Sorry, turkey. But popular opinion indicates that the sides steal the show at Thanksgiving, and our recipe roundup proves this very point.
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.
23 Top Thanksgiving Sides
- Roasted Butter Pecan Sweet Potatoes
- Kale Mashed Potatoes
- Sweet Potato and Potato Pancakes
- New Potato Tian with Thyme and Pecorino
- Bosc Pear Salad with Dried Currants and Toasted Hazelnuts
- Autumn Napa Cabbage Salad
- Roasted Cranberries
- Pomegranate Cranberry Sauce
- Butternut Squash Pancetta Mac and Cheese
- Triple Corn Casserole
- Creamed Collard Greens
- Fresh Green Bean and Yellow Squash Casserole
- Flaky and Buttery Vegan Biscuits
- Butternut Squash Whole Grain Biscuits
- Brown Butter Brioche Dinner Rolls
Ready, Set, Get Some Winter Squash
- Stuffed Acorn Squash with Apples, Nuts, and Cranberries
- Dijon Mustard and Sage Roasted Squash
- Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash and Cranberries
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.
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.
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.
Find all the tasty details here.
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.
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.
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.
… 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.
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.
9. Autumn Napa Cabbage Salad
This colorful combo is brought to you by the essence of autumn. Go ahead, fall. Take a bow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can see how it’s done here.
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.
23. Grandma’s Old Fashioned Stuffing
Who better to turn to than Grandma for the most beloved side at Thanksgiving dinner?
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.
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:
- 25 of the Best Pumpkin Recipes for Autumn Flavor
- 15 of the Best Butternut Squash Recipes for your Fall and Winter Menu
- 21 Fun and Tasty Pantry Snacks to Satisfy any Kind of Craving
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.”