Thanksgiving Dinner in Space: How Astronauts Dine on Turkey Day

Thanksgiving at the International Space Station

Astronauts on the space station can enjoy cornbread stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes, and turkey, and more for Thanksgiving.

What's on the menu?

Living aboard the International Space Station, astronauts can't exactly eat off of plates. But they can still eat delicious Thanksgiving dinners! A typical Thanksgiving day meal in space includes smoked turkey, cornbread dressing, cranberry sauce and desserts.

An out-of-this-world feast


Like other foods, Thanksgiving dinner items are shipped to space in labeled foil or plastic packages. This photo of Expedition 42's Thanksgiving dinner in 2014 shows a balanced meal of turkey, candied yams, cherry and blueberry cobblers, vegetables and other treats. Just add water and heat! [Video: How Thanksgiving Meals for Astronauts Are Made]

Stuffed with stuffing


Unlike most Americans celebrating Thanksgiving on Earth — who probably went through pains to prepare elaborate meals for this festive occasion — astronauts merely needed add water to these prepared packets. [NASA's Recipe for Space Cornbread Dressing]



What's a holiday without decorations? Even on the space station, astronauts get into the spirit with what limited decorations they can bring. Here, a Thanksgiving turkey decoration is pictured floating in the International Space Station in 2001.

The 'Space Oven'

Chris Hadfield/NASA/Twitter

To heat up the turkey and other dishes, the astronauts use this suitcase-sized food warmer. "Tuck a pouch under the strap, velcro shut, wait 10 minutes - hot food!" astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted in 2012.

A Crowded Table in Space


Thanksgiving is often a time of togetherness, and so it in space! Astronauts gather around a central galley table, but they don't need chairs.

Here, members of the STS-129 crew share a meal while on the space station. Magnets and Velcro (loop tape) hold the cans and utensils in place while the crewmembers dine in zero-g.

The dinner "table"

NASA (via Twitter as @NASA_Astronauts)

A holiday in space wouldn't be much of a holiday without some snapshots for the crew photo album. Take a look at some photos by astronauts of their Turkey day in space!

Here: Commander Barry Wilmore of Expedition 42 takes a self-portrait with Thanksgiving food packages containing smoked turkey, cranapple dessert, cornbread dressing, and tea with sugar. The photo was taken near the galley table in the Unity Node 1 and released by Wilmore on Instagram in 2014.

Signed, sealed, and delivered.

NASA (via Twitter as @NASA_Astronauts)

Cmdr. Barry “Butch” Wilmore of NASA tweeted this photo of the foods he and his fellow Expedition 42 crewmembers ate on Thanksgiving in 2014. [Space Food Photos: What Astronauts Eat in Orbit]

Astronauts chow down


NASA astronauts Scott Kelly (left) and Kjell Lindgren show off their Thanksgiving meal in 2015. On the menu: bags of smoked turkey, rehydratable corn, candied yams and potatoes au gratin. [Full Story: Turkey and Football: How Astronauts Celebrate Thanksgiving in Space]

A balanced meal


The hands of NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins, Expedition 38 flight engineer, hold a Thanksgiving meal in the Unity node of the International Space Station in 2013.

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.