A Vanderbilt-Inspired Thanksgiving

Written By Marissa Jamison

Posted 11/01/11

Updated 07/20/23


George and Edith Vanderbilt were known for their hospitality at Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. Of course, their holiday celebrations were no different and highlighted the ultimate in food and wine for their guests.

Treat your guests to a Vanderbilt-inspired Thanksgiving menu featuring recipes and suggested wine pairings from our winemaker.

Bring Out The Flavors of Your Feast with Biltmore Wines!

Set your Thanksgiving table with an assortment of Biltmore Wines
Set your Thanksgiving table with an assortment of Biltmore Wines

This special time deserves an equally special wine! Surprise and delight your guests by offering both a red and a white wine option to pair with your Vanderbilt-inspired Thanksgiving menu. Our winemaker recommends selecting our buttery, complex Chardonnay and our elegant and medium-bodied Pinot Noir to grace your holiday table.

For a delicious and festive option fit for a Vanderbilt, our Biltmore Estate Winemaker suggests choosing any of our Biltmore sparkling wines to complement your Thanksgiving meal from start to finish.

Vanderbilt-Inspired Recipes

George Vanderbilt’s Favorite Turkey and Cornbread Dressing
George Vanderbilt’s Favorite Turkey and Cornbread Dressing

Main Course: George Vanderbilt’s Favorite Turkey and Cornbread Dressing

Fun Fact: The creator of this recipe, Ellen Davis, came to Biltmore House from the community of Avery Creek in the spring of 1899 to work as a cook for the Vanderbilts. She fell in love with Thomas H. Johnson, a groomsman in the Stables, and they were married the following spring. This recipe was a favorite of George and Edith Vanderbilt’s, and it became a tradition for Ellen Johnson to prepare it for them each year.



Rinse turkey and rub with salt inside and out.
Using a large boiler or cooker, place turkey in enough water to almost cover it (one gallon or more).
Heat to boiling point and cook on medium for about 2 1/2 hours or until breast is tender; use a ladle to baste broth over the breast meat to keep it moist.

For cornbread dressing:
Bake a large pan of cornbread using your favorite cornbread recipe.
Bake about six buttermilk biscuits using your favorite recipe, or purchase frozen biscuits and bake.
Peel eggs and chop or grate them into large mixing bowl. Add onions, celery, sage, salt and pepper. Crumble cornbread and biscuits into bowl.
When the turkey is done, pour turkey broth over the cornbread dressing until the desired consistency is reached. Mix well, using plenty of broth so that dressing will be moist and soft when done.

Place turkey in center of large baking pan. Spoon dressing into and around the turkey. Bake in 425ºF oven for about 45 minutes. If turkey browns too soon, cover with aluminum foil.

Side Dish: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds



Side Dish: Haricot Vert (Green Beans)



Side Dish: Creamed Corn



Dessert: Apple Tart

Ingredients for Pastry:

Ingredients for Streusel:

Ingredients for Tart:

Ingredients for Garnish:


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