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!
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.
America’s least favorite and most popular side dishes
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 freshcranberry-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.
Best Make Ahead Stuffing
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.
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.
Turkey Gravy Without Drippings (Make Ahead From Scratch)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This knish recipe is filled with a delicious root vegetable mash, wrapped in a golden flaky puff pastry (store-bought – shh). Melt in your mouth and really easy. A great make ahead side dish or appetizer.
Vegetarian sides (that could also be a main course)
Veggie Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
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!
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.
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.
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.
I love this winter salad recipe. It's holiday-ish, 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!
Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cinnamon Dressing
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.
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.
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.
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 the New York Times Dining and Wine, (based on Calorie Control Council) the average is a whopping 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.