33 Thanksgiving Side Dishes (2023)

We update this post every year with several new recipes to help you plan a wonderful Thanksgiving menu or help out the host with a potluck dish.

We’re sharing our much-loved Thanksgiving side dishes for the big day.

Traditional and non traditional recipes, vegetarian, 30 minutes or less, – lots to choose from. All make ahead (at least partially), many healthy-ish and all delish!

8 thanksgiving side dishes in collage.

In our home, we celebrate two Thanksgivings – Canadian and American. Thankfully, it’s one of our favorite holidays.

I’ve been hosting Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends for over 30 years. A turkey dinner is a must. We tend to keep things fairly traditional with tried-and-true old favorites. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and fresh cranberry sauce are all pretty classic dishes and must-haves at my dinner table.

But, from time to time, we change it up a bit to keep things interesting.

I will be making a succulent sous vide turkey breast as the center piece for this year’s holiday season. Not traditional, but guaranteed zero stress, tender and juicy. With all the sides of course. Stuffing is my absolute fave and probably the most popular side dish at our table.

If you have a smaller group and no sous vide equipment, try our bone-in turkey breast with pear chutney. I digress…back to Thanksgiving side dish recipes.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate!

This, of course, depends on where you live and your own traditions. You can probably guess the most popular Thanksgiving sides: mashed potatoes (#1), stuffing or dressing, bread or rolls, sweet potato casserole or yams, gravy, green beans, brussels sprouts, mac and cheese (not where I come from!), corn and glazed carrots.

According to an online Instacart survey by The Harris Poll which surveyed over 2000 adult Americans, the least favorite side dish is canned cranberry sauce. Almost half of Americans find it “disgusting”.

I urge you to try our fresh cranberry-orange relish – a 5 minute game changer! Other least favorites were green bean casserole and sweet potato casserole. Surprising.

Here are our best Thanksgiving side dish recipes. Judge for yourself.

Traditional Thanksgiving sides

Best Make Ahead Stuffing

stuffing in white casserole dish
Follow our step-by-step instructions for how to make this tried and true classic recipe for homemade stuffing and you'll be sure to have a hit at your next Thanksgiving dinner.
Get the recipe

Vegetable Stuffing with Quinoa

vegetable stuffing with quinoa in bowl.
If you're looking for healthy Thanksgiving recipes, vegetable stuffing with quinoa fits the bill. You won't miss the bread in this delicious alternative to a traditional stuffing, dressing or any side dish. And it takes only 30 minutes to make.
Get the recipe

Stovetop Stuffing (Quick, Easy, Homemade)

stovetop stuffing in skillet top view
Here's a quicker no-bake homemade vegetarian stovetop stuffing. Loaded with healthy veggies and way better than the store-bought packaged version.
Get the recipe

The Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe (No Peeling Needed)

mashed potatoes in bowl.
Basic mashed potatoes are a must with turkey and just about anything with gravy. These are light, fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes. No peeling necessary.  A simple yummy side.
Get the recipe

Turkey Gravy Without Drippings (Make Ahead From Scratch)

turkey gravy in gravy boat
Gravy is the crowning glory at a Thanksgiving dinner. A homemade 'from scratch' turkey gravy without drippings has deep rich flavor that will make your Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing shine. The best part is that you can make it ahead and avoid the last minute pressure. 
Get the recipe

Simple Candied Sweet Potatoes with Pecans (30 Minutes)

Indulge in these wickedly good candied sweet potatoes with pecans for your next holiday meal or celebration. The combination of pure maple syrup, zesty lime and crunchy toasted pecans make the sweet potatoes sing.
Get the recipe

Best Healthy Creamed Spinach

creamed spinach in bowl 4
Healthy creamed spinach, laced with onion and garlic, is one of the yummiest comfort side dishes ever. Keep it light or make it rich. It's up to you.
Get the recipe

Best Green Beans Recipe with Panko Crumbs

If you're looking for a vibrant, colorful, make-ahead side dish with classic flavors and some good crunch, try our fresh green beans recipe with lemon garlic panko crumbs. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Get the recipe

Maple Glazed Carrots With Thyme and Orange Zest

maple glazed carrots on round white plate.
A fresh bunch of carrots roasted with sweet maple syrup and fragrant thyme – and garnished with orange zest – makes this maple glazed carrots recipe irresistible.
Get the recipe

Nontraditional Thanksgiving sides

Oven Roasted Vegetable Recipe

roasted vegetables in round dish
This oven roasted vegetables recipe is simple comfort food. Sweet potatoes, peppers, eggplant, apples and rosemary create a delicious side dish. Not to mention healthy and colorful. And never mind that an apple is not a vegetable. It works perfectly. 
Get the recipe

Baby Cauliflower Recipe (roasted)

You have to try this new baby cauliflower. It's sweet, delicate, tender and delicious – kind of a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. We're roasting it in this recipe, but you can cook it so many different ways. It's slowly coming into mainstream stores so grab some if you can find it. 
Get the recipe

Best Instant Pot Potatoes and Carrots

bowl of cooked potatoes and carrots with herbs on black table
Buttery, garlicky, oniony potatoes and carrots with fresh herbs. The instant pot does a great job with this easy comfort food side dish. Not fancy. Just delish. And a great way to save stove and oven space for your Thanksgiving spread.
Get the recipe

Green Beans and Potatoes With Bacon (35 Minutes)

green beans, potatoes and bacon medley on white plate.
If you're not a fan of the more traditional green bean casserole (or want to change it up a bit), try a twist with this green beans and potato recipe combines seasoned roasted potatoes, vibrant green beans, and crispy bacon for a deliciously satisfying side dish.

Chicken Gravy Recipe (Without Drippings, 8 Min)

chicken gravy with ladle scooping gravy over bowl
Yes, you can definitely make a delicious, flavorful chicken gravy without drippings. This is a quick and easy recipe that requires just a few ingredients and a few minutes. And we have all the fixes for when things don't go perfectly. Another quick and easy option to make ahead of your big event.
Get the recipe

Better Than Bouillon Gravy (5 Minutes)

better than bouillon gravy pouring on roasted chicken on a plate.
Add an extra touch of deliciousness to chicken, turkey, roasts and mashed potatoes with a beyond-easy, smooth and flavorful Better Than Bouillon gravy. Just 5 minutes with 3 simple ingredients (plus water). This is a good option when you are short on time and want to make the gravy ahead of time.
Get the recipe

Root Vegetable Mash

serving bowl with root vegetable mash
Change it up a bit with this yummy root vegetables mash. Same creamy, fluffiness as mashed potatoes, but made with your favorite root veggies, including potatoes. Beautiful colors for Thanksgiving and extra nutrients.
Get the recipe

Honey Roasted Parsnips

bowl of honey roasted parsnips
Honey roasted parsnips boast just a few simple ingredients, a natural sweetness and an earthy nutty flavor. An easy side dish for a holiday table
Get the recipe

Simple Parsley Potatoes With Zest

parsley potatoes with zest in white bowl
Buttery, zesty parsley potatoes are a great side dish for any grilled or roasted chicken, meat, fish or seafood. Easy, packed with flavor and made in about 20 minutes.
Get the recipe

Knish Recipe with Root Vegetable Mash

root vegetable mash knishes piled on plate.
This knish recipe is a delicious root vegetable mash, wrapped and baked in a golden flaky puff pastry (store-bought). Melt-in-your-mouth and really easy. A great make ahead side dish or appetizer.
Get the recipe

How To Roast Zucchini

This recipe is my go-to for how to roast zucchini. It's simple. It's light. And it honors this lovely summer squash by transforming it from tasteless to delicious in 20 minutes.
Get the recipe

Cheddar Biscuits With Bisquick

plate of cheddar biscuits
I am not a huge Red Lobster fan, but I do love these copycat cheddar biscuits with bisquick. Soft and warm and cheesy with a hint of garlic. Delish! And a nice alternative to dinner rolls.
Get the recipe

Sautéed Peppers with Caper Vinaigrette

bowl of sauteed peppers with caper vinaigrette
For a colorful side dish of sautéed bell peppers, sauté peppers, whisk together a simple caper vinaigrette and toss everything together. Done in 12 minutes.
Get the recipe

Vegetarian sides (that could also be a main course)

Veggie Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

grilled stuffed mushroom cap on cutting board.
A delicious main or side dish, these vegetarian stuffed portobello mushrooms, filled with fresh vegetables, herbs and cheese, are a wonderful change of pace. When I talk about 'stuffed' in this recipe, I mean STUFFED!
Get the recipe

Vegetable Strudel in Puff Pastry

vegetarian strudel on plate f
This vegetable strudel wraps a savory filling of sweet potatoes, onion, peppers, apple, spinach & goat cheese in a flaky puff pastry. It's a wonderful make-ahead main or side dish for a special occasion. And easy a store-bought puff pastry.
Get the recipe

Pumpkin Risotto (Instant Pot Method)

pumpkin risotto in bowl with pumpkin behind it.
This rich, creamy, flavor-packed Instant Pot Pumpkin Risotto recipe is pure comfort food that tastes amazing. It's a knockout vegetarian dinner or side for Fall. Substitute butternut squash if you can't find pumpkin.
Get the recipe

Old Fashioned Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach

spinach mac and cheese in casserole dish
In some parts of the US, mac and cheese is a must-have side dish for a Thanksgiving meal. This spinach mac and cheese is creamy, cheesy and delicious. With some added nutrition. 
Get the recipe

Side salads

Best Citrus Salad With Greens

Sweet oranges and tangy grapefruit tossed in vinaigrette over salad greens make this delicious citrus salad and a perfect balance for a rich Thanksgiving meal. Quick, easy, refreshing and beautiful. 
Get the recipe

Roast Pumpkin Salad With Couscous

Roast Pumpkin Salad With Couscous
This pretty Fall-ish roast pumpkin salad paired with couscous, pecans and a bright earthy orange vinaigrette dressing if a perfect Thanksgiving side dish. It's also fabulous with sweet potatoes if you can't get your hands on a pumpkin.
Get the recipe

Quinoa Avocado Salad with Roasted Carrots and Beets

quinoa avocado salad with roasted carrots and beets on white plate.
Loaded with healthy greens, roasted carrots and beets, and drizzled with a delicious orange-balsamic dressing, this quinoa avocado salad is a wonderful addition to your next holiday or friends gathering.
Get the recipe

Roasted Head of Cauliflower with Grape Relish

roasted whole cauliflower with grape relish on top on plate
This company-worthy roasted head of cauliflower, crowned with a bright zesty-sweet grape relish, makes a beautiful centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table.
Get the recipe

Beetroot Salad With Oranges

beetroot salad with citrus fruit and goat cheese on white plate
Beetroot salad with oranges is a quick and easy recipe and looks beautiful on the table. Fresh, vibrant and tasty. I make the salad with earthy beets, sweet oranges and an orange vinaigrette drizzle, then pretty it up with tangy goat cheese, nuts and pea sprouts.
Get the recipe

Fig Salad With Pomegranate Seeds & Balsamic Dressing

fig salad in bowl with pomegranates and avocado and goat cheese on top.
This pretty fig salad with pomegranates and balsamic dressing is a festive addition to any dinner or holiday event.
Get the recipe

Festive Recipe for Winter Salad (15 Minutes)

I love this winter salad recipe. It's festive, the flavors are addictive, it's got lots of texture and a fabulous citrus sweet and tangy dressing. Ready in 15 minute start-to-finish. Or, with shortcuts, only 5 minutes!
Get the recipe

Tomato and Onion Salad (Easy 15 Minute Prep)

marinated tomato and green onion salad in bowl.
This sweet, tangy Marinated Tomato Salad with homemade Catalina dressing creates a colorful side dish even when tomatoes are not at their best. And I love that you don't need an extra salad plate.
Get the recipe

Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cinnamon Dressing

butternut squash salad with caramelized onions over greens on plate.
Beautiful, delicious and satisfying as a vegetarian main or side, butternut squash salad with caramelized onions, toasted pecans and warm cinnamon dressing will get rave reviews at your Thanksgiving dinner.
Get the recipe

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Avocado Dressing

broccoli cauliflower apples avocado salad in bowl
Broccoli and cauliflower salad with avocado dressing makes a wonderful healthy side dish for any meal. Great textures and fresh flavors. And no need for any extra salad plate.
Get the recipe


5-Minute Cranberry Relish Recipe With Fresh Orange

bowl with cranberry relish beside slide turkey with the relish on it.
This sweet and tangy cranberry orange relish recipe is fast and easy with only 3 ingredients. It's a great addition to complement your Thanksgiving turkey, chicken or pork. No cooking needed. Can be made way ahead.
Get the recipe

Chunky Apple Sauce (No Peeling Needed!)

black bowl of chunky apple sauce
This homemade chunky apple sauce is a yummy, no-fuss, healthy simple side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner. Just 3 main ingredients and easy to make to suit your tastes – semi smooth, with or without peels, sweet, tart, even low or no sugar.
Get the recipe

Peach Chutney (30 minutes)

Peach chutney is a perfect condiment for brisket, turkey, chicken, lamb, pork. Sweet and tangy, warmly spiced and loaded with fresh peaches. Use frozen peaches if they're not in season.
Get the recipe

Thanksgiving FAQ

How do you keep foods warm for a Thanksgiving dinner?

If you are hosting this year, here are a few handy tips for keeping foods warm as they hit the Thanksgiving table. Top tip – think outside the box and use the tools you have available.

What are the top mistakes when hosting a Thanksgiving dinner?

Making a Thanksgiving spread can be exhausting. Some common mistakes hosts make are: not assigning dishes for guests to bring (yes, we all need help!), making too many dishes that all require the oven (a mix of hot, cold and other appliances is best), underestimating thawing time (think turkey) and leaving too much to the last day (make as much as possible ahead). Bottom line is that planning goes a long way to success.

What is the most popular dessert served on Thanksgiving?

Pumpkin pie is at the top of the list according to an instacart survey. But top choices vary with where you live. Pecan pie and apple pie are very popular too. So is cranberry pie.

What is the average number of calories a person consumes at Thanksgiving dinner?

According to Consumer Reports, (based on Calorie Control Council) the average is a whopping 3000-4500 calories! This includes breakfast, snacks, the big dinner, wine, dessert etc. They figure the Thanksgiving meal alone is about 2500 calories. Er.. do what you need to do.

Can I make turkey soup from leftovers?

Definitely. Turkey soup is a perfect way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers. Here is a recipe for leftover turkey soup with stuffing croutons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *