thanksgiving side dishes

47 Thanksgiving Side Dishes That Will Elevate Your Festive Spread

Second to spending time with your loved ones, a large roasted turkey is the undeniable highlight of your holiday spread. But you can’t deny that side dishes form the majority of your Thanksgiving lineup. The side dishes offer the perfect balance to a turkey meal.

From the classic mash and cranberry sauce to exciting salads and soups, we’ve curated an extensive collection of some incredible Thanksgiving side dishes! With this list, you’re bound to find one (or more!) new favorites this year!

1. Butternut Squash Pasta with Roasted Garlic

This butternut squash pasta is bursting with fall flavors and is made without cream! Tender, caramelized butternut is blended with roasted garlic with cheese, earthy spices like nutmeg and paprika, and rosemary to produce a swoon-worthy side. Mix in pasta and reserved roasted squash cubes to seal the deal, and serve!

2. Butternut Squash Soup

Warming and comforting, this elegant soup is the perfect starter for your meal. Squash is the primary ingredient here, and onion, olive oil, basic seasonings, cinnamon, and chicken/vegetable broth all add savory flavors to it. This simple recipe highlights the natural sweetness of caramelized butternut. Serve hot with a drizzle of heavy cream.

3. Buttery Mashed Cauliflower

If you’re looking for a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, this recipe is for you. Cauliflower is combined with unsalted butter, aromatic garlic, sour cream, and salty Parmesan. The resulting dish is light, creamy, buttery, smooth, and chock full of flavor — the ideal side for your Thanksgiving mains.

4. Candied Sweet Potatoes

Sides don’t always have to be savory. These candied sweet potatoes can pair beautifully with your Thanksgiving dinner. They’re soft, buttery, loaded with flavors of brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, maple, and vanilla, and have the most gorgeous caramelization. You can also spruce up the buttery brown sugar sauce with orange zest, rosemary, or sea salt to accentuate the flavors.

5. Candied Yams

Not a fan of sweet potatoes? These candied yams will do the trick for you! To make, toss sweet potatoes with brown sugar, butter, spices like cinnamon and salt, and a dash of nutmeg, then bake until they’re tender and caramelized on the edges. You can even top it with miniature marshmallows to get into the holiday spirit!

6. Classic Waldorf Salad

This classic salad is perfect for feeding a big family at Thanksgiving! This no-cook recipe requires some chopping, so bring your sharpest knives to the game! Combine diced apples with celery and grapes, sprinkle them with lemon juice, and toss them all with mayonnaise and whipped cream. Add some toasted nuts on top and serve.

7. Colcannon

Colcannon is what you can make when you’re tired of simple mash. The traditional recipe features butter and heavy cream, which can make the dish heavy. So, we’ll use less butter and swap heavy cream for whole milk and chicken broth to lighten it up. Colcannon is flexible, so add mix-ins like cheddar, sour cream, and caramelized onions to adjust it to taste.

8. Cozy Autumn Wild Rice Soup

Made with fresh veggies, greens, and hearty wild rice, this cozy soup is a welcome addition to a Thanksgiving feast. The recipe’s highlight is the flavorful broth, which is flavored with garlic, Old Bay seasoning, and a bay leaf to tantalize your taste buds. The addition of coconut milk or cream makes it a creamy yet light soup that everyone will enjoy.

9. Cranberry Sauce

Once you taste this four-ingredient cranberry sauce, you’ll never eat the canned stuff again. It has a thick, jam-like texture and a sweet-tart taste, which is enhanced by the depth of flavor it gets from maple syrup and orange zest. You can adjust the cooking time based on how thick or thin you’d like your sauce to be.

10. Cranberry Walnut Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

In this cranberry walnut salad, lettuce, red onion, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, and goat cheese are all tossed in a tangy balsamic vinaigrette to delight your senses. It’s a simple salad that is loaded with mouthwatering flavors and features an irresistible crunch in every bite. You can further elevate its appeal by mixing in some sliced apples.

11. Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms

This recipe pairs tender and creamy polenta with pan-roasted white wine and herbed shiitake mushrooms to create the ultimate side dish for Thanksgiving. For a finishing touch, serve it topped with herbs, cheese, and pepper. This dish comes together in 35 minutes, so it’s a great option when you’re running short on time!

12. Cumin Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas with Lemon Vinaigrette

A vegetarian dish to delight everyone’s palate, this recipe calls for roasting carrots and chickpeas to bring out their natural flavors and give them a caramelized texture and crunch. A simple lemon vinaigrette adds a bright and zingy flavor to this dish. Serve it sprinkled with scallions and parsley to give it a pop of color, extra flavor, and loads of textures.

13. Easy Buttermilk Biscuits

These buttermilk biscuits are soft, flaky, and buttery — the holy trinity of a crowd-pleaser! And you only need seven ingredients to make them — all-purpose flour, baking powder and soda, buttermilk, granulated sugar, salt, and unsalted butter. Serve them on their own to soak up the yummy flavors of gravy.

14. Easy Garlic Green Beans

These garlicky green beans are ready in about 20 minutes! The green beans are blanched, so they retain their gorgeous color while making them crispy yet tender. They are then combined with olive oil, minced garlic, fresh herbs, red pepper flakes, and nutty sesame seeds to give them irresistible flavors, making them appealing to even the pickiest of eaters.

15. Easy Roasted Cauliflower

This oven-roasted cauliflower recipe will help you meet your health goals this Thanksgiving! To make this, toss cauliflower florets with a combination of olive oil, butter, and seasonings, then bake them until they’re caramelized to perfection. The recipe is adaptable, so you can use your favorite seasonings to cook it to your preference.

16. Easy Roasted Parsnips

Roasted parsnips are a veggie side that comes together in a snap and tastes delicious with turkey. In this recipe, the sweet, earthy, nutrient-packed root veggie is coated with spices, herbs, and olive oil and caramelized in the oven to highlight its natural flavors. You can serve it with a garnish of fresh parsley to elevate its aesthetic appeal.

17. Easy Rosemary Garlic Focaccia Bread

Crisp on the outside yet delightfully soft and chewy on the inside, this rosemary-garlic focaccia bread is a dreamy side dish. The recipe uses all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, yeast, and sugar to produce a fluffy bread that is seasoned with EVOO, garlic, and herbs. Made extras? You can store it in the fridge for up to 2 days!

18. Easy Stuffing

The perfect stuffing can take your Thanksgiving meal to a whole new level. And this recipe will show you how to make it in a few simple steps. You’ll be cooking celery and onions with butter and a poultry spice blend until they’re tender, then tossing them with dried bread cubes, parsley, fresh herbs, and chicken broth. Add extra butter and bake until golden brown, and you’re all set!

19. Favorite Green Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Pepitas

This green salad will add a pop of color to your festive spread. The beautiful side has creamy crumbled goat cheese, fresh spring greens salad blend, sweet dried cranberries, crunchy pepitas, and tart apples — all tossed in a tangy apple cider vinaigrette. This light side dish complements your heavy, hearty holiday mains wonderfully!

20. 5-Ingredient Corn Casserole

Here’s a no-fail, five-ingredient corn casserole you can make this Thanksgiving! Corn muffin mix is combined whole kernel corn, creamed corn, sour cream, and melted butter in a bowl. You then pour this mixture into a greased baking pan and bake until lightly browned. You can even turn it into a dessert by adding eggs, some sugar, and cheese to it.

21. Garlic Knots

You can never go wrong with garlic knots! The bread always comes out soft and chewy and bursts with the richness of butter as well as the aromatic flavor of garlic. Garlic knots are also perfect for soaking up the delicious turkey gravy. However, you can also serve them with a marinara sauce for dipping or alongside a big salad.

22. Grandma’s Sweet Potato Biscuits

Southern-style sweet potato biscuits have a charm of their own. The crowd-pleasing biscuits are golden brown, have a subtle sweetness to them, and are slightly crisp on the outside with light, flaky layers within. Make sure to brush them with melted butter for extra flavor!

23. Green Bean Casserole Perfection!

Green bean casserole is the standard for veggie-based side dishes, and we’ll tell you why! The classic Thanksgiving dish has just three components — blanched beans, lightly golden and crispy onions, and creamy mushroom sauce — but delivers delightful flavors. Assemble all ingredients in a baking pan, bake until bubbly, and dig in!

24. Harvest Chicken Casserole

If you want another hearty dish to serve on Thanksgiving, look no further than this hearty chicken casserole. It uses Brussels sprouts, chicken breast, sweet potatoes, white or purple onions, and a few fall favorites to produce a comforting meal with sweet-savory flavors. This casserole is so good to take center stage on the dinner table — but with turkey in town, you won’t have to worry about it stealing the limelight!

25. Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback potatoes are the MVPs of the potato world, so, of course, you’d want to incorporate them into your holiday spread! They may look tricky to make, but once you roast them to crisp, golden brown perfection, all you have to do is load them with cheese, bacon, sour cream, and green onions to take them to the next level. A gastronomic experience like no other!

26. Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Parmesan (Savory and Simple)

This easy roasted acorn squash recipe looks as stunning as it tastes! The nutritious winter squash is cooked with butter, garlic powder, herbs, and Parmesan cheese to produce layers of savory-salty flavors. Once roasted, sprinkle on some more Parmesan before serving.

27. Herb Stuffing Wreath

This eye-catching, show-stopping side is a must-have on your holiday menu. Make it with French bread, yellow onion, and celery, along with a variety of seasonings, unsalted butter, granulated garlic, and fresh herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, and parsley. Add white wine to the mix for a more complex flavor profile.

28. Jalapeno Cornbread

Level up the classic plain cornbread by adding jalapeño into the mix! In this recipe, cornbread batter is mixed with jalapeño peppers, cheddar cheese, and corn to give it a kick of fiery heat. Bake until it’s moist and tender, then slice and serve. The best thing? You’ll have it on the table in 45 minutes!

29. Layered Cranberry Salad with Cream Cheese Topping

This cranberry salad is a feast for the senses. It has so many contrasting flavors that come together beautifully. You get sweetness along with a hint of tart flavor from pineapple, cranberries, and jello — which are then flavored with a sweet, tangy, and creamy cheese topping to produce a gorgeous dessert-like side. Top it off with walnuts and pecans for extra crunch.

30. Mum’s Traditional Irish Soda Bread (Brown Bread)

Irish soda bread is perfect for enjoying year-round and has a spot at the Thanksgiving dinner as well! It has a beautiful crust and a close crumb and is also healthy. You’ll need whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, butter, egg, and oats, along with buttermilk and baking soda to make the bread rise and give it a lovely flavor. Give it a try; we promise you won’t regret it!

31. Parker House Rolls

Soft, light, fluffy, and so delicious, serve these Parker House rolls with turkey gravy for a satisfying meal. You only need pantry staples like yeast, eggs, and all-purpose flour, and then brush them with softened butter and pull them apart to serve. These house rolls are also delicious with cranberry sauce and cornbread stuffing!

32. PERFECT Au Gratin Potatoes

This au gratin potato recipe combines potatoes with cream, cheese, and a whole bunch of flavorings to produce a heavenly dish. Garnish it with herbs to serve it alongside your Thanksgiving spread. You can also prep it a day in advance, then slide it into the oven to bake the next day!

33. Perfect Homemade Turkey Gravy

This turkey gravy will have you reaching for second and third helpings! With only five ingredients — butter, all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and turkey drippings — you can make this flavorsome side dish without any cornstarch or heavy cream. Feel free to add some rosemary, parsley, and other fresh herbs to enhance its appeal. Made extras? Store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.

34. Pull Apart Cheese Bread

Cheesy pull-apart bread is always the first to vanish from the table — it’s easy to see why! Soft bread combined with melted gooey cheese and savory herbs — what’s not to like? All you have to do is cut the bread into a diamond grid and coat the inside surfaces of the slices with garlic butter, cheese, and herbs before baking. Your stunning appetizer is ready!

35. Roasted Crispy Brussels Sprouts (Shredded)

It’s not easy to make Brussels sprouts appetizing, but this recipe will make your job much easier! It calls for drizzling shredded Brussels sprouts with oil, salt, and pepper, then roasting them until they get golden brown and crispy. You can also use minced garlic or garlic powder to add more flavor.

36. Sauteed Cabbage

This 20-minute side dish is tender and caramelized to perfection. It enhances the appeal of cabbage by cooking it with olive oil, butter, and seasonings. What sets this recipe apart is the addition of apple cider vinegar to the mix, which gives the dish a tangy, acidic taste you’ll love.

37. Soft & Fluffy Cream Cheese Biscuits

Serve up these picture-perfect cream cheese biscuits with gravy for a mouthwatering side dish. The recipe uses full-fat buttermilk to make the biscuits fluffy, while the cream cheese adds a delightful flavor to them. The cake flour helps make them wonderfully light and tender. You can serve them brushed with butter for extra flavor.

38. Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Comfort food at its best, make this cheesy, custard-style casserole with eggs, evaporated milk, macaroni, seasoning, three types of cheese, and just a touch of butter. The resulting dish will be creamy but firm, browned, and bubbly and is sure to get your taste buds going.

39. Southern Broccoli Casserole

This Southern broccoli is loaded with creamy, buttery, and cheesy goodness, but that’s not even the fun part! The highlight is the buttery cracker crumb topping that adds a delightful crunch to the meal. This casserole also uses condensed cream of mushroom soup to make it extra decadent, so be sure to stock up on it beforehand!

40. Southern Collard Greens (Just Like Your Grandma’s Recipe!)

Collard greens simmered in a savory, well-seasoned pot liquor infused with smoked ham hock — this is a gastronomic experience you won’t be able to resist. This dish will fill your home with wonderful aromas as it comes together. Serve it with corn muffins and turkey for the ultimate meal.

41. Southern Cornbread

This Southern cornbread is brimming with the natural sweetness of the corn. Make it with yellow cornbread and creamy buttermilk, then bake it in bacon grease for extra flavor. It will produce a dish that is perfectly crumbly and still fluffy and delicious enough that it will complement any main course!

42. Spicy Sausage Cornbread Dressing

This cornbread stuffing will become a family favorite! It calls for toasting the cornbread to dry it out completely before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. This gives it a richer, nuttier flavor and provides the cornbread with some structure. Pair it with a chicken broth and sausage mixture with apple, onion, thyme, and poultry seasoning to balance the sweetness of cornbread, and you’re all set!

43. Stuffed Mushrooms

These bite-sized mushrooms are a fun appetizer or side dish! To make, stuff sautéed mushrooms with a panko-based dressing, which features Parmesan, lemon zest, parsley, and thyme to give you both crunch and flavor. These stuffed mushrooms will brighten up your dinner menu — don’t be surprised if they disappear from the platter in mere minutes!

44. Sweet and Sour Onions

These sweet and sour onions are an absolute treat! They’re also super easy to make. Just boil the onions part way, pan-fry them with some olive oil, and add sweet honey and sharp vinegar as they start to sizzle. You want to boil down this honey-vinegar mixture until you get a thick syrup that will coat the onions. Serve hot!

45. Thanksgiving Kale Salad with Maple-Tahini Dressing

This plant-based salad is full of good-for-you ingredients. To make, simply toss toasted maple pecans, sweet dried cranberries, juicy pears, and roasted sweet potatoes with maple-tahini dressing! It will add a pop of color to your festive spread and is so delicious that you’ll want to make it year-round.

46. The Best Mashed Potatoes

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a side of mashed potatoes. The rich and creamy dish is easy to prepare and so comforting! The recipe calls for milk, but you can substitute it with half-and-half if you want the mash creamier. Plus, you can make it as chunky or smooth as you like and spice things up with a subtle hint of garlic.

47. The Best Oyster Stuffing Recipe

This oyster stuffing recipe is creamy and crunchy with an incredible flavor profile. It has oysters and Ritz crackers as the key ingredients, which give the dish all the flavor, texture, and crunch it requires. It also has butter, milk, fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, and simple seasonings like salt and pepper. Bake it until the crackers are golden brown on top, and serve.

AboutRibana Hategan

Ribana is a certified pastry chef and passionate home cook who curates and develops recipes that are high on nutrition. She develops and tests cost effective, nutritious meals using quality ingredients to help people better their everyday eating experiences.