23 of the Best Sides for Your Thanksgiving Feast

Sorry, turkey. But popular opinion indicates that the sides steal the show at Thanksgiving, and our recipe roundup proves this very point.

Vertical image of a Thanksgiving table, with text in the middle and on the bottom of the image.

In our lineup below, you’ll find fluffy brown butter brioche rolls, and gooey mac and cheese tangled with butternut squash and salty pancetta that will knock your socks off, among other tempting delights.

We’ve done the work of compiling 23 of Foodal’s most standout sides to complete your Thanksgiving feast. All you have to do is show up with a forgiving waistband. Let’s get into the goods.

Going Green

Not that expertly-cooked vegetables can’t turn out to be the most magnificent dish of the meal, but let’s get our greens in before moving along to the cheese-laden comfort foods and starchy sidecars, shall we?

1. Simple Go-To Roasted Broccoli

First up is our easy-as-can-be roasted broccoli. And this recipe is a rock star in the land of reliable veggies for several reasons.

Horizontal image of an oval white serving dish with handles, filled with roasted broccoli with a wooden spoon for serving, on a blue fabric surface with a wedge of yellow lemon.

Simple Go-To Roasted Broccoli – Get the Recipe Now
First, most of the ingredients required are pantry staples, and second, the necessary prep and cooking time are minimal.

The bright hints of citrus from the lemon in this dish also help to cut through the more fatty things we know you’ve packed onto your plate.

You’ll find that recipe here.

2. Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts weren’t always a clutch part of the Thanksgiving spread, until folks stopped steaming them senseless and started correctly caramelizing instead.

Oblique view of a black, nonstick skillet full of a roasted Brussels sprout and quinoa mixture. A wooden spoon sits on the lip of the pan.

Easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts – Get the Recipe Now
And when I say caramelize, I’m talking about the browning of an ingredient’s natural sugars, which simply comes from providing the right amounts of heat, space, and time.

I’d bet the olive oil, salt, and pepper required to throw this dish together are already hanging out in your kitchen, too, just waiting to be used.

Thanks to a high oven temperature, and brussels sprouts that give each other some wiggle room instead of crowding together as they cook, the outer leaves become crispy, slightly nutty, and utterly addictive.

Bounce over here for the recipe.

3. Roasted Parmesan Green Beans

If you’re looking for a recipe where delicate, tender green beans finally get to stand front and center, this is it.

A white, ceramic, rectangular serving platter of roasted green beans with grated parmesan cheese and seasonings, on a brown wood table with a blue and white checkered cloth, and a round dish of chicken and carrots in the background.

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans – Get the Recipe Now
The beans are simply roasted like our broccoli and brussels sprouts featured above, but the addition of salty parmesan bits clinging to every piece makes all the difference in terms of flavor.

Find all the tasty details here.

Spud City

Keep your eyes peeled for a favorite as you browse the following potato-centric concepts.

4. Roasted Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes

Skip the sugar-loaded marshmallow mountain masked as a side dish, and opt for these sweet potatoes instead.

Vertical closely cropped overhead image of a white ceramic rectangular serving platter of roasted sweet potatoes with pecans on top, on a folded striped gray and white cloth, with a glass swingtop jar of brown sugar to the left.

Roasted Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes – Get the Recipe Now
The earthy taters are roasted and enhanced with (not drowning in) a caramel-perfumed topping of brown sugar, butter, and crunchy pecans.

You’ll find the recipe for this drool-worthy dish here.

5. Kale Mashed Potatoes

I’m a huge advocate for sneaking something green into something comforting in order to ease the guilt, and this is an epic example of that practice.

A square, white, ceramic serving dish is nearly overflowing with red-skinned mashed potatoes and kale, on a brown striped wood table with folded light blue and white cloth napkins, and serving platters of chicken with carrots and roasted green beans in the background.

Kale Mashed Potatoes – Get the Recipe Now
Rich, creamy mashed potatoes studded with leafy greens for a little added texture and a boost of healthy nutrients?

Yes, please.

Become the master of the mash with this recipe.

6. Sweet Potato and Potato Pancakes

I have a mug that says “I love you a latke,” and these potato pancakes are always enjoyed in its presence.

Vertical image of a stack of crispy shredded potato patties that have been fried in oil, on a white surface.

Sweet Potato and Potato Pancakes – Get the Recipe Now
Here, wispy shreds of russets and sweets become potato partners and create crispy pan-fried latkes you’ll love…

… a latke.

Learn all about these latkes now, and make a batch of your own.

7. New Potato Tian with Thyme and Pecorino

Thanksgiving is the time to pull out the most impressive items in your repertoire, and this mouthwatering tian with its stunning circular pattern will have everyone mesmerized.

Horizontal image of a triangular portion of layered potato tian on a white ceramic plate, with a sprig of fresh thyme for garnish.

New Potato Tian with Thyme and Pecorino – Get the Recipe Now
The overlapping layers of buttery, paper-thin potatoes, pungent pecorino, garlic, and onions don’t hurt either.

Find the recipe for this tasty tian here.

Light and Bright

These are the accompaniments to call on when your menu needs a boost of brightness.

Vibrant, slightly sweet, and on the healthier end of the spectrum, these yummy sides will give the whole occasion a cheerful lift.

8. Bosc Pear Salad with Dried Currants and Toasted Hazelnuts

Minimal and elegant, this simple salad showcases succulent, ripe pears and toasted hazelnuts. Arugula brings a peppery bite while sweet currants add an earthy note.

Vertical top-down image of two bowls with fresh fruit, nuts, dried currants and greens.

Bosc Pear Salad with Dried Currants and Toasted Hazelnuts – Get the Recipe Now
A quick lemony vinaigrette brings it all together.

Get the easy recipe now.

9. Autumn Napa Cabbage Salad

This colorful combo is brought to you by the essence of autumn. Go ahead, fall. Take a bow.

Horizontal image of a white bowl full of a colorful slaw next to slices of lemon and lime.

Autumn Napa Cabbage Salad – Get the Recipe Now
Here, baked-until-golden seasonal root vegetables mingle with crisp cabbage, bell peppers, pecans, and a sweet and spicy citrus vinaigrette.

See how this bold blend comes together in our recipe.

10. Roasted Cranberries

You’ll want to make a double batch of these oven-roasted beauties.

Closeup vertical oblique shot of a gold spoon full of roasted cranberries being held above a serving dish that holds more.

Roasted Cranberries – Get the Recipe Now
A woody touch of maple syrup and some sweet, fresh orange zest and juice are all that’s required for these cranberries to begin living their best lives – in your belly.

Find step-by-step instructions right here.

11. Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce

Crisp, refreshing pomegranate seeds and juice add an extra dimension of flavor to this traditional cranberry sauce.

Oblique view of a pomegranate cranberry sauce in a white, porcelain serving dish on a weathered, wooden surface.

Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce – Get the Recipe Now
Imagine this sucker slathered on bread to make a leftover turkey and stuffing sandwich. You’re welcome.

Head to the recipe to learn more.

Creamy and Dreamy

Finally. We have arrived.

These are the dishes that are responsible for making your eyes (and belly) widen with glee. Some are unapologetically cheesy, others relentlessly buttery, and several boast luscious, velvety sauces that envelop veggies.

These are their sinfully delicious stories, in brief.

12. Butternut Squash Pancetta Mac and Cheese

As far as the great debate over Thanksgiving sides goes, it’s no secret that mac and cheese is hard to beat.

Horizontal image of a small bowlful next to a large white casserole dish of macaroni and cheese.

Butternut Squash Pancetta Mac and Cheese – Get the Recipe Now
And though the hearty comfort food should be coupled with a hug, this particular recipe pulls in pancetta, cheddar, and the subtle sweetness of a butternut squash puree.

You can find the method for making this magical mac here.

13. Triple Corn Casserole

This recipe claims to put an end to your side dish game rut, and I stand behind it.

Vertical image of a square portion of corn casserole on a serving spoon resting on the edge of a glass baking dish filled with the rest of the casserole, on a white and red cloth on a slate surface with a black background.

Triple Corn Casserole – Get the Recipe Now
It showcases a medley of whole corn kernels, creamed corn, and corn muffin mix. Now that’s a triple threat if I’ve ever seen one!

Here’s how it comes together.

14. Creamed Collard Greens

Maybe I’m biased because these creamy greens are one of my personal favorites on Foodal (plus, I’m proud of myself for how well they turned out), but they genuinely are an exceptionally scrumptious side.

Horizontal overhead image of an oblong fluted white ceramic serving dish of creamed collard greens, on a folded blue-green cloth, on a wood surface with whole nutmeg and cloves of garlic to the right.

Creamed Collard Greens – Get the Recipe Now
Blanching the collards as a first step, plus adding savory aromatics swimming in a heavy cream and butter base, are the two secrets to this dish. Shh…

Just kidding. Tell your friends.

Read more here to get the full scoop on this comfort food recipe.

15. Fresh Green Bean and Yellow Squash Casserole

This recipe does away with that often gloppy, somewhat outdated green bean casserole that commonly graces Thanksgiving tables, and replaces it with all things fresh.

A wooden spoon places a large scoop of squash and green bean casserole with toasted breadcrumbs on a small navy blue plate, with a red oval baking dish with handles in the background, on a brown wood table with a white and light blue checked cloth napkin.

Fresh Green Bean and Yellow Squash Casserole – Get the Recipe Now
Yellow squash makes an appearance in the filling to liven things up, while a golden breadcrumb topping brings the crunch. Sour cream also steps in as a sauce thickener to keep things on the lighter, tangier side.

Get the delicious details for this twist on a classic here.

Please Pass the Rolls

Carb city, here we come!

Between the smooth, creamy sauces and gravy galore, your hands are just asking for a vessel to wipe up every last bite of this feast. Vegan biscuits are a must if you’ve got plant-based buddies attending the meal, and opulent brioche rounds infused (and finished) with brown butter will send you to the moon.

16. Flaky and Buttery Vegan Biscuits

Who says flaky biscuits can’t be part of a plant-based diet?

A stack of four homemade vegan biscuits on white parchment paper, with more in the background in soft focus, arranged in rows, against a beige tile backdrop, on a brown wood surface.

Flaky and Buttery Vegan Biscuits – Get the Recipe Now
Vegan margarine serves as a rich substitute for lactose-laden butter in these dairy-free delights, while thick, robust cashew cream allows them to be fluffy, crisp, and dense all at once.

Learn our method to prepare these hearty home-baked goods here.

17. Butternut Squash Whole Grain Biscuits

This recipe sneaks orange-hued mashed squash into whole grain biscuits with notes of nutmeg.

Horizontal image of a basket with orange baked biscuits with jam in the background.

Butternut Squash Whole Grain Biscuits – Get the Recipe Now
Sweet, fruity jam smeared into every crevice is a quintessential partner for these spiced handhelds at breakfast, or you can save them for the dinner table.

This is where you’ll find the blueprint for these butternut biscuits.

18. Brown Butter Brioche Dinner Rolls

I probably had you at “brown butter,” didn’t I? Nutty, toasted butter gives these rolls a righteous oomph, and will give your guests a holiday bread basket they’ll never forget.

Vertical image of a basket of rolls with a crackled surface on a gray towel.

Brown Butter Brioche Dinner Rolls – Get the Recipe Now
Long live the carbs – especially those that are rich, chewy, and infused with brown butter.

Roll on over to that recipe here.

Ready, Set, Get Some Winter Squash

Winter squash is constantly trying to reinvent itself, but it doesn’t take much to turn this versatile veg into something brand new.

19. Stuffed Acorn Squash with Apples, Nuts, and Cranberries

The biggest benefit of globular acorn squash? It comes with a built-in bowl.

Oblique view of a single stuffed acorn squash in a white bowl surround by gourds implying an autumn setting.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Apples, Nuts, and Cranberries – Get the Recipe Now
Here, the centers are stuffed with apples, cranberries, walnuts, and cinnamon. No need for a festive air freshener when this recipe is roasting along!

To satisfy your stuffed cravings, find the recipe here.

20. Dijon Mustard and Sage Roasted Squash

Dijon’s acidic kick brings the heat to this winter squash dish, while peppery sage holds up its end of the bargain as one of fall’s most familiar flavors.

Top down view of sliced, roasted butternut dumpling squash on a blacked baking sheet.

Dijon Mustard and Sage Roasted Squash – Get the Recipe Now
To tie it all together: a bright apple cider vinegar and dill dressing.

Get the recipe now.

21. Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberries

Chewy puffs of nutritious quinoa laced with cinnamon and spicy ginger would be fabulous on its own, but this recipe also brings in butternut squash and tart roasted cranberries for added texture.

A white square serving dish of quinoa with butternut squash and cranberries, on a mustard-colored cloth with orange and green mugs and decorative pumpkins in the background.

Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberries – Get the Recipe Now
Vegan, gluten free, and fully loaded with fall flair, this is a must-make dish.

You can see how it’s done here.

Stuff It

A spectacular stuffing is essential – at least on my table.

I often turn to ingredients I’m currently inspired by to develop a recipe that’s different from whatever I made the year before. But if that sounds like it’ll require a little too much brain power for you at this hectic time, try the vegan riff below, or sample our tried-and-true OG from an authentic grandma.

22. Vegan Stuffing

Juicy sliced mushrooms, savory aromatics, and veggie sausage bulk up this meat-free mixture that your vegan (and even carnivorous) guests will go gaga for.

Vertical image of bread cubes in the bottom of a white casserole dish with a pile of vegetables on top, and a hand pouring stock from a liquid measuring cup.

Vegan Stuffing – Get the Recipe Now
It’s sure to be appreciated and enjoyed by a broad selection of family members and friends seated around your table, and as an added bonus, it’s packed with healthy veggies.

Find the full recipe now.

23. Grandma’s Old Fashioned Stuffing

Who better to turn to than Grandma for the most beloved side at Thanksgiving dinner?

Horizontal image of bread stuffing with herbs in a white casserole dish.

Grandma’s Old Fashioned Stuffing – Get the Recipe Now
Whether you’re packing it onto a platter or into the turkey, this classic stuffing composed of day-old bread (perfect for soaking up the stock), buttery onions, and celery hits the spot every time.

Find all of Grandma’s stuffing secrets here.

Save Room for the Sides

Being armed with a fresh lineup of imaginative sides means one less task for the holiday season.

Horizontal image of a large Thanksgiving table with assorted food.

I mean, you still have to do the cooking (I’m only available for sweet sixteens and Bat Mitzvahs) but we’ve at least taken the task of whittling down your recipe collection and crafting a menu from scratch off your plate.

Feel free to use these recipes as a guide if you have your own flavor profiles in mind.

For example, if the thought of fresh herbs in butternut squash biscuits makes you giddy, be my guest. If your family would be better suited with spinach mashed potatoes versus kale, go right ahead.

If this bountiful roundup of suggestions was helpful, fantastic! We’ve got plenty more “best of” collections up our sleeves for you to peruse next, starting with these:

What side staples will you stick with for your Thanksgiving extravaganza, and which of our inventive ideas will you bring to the table this year? Let us know what you decide in the comments below!

Photos by Kelli McGrane, Raquel Smith, Meghan Yager, Fanny Slater, Nikki Cervone, Chelsea Miller, Kendall Vanderslice, Jennifer Swartvagher, and Mike Quinn © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Uncredited photos via Shutterstock.

About Fanny Slater

Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”

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