24 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

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Casserole dish of potatoes au gratin.

Turkey takes center stage on the Thanksgiving table, but everyone knows the sides and desserts make the meal. From creamy mashed potatoes to cornbread stuffing, these classic Thanksgiving side dishes have you covered. Bonus: many of these recipes are make-ahead, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your friends and family on the big day.

24 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

1. Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Butter melting into a bowl of mashed potatoes.

These mashed potatoes are a must on Thanksgiving! Not only are they ultra-creamy and comforting but they can also be prepared up to 2 days in advance and reheated in the microwave—a bonus over the holidays when space in the oven and on the stove is at a premium. Get the recipe.

2. Easy Sausage and Herb Stuffing

Spoon in a dish of sausage stuffing.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without stuffing, and this version is my all-time most requested. The recipe is a cinch to make because it uses store-bought stuffing cubes, and the addition of sausage adds a ton of flavor without the need for a lot of other seasonings. Get the recipe.

3. Brussels Sprouts Gratin

brussels sprouts gratin

A gratin is a delicious way to turn vegetables into true comfort food. Using heavy cream in place of a béchamel sauce keeps the sauce simple, making the dish perfect for the busy holidays. Get the recipe.

4. Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Spoon in a small bowl of cranberry sauce.

Cranberry sauce is the perfect accompaniment to roast turkey, and homemade is so much more delicious than the canned variety. The addition of orange zest and juice make this version a bit more special for the holidays. Get the recipe.

5. Turkey Gravy

Easy Roast Turkey with Gravy

I serve this rich gravy every Thanksgiving. Spiked with cognac and enriched with cream, it is what makes my Herb & Brown Sugar Dry-Brined Turkey and High-Heat Roast Turkey so delicious. Get the recipe.

6. Potatoes Au Gratin

Casserole dish of potatoes au gratin.

If ever there were a dish worthy of a special occasion, it would be potatoes au gratin. Made with layers of potatoes, heavy cream, and Parmigianno-Reggiano, it is ultra-rich and worth every single calorie. Get the recipe.

7. Creamed Spinach

Spoon in a bowl of creamed spinach.

This easy steakhouse-style creamed spinach dish is the perfect rich side dish to lean roast turkey. Made with frozen spinach, it is quick, easy, and make-ahead. Get the recipe.

8. Challah, Wild Mushroom & Herb Stuffing

challah wild mushroom stuffing

Enriched with eggs, challah cubes make a deliciously rich base for stuffing. This version is crispy on top and chockfull of buttery, earthy wild mushrooms. Get the recipe.

9. Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel

how to make sweet potato casserole

Are you accustomed to marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving? Try this version with a crunchy brown sugar-pecan streusel and you’ll never look back! Get the recipe.

10. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar & Honey

Spoon in a bowl of roasted brussels sprouts.

Roasted Brussels sprouts are delicious all on their own, but tossing them with a bit of honey and balsamic vinegar after pulling them out of the oven takes them to the next level. Consider yourself warned — these are hard to stop eating straight from the pan! Get the recipe.

11. Southern-Style Buttermilk Biscuits

Pile of buttermilk biscuits.
Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

These buttermilk biscuits are flaky, buttery, and rich, and have a beautiful golden exterior. Bonus: you can prepare them ahead and bake them right before serving. Get the recipe.

12. French Green Beans with Shallots

French beans with shallots in a white dish.

Over the holidays, you can usually find haricots verts, or French green beans, trimmed and ready to cook. Sautéed with shallots, these elegant beans pair nicely with anything from roast turkey, to seared salmon, to grilled steak. Get the recipe.

13. Spoon Bread

Partially-served dish of spoon bread.

A close cousin to cornbread, spoon bread is creamy, rich, and – you guessed it – eaten with a spoon. While delicious in the summer made with fresh corn, it’s equally good as a Thanksgiving side dish made with frozen corn. Get the recipe.

14. Roasted Carrots with Thyme

Serving dish of roasted carrots.

Ordinary cooked carrots aren’t very exciting, but roasted carrots are a whole different story. Not only do they take on a delicious caramelized flavor, but they’re also super simple to make and will add lovely color to your Thanksgiving table. Get the recipe.

15. Twice-Baked Potatoes

Twice baked potatoes on parchment paper.

Rich and creamy mashed potatoes baked in crispy, salty potato skins, twice-baked potatoes make any meal feel like a celebration. Bonus: you can make them mostly ahead of time and even freeze them. Get the recipe

16. Cranberry Pecan Relish

Spoon in a bowl of cranberry maple relish.

If you like traditional cranberry sauce, you’ll love this tart-sweet relish made with cranberries, orange zest, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and pecans. Get the recipe.

17. Cauliflower Purée with Thyme

Blue bowl of cauliflower puree.
Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

If you’re looking for a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, this healthy cauliflower purée is the ticket. It’s so comforting and creamy, you won’t even miss the potatoes! Get the recipe.


Cornbread muffins on a wire rack.

Warm cornbread muffins are always a welcome addition to the Thanksgiving bread basket. You can whip up the batter for these muffins in no time, and they bake in just 20 minutes. Get the recipe.


Large bowl of brussels sprout salad.

This savory and sweet Brussels sprout salad is best made ahead of time, making it the perfect room temperature side dish for a holiday buffet. And leftovers pair perfectly with turkey sandwiches! Get the recipe.


Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

This traditional cornbread and sausage stuffing has the consistency of spoon bread and golden, crispy top. The cornbread is homemade, so it takes a bit more time than traditional stuffing, but the recipe can be done in steps and is 100% worth the extra effort. Get the recipe.


Mac & CheeseThe epitome of comfort food, this mac and cheese is extra creamy topped with crispy herb-flecked panko. The recipe is inspired by the macaroni and cheese served at Maple Ave, a restaurant in Vienna, VA. Get the recipe.


Roasted green beans in a serving dish.

Need an impressive vegetable dish to bring to a holiday party? This is the one! With blistered and caramelized string beans, chunks of mellow garlic, nutty Parmesan cheese, and crunchy pine nuts, it beats the traditional green bean casserole any day. Get the recipe.


pumpkin cornbread muffins
Photo credit: Alexandra Grablewski

Made with pumpkin purée, these hearty cornbread muffins are healthier than traditional cornbread but just as delicious. The pumpkin gives the muffins a gorgeous golden-brown color and sweet earthy flavor. Get the recipe.

24. Wild Rice Salad with Dried Cranberries, Apples & Pecans

wild rice salad in white bowl
Photo by Alexandria Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

This salad is a Thanksgiving potluck standout! Make-ahead and portable, it offers a refreshing change from richer, carb-heavy side dishes. Plus, it’s great as leftovers—just toss in some chopped roast turkey. Get the recipe

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  • Hello Jen – Thank you for adding some new delicious sides to choose from this year! I have followed your guidance for many years now. No matter what I prepare from you thoughtful creative mind, my family is always impressed and I say.. well let’s give thanks to Jen, this was her recipe and your eating something worth every bite! They are always a winner Jen!

    I hope you and yours, have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving.

    • — Sue on November 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • ❣️ ❣️

      • — Jenn on November 21, 2023
      • Reply
  • I make your cornbread muffins all the time. Your scalloped potatoes are a hit in my family too. Anytime I need a recipe I always go to your website first.

    • — CB on November 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • We’re British, but my daughter has just announced she wants to do Thanksgiving, which had me in panic mode until I thought ‘Once Upon a Chef.’
    A BIG THANKS to YOU from London for all your wonderful recipes! You’re amazing!

    • — Alison on November 19, 2023
    • Reply
    • 💕

      • — Jenn on November 19, 2023
      • Reply
  • Can anyone please tell me the name of the leftover turkey casserole from a few days ago? I intended to send it to my son in New York. However, I lost
    it when my phone became damaged. I have spent over two hours looking for it. Thank you for the help.

    • — Linda on November 17, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Linda, I think you must’ve seen that on another website/blog as I don’t have a recipe for anything like that. I hope you find what you’re looking for!

      • — Jenn on November 21, 2023
      • Reply
  • I have been making some of these sides for the last couple of years. My favorite are: Mashed Potatoes and Cranberry Sauce. For Sweet Potatoes I make Chipotle Cheddar Mashed Sweet Potatoes which is not on the list. My husband who does not like sweet potatoes loves this dish.

    • — Krystyna J Reschke on November 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • You’ve thought of EVERYTHING!
    Your recipes are always fairly simple with an elegant touch!
    Thank you for making me look like somewhat of a “fancy girl!”

    • — Barbara Eddy on November 12, 2023
    • Reply
    • 😊

      • — Jenn on November 12, 2023
      • Reply
  • I’m in awe of the cranberry sauce with the turkey gravy a subtle diets way of saying rest assured I’m home.

    • — Cristina smiths on September 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • Have you tried any of your recipes using gluten free flour? I have celiac and wanted to try something different—the Nantucket Cranberry cake and the pumpkin cornmeal muffins.

    • — Carol on November 23, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, I haven’t made them with gluten-free flour, but I do think that they will both work with an all-purpose gluten-free flour. I’d love to hear how they turn out if you try them!

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • My family loves your vegetarian recipes. I am going to try some thing new from the site. We have tried several recipes from your first book and they have come out delicious.

    • — Shyamala Iyer on November 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • Thank you for giving me one or two new things to try for Thanksgiving! Spoon bread looks amazing. Your Peruvian chicken is a major favorite in my household and I find your site a must browse when I’m stuck for ideas. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • — Toni on November 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Oh, these sides are super great! I’ll do a couple of these at least. Thanks so much.

    • — Rick L. on November 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • Truly amazing! Everything, and I mean everything, I have made from your site comes out perfect and delicious. Even to some picky eaters! Thank you for sharing your amazing talents!

  • This is a game changer. The turkey meat was so moist. And not as intimidating as it seems. Everyone in my house loved it. Two thumbs up.

  • I’ve been using your site for a few years now and have always been pleased with results. In fact, I’ve never once been disappointed or left wondering why a recipe just doesn’t work. Your professionalism shines through all these “regular” food ideas you consistently produce. So just want to say thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    • — Rachelle DeFarges
    • Reply
    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Rachelle! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 💗

  • Hi! I am new to your recipe page, but just browsing through them I can’t wait to try them. Especially looking forward to the Roasted Green Beans with garlic, lemon, pine nuts and parmegiano-reggiano! Wow does that look delicious! Definitely making a few this week.

  • Thank you so much for your recipes! I have been cooking them for about 2 years now. And my family loves them all. Every birthday I get request for your Vanilla Cake with Buttercream frosting. I also enjoy you first cookbook and have requested the new one for Christmas❤️❤️

    • Thanks for your kind words! 💗

      • Wow. Everything Looks Delish. Thank You. Surely On My Menu This Year🤗

      • I have both of your cookbooks and have not made a recipe yet that my friends and family have not raved about. I can’t wait for a third cookbook to come out! Thank you Jenn!

    • So thankful for your delicious recipes, meal ideas, and–most of all–your careful instructions detailing what to do and what to avoid AND WHY. Now I know why my mashed potatoes turn out gluey and my quiche over-cooked!

      Lisa Poleynard

      • — Lisa Poleynard
      • Reply
  • Happy Thanksgiving Jenn! Your recipes look absolutely AMAZING! I don’t really cook at all;however, your recommendations have actually given me the inspiration to make a serious attempt. Your pictures, words, and overall presentation have convinced me that I must try some of these side dishes. Thank you for posting this information so that a novis like myself could learn from the very best!

    • I can’t wait to make some of these for Thanksgiving.

  • These Thanksgiving recipes all look terrific. Which can be made 1-2 weeks ahead and frozen?

    • Hi Marcia, Glad you like what you see! Any of the stuffings, the cranberry orange sauce, fresh cranberry sauce/relish, cornbread or corn muffins would all freeze nicely.

  • Hi, Jen,

    I love your website. I came on looking for some Thanksgiving ideas–and soon realized I’d found all I needed plus a few for “regular days.” (I can’t wait to try the pumpkin cornbread muffins and the spinach strata!) Yay for reducing holiday stress!! 🙂

  • Hi Jen!
    Just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I am so thankful I found your website several years ago and your beautiful cookbooks . They are such a big part of my favorite things to create in my kitchen!
    Your recipes are always the very best and give me such confidence at cooking – which I absolutely love to do! Cooking for others is love!
    God bless and enjoy the upcoming holiday season. Keep those scrumptious recipes coming! ❤️

    • Hi Lisa, Thanks for your and very kind words! I’m so glad you like the recipes and that they make frequent appearances in your kitchen.I appreciate you taking the time to let me know! Happy Thanksgiving to your and your family. 💓

      • Hi Jenn: I started with your recipe for “crack nuts” and have enjoyed so many of your recipes. You always seem to have best balance of sweet and spicy and seasoning in all your dishes. My family & friends are enjoying your recipes as well! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  • Hi Jenn, I started following you and using some of you recipes earlier this year. Thank you for posting thes great make-ahead choices for Thanksgiving! There are several I want to try.
    My Best,
    Janet O’Connor

    • — Janet O’Connor
    • Reply

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