102 Spectacular Thanksgiving Sides
There's something for everyone in this special collection of Thanksgiving side dish recipes. Find familiar favorites, along with tempting new creations to try on your Thanksgiving menu.
- Recipe: Grandma Erma's Spirited Cranberry Sauce
- Recipe: Hot-and-Spicy Cranberry-Pear Chutney
- Recipe: Cranberry Salsa
- Cooking Video: Grandma Erma's Spirited Cranberry Sauce
Turkey may be the centerpiece, but cornbread dressing is the heart and soul of a Southern Thanksgiving menu. Whether served alongside turkey, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce, or by itself straight out of the fridge the next day, you'll love this dressing recipe.
Cooked carrots add smooth texture and extra flavor to this comfort food favorite. Serve this classic holiday casserole any time of year and expect rave reviews. Top with marshmallows and spicy-sweet pecans.
- Recipe: Sweet Potato-Carrot Casserole
For a lighter option to traditional Thanksgiving sides, try these Balsamic-Roasted Carrots and Parsnips. Light brown sugar and cherries add a bit of sweetness balanced by crushed red pepper and lemon zest.
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—even when company is coming.
Deliciously moist and perfectly seasoned, this five-star favorite really has no rivals. It does take a little extra time to prepare cornbread dressing from scratch, but it's definitely worth the effort, and freezes beautifully.
- Recipe: Cornbread Dressing
This homemade baked macaroni and cheese recipe beats the boxed kind any day of the week. For a divine main dish, stir in chopped cooked ham before baking, and then sprinkle top with chopped cooked bacon before serving.
- Recipe: Golden Macaroni and Cheese
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.
Each of these quick-to-fix recipes gets a speedy start with seasoned rice mix—just stir in a sprinkling of fresh herbs and diced bell pepper or a handful of dried fruit and toasted nuts. For a festive turnout, fill lightly greased custard cups or ramekins with hot rice, packing the mixture tightly into the cup with the back of a spoon, then invert the cup onto a serving plate.
Oven roasting is an easy, hands-off method of cooking that intensifies the natural sweetness of the vegetables and allows you plenty of time to get the rest of the meal ready.
Serve this cranberry congealed salad at holiday gatherings for a festive and colorful side dish. Got leftovers? Spoon into parfait glasses with a mixture of cream cheese and whipped topping.
- Recipe: Cranberry Congealed Salad
One of our most popular corn side dishes, this corn casserole does not disappoint. The sprinkle of bacon cuts the creamy richness of the dish, making it easy for this casserole to pair with just about anything.
- Recipe: Creamy Fried Confetti Corn
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.
- Recipe: Glazed Butternut Squash
Lightly coating rice with butter or oil before adding the broth prevents the grains from sticking together. Less liquid is used during slow cooking because it doesn’t evaporate as quickly as when cooking rice on the stovetop.
- Recipe: Wild Rice Pilaf
Creamy goat cheese, crunchy toasted almonds, juicy red tomatoes, and flavorful vinaigrette puts this recipe a cut above ordinary green beans.
Cheddar and Parmesan combine forces with yellow squash in this creamy casserole. For a tasty and colorful twist, substitute sliced zucchini for half of the yellow squash.
- Recipe: Two-Cheese Squash Casserole
Make a cheesy, creamy potato casserole for your next family gathering or holiday meal. Make it easy with frozen hash browns, cream of mushroom soup, and cornflakes cereal. You can also make it ahead and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.
- Recipe: Au Gratin Potato Casserole
Editor-at-Large James Farmer's grandmother Mimi always added a knob of butter to her onions to boost the flavor as they browned in oil, and then simmered the greens slowly, adding water as needed to keep them submerged. For serving, James says, "I use my large, enameled cast-iron stew pot. It keeps the greens warm and offers a nice presentation."
- Recipe: A Mess of Greens
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.
Recipe: Braised White Turnips
This is the absolute best way to cook Brussels sprouts. High heat searing caramelizes the outside and yields perfect crisp-tender texture inside. Use a 12-inch cast-iron pan, or work in two batches.
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.
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.
Recipe: Bloody Mary Green Bean 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. No matter what fruit you choose, buy an extra navel orange to juice for the dressing.
Recipe: Citrus-Kale Salad
If you can't find haricots verts (small, thin French green beans), use regular beans. Make ahead: Blanch the beans up to three days before, wrap them in damp paper towels, and store in a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Compose and dress the salad just before the big feast.
Set these bread-and-butter-style pickled veggies out on your relish tray so guests can nosh on them before and during dinner. Red pearl onions add vibrant color to the relish, but white onions will work too.
Recipe: Southern Giardiniera
Roasting cauliflower brings out a delicious nutty flavor and gives the soup a gorgeous silky texture. Prepare the soup through Step 4 up to two days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat just before you're ready to serve. Serve the soup as a seated starter while your turkey rests.
"This recipe makes classic creamed onions seem inventive and stylish. A generous wedge is an appealing side dish, but it'll make a nice first course, if paired with a salad. The tart tastes great served warm or at room temperature." —Sheri Castle, author of The Southern Living Community Cookbook
Recipe: Creamed Onion Tart
"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
Recipe: Pimiento Cheese Creamed Spinach
"My cranberry salad has become a staple at our Thanksgiving table because of its beautiful color, taste, and texture. Everyone seems to love this dish. I started adding the maraschino cherries to temper the tartness of the cranberries. The other fruits were added to satisfy family members' tastes. This recipe has a lot of flexibility, and that's why I love it so much." —SL reader Shawn Jackson, Fishers, IN
Recipe: Old-School Cranberry Salad
We were so inspired by Old-School Cranberry Salad that we created a new version using fresh oranges and pineapple in place of canned and subbing dried cherries for maraschinos.
Recipe: New-School Cranberry Salad
"The old-school version of this recipe uses canned soup and often calls for frozen broccoli. My new twist is made with fresh, wholesome ingredients. It takes just a smidgen of more time, but the results are absolutely extra-ordinary." —Contributing editor Virginia Willis, author of the forthcoming Lighten Up, Y'all
"We have a hard time getting our grandson to eat a vegetable. He loves Goldfish crackers, so I came up with this recipe. You can sub any type of crackers," says SL reader Gerri Ellis, of Hazelhurst, MS, whose recipe inspired this dish. In the photo (at left), we crushed a few crackers and tossed the crumbs with paprika to help the whole fish stand out.
"A dear friend and great chef, Matthew Wendell, made these rustic vegetables for us while we lived in the White House. They have become a staple at our Thanksgiving because of the simplicity and purity of the dish." —Editor-at-large Jenna Bush Hager
"This luscious gratin strikes a happy middle chord for those hungry for potatoes and those vying for a sweet potato casserole." —Nancy Vienneau, author of Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook, from which this recipe was adapted
Recipe: Two-Potato Gratin
"There are two things you'll always find at the Summers' family Thanksgiving table: Julia Child's iconic Cornbread Sausage Stuffing and lively table conversation. A few years ago, I started amping up the spice in Julia's stuffing by adding jalapeño and using chorizo sausage. As the years progressed, I noticed the spicier the stuffing, the livelier the conversation." —Libbie Summers, stylist and author of Sweet & Vicious
Recipe: Chorizo-and-Cornbread Dressing