey is almost always IC friendly. However, some preparations can include lots of acid and citrus, so beware of how the turkey is prepared. Go for a simple and straightforward turkey recipe like this one for a simply perfect roast turkey. It uses only butter, salt, pepper (which can be omitted) and turkey stock to create a delicious roast turkey your whole family can enjoy.

If you want to brine your turkey, check out this cider brined turkey recipe from Bev Lauman.

Another option popular with some families is frying your turkey. This deep-fried turkey recipe from Alton Brown includes only salt, brown sugar and peanut oil along with the turkey. All of those ingredients are IC friendly, so give it a try if you want to!

If you end up with leftover turkey and want to find some creative and IC friendly ways to use it up, check out these recipes:

  • Turkey a la king: Puffed pastry or biscuits are stuffed with turkey, peas and mushrooms in a cream sauce.
  • Air-fryer turkey croquettes: Turn turkey and mashed potatoes into crispy patties.
  • Turkey and wild rice soup: Rice, red potatoes and turkey are the base of this soup. Onions are also included. Cooked onions are usually less acidic and better tolerated by many IC bladders, but if yours isn’t one of them, omit the onions.
  • Thanksgiving noodles: Use both leftover veggies and turkey in this noodle dish.
  • Turkey alfredo pizza: Omit the 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and the dash of red pepper flakes for a yummy pizza with turkey, spinach and alfredo.
  • Turkey nuggets: Try breaded turkey nuggets instead of chicken.

The downlow on dressing

Whether you cook it in your turkey or on its own, stuffing/dressing is definitely part of most Thanksgiving meals. As a bread-based dish, it is also almost always IC friendly. While turkey has only a few different flavor options, dressing or stuffing have a wide variety of flavor options. You can go with a classic turkey stuffing recipe or get creative with any of these other stuffing/dressing options!

Perfect potatoes

Potatoes are great side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you’re looking for something to make with russet potatoes, red potatoes or sweet potatoes (or all of the above — we won’t judge!), these recipes will have your entire family going back for seconds.

Russet and Yukon Gold potato recipes

Red potatoes

  • Scalloped potatoes: Consider trying these cheese and potatoes baked together in the oven.
  • Creamy ranchified potatoes: Made in the slow cooker, this recipe mixes red potatoes with ham and ranch seasoning.
  • Creamy red potatoes: Only a few ingredients are in this recipe: red potatoes, cream cheese, cream of potato soup and ranch seasoning.
  • Roasted red potatoes: This is a basic recipe with red potatoes, olive oil and seasoning that you bake.

Sweet potatoes

Scrumptious vegetables

Even vegetables seem to taste better than usual at Thanksgiving dinner. While you can certainly keep a platter of fresh, raw veggies and dip around for snacking, there are some delectable vegetable side dishes you’ll want to add to your menu.


  • Carrot salad: Shredded carrots, apples and almonds give this salad flavor. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. (To omit the lemon juice and keep the apples from browning, soak the cut apple in saltwater [half teaspoon of salt per cup of water] for 10 minutes, then drain. Rinse the apples to remove the mild salt flavor if desired.)
  • Slow cooker glazed carrots: After three hours in the slow cooker along with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, these carrots are practically a dessert.
  • Roasted parmesan garlic carrots: Carrots, olive oil, garlic salt and Parmesan cheese baked together in the oven make up this simple side dish.
  • Buttery cooked carrots: Using just baby carrots, margarine (or butter) and brown sugar, these carrots are an easy side anyone can whip up.


Green beans

Creative with cranberries

Cranberry sauce is often a staple on Thanksgiving dinner menus, but cranberries are also in the “Foods to Avoid” category of the IC diet. So, unless you know for sure cranberries don’t bother your bladder, just let the cranberry sauce go or try an alternative using a less acidic fruit like pears or apples.

Breaking bread

While you can definitely go with store-bought rolls or bread products, don’t be afraid to try making your own. Bread can usually be made a day or two ahead of time and still be fresh and tasty. So if you aren’t feeling well right now, volunteer to be in charge of bread. You can buy or bake it a day or two ahead of time and then rest on Thanksgiving Day to save your energy for time with your loved ones. If you want to bake bread, you have two options: with yeast and without yeast.

Bread with yeast

  • Basic yeast rolls: Use your mixer — stand or handheld — to make these soft yeast rolls.
  • Potato rolls: Mashed potatoes are mixed into the dough of these rolls.
  • Crescent rolls: Skip the canned crescent rolls and make them from scratch.
  • Overnight yeast rolls: This dough is made ahead of time so all you have to do is bake the rolls on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Sweet potato rolls: Sweet potato puree adds flavor to these yeast rolls.

Bread without yeast

Delicious desserts

Of course you’ve got to finish off a Thanksgiving feast with something sweet. Pies are the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert, but there are other tasty options as well. You can definitely find ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without risking a bladder flare.


  • Pecan pie: This is a healthier version of the traditional favorite that is still big on flavor. Pecans are in the “Foods Worth Trying” category.
  • Butterscotch pie: Butter and brown sugar combine for a delicious butterscotch flavor in this pie recipe.
  • Pumpkin pie: No dessert says Thanksgiving feast louder than pumpkin pie.
  • Pumpkin pie with maple whip: This recipe includes instructions for homemade crust, pumpkin pie filling and a recipe for a maple whipped topping for your pumpkin pie.
  • Sweet potato pie: Another Thanksgiving favorite, this sweet potato pie recipe is straightforward.
  • Pear-blackberry pie: Combining two autumnal fruits like pears and blackberries can make a yummy dessert. Blackberries are in the “Foods Worth Trying” category.
  • Apple pie: A basic and traditional apple pie recipe. It calls for Granny Smith apples, but you can substitute them for Pink Lady, Gala or Fuji apples, which are all more IC friendly.
  • Slow cooker apple crisp: This isn’t technically a pie since it has a “crust” only on top, but it’s close. You can use your slow cooker to serve this dessert warm at Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe top it with some vanilla ice cream for an extra special treat!

Pumpkin desserts

  • Marbled pumpkin cheesecake: Store-bought gingersnap cookies make the crust for this pumpkin cheesecake.
  • Pumpkin spice mousse: Try this light, fluffy mousse that you can dip graham crackers or gingersnaps into. (The recipe suggests topping with a dollop of sour cream, but omit that if sour cream doesn’t agree with your bladder.)
  • Pumpkin roll: Filled with sweetened cream cheese, pumpkin rolls are usually a hit in the fall. (This recipe uses 1 teaspoon of lemon juice for the entire recipe.)
  • Iced pumpkin cookies: This recipe makes soft pumpkin cookies drizzled with icing.
  • Double layer pumpkin cheesecake: If you can’t decide between pumpkin pie and cheesecake, try this recipe to combine both options.



  • Toffee cookies: Toffee bits give these cookies a chewy yet crispy texture. (Side note: My family won’t let me come to holidays without making these cookies!)
  • Pecan shortbread cookies: These cookies have bits of pecan in them and are topped with a pecan half. Pecans are in the “Foods Worth Trying” category.
  • Oatmeal ginger cream pies: A delicious version of a boxed snack cake, this recipe includes directions for making oatmeal cookies and ginger cream to sandwich them together.
  • Sweet potato snickerdoodles: Cinnamon and sweet potatoes go well together, so this sweet potato snickerdoodle recipe makes sense.
  • Butterscotch haystacks: You only need butterscotch chips and chow mein noodles for this simple recipe you can whip up using your microwave.