24 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Tested & Perfected Recipes

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. And many of the recipes are make-ahead, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying family on the big day.

24 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

1. Creamy Make-Ahead 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. Savory Cornbread with Cheddar & Thyme

Cakier than Southern-style cornbread, this Northern-inspired version gets an additional pop of flavor and texture from fresh thyme, corn, and Cheddar cheese. Get the recipe.

15. Roasted Carrots with Thyme

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.

16. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Pecans and Maple Syrup

roasted brussels sprouts

With toasted pecans, maple syrup, and crispy bacon, these Brussels sprouts are made with all the good things. You may be tempted to hold them hostage at your end of the dinner table! Get the recipe.

17. Cranberry Pecan 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.

18. Cauliflower Purée with Thyme

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.

19. CORNBREAD MUFFINS

cornbread muffins

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.

20. BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD WITH APPLES, WALNUTS & PARMESAN

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.

21. SOUTHERN-STYLE CORNBREAD STUFFING

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.

22. MAC AND CHEESE

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.

23. ROASTED GREEN BEANS WITH GARLIC, LEMON, PINE NUTS & PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO

roasted green beans

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.

24. PUMPKIN CORNBREAD MUFFINS

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.

You May Also Like

Comments

  • 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!

    • — Jessica on November 25, 2021
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on November 25, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Nikki on November 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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 on November 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Rachelle! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 💗

      • — Jenn on November 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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.

    • — Tracy on November 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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❤️❤️

    • — Pamela Burke on November 17, 2021
    • Reply
    • Thanks for your kind words! 💗

      • — Jenn on November 18, 2021
      • Reply
      • Wow. Everything Looks Delish. Thank You. Surely On My Menu This Year🤗

        • — Glo on November 18, 2021
        • Reply
      • 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!

        • — Kathy Hysan on November 20, 2021
        • Reply
    • 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 on November 24, 2021
      • Reply
      • 😊

        • — Jenn on November 24, 2021
        • 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!

    • — Jeryl on November 16, 2021
    • Reply
    • I can’t wait to make some of these for Thanksgiving.

      • — Renee on November 18, 2021
      • Reply
  • These Thanksgiving recipes all look terrific. Which can be made 1-2 weeks ahead and frozen?

    • — Marcia on November 14, 2021
    • Reply
    • 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.

      • — Jenn on November 18, 2021
      • Reply
  • 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!! 🙂

    • — Annie Maier on November 13, 2021
    • Reply
  • 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! ❤️

    • — Lisa on November 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • 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. 💓

      • — Jenn on November 12, 2021
      • Reply
      • 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.

        • — Colleen Emory on November 17, 2021
        • Reply
  • 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 on November 11, 2021
    • Reply

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.