40 of Our Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes
You have the turkey. You have the pumpkin pie. Now what about everything else? Here are the most popular Thanksgiving side dishes to round out your holiday dinner.
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Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese
The wonderful homemade goodness of this creamy Velveeta mac and cheese makes it a perfect Thanksgiving side dish. When it’s time to start feasting on leftovers, try cutting this mac and cheese into slices and pan frying in a well-oiled skillet until brown and crispy on both sides.
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Bacon & Sausage StuffingSausage stuffing is already famous for being one of the best Thanksgiving recipes. Add bacon and it’s even better! This recipe comes together in the slow cooker, but if you’d prefer to make it in the oven, put this stuffing in a casserole dish and bake at 375°F for 40-50 minutes until golden brown.
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Aunt Margaret’s Sweet Potato CasseroleAt any other time of year, a big pan of vanilla-tinged sweet potatoes covered in brown sugar-oat streusel and mini marshmallows would be considered dessert. On Thanksgiving, it gets to be a vegetable side dish. That’s the sort of magic the holidays are all about.
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Green Bean CasseroleThis easy green bean casserole recipe has always been one of my favorite dishes. You can make it before any guests arrive and refrigerate it until it’s ready to bake. —Anna Baker, Blaine, Washington
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Shredded Gingered Brussels SproutsHere’s a new Thanksgiving dinner idea! You’ll fall in love with this recipe not only because of how great it tastes, but also how easy it is to put together. In addition to the gingered version, this recipe offers four other tasty variations: Molasses-Sriracha, Sesame-Ginger, Cranberry-Pecan and Curry Brussels sprouts.
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Rum Vanilla Cranberry SauceSure, you could serve canned cranberry sauce, but for something memorable, serve this homemade version instead. Slowly simmering tart, fresh cranberries with fresh orange juice, rum and a touch of vanilla creates a unique sauce that your guests will be talking about until next Thanksgiving.
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Acorn Squash SlicesThis recipe has a sweet maple flavor from syrup and an appealing nuttiness from pecans. It’s easy, too, because you don’t have to peel the squash. For extra flavor, add a sprinkle of warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, five-spice powder, garam masala or pumpkin pie spice.
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Potato Pan RollsThe mashed potatoes in this recipe keep these rolls pillowy and moist. If you don’t have leftover mashed potatoes to use and don’t feel like making them from scratch, use instant mashed potatoes instead.
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Roasted Apple Salad with Spicy Maple-Cider VinaigretteYou might not think of salad as a Thanksgiving side dish, but once you taste this super-seasonal version, you’ll want it on your holiday table every year. And if you can’t wait for the holidays, this is a great anytime recipe that can help use up your apple picking haul.
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Roasted Squash, Carrots & WalnutsOnce the turkey is out of the oven, crank up the temp and roast carrots and squash while your bird is resting. While this side is cooking away unattended, you can go ahead and make the gravy.
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Moist Corn Spoon BreadSpoon bread is a traditional Kentucky recipe and a popular side dish served all year long. This recipe is best for busy holiday dinners, as it uses a slow cooker instead of taking up space in your crowded oven.
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Lemon Roasted Fingerlings and Brussels SproutsFor perfectly cooked roasted vegetables, choose ones that cook in the same amount of time, like these fingerling potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Other combinations to try? Cauliflower florets with baby carrots or okra with cherry tomatoes.
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Cranberry-Apple Red CabbageAdd a touch of German flair to your table with this inventive Thanksgiving side dish, which combines Oktoberfest-style red cabbage with whole-berry cranberry sauce to create something that’s entirely new, yet feels comforting and familiar.
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Honey-Squash Dinner RollsThese puffy dinner rolls take on rich color when you add frozen squash to the dough. Most types of winter squash, like butternut or acorn, will work, but you can also use mashed sweet potatoes, carrots or other hard root vegetables.
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Badger State StuffingYour family will love the contrasting sweet, savory and slightly tart flavors in this Wisconsin spin on a Thanksgiving classic. Feel free to use your favorite type of beer or dried fruit to make the dish your own.
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Roasted Honey Sweet PotatoesTender sweet potatoes are tossed with honey and cinnamon for a burst of sweetness. To add different flavors and textures, mix in any type of chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts, and a handful of dried cherries or cranberries.
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Cheesy Corn Spoon BreadHomey and comforting, this custard-like side dish is a much-requested recipe at potlucks and holiday dinners. The jalapeno pepper adds just the right bite. Second helpings of this tasty casserole are common—leftovers aren’t.
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Garlic and Herb Mashed PotatoesCream cheese is the secret ingredient in these comforting spuds. Simply mash, mix and let them warm in the slow cooker. Turn any leftover mashed potatoes into easy mashed potato cakes, which can be made in the oven or air fryer.
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Wild Rice StuffingAlthough it uses many of the same ingredients found in typical stuffings, this version feels exciting and unique because the wild rice provides a delightfully different texture than you’re used to. To amp up the wild rice’s naturally nutty flavor, sprinkle with some toasted pecans just before serving.
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Chipotle-Orange Cranberry SauceIf your family wants you to stick to traditional dishes at Thanksgiving, condiments are where you can flex some culinary creativity. With brown sugar, cinnamon and chipotle powder, this cranberry sauce may not be traditional, but once your guests taste it, it may well end up with a permanent spot in your holiday lineup!
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Flaky Butterhorn RollsEven though canned crescent rolls are certainly convenient, they have nothing on these buttery, slightly sweet and so very flaky homemade dinner rolls. These can be made ahead of time and frozen raw; on Thanksgiving Day, all you’ll need to do is thaw, let rise and bake!
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Cheddar Creamed CornCan’t decide between mac and cheese or classic corn pudding for your Thanksgiving menu? You can have both. You need only five ingredients to make this easy, creamy casserole that comes together in the slow cooker in about 3 hours.
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Old-Fashioned Green BeansYou won’t believe how three simple ingredients can create such enormous flavor! Bacon gives these simply simmered green beans savoriness and smokiness and brown sugar adds a touch of sweetness.
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Thanksgiving ColcannonColcannon is a traditional Irish dish made with mashed potatoes and cabbage. This recipe gussies up the humble dish for holiday entertaining, swapping cabbage for Tuscan kale and Russet potatoes for Yukon Golds, then amping up the flavor with sauteed veggies, creamy Greek yogurt, farmer’s cheese and a dash of poultry seasoning.
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Air-Fryer Honey Brussels Sprouts with HamOven space is a precious commodity when cooking Thanksgiving dinner. While your turkey is busy taking up all the room, lean on your air fryer to make these crispy caramelized Brussels sprouts. A drizzle of honey adds sweet contrast to the sprouts’ savoriness—to make things a bit more Thanksgiving-y, maple syrup works just as nicely!
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Creamed Pearl OnionsTo save time on Thanksgiving Day, make and assemble this dish the night before, store in the refrigerator and slip it into the oven right after the turkey comes out. To make things even easier, use frozen pearl onions in this recipe instead of fresh.
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Brown Sugar-Glazed Baby CarrotsAre glazed carrots a Thanksgiving staple because they’re insanely delicious, or because they’re so easy to make? This recipe uses the slow cooker, gently braising the carrots in butter and brown sugar for 6-8 hours until they melt in your mouth.
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Buttery Dinner RollsThese lovely buttery dinner rolls are tender, fluffy and delicious when eaten warm from the oven. Serve them with a homemade compound butter (like this incredible cranberry honey butter!), or simply use them for sopping up turkey gravy.
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Scalloped Sweet Corn CasseroleYou can use fresh or frozen corn in this comforting casserole recipe, and easily make it your own by stirring in crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, chopped green onions or anything else you wish before sprinkling with its crunchy crispy rice cereal topping and sliding it into the oven.
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Butternut Squash ButterHomemade pumpkin butter and apple butter have always been beloved spreads for dinner rolls. This Thanksgiving, serve homemade butternut squash butter instead. Save some for a quick and easy appetizer tart filling, too!
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Creamed Spinach & Pearl OnionsThis recipe helps you find room for creamed spinach and creamed onion on your crowded table. Cooked on the stovetop, this Thanksgiving side dish only takes about 15 minutes to make from start to finish—and will be gone in a fraction of that time once dinner is served!
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Roasted Potatoes with Garlic ButterThis recipe, which uses creamy yellow Yukon Golds and vivid orange sweet potatoes, is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach. Drizzled with garlic butter and tossed in cheddar and Parmesan, this dish proves there’s beauty in simplicity.
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Sicilian Brussels SproutsThese Mediterranean-style sprouts are simply exploding with dynamic flavors. There’s a punch of salt from briny capers and crispy diced pancetta, acidic brightness from champagne vinegar and lemon juice, pops of sweetness from golden raisins and nutty savoriness from toasted pine nuts.
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Cinnamon Spiced ApplesThese simple slow cooker apples are wonderful no matter when you serve them. For Thanksgiving breakfast, heap them on top of fluffy pumpkin pancakes. At dinner, eat them with turkey and cranberry sauce. And for dessert, serve a big warm bowl with graham crackers and vanilla ice cream on the side for make-your-own “apple pie.”
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Gluten-Free StuffingGluten-free eaters, rejoice! Now you can enjoy everyone’s favorite Thanksgiving side, too. This easy gluten-free stuffing has all the classic stuffing flavor minus the gluten. If you can’t find a brand of gluten-free bread you like at the supermarket, make your own with one of our gluten-free bread recipes.
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Sweet Potato Pan RollsSpiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, these tender sweet potato rolls are so addictive, there may be fights over who gets the last one. If you’d like to keep your Thanksgiving dinner relatively drama-free (at least where bread is concerned), you might want to double the recipe.
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Coconut-Bourbon Sweet PotatoesCould this recipe—which contains sweet potatoes, brown sugar, honey, bourbon, molasses, sweetened coconut, cream and miniature marshmallows—technically be considered a dessert? Sure. Is it a healthy vegetable side dish? No. Does this matter? On Thanksgiving, absolutely not.
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Cran-Raspberry Gelatin SaladTo host an old-fashioned holiday celebration, serving a Jell-O salad is pretty much a requirement. This retro stunner mixes raspberry gelatin with a can of whole-berry cranberry sauce, canned crushed pineapple and orange juice for a side that’s bursting with delicious nostalgia.
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Wild Rice Stuffed SquashThese beautiful wild rice-stuffed squash halves are a delicious, showstopping entree for vegan or vegetarian guests. But make enough for everyone, because once they get a whiff, all the turkey lovers at the table will be clamoring for a taste!
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Syrian Green Beans with Fresh HerbsThese simple green beans make the most of your herb garden, sauteing them in garlic and olive oil before tossing with chopped fresh parsley, cilantro and mint. Out of cilantro? Not much for mint? Garden overrun with oregano? Feel free to use whatever fresh herbs you have!
Originally Published: November 21, 2022