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Everything you need for a classic Thanksgiving dinner, right here! These scrumptious side dishes are so good, they may steal the spotlight from the turkey!
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From rich sweet potatoes to crisp green bean casserole, vibrant cranberry sauce to fluffy crescent rolls, Thanksgiving sides can be just as tasty as the main dish. We have more than 25 recipes for you to choose from for your big turkey dinner.
Turkey usually gets all the praise during Thanksgiving dinner, and rightly so. But this post is dedicated to all of those luscious Thanksgiving sides! Warm, buttery rolls, fluffy mashed potatoes, savory stuffing, fruity and flavorful salad. Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be the same without any of these must have sides. Whether you prefer to keep it classic, or want to branch out with a new recipe or two, pull out the decorative pumpkins and your best dinnerware. We have gathered all of our family’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes that we can’t wait to share with you!
Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Potatoes
Nothing goes better with a slice or two of succulent turkey and gravy than fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes. Or nutty, rich sweet potato casserole. But have you ever considered branching out with a little cheese and bacon? Or using the Instant Pot to bake your potatoes? There are so many potato options to add to your holiday table, why not try them all?
Mashed potatoes can be tricky. They can easily get too thin or too whipped, too dense or not dense enough. It really depends on your taste! In our opinion, our Mom makes the best mashed potatoes. They are thick, yet smooth, dense and fluffy, but not dry. Always perfect every time, and this is her mashed potatoes recipe.
This isn’t a potato recipe, but mashed potatoes aren’t complete at Thanksgiving dinner without the turkey gravy. Our mother is the best cook we know. Everything she makes is perfection. But the thing she is most famous for her is her turkey gravy. Anyone who has shared her table over the years asks for this turkey gravy recipe. This is her step by step recipe for how she creates this savory, creamy gravy. It’s delicious over just about anything!
This Sweet Potato Casserole recipe is hands down the best recipe for sweet potato casserole I’ve ever tasted, and we’ve had many many recipes pass over our Thanksgiving table throughout the years. Tender sweet potatoes, whipped to perfection, and topped with a streusel topping (crumble topping) that makes the whole dish taste like it should be on the dessert table. It’s versatile enough that you can add or take away topping ingredients depending on your guests tastes.
Potatoes Au Gratin is one of our family’s very favorite potato dishes. Since many of us hail from the great state of Idaho, we know a thing or two about potatoes. We take our spuds seriously around here. Au Gratin potatoes are simple to make, deliciously rich, and so creamy. A beautiful complement to ham or turkey on your Thanksgiving table.
These Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes are an easy side dish for Thanksgiving. Cooking them in the Instant Pot is a great way to free up oven space during Thanksgiving or Christmas cooking. Steaming potatoes in the Instant Pot produces a soft skin and a tender bite. Use them anywhere you would use a baked sweet potato or canned sweet potatoes.
Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Stuffing
Traditional stuffing is made of cubes of bread and herbs stuffed inside the turkey while cooking. Many opt to bake the stuffing outside the bird and serve it as a side dish. There are a ton of variations to this popular side dish. Using different ingredients like cranberries, bacon, cornbread or sausage will make all kinds of savory stuffings perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving Stuffing with Bacon
Bacon in stuffing? Yes! It gives the stuffing so much flavor! You have to put this Bacon Stuffing on your Thanksgiving menu this year. It is unbelievably good! Forget about the stuff you buy in the box – this should be a new holiday tradition. I have used sausage in dressings and stuffings before but this is the first time I’ve tried bacon. I’ll never go back!
Thanksgiving without stuffing is like Christmas without cocoa! This Cranberry Sausage Stuffing is the perfect dish to serve alongside your plump, juicy turkey and all the fixings. Oven-baked bread cubes, succulent sausage, and a hint of sweet cranberries and apples make this a treat your guests will ask for again and again.
Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without a heaping helping of savory stuffing on your plate next to your turkey and cranberry sauce. But finding a stuffing alternative when your gluten intolerant is a bit of a task. Nobody should have to skimp on Thanksgiving, no matter your dietary needs. This gluten-free stuffing is the answer!
Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Vegetables
Ordinary steamed or roasted vegetables get all dressed up for the big Thanksgiving meal. Parsnips and carrots, lemony garlic Brussels sprouts, and of course the classic green bean casserole looks and tastes extra special when you take time to add a couple of new or unique ingredients. Even your pickiest eaters will gobble these vegetable sides up!
Roasted Carrots and Parsnips are a colorful, healthy, and delicious side dish for Thanksgiving. Vegetables are the part of the meal that add color, texture and tons of vibrant flavor. Parsnips are root vegetables similar to carrots, but they are sweeter and juicier. They complement the carrots beautifully and are a delicious addition to holiday meals.
Green Bean Casserole is one of those Thanksgiving sides that you may feel obligated to make, but nobody really loves. And why should they? Most green bean casserole recipes are made with canned beans, cream of mushroom soup and those canned crispy onions. But this green bean casserole recipe is made with FRESH green beans and a creamy mushroom sauce. Trust me, it’ll be a holiday side dish your guests rave about!
Before I got an air fryer, I didn’t love making Brussels Sprouts. Sometimes I would cook Brussels Sprouts in the oven, or sometimes I would boil them, but they just never wowed me. Now that I know how to air fry them, I make them all the time! This air fryer recipe produces crispy Brussels Sprouts with tender insides. They make a great veggie side dish and don’t take up oven space.
We cannot emphasize enough how simple this dish is. You literally just throw it all in the slow cooker and that’s it! It is always the first side-dish to get polished at the table and everyone is always wanting seconds. It is also easy to multiply to make large batches for holiday dinners.
This corn casserole is a true Southern recipe. The crispy golden bread layer gives way to a creamy corn center that is bursting with flavor and tantalizing textures. It’s an easy casserole dish to make ahead of time for a Thanksgiving side to serve with your roast turkey. Top with fresh herbs for a splash of color.
This easy Creamed Spinach recipe is velvety smooth and richly decadent with tender baby spinach leaves. This dish even wins over kids who universally hate spinach. If you’ve never had creamed spinach before and you’re unsure of how you’ll like it, we promise you’ll love our spin on a classic recipe. With its creamy texture and lots of cheese, you can’t even taste the spinach! Trust me, one bite and you’ll be hooked!
Air fryer asparagus is an easy side dish that can be made in less than 10 minutes. No need to heat up the entire oven to get perfectly roasted asparagus, this recipe can be made start-to-finish before a typical oven even pre-heats! This is another recipe that frees up valuable oven and stovetop space on Thanksgiving morning.
This Cheesy Cauliflower Side Dish is so GOOD! Growing up, my mom would make this all the time. Believe it or not, this one is a comfort food dish that we kids would all fight over. It’s a rare occasion for any child to clamor for more veggies, so my mom made sure to make this as often as possible. But, melted cheddar cheese makes anything taste good, right? It’s a tasty and pretty addition to holiday meals.
Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Salads
Save room on your plate for some sweet and savory salads! Salad dishes are a terrific way to add vibrant color to the meal, along with seasonal fruits, vegetables and other ingredients. Our family loves sweet Jell-O salads, crisp green salads, and fruit salads. Plus these light and fragrant salads balance out heavier, richer foods like stuffing, gravy and potatoes. Try one or two of these recipes and enjoy!
The classic Waldorf salad is truly the perfect side dish because most of the ingredients you usually have on hand. It’s light, refreshing, crispy, and satisfying. This recipe makes a huge salad and it serves 12-16 people depending on serving sizes. It is a great addition at Thanksgiving and Christmas because it’s colorful and light, a perfect complement to turkey or ham dinners.
This beet salad recipe is full of delicious flavors and textures. The earthy, nutty flavor of the beets combined with the smooth goat cheese, sweet pears, and salty prosciutto… this combination can’t be beat! Tie it all together with the smooth and tangy balsamic vinaigrette and you will be hooked.
This Christmas Salad is a family staple every year around the holidays. The gorgeous spinach salad greens sprinkled with red pomegranate seeds, mandarin oranges, and white feta cheese lends such a festive flair to our buffet table. The creamy poppy seed dressing is so delicious and is really simple to make.
This chopped broccoli salad will make a believer out of even the pickiest of eaters! Sweet craisins, savory bacon, salty sunflower seeds, and vibrant broccoli florets are tossed with the yummiest dressing ever! You’ll love the crunchy texture and bursts of flavors in every single bite.
Your guests will love this dessert salad filled with pineapple, marshmallows, pecans, and pistachio pudding. The fluffy texture of the marshmallows, the crunch of the nuts, and the creamy pistachio pudding all combine for a delightful treat. You won’t have to worry about leftovers either – I guarantee the bowl will be licked clean!
This Strawberry Pretzel Jello Salad may have the word “salad” in its name, but it definitely tastes more like a dessert. I fully acknowledge that the combination may seem pretty strange, but once you try it, you’ll be hooked. The pretzel crust adds a salty crunch to the sweet cream cheese filling and fruity Jello top layer. We top it all with fresh strawberries when they’re in season, but frozen fruit will work as well.
This Blueberry Jello Salad recipe is the perfect recipe to branch out from the traditional, plain Jello salad. The rich, fresh flavors make it the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving. We use pineapple because it gives the jello layer more fruity texture. But if you don’t like the thicker texture, just omit the pineapple and it is still delicious!
This is a delicious salad that kids and adults will love! It is one of those “salads” that is really more like a dessert. It is creamy, sweet, and bursting with flavor! Depending on where you are from, it might be one of your Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas classics. You might have also seen it pop up at potlucks as a side dish.
We call this “blackberry salad” but in reality it’s made up of whatever fruit we have on hand. It’s the best way to add colorful, fresh, vibrant fruit to the dinner table, and there are so many ways to change it up! With the pudding mixture, it tastes more like a dessert than a salad. It’s definitely a favorite of the kids at Thanksgiving dinner.
Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Breads and Rolls
And now to one of the most popular sides to any meal, the bread! Homemade rolls can seem daunting; however, they are actually really easy to make and well worth the extra effort. Fluffy, hot rolls baked to golden perfection with a pat of butter melting inside, there really is nothing better. Make sure to bake extra, because homemade rolls make for the absolute best leftover turkey sandwiches. And don’t forget the cranberry sauce!
Our mom has made these homemade dinner rolls as far back as I can remember for Sunday dinners and special occasions. They are definitely a favorite of our family and always get devoured. The texture and flavor of these rolls are perfect. They are so soft, fluffy, buttery, and go perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner.
My mother always made sure we had a basket of her homemade fluffy, buttery rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. Now, dinner just doesn’t seem complete without a basket of rolls on my own table. The warm smell fills the house as they bake and gets everyone excited to gather around the dinner table. Plus, this recipe makes a huge batch, which is perfect because it’s nearly impossible to stop at just one roll!
There are many cranberry bread recipes out there, but this one really is the best! It doesn’t require any kneading, no yeast, so no waiting for it to rise. This sweet cranberry bread recipe is super easy to put together. Cranberry bread has a soft texture, similar to muffins, or a sweet cake. Just mix the ingredients together and bake! That’s it.
This delicious and easy cornbread is moist and light. It is easy to prepare and tastes amazing with some butter and a drizzle of honey. Prepare it in a cake pan for easy cutting and serving, or in a muffin tin for cornbread muffins in place of rolls at Thanksgiving dinner.
If you are intimidated by bread , this recipe is for you. You won’t believe how easy it is to make! The dough takes less than five minutes to put together and then you just let the yeast and the oven do the rest. My whole family LOVED this bread and they said it looked like something that came out of a fancy bakery.
This glorious Herbed Butter gives that special touch to a meal. I especially like to use it when serving a fancy Sunday dinner or holiday meal. It looks and tastes like you spent a little extra time to make the meal a memorable one, but really, it’s super easy to make! Spread it on hot rolls, buttermilk biscuits, or drop a pat of this butter on vegetables, potatoes, sandwiches, or meat dishes.
When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner — or any great turkey dinner — there is always that one part of the meal that you just can’t live without. Once you try this Orange Cranberry Sauce, it may become that one thing for your family. This fresh cranberry sauce with a hint of orange is delicious on turkey and rolls. It tastes so good and smells so good that I have to stop myself from eating it right out of the pan.
This beautiful Raspberry Cranberry Sauce is a tasty twist on the traditional recipe. The sweetness of the raspberries combined with tart cranberries and a hint of almond flavor make this perfect for serving on turkey, rolls, leftover sandwiches, or just about anything!
Whether this is your first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner or you’re in charge of bringing a salad to a gathering, we encourage you to save this post and refer to it as you make your menu. Also, check out our posts on Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas and How to Cook a Turkey. We will guide you through the entire process as you relax, have fun, and enjoy this time cooking with your loved ones. Something magical happens when you gather together in a cozy kitchen, swapping memories of Thanksgivings past, as you chop, whisk, mix, and bake. Try a few of our new recipes along with some of your classic favorites to create new traditions with your loved ones. Cooking and baking with those precious people in your life can be just as fulfilling as sitting down to eat the decadent dishes you create together.
From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!