30 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes That Will Impress Everyone at the Table
The best part of Thanksgiving dinner? The sides, of course. Sweet, savory, creamy or crunchy, these additions to the turkey (or tofurkey) are really what make it the most indulgent feast of the year. And you don’t need expert kitchen skills to whip up a compliment-worthy dish everyone will still be talking about next year. With recipes ranging from inventive potato dishes to savory vegetable gratins to classic stuffing ideas, you're sure to find something to satisfy the whole family. Here, 30 Thanksgiving side dishes to put on your menu.
1. Hasselback Butternut Squash
Hasselback everything is so trendy right now, and you don’t need to be a knife expert to master the technique. Just halve and slice a squash horizontally and you’ve created an easy but impressive side.
2. Spiralized Winter Vegetable Gratin
All you need is a spiralizer (or, you know, a container of pre-spiralized veggies from the grocery store) to make this fancy holiday side. Mix the seasonal spirals with the creamy sauce and get ready to be served compliments.
3. 20-Minute Mashed Potatoes
Yep, you can whip up these indulgent potatoes in less time that it takes to watch your favorite Thanksgiving episode of Friends.
4. Harissa and Honey-Roasted Carrots
Honey and harissa are both major crowd-pleasers, and the sweet and spicy flavors come together wonderfully. Eden Grinshpan’s carrot recipe is easy to follow, and is an easy addition to any Thanksgiving feast.
5. Kale Salad with Persimmons, Crispy Chickpeas and Fried Shallots
If you don’t have persimmons on your Thanksgiving table, you’re doing it wrong. Brighten up a typically heavy greens dish with this autumnal fruit and kale salad.
6. Alison Roman’s Roasted Squash with Yogurt and Spiced Buttered Pistachios
The Nothing Fancy author knows a thing or two about easy side dishes. Roman’s squash recipe takes less than five minutes to prep, and it’s just soooo good.
7. One-Pot Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is an essential part of any Thanksgiving repertoire. And if you cook this one-pot version in nice cookware, you can serve the gooey cheesy pasta straight out of the only pot it was cooked in.
8. Easy Green Bean Casserole
Casseroles are designed to be simple and foolproof. This version combines green beans with mushrooms and crispy onions for that textural contrast you love.
9. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
No one’s expecting fries at Thanksgiving, and that’s kind of the whole point. Swap out your typical mashed sweet potatoes for an easy-to-eat finger food.
10. Sheet Pan Turkey Dinner
If you’re responsible for the entrée as well as the sides, cut out a few steps and bake them all at once. This tray includes turkey, stuffing, potatoes and green beans.
11. Super Simple Make Ahead Instant Pot Orange Cranberry Sauce
Almost easier than popping open a can, this make-ahead recipe lets you serve impressive fresh cranberry sauce with minimal effort. (And best of all, no ridges.)
12. Sweet and Spicy Cornbread
A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, a lot delicious. Serve this cornbread as a warm side straight out of the hot skillet.
13. Crispy Smashed Potatoes
PSA: Thanksgiving dinner can never have too many types of potatoes. These boiled and roasted Yukon Gold potatoes are super crispy—don’t expect leftovers.
14. Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates and Halloumi
Sweet, savory and just crispy and creamy enough, this simple Brussels recipe is hugely sophisticated in flavor and looks beautiful on the table.
15. Quinoa Stuffing with Butternut Squash, Cranberries and Pistachios
A healthier and easier alternative to traditional stuffing, this veggie-packed side is gluten-free, vegetarian and just as good the next day (well, if there’s any left).
16. Roasted Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
Here's a healthy(ish) spin on the Thanksgiving comfort food thanks to a heaping of cauliflower. But don't worry, this recipe doesn't skip on gooey, decedent cheese.
17. Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Leeks
Two in-season vegetables comes together in this decedent side dish.
18. Cauliflower Stuffing with Pomegranate Seeds and Almonds
It has all the flavors you associate with traditional Thanksgiving stuffing (or dressing, if that’s more your style), like fresh rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley, plus jewel-like pomegranate seeds and crunchy almonds. It just happens to be gluten-free and made with our favorite veggie of all time.
19. Savory Monkey Bread
Making this dish is as easy as slicing bread (literally), and the taste is infinitely adaptable (mozzarella today, Swiss tomorrow).
20. Radicchio, Lentil and Apple Salad with Vegan Cashew Dressing
Trust us: No one will miss the dairy when they taste this vegan cashew dressing. It’s creamy and slightly sweet—just what the crisp, slightly bitter radicchio needs.
21. 3-Ingredient Fresh Cranberry Sauce
There are two kinds of Thanksgiving people: Those who serve cranberries from a can—and those who don’t. While we love the nostalgia-factor of a tubular cranberry sauce, we’re more likely to serve the fresh version at our own Turkey Day feast. And why not? This fresh cranberry sauce requires only three ingredients and is ready in all of 20 minutes.
22. Roasted Squash and Farro Salad with Avocado Dressing
If you want a side dish that isn’t too overwhelming but packs a lot of punch, look no further. This hearty salad marries together the flavors of squash, kale, apples, radishes and farro.
23. Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas
We know Thanksgiving dinner takes hours to put together, so put this quick side salad on the menu to help make things easier.
24. Delicata Squash Rings with Garlic-Lemon Sauce
Forget onion rings: These crispy oven-baked delicata squash rings with garlic-lemon sauce are destined to become your new favorite Thanksgiving appetizer.
25. BUTTERNUT SQUASH FRITTERS
An addictively delicious side dish to serve with an extra dollop of sour cream.
26. Crispy Parmesan Brussels Sprout Bites
These oven-baked Parmesan Brussels sprout bites are practically perfection. Dish them up with tangy dipping sauce and cute toothpicks and then watch them disappear like magic.
27. Creamy Oven Polenta
Ah, polenta. It’s creamy and comforting, but so often misunderstood. Stand over the pot, stirring, for hours on end? No thank you. Enter this hands-off method for creamy oven polenta from Sheela Prakash’s cookbook, Mediterranean Every Day. Suddenly, the cheesy dish is a an easy side.
28. Ina Garten’s Roasted Broccolini & Cheddar
The best part? This vegetable side dish takes less than 20 minutes to make and calls for just five ingredients.