Looking for creative and delicious side dishes for Thanksgiving? Look no further. I’ve compiled an epic list of 25 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Impress. These include non-boring salads, veggie mashes, roasted veg, potato dishes, rolls and more.
As a traditionalist I believe that staple Thanksgiving dishes, such as roast turkey, homemade green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce are perfect just as they are and they should not be messed with.
However, having the same set of dishes year after year gets a bit boring. To make your Thanksgiving feast more interesting, make some unexpected tasty side dishes and impress your guests' taste buds with new flavors. The recipes below use traditional fall ingredients, such as potatoes, butternut squash or green beans, but they are all fun, creative and versatile.
Bonus: many of the recipes included here can be prepared in advance. This way, you can minimize your time in the kitchen and maximize your moments with loved ones on the special day.
- 1. French Onion Potatoes
- 2. Mushroom Stuffing
- 3. Crack Green Beans
- 4. Pumpkin Spice Melting Sweet Potatoes
- 5. Soft Brioche Dinner Rolls
- 6. Apple Gorgonzola Salad
- 7. Spinach Parmesan Casserole
- 8. One-Pot Ricotta Mac and Cheese
- 9. Honey Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
- 10. Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- 11. Creamy Parsnip Puree
- 12. Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
- 13. Stuffing Balls
- 14. Sourdough Bread Stuffing
- 15. Crispy Roasted Mini Potatoes
- 16. Roasted Delicata Squash Salad
- 17. Butternut Squash Fries (Air Fryer or Oven)
- 18. Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese with Kale
- 19. Roasted Beet Salad with Orange Tahini Dressing
- 20. Butter Bean Mash
- 21. Garlic Dinner Rolls
- 22. Thanksgiving Fruit Salad
- 23. Kale Caesar Salad
- 24. Candied Whipped Sweet Potatoes
- 25. Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
- Which side dishes can be made the day before?
- How to store Thanksgiving side dishes
- Less Traditional Thanksgiving Sides
- You may also like
- Meet the Author
Check out this list and get inspired to elevate your Thanksgiving game with sides that will impress your family and guests.
1. French Onion Potatoes
Onion soup meets scalloped potatoes in this French Onion Potatoes recipe, for a dish you’ll want over mashed potatoes any day. Thinly sliced potatoes are smothered in a French Onion mixture coated with plenty of cheese and baked to perfection. French Onion Potatoes
2. Mushroom Stuffing
This vegan-friendly stuffing is creamy and crazy delicious! It only uses super easy-to-find winter veggies like celery, carrots, mushrooms, and onions. It’s an essential side dish for Thanksgiving and holiday season. Mushroom Stuffing
3. Crack Green Beans
This lighter take on the classic Southern smothered green beans is truly addicting. Canned (or fresh cooked) green beans are baked in a delectable blend of sweet and savory sauce, crafted from soy sauce, maple syrup, and butter, then crowned with crispy bacon. This dish serves as an ideal side for a holiday meal and it's an interesting alternative to a classic green bean casserole. Crack Green Beans
4. Pumpkin Spice Melting Sweet Potatoes
Crispy on the outside, tender and caramelized on the inside, melting sweet potatoes literally melt in your mouth. They are a great alternative to a more classic sweet potato casserole. Melting Sweet Potatoes
5. Soft Brioche Dinner Rolls
These brioche rolls are made with a rich and pillowy soft dough made from humble ingredients. With their buttery richness and irresistible flavor, this recipe is bound to win your heart over upon your first taste! Brioche Rolls
6. Apple Gorgonzola Salad
Apple Gorgonzola Salad is one of the best side dishes for Thanksgiving because it's super easy to make and it offers a variety of flavors and textures. It combines crisp apples, peppery arugula, toasted walnuts, rich gorgonzola cheese, sliced red onions, and a touch of sweet cranberries. Apple Gorgonzola Salad
7. Spinach Parmesan Casserole
This easy 20-minute spinach casserole is made with fresh spinach, cream, and parmesan cheese. Topped off with panko breadcrumbs and baked till golden brown. It will serve as a great addition to your Thanksgiving menu. Spinach Parmesan Casserole
8. One-Pot Ricotta Mac and Cheese
Here's a classic comfort food made easy. This effortless Ricotta Mac and Cheese is prepared in a single pot without the need for butter or flour. Incredibly cheesy and subtly sweet, courtesy of the ricotta, it makes for a restaurant-quality side dish made in minutes. Cheddar cheese can be swapped for gouda or monterey jack. Ricotta Mac and Cheese
9. Honey Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
An easy and tasty side dish that comes together in under 40 minutes, this honey roasted carrots and parsnips recipe will be a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving spread. Flavored with a glaze made with honey, butter and fresh rosemary. Honey Roasted Parsnips and Carrots
10. Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
Made with layers of tender potatoes and a rich, creamy, aromatic sauce, Scalloped Potatoes with Cheese make for something classically delicious. With a few simple ingredients, this homemade scalloped potatoes recipe comes together in a snap and is the BEST Thanksgiving side dish ever! Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
11. Creamy Parsnip Puree
This Parsnip Puree is velvety smooth and creamy, and it's a perfect alternative to mashed poatoes. It’s a delicious naturally gluten-free side dish that’s perfect with anything you’re serving on your Thanksgiving table. Parsnip Puree
12. Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad
This vegan, gluten-free warm quinoa salad is the perfect side for holiday dinner, entertaining, and fall potlucks! Take advantage of seasonal flavors like butternut squash, kale, and pecans. Serve it warm or at room temperature. Quinoa Salad
13. Stuffing Balls
These easy to make stuffing balls are perfect for holiday dinner because everyone gets their own serving! No fussing with large casserole dishes or dealing with dried out turkey stuffing, these vegetarian stuffing balls are easy to make and will sure become a hit. Fresh herbs make this sensational side dish bright and flavorful. Stuffing Balls
14. Sourdough Bread Stuffing
Here's the most delicious stuffing recipe made with crusty sourdough bread, celery, onions and fresh herbs. It's light and fluffy in the center with supremely crispy edges. This stuffing really is the essence of Thanksgiving flavors! Sourdough Stuffing
15. Crispy Roasted Mini Potatoes
These roasted mini potatoes are crispy on the outside, creamy within, and perfectly seasoned. The flavors are simple, garlicky, and herbaceous, so they’ll compliment just about any main dish on the Thanksgiving table. Roasted Mini Potatoes
16. Roasted Delicata Squash Salad
This Roasted Delicata Squash Salad is loaded with dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, feta, and a tangy maple balsamic vinaigrette. This gorgeous salad is a delicious way to add some healthy balance to your holiday menu. Delicata Squash Salad
If you're looking for more delicata squash ideas, check out this simple Sautéed Delicata Squash with feta, tahini and pistachios, too!
17. Butternut Squash Fries (Air Fryer or Oven)
If you have an air fryer, I highly recommend putting it to use this Thanksgiving! It will free up some space in the oven and it's perfect for roasting veggies, such as butternut squash. Fries are a fun and unexpected way to serve butternut squash - even people who normally don't like squash will love this version. They are crispy on the outside with a soft, velvety texture inside. Butternut Squash Fries
18. Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese with Kale
If you're looking for a healthier version of mac and cheese that's loaded with vegies, make this one! Sweet potato mac and cheese with kale is packed with the sweet taste of sweet potato and the earthy, savory flavor of sage. Plus, the added veggies help make this a more balanced pasta dish! Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese
19. Roasted Beet Salad with Orange Tahini Dressing
If you're looking to add different types of veggies to your Thanksgiving meal, make this roasted beet salad. The addition of chopped pistachios, feta cheese, mint and tahini-based dressing makes for a memorable salad that can be served warm or cold. Swap feta for goat cheese if you like. Roasted Beet Salad
20. Butter Bean Mash
If you have vegetarians at your Thanksgiving dinner table, here's a great way to offer a protein-rich side dish: Butter Bean Mash. The mild and creamy butter beans effortlessly soak up the aromatic essence of rosemary, garlic, and freshly grated parmesan cheese. A touch of fresh lemon juice brings perfect balance, enhancing the overall flavors of the dish. Butter Bean Mash
21. Garlic Dinner Rolls
Light and airy garlic rolls with a rich buttery taste, requiring minimal effort yet bursting with delicious flavors. Warm homemade dinner rolls are destined to be a hit on Thanksgiving day and any other day! Garlic Rolls
22. Thanksgiving Fruit Salad
Thanksgiving Fruit Salad is a vibrant, healthy addition to your holiday table. Colorful chopped fruit is tossed with a simple honey dressing for a delicious, easy side dish made with fresh ingredients. Cranberries, pecans and pomegranate adds holiday flair to this simple side dish. Thanksgiving Fruit Salad
23. Kale Caesar Salad
Fresh kale, crispy tempeh, and crunchy chickpea croutons are what make this Caesar salad so special. Just wait until you try the creamy vegan Caesar dressing! This is a perfect side dish if you have guests who eat a plant-based diet but everyone else will love it, too! Kale Caesar Salad
24. Candied Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Candied Whipped Sweet Potatoes are a timeless side dish, known for their light, creamy texture and delightful sweetness. Whether served during holidays or on regular weeknights, they remain a classic favorite. This recipe is wonderfully straightforward, requiring only a few easy steps and common ingredients. Candied Sweet Potatoes
25. Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
Impress the kids (and adults) with these cute pumpkin rolls. These super easy to make little pumpkin breads are a fun way to add a little autumn joy to your dinner table. Kids will love helping to make these, too! Pumpkin Rolls
Which side dishes can be made the day before?
Several Thanksgiving side dishes can be made the day before to save you time and stress on the actual holiday. Here are some popular options:
- Casseroles: many casserole dishes, like green bean casserole, corn casserole or sweet potato casserole, can be assembled the day before, then baked on Thanksgiving day
- Stuffing: prepare your stuffing or dressing the day before, but don't stuff the turkey until you're ready to roast it. Baking the stuffing separately is a safer and often more flavorful option.
- Rolls: prepare the dough for dinner rolls and shape them the day before. Allow them to rise slightly in the refrigerator, then bake on Thanksgiving day for fresh, warm rolls.
- Roasted Vegetables: You can cut and season vegetables like carrots, potatoes, or Brussels sprouts the day before. Just pop them in the oven on Thanksgiving day for roasting.
- Gravy: Make your gravy in advance and reheat it on Thanksgiving day. You can also make a rich turkey or chicken stock ahead of time to use in the gravy.
- Cranberry Sauce: Cranberry sauce can be made a day or even several days ahead. It actually benefits from sitting in the refrigerator, as it allows the flavors to meld.
- Some Salads: most grain salads such as Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad or other fall salads made with barley, farro or wild rice, can also be made 1 day ahead, as long as they don't use watery fresh veggies, such as cucumbers or tomatoes. Some other salads, like potato salad or salads made with roasted veggies, such as Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts Salad can also be made ahead of time.
Note: I recommend making salad dressing and storing it in a jar separate from the salad. Toss salad with the dressing right befoe serving for best results.
How to store Thanksgiving side dishes
Make-ahead dishes, such as casseroles or stuffing should be stored in airtight containers or covered with plastic wrap to maintain their freshness. When ready to bake, I recommend taking the dish out and leave on the counter for 30 minutes to speed up the baking time. Oven space is priceless on Thanksgiving day!
Letfovers: is there a better thing than Thanksgiving leftovers? Place them in airtight containers, let cool completely and place in the fridge for the next day (or the whole weekend, up to 3-4 days). When reheating, be sure to follow recommended food safety guidelines.
Less Traditional Thanksgiving Sides
- Mediterranean Rice (for rice lovers)
- Strawberry Spinach Feta Salad (always a hit)
- Air Fryer Sliced Potatoes
- Vegan Biscuits (made with vegan butter and no milk)
- Fall Charcuterie Board (works as an appetizer spread, too)
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