10 Playlists to Match Your Thanksgiving Vibe, From Honky-Tonk to Cali Cool

November 24, 2016

You've set the Thanksgiving table; you've cooked all the things (all the things!); you've lit a candle in the bathroom. That's right: You lit a candle in the bathroom!

But still, something is incomplete. And when there's a lull in conversation, you can hear guests chewing their crostini or the tines of their silverware hitting the plates.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

So what's missing? Music! It's music. A good soundtrack to your party will make the room feel fuller and cozier, and the guests feel free to add their voices.

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When choosing what to pay is stressful, with limitless options, look here: We've got 10 playlists for Thanksgiving, from Drake-inspired to California cool.

Turn It On, Turn it Up

Cooking Marathon Pump-Up

It's not Eye of the Tiger on repeat (though that wouldn't not be appropriate).

Calming Chill Pill (The Musical Equivalent of the Puppy Channel)

If your in-laws are driving you up the wall (or the turkey didn't cook quite as planned).


Your guests can thank you now (and oh my goodness, they're welcome).

Singalong Thanksgiving

If you'd rather sing than speak. (A little something for everyone, from Dashboard Confessional to Bon Jovi.)

Divas of the 80s

Big hair turkey, don't care.

A very electronic Thanksgiving

Interesting enough to show your friends you're cool; not so interesting as to be distracting.


Cowboy boots not required (but highly recommended!).

Mario Batali's BIG American playlist

Almost like you have a seat at Mario's table. Almost. (Plus: Kanye West, Rosanne Cash, and Moby?!)

California cool

To put your guests at ease (and justify your decision to wear bell bottoms).

Dishwashing dance party

After the eaters leave (or after you've enlisted their help...), the real party starts.

And, if you're looking for even more music choices, don't forget our three playlists from last year's holiday:

What's playing during your Thanksgiving meal? How about when you're cooking? Share a selection in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Stephanie B.
    Stephanie B.
  • BerryBaby
  • Robert
  • Sarah Jampel
    Sarah Jampel
  • Micki Balder
    Micki Balder
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Stephanie B. November 23, 2017
Lol! I love this! 80s big hair playlist, here I come...
BerryBaby November 24, 2016
No music while cooking. I enjoy all the sounds of the kitchen, water bubbling and boiling, pots clambering, knives chopping, all the aromas filling my senses. However, during dinner light jazz or seasonal music on low volume. I find that very calming and enjoyable. Jazz music makes everything taste better!
Robert November 7, 2016
Are there pictures that are supposed to be displayed after each playlist? If so, I'm not seeing them. Thanks.
Sarah J. November 7, 2016
Hi Robert, No pictures, but there should be little widgets from Spotify that show you every song in the playlist—you can play the music right from here! Can you see them?
Robert November 7, 2016
Sarah, I don't see the widgets. Darn it. I hover around the white space where the widget should be located(I think), but the link doesn't register for me. I'm using Chrome Version 54.0.2840.71 m (64-bit).
Sarah J. November 7, 2016
Argh—sorry about that! I've alerted our technical team. In the meantime, you can follow us on Spotify directly and find the playlists there?
Micki B. November 8, 2016
Hi Robert, are you perchance using an ad blocker?
Robert November 8, 2016
Yes, Micki, I am. I thought that I had whitelisted the Food52 blog. It is whitelisted now and the playlists show up. My apologies.