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.