Spectacular Thanksgiving Sides
Everyone knows that the turkey isn't the real star of the Thanksgiving table—it’s the side dishes. Start a new family tradition this year and try our crowd-pleasing Thanksgiving side dish recipes. Take your pick from more than 100 traditional and modern takes on Southern Thanksgiving sides including mashed potatoes, dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, roasted vegetables, casseroles, and more. Many of these Thanksgiving side dishes can even be made ahead or prepared in a slow cooker. When it comes to Thanksgiving, the more side dishes the better, and you can’t go wrong with any of these delicious recipes.
Related: Simple Thanksgiving Crafts
Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese
When your childhood comes calling, answer with a batch of from-scratch macaroni and cheese.This oh-so-Southern delicacy has a place on every dinner table, whether you're preparing sides for your big Thanksgiving dinner or looking for a perfect pairing to fried chicken for the church potluck. This rich, creamy recipe may just be the best macaroni and cheese recipe you've ever eaten. It brings back nostalgic memories around Grandmama's table and we promise that it's much more satisfying than the boxed, powdery stuff. As you're preparing, pick a noodle – like cavatappi or elbow macaroni – that has plenty of nooks for capturing pockets of cheese sauce. We used extra-sharp Cheddar cheese to bring out the rich, creamy taste of this macaroni and cheese, and a pinch of salt, red pepper, and black pepper rounds out the dish. If you're making macaroni and cheese from scratch, you'll definitely want to bookmark this recipe.
Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe: Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese
Pack your mac and cheese with cheddar cubes to make sure you get cramy cheese in every bite.
Classic Cornbread Dressing
Recipe: Classic Cornbread Dressing
For this Thanksgiving staple, make the cornbread in a skillet up to two days before making the rest of the dish. You will want it to dry out completely.
Classic Cranberry Salad
Recipe: Classic Cranberry Salad
Fresh cranberry salad is a crunchy alternative to the canned stuff.
Mashed Potatoes with Bacon and Crispy Scallions
What do your mashed potatoes need this Thanksgiving? Bacon.
Slow-Cooker Collard Greens with Ham Hocks
Spending 9 hours in the slow-cooker allows the tender ham hocks to develop savory, smoky flavors.
Pecan-Herb Cornbread Dressing
Recipe: Pecan-Herb Cornbread Dressing
This cornbread dressing gets an extra crunch from tasty pecans.
Roasted Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese
Broccoli and cheese is a great combination. Add it to macaroni and you have a side dish the kids can't turn down.
Savory Corn Pudding
Recipe: Savory Corn Pudding
Give your creamy, not-too-sweet side dish extra flavor with chopped onion and fresh thyme.
Classic Candied Yams
Recipe: Classic Candied Yams
If you're looking to give sweet potato casserole a break this Thanksgiving, we love these Classic Candied Yams, although, we wouldn't be against having both on the sideboard.
Bacon-Brussels Sprout-Green Bean Casserole
How do you make green bean casserole extra Southern? You add bacon and Brussels sprouts.
Herbed Breadcrumb-Topped Macaroni and Cheese
If you want to move mac-and-cheese from the kids table to the sideboard, we love this buttery, herbed cornbread topping. The shell pasta helps too.
Sweet Potato-and-Collard Green Gratin
If you're looking for one dish that does it all, this gratin might be the perfect recipe.
Classic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
These mashed potatoes are extra creamy thanks to buttermilk and crème fraîche.
Cornbread Dressing with Smoked Sausage and Apples
Give your cornbread dressing a sweet and rustic taste.
Vegetarian Slow-Cooker Collard Greens
The fire-roasted tomatoes and smoked paprika add so much flavor that you won't miss the ham.
Three-Cheese Corn Pudding
Recipe: Three-Cheese Corn Pudding
What's better than one cheese? Three cheese, especially when those cheeses are white cheddar, yellow cheddar, and Parmesan.
Parmesan-Herb Angel Biscuits
Recipe: Parmesan-Herb Angel Biscuits
Give your Thanksgiving bread some extra flavor with the addition of Parmesan, thyme, and rosemary.
Green Chile-Corn Pudding
Recipe: Green Chile-Corn Pudding
We gave this Southern staple a Tex-Mex twist with poblano chiles and Mexican blend cheese.
Rustic Mashed Red Potatoes with Parmesan
Take your mashed potatoes to a new place by using red potatoes, Parmesan cheese, and herbed cream cheese.
Spicy Candied Yams with Toasted Pecans
Give your candied yams some heat this Thanksgiving with jalapeño chiles.
Old-School Green Bean Casserole
Recipe: Old-School Green Bean Casserole
Skip the can this year and make your own mushroom cream sauce. You will taste the difference.
Cornmeal Angel Biscuits
Recipe: Cornmeal Angel Biscuits
These cornmeal angel biscuits are the perfect nod to cornbread for Thanksgiving.
Garlicky Collard Greens with Confetti Chowchow
Give your collards a pop of color with this tasty confetti chowchow.
Spiked Cranberry-Orange Salad
Recipe: Spiked Cranberry-Orange Salad
Recipe: Angel Biscuits
Want to have fresh biscuits on the table but don't want to waste time on the day of? You can prepare these biscuits one week in advance.
Candied Yams with Rosemary and Orange Zest
These candied yams get fresh flavors from chopped rosemary and orange zest.
Lemon-Almond Green Bean Casserole
This recipe swaps the cream of mushroom soup and fried onions for fresh lemon and sliced onions.
Recipe: Cranberry-Apple-Ginger Salad
Fresh apples and ginger give this cranberry salad extra flavor.
Classic Bread Dressing
Recipe: Classic Bread Dressing
This easy bread dressing recipe is made-from-scratch with high-quality sourdough bread, fresh parsley and thyme, and celery, leeks, and garlic.
Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Fennel
Sweet Potato-Ginger Scones
Recipe: Sweet Potato-Ginger Scones
Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Recipe: Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Slow-Cooker Green Beans
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Green Beans
Brussels Sprouts with Cornbread Croutons
Herbed Wild Rice Dressing
Recipe: Herbed Wild Rice Dressing
Honey-Glazed Spiced Carrots
Recipe: Honey-Glazed Spiced Carrots
Skillet Squash Blossom
Recipe: Skillet Squash Blossom
Smashed Baby Red Potatoes
Recipe: Smashed Baby Red Potatoes
Crispy on the outside and tender and creamy on the inside, these are the best baby potatoes around.
Cornbread Dressing with Kale and Bacon
Farro Salad with Toasted Pecans, Feta, and Dried Cherries
Root Vegetable Gratin
Recipe: Root Vegetable Gratin
Sweet Potato and Chorizo Sausage Bites
Recipe: Yeast Rolls
Sweet Potato Casserole
Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole
Rather than make you choose a single favorite topping for sweet potato casserole, this recipe takes the approach that on Thanksgiving you should get to enjoy whatever topping you want. Savory or sweet, the perfect sweet potato casserole recipe should be an absolute delight. Since we couldn't decide which topping we liked best—crushed cornflakes and pecans, with their candy-sweet flavor, or the puff and fluff of the toasted marshmallows—we decided the only solution was to put them all on. That was definitely the right decision. Now you’ll savor every flavor in every bite. Grab a serving spoon and dig in. You’ll love this casserole.
Pear Salad with Raspberry Cream
Recipe: Pear Salad with Raspberry Cream
This salad is a fantastic way to bring fresh, crisp fruits and vegetables to your holiday table. A bed of romaine and Bibb lettuces form a foundation for succulent slices of firm, ripe pears. Sprinkles of freshly grated Parmesam cheese and crumbles of smoky, crunchy bacon, top the salad, while a dressing piquant with red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard complements the various sweet and salty flavors. A delicious complement to turkey, and perfect to serve for Thanksgiving but suitable any time pears are in season, this elegant salad can easily be doubled or tripled when you need to serve a crowd.
Au Gratin Potato Casserole
Recipe: Au Gratin Potato Casserole
An Au Gratin Potato Casserole can be a simple way to have potatoes a part of your Thanksgiving lunch or dinner. So why not make a cheesy, creamy potato casserole for your next family gathering or holiday meal? Make getting everything ready easy by using frozen hash browns, cream of mushroom soup, shredded Cheddar cheese, and a straight-out-of-the-box corn flakes cereal. If you prefer to do your Thanksgiving meal preparation in advance, you can also make this Au Gratin Potato Casserole ahead, and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake. Either way, it will taste delicious fresh out of the oven.
Recipe: Orange-Ginger-Glazed Carrots
Carrots are a favorite root vegetable to have for Thanksgiving, and this recipe takes them off the roasting pan and gives them a delicious glaze. This super-easy side dish gets a fast start from trimmed and peeled baby carrots. Use a microplane zester to grate both the citrus zest and the fresh ginger. Then, in a saucepan, it is simple to reduce the orange juice, butter, and honey to a beautiful, sweet-yet-tangy glaze that enhances the taste of these fresh baby carrots. While the recipe suggests fresh ginger, you may substitute ground ginger as necessary. However you flavor this dish, your holiday guests will enjoy its flavors on the Thanksgiving table.
Caramelized Onion-and-Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes
This delicious dish has the sweet taste of caramelized onions, cooked in butter until they are tender, then seasoned with garlic and rosemary. These beautiful onions are mixed with smoothly mashed potatoes, then combined with the rich and distinctive flavor of Gorgonzola or blue cheese, and finally spooned into a baking dish. Top this with a decorative finish, and bake it until it is lightly browned. We suggest using a large, star-tipped pastry bag to pipe the potatoes in decorative swirls for an impressive finish. However you choose to decorate this dish, the end result is a beautiful-tasting treat that make any Thanksgiving meal a delight.
Green Beans with Garlic
Recipe: Green Beans with Garlic
This side dish is a study in simplicity. It is fresh, fragrant, and easy to bring to any holiday table. If you enjoy having green beans on your Thanksgiving holiday table, you may find that this is a recipe you love. The flavor of the green beans is delicately enhanced by the taste and aroma of the sautéed garlic, and the delicate additions of olive oil, salt, and freshly ground pepper. What makes this dish so unique is that the garlic is sliced, rather than being chopped or minced, so the slices of garlic become crisp and savory. Grab a plate and enjoy this easy and delicious dish.
Recipe: Sautéed Greens
Sautéed Greens are a great dish to have around your holiday table, and with this recipe yours will be good to go from stovetop to table in a jiffy. Seasoned with chopped ginger and spicy serrano peppers—you can substitute half a jalapeño pepper, split, instead—this recipe is both savory and spicy. It brings a distinctly Southern flair to your Thanksgiving meal. Ready in just 26 minutes, these greens are packed with fresh flavor. And, if you’d prefer to spice this dish up even more, you can add in half a pound of chopped smoked pork. Both recipes are delicious.
Cranberry Congealed Salad
Recipe: Cranberry Congealed Salad
Congealed salads are staples on Southern tables at Thanksgiving, and this Cranberry Congealed Salad is a fresh, refreshing take on this holiday staple. Ours has fresh cranberries, canned pineapple, and pickled peaches, for a combination of flavors. Top the salad with toasted chopped pecans for a nutty crunch. Serve this cranberry congealed salad at holiday gatherings for a festive and colorful side dish. Got leftovers? Spoon them into parfait glasses, then add a mixture of cream cheese and whipped topping. You’ll have a perfect holiday dessert that you can enjoy any time.
Golden Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe: Golden Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a comfort-food classic that you can always enjoy around your holiday table. This homemade baked macaroni and cheese recipe beats the boxed kind any day of the week. It is full of sharp Cheddar cheese, and made from elbow macaroni. Topped with breadcrumbs and cheese, it bakes to a crunchy, divine crust. You’ll love every gooey, crispy mouthful. If you prefer a different type of cheese, you may stir in a pasteurized processed cheese product—it will be equally gooey, but the taste will not be quite as sharp. For a savory main dish, stir in chopped cooked ham before baking, and then sprinkle the top with chopped cooked bacon before serving.
Braised White Turnips
Recipe: Braised White Turnips
This recipe is a simple way to create a delicious and beautiful side dish for your Thanksgiving table. If you prefer single-item sides rather than casseroles, or gratins, then dishes like these Braised White Turnips are the perfect dishes for you. These are cooked in butter, then simmered first in vinegar, then after in honey and butter, to create a beautiful combination of sweet-and-sour-tasting turnips. We based this recipe on one from Atlanta chef Linton Hopkins found in the book Lodge Cast Iron Nation. Use small Japanese turnips from farmers' markets, or peel and cut larger turnips into 1- to 2-inch cubes.
Pimiento Cheese Creamed Spinach
Recipe: Pimiento Cheese Creamed Spinach
In the South, pimiento cheese and creamed spinach are both considered delicacies, so any recipe that mixes the two together can only be described as a mouthwatering delight. This casserole is certainly delicious, rich with the tastes of cream cheese and cheddar cheese, and seasoned with just a hint of garlic of fresh garlic. Your family will be waiting for this to get out of the oven so they can enjoy in on their plate.
"Creamy spinach casserole has always been a favorite in my family, so it's a sure-fire hit for any gathering. The pimiento cheese flavors give it a uniquely Southern twist." —Perre Coleman Magness, author of Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook
This fresh salad meshes citrus, berries, jicama, and greens into a fantastic dish that is perfect on every holiday table. The vinaigrette, seasoned with orange juice, cranberry-orange relish, and balsamic vinegar, has just the right amount of sweetness and bite. The raw jícama in this salad adds flavor and crunch. Sometimes referred to as the Mexican potato, jícama has a sweet, nutty taste and can be eaten raw or cooked. The salad tastes delicious garnished with a hard Italian cheese like Parmesan, or Pecorino Romano. Consider having the cheese shaved into thin slices rather than grated. It will add just the right amount of salty delight.
Bacon-Brown Sugar Brussels Sprouts
This simple recipe brings the beautiful flavors, color and texture of Brussels sprouts to your holiday table. Lots of flavor—and only five ingredients—make this Brussels sprouts recipe a winner. It gets its rich, smoky flavor from the bacon, and a delicate touch of sweetness from a single tablespoon of brown sugar. These ingredients, plus the broth, create a beautiful broth that bathes the sprouts in taste. Even reviewers who aren't sprouts fans like this version. For extra flavor, this recipe suggests that you top the Brussels sprouts with crumbles of crunchy bacon, creating a harmony of flavors in every mouthwatering bite.
Crispy Sweet Potato-Green Onion Cakes
Crispy Sweet Potato-Green Onion Pancakes are a great choice for a Thanksgiving side dish. They bring a unique twist to the classic sweet potato, and create a nice crunch to complement the other items on the holiday lunch or dinner table. What’s so delicious about this recipe is that it blends the delicate flavors of the sweet potatoes and the green onions with the spicy zest of a couple of chopped red jalapeño peppers, meaning that it mixes the heat with the sweet. But it all mixes together to form a delicious sweet potato delight. Serve these savory little numbers with a dollop of sour cream and a squeeze of lime as a crunchy appetizer or a dish to accompany roasted or grilled meats or fish.
Two-Cheese Squash Casserole
Recipe: Two-Cheese Squash Casserole
If you relish in having squash casserole as a Thanksgiving table staple, this Cheddar and Parmesan Squash Casserole may become your go-to recipe. It combines the forces of these two great cheeses with yellow squash to create this creamy dish. For a tasty and colorful twist, you can even substitute sliced zucchini for half of the yellow squash. You’ll love the hint of sweet onion and the bold, savory flavors of the cheese, all holding the squash together in a gooey delight of a dish. Crumble some bread, shred some cheese, and get ready to enjoy this fantastic holiday casserole.
Sweet Potato Grati
Recipe: Sweet Potato Gratin
This is a fantastic, easy-to-make recipe that only has five ingredients. It mixes sliced sweet potatoes, sliced russet potatoes, cream, salt, and Gruyère cheese into a delicious, cheesy, gooey delight that tastes amazing just out of the oven. This is a wonderful way to have potatoes or sweet potatoes on your Thanksgiving table if you are thinking of preparing an alternative to roasted root vegetables. The finished dish looks beautiful when it is ready, complete with a golden-brown top of baked cheese. You will know when the potatoes are perfectly cooked when a table knife slides easily through the center.
Recipe: Citrus-Kale Salad
Use your favorite citrus for this refreshing salad. We love the colorful mix and flavor combination of two navel oranges, one blood orange, and Ruby Red grapefruit. The dressing is a light and refreshing mix based on a foundation of white wine vinegar, with sugar, Dijon mustard, and honey, as well as orange juice. This all rests on a bed of kale and red onion, and is topped with creamy crumbles of cheese. Goat cheese and feta cheese both provide their own unique taste. No matter what fruit you choose, buy an extra navel orange to juice for the dressing.
Green Beans With Shallots and Red Pepper
Sometimes you need good kitchen tips to help you manage all the food preparation you have for the holiday season. Frozen whole green beans offer a timesaving shortcut in this speedy recipe. Sautéed in butter with strips of red bell pepper and shallots, they can easily stand in for fresh green beans—even when company is coming. This recipe is delicious with thinly sliced shallots, but if you do not have one at hand, thin slices of onion will substitute nicely. You’ll love the flavor combinations of the onion, green beans, and slices of red bell pepper. However you enjoy this dish, it will be a favorite around your holiday table.
Recipe: Oven-Roasted Asparagus
This is a quick and easy way to enjoy a simple side dish. Plan to have fresh, oven-roasted asparagus as one of your Thanksgiving side dishes and you, your family, and your friends will marvel at how refreshing such a straightforward dish can be. The key to this dish is preparation—be sure to clip off the woody ends of the asparagus, and make sure to lightly toast the almonds. You will want to sprinkle the almonds on top once the asparagus spears come fresh out of the oven, so be ready. Then serve a helping of these delicious vegetables and let them enhance the flavors of a wonderful meal.
Bloody Mary Green Bean Salad
Recipe: Bloody Mary Green Bean Salad
You probably never imagined the idea of enjoying a Bloody Mary on a plate, but when we thought about what was in the classic drink we knew it was delicious. That got us thinking about how to develop this recipe. We turned a festive cocktail into a salad by making the drink's crunchy garnishes (green beans and celery) the star and dressing them with a vinaigrette made with Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix. What’s so great about the Bloody Mary Green Bean Salad is that you can have as much as you like and you will only ever be over your calorie limit. So grab a plate, and enjoy this salad—in moderation.
Cajun Corn Maque Choux
Recipe: Cajun Corn Maque Choux
When we think Cajun we usually think Southern and spicy, and this recipe is a delight in both regards. You can think of maque choux as a Creole succotash, so plan to bring a bunch of great tastes to your holiday table with this dish. Smoky bits of andouille sausage add a bold and spicy flavor to every colorful serving. Bell pepper, corn, and tomatoes will also add delicious textures and flavors to every bite. So have some Cajun Corn Maque Choux around the table, and enjoy the flavors of the South.
Tee's Corn Pudding
Recipe: Tee's Corn Pudding
Corn pudding may seem like a simple side dish, but you might be surprised to learn it is a reader favorite. This is a dish that we recommend you always have on your Thanksgiving table. We describe Tee’s Corn Pudding as our ultimate creamed corn: this in-demand recipe has run in our magazine more than 10 times after its debut in 1995. To run so often, and to seem so simple, it obviously is a recipe for corn pudding that is rich and delicious. If you’d like to dress the dish up a little, it is even more amazing with chopped fresh chives added on top.
Recipe: Southern GiardinieraSoutherners love to pickle and can, and these vegetables are a great way to bring simple appetizers to the Thanksgiving table. We’ve chosen carrots, broccoli florets, jalapeños, mini peppers, and fennel, as our vegetables to pickle, but you may also choose from a range of others that will put up well. Set these bread-and-butter-style pickled veggies out on your relish tray so guests can nosh on them before and during dinner. These little treats are so delicious we doubt there will be any left over. Red pearl onions add vibrant color to the relish, but white onions will work too.
Collards With Red Onions
Recipe: Collards With Red Onions
Making delectable Collard greens is all about knowing what flavors make them delicious. In this recipe, dried, crushed red pepper flakes and a touch of brown sugar add a spark of sweet heat to these tasty greens. Red onions, and cider vinegar, also bring a touch of tart spice to these Southern table staples, adding a twist on the usual Collard greens recipe. After you have simmered your greens an hour, they will be a tender, spicy-and-sweet delight. Enjoy them straight out of the pot and straight onto the Thanksgiving table. They will bring a true taste of the South to your holiday celebrations.
Roasted Fingerlings and Green Beans With Creamy Tarragon Dressing
Fingerlings are a delicious potato that roasts well and can easily be combined with a range of vegetables. Here, they are combined with fresh green beans, creating a combination of freshly roasted, golden-brown potatoes and crisp beans, all covered in a buttermilk, lemon juice, and Dijon-based dressing, and seasoned only with salt and cracked pepper. The dressing includes fragrant herbs that pair well with both the potatoes and beans. The richly flavored fingerling potatoes wreathed in baby green beans make a festive presentation that is beautiful on any holiday table.
Double Cranberry-Apple Sauce
Recipe: Double Cranberry-Apple Sauce
Begin this recipe with Granny Smith apples to start with a fantastic crisp, tart taste. These are lightly sweetened with sugar, and simmered with fresh cranberries, and lemon, combining to a delicate sauce. Mixed with dried cranberries, this sauce is the perfect complement to all the dishes on your Thanksgiving table, and you’ll be spooning it onto turkey, dressing, and everything else that its fantastic flavors will enhance. Savor this irresistible holiday treat. You recommend that you make a double batch—then you can send the extra sauce home with your guests, because they will certainly be asking for some.
Turnip Greens Stew
Recipe: Turnip Greens Stew
This fantastic stew works wonders on your Thanksgiving sideboard, and here we share some shortcuts that help you get it from stovetop to table in a jiffy. Frozen vegetables make preparing the greens for this savory stew simple. Two cups of chopped, cooked ham add just the right amount of savory flavor. Sauté the ham in a Dutch oven for a few minutes and you’ll enhance its flavor even more. Chicken broth gives the greens a distinctive taste that you’ll love on your plate. So settle in over the stove for a few minutes and prepare this easy-to-make Turnip Greens Stew—you’ll enjoy every delicious bite.
Creamy Fried Confetti Corn
Recipe: Creamy Fried Confetti Corn
You’ll love the flavor of the corn, onion, and bell peppers sautéed in bacon drippings, because of course things do taste better with bacon. One of our most popular corn side dishes, this corn casserole does not disappoint. The crispy crunch of smoky bacon cuts through the creamy richness of the dish, making it easy for this casserole to pair with just about anything. It has just a hint of sweetness thanks to the corn, the sugar, and the half-and-half. A pinch of pepper gives it just the right amount of bite.
Glazed Butternut Squash
Recipe: Glazed Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is a great roasted side dish, and this recipe adds a touch of sweetness to its usual roasted, nutty taste. Apple cider simmers with butter and sugar to create a golden glaze for this flavorful side dish. A serrated grapefruit spoon makes quick work of removing the seeds and stringy fibers from winter squash. This Thanksgiving side dish is seasoned with sage, then topped with the nutty flavor of toasted pecans—a favorite Southern nut. A study in simplicity, this roasted vegetable makes a wonderful accompaniment to turkey and dressing. Enjoy it on your table for Thanksgiving every year.
Roasted Green Beans with Sun-dried Tomatoes
Rather than sautéing or boiling your beans, this recipe makes them perfect in the oven. It combines the crunch of fresh green beans with the rich, savory flavor of oil-packed sun dried tomatoes that are then roasted with the beans. Pine nuts, tossed with the beans and the sun dried tomatoes, add a nutty flavor and aroma. Baking your green beans with pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes is a hands-free way to pack the green beans with flavor. Putting sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts on the Thanksgiving table brings new, unique, and unexpected tastes that your family and friends will enjoy to the plate.