33 Thanksgiving Side Dishes You Don’t Have to Cook in the Oven
When it comes to planning your Thanksgiving meal, the hardest feat is getting everything on the table while it’s still warm. The trick to making this possible is utilizing pretty much every cooking method available in your kitchen—think: oven, stovetop, Instant Pot and slow cooker—to make room in your oven for your turkey. But, let’s be honest, Thanksgiving sides are the best part of the meal and shouldn’t be overlooked! Here are 33 of our favorite holiday side dish recipes that don’t require an oven.
Farro Salad with Arugula, Artichokes & Pistachios
Precooked farro makes this dish come together in no time. And you can make it in the same bowl you serve it in, minimizing cleanup!
James Beard Award-winner and Top Chef contestant Karen Akunowicz of Fox & the Knife in Boston turns this Italian-inspired bread salad into a hearty fall dish. Instead of tomato, fennel mingles with the vinaigrette to let the bread soak up its licorice notes, while the arugula lends the dish a hint of pepper. The lemony vinaigrette is so simple and tastes so much fresher than store-bought. Make a double batch to toss on other salads. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Add some shredded chicken to the salad to make it a meal.
Quinoa Salad with Radicchio, Carrots & Dried Apricots
Bitter radicchio is a strong foil for sweet-tart apricots and maple vinaigrette in this go-with-anything quinoa salad.
Instant Pot Green Bean Casserole
Free up space in your oven and on the stovetop this Thanksgiving with the help of an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot. Not only does it cook entirely in one pot, it cooks super-quick, perfect for a last-minute side dish.
Stewed Lima Beans
This lima bean recipe is the creation of Mable Clarke, a South Carolina cook and activist. This side dish is on the menu for Clarke's monthly fish fry that she started to save the Soapstone Baptist Church. No need for ham hocks with this recipe--her onion-rich roast turkey stock gives these humble beans a rich, savory flavor, but store-bought will also do the trick. A long, slow simmer coaxes the creaminess out of the limas.
Beer-Braised Cipollini Onions
Creamed pearl onions have long been a staple Thanksgiving side dish, but this lighter, sweet-and-savory cipollini onion recipe may send that traditional recipe to the back of your file for good. For a fruity (and gluten-free) twist, use your favorite hard cider instead of beer.
Collard Greens with Ham Bone
Mable Clarke, a South Carolina cook and activist, serves this collard greens recipe at monthly fish fries to support the Soapstone Baptist Church in the community where she grew up. There, farmers' markets overflow with big, leafy collards that are typically simmered with ham stock to make up this traditional Southern side dish. Clarke uses premade ham stock but it can be hard to find. We adapted the recipe with chicken broth and a ham bone or hock. As the bone simmers it adds flavor to the broth and yields enough meat to serve with the collards.
Bitter Greens Salad with Soppressata & Pecorino
This bitter green salad turns the bland lunch salad on its head with its Mediterranean flair. Quickly charring radicchio and toasting dried oregano adds complex flavor, and slightly spicy soppressata pairs especially well with the sweetness of marinated cherry peppers. Pecorino Romano has a tangier, saltier taste than Parmesan, so just a bit provides the salad with plenty of nutty, sharp flavor. This salad can easily be made into a main course or served as a substantial side dish.
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan & Marcona Almonds
Chef Fabio Viviani, of Siena Tavern in Chicago, shines a bright light on Brussels sprouts with this side dish. In this Brussels sprouts salad recipe, the sharpness of the sprouts gets tamed with honey, toasted almonds and shaved Parmesan cheese. It comes together in about 20 minutes--you can thinly slice the Brussels sprouts with a knife or mandoline, but it's overkill for weeknights. A food processor with a slicing blade will give you pro results. Or grab a bag of shredded Brussels sprouts from your supermarket.
Corn Fritters with Yogurt-Dill Sauce
This healthier version of classic corn fritters uses less oil for frying but still packs plenty of fresh corn flavor. A creamy dill sauce on the side brightens up each bite.
Creamy Green Beans & Mushrooms
This take on a green bean casserole from José Andrés features perfectly cooked green beans in a mushroom sauce made with real cream. Andrés even gives the traditional canned french-fried onions a run for their money with some freshly frizzled shallot rings. Serve for Thanksgiving or as a side for roast beef or roast chicken.
Pan-roasted carrots become an exotic winter side when topped with dukkah, an Egyptian spice blend, in this healthy vegetable recipe. Dukkah plays nicely with other vegetables too. Try it on steamed asparagus in the spring, grilled eggplant in summer and roasted romanesco or cauliflower steaks in the fall.
Sauteed Broccoli & Kale with Toasted Garlic Butter
In this easy vegetable side dish, broccoli and kale are drizzled with a butter, garlic and crushed red pepper sauce. Serve this healthy recipe alongside roasted chicken, turkey or ham—or on top of your favorite whole grain, such as quinoa or farro.
Instant Pot Sweet Potato Casserole
Use any multicooker or electric pressure cooker to make this classic Thanksgiving side dish. The sweet potatoes get perfectly tender and almost caramelized while cooking under high pressure, plus using your multicooker saves stovetop and oven space.
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Caraway & Lemon
Thinly sliced Brussels sprouts cook quickly and soak up whatever flavors you add to them—in this case, lemon and caraway.
Broccoli with Balsamic Mushrooms
Just a touch of butter adds silkiness to the balsamic sauce that coats broccoli and meaty mushrooms in this easy broccoli side dish recipe.
Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows
The genius hack in this recipe: topping sweet potatoes with marshmallows while they're still piping hot from the slow cooker yields a baked marshmallow topping that's typical with baked sweet potato casseroles.
Buttermilk-Sage Mashed Potatoes
Cutting the potatoes into cubes before steaming means this quick healthy mashed potato recipe is ready in the same time it takes to cook a steak or piece of fish. Have your buttermilk and butter at room temperature so they won't cool the potatoes too much when you start mashing.
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto
Making risotto has never been easier, thanks to an electric pressure cooker, like the Instant Pot. In this easy recipe, you don't have to stand over the stove constantly stirring. Just add everything into the multicooker and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes and this delicious dinner side dish is ready.
Kale Salad with Beets & Wild Rice
Beets and kale, speckled with chewy wild rice and crunchy sunflower seeds, make a satisfying, colorful dinner salad. The beets are nicest when they are sliced paper thin. Use a mandoline or vegetable slicer, if you have one.
Garlicky Rosemary Mushrooms
These simple sautéed mushrooms work as a quick, weeknight side dish. To turn them into a main course, toss with cooked pasta and a generous handful of Parmesan cheese or fold into an omelet with Gruyère, fontina or Swiss cheese.
Sauteed Carrots with Gomasio
In this quick vegetable side dish, maple-vinegar-glazed carrots are topped with gomasio, a blend of toasted sesame seeds and salt. Find gomasio in the natural-foods section or Asian-foods section at large supermarkets or at Asian markets. Or substitute 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds and ¼ teaspoon salt.
Farrotto with Artichokes
Here farro stands in for rice in a risotto-like dish, full of tomatoes, artichokes and fresh basil.
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Lemon-Chile Vinaigrette & Toasted Hazelnuts
Using the slicing blade of a food processor on Brussels sprouts creates a big, fluffy pile of crunchy sprout ribbons quickly. In this easy salad recipe, the shaved Brussels sprouts are dressed with a lemony vinaigrette spiked with crushed red pepper and sweetened with a bit of honey.
Gnocchi with Bacon & Creamy Pumpkin Sauce
Get into the fall spirit with this one-pan gnocchi with a creamy pumpkin sauce. Some pumpkin and other squash sauces can be cloyingly sweet, but not this one—it's savory all the way, thanks to the bacon, garlic and thyme. Instead of being boiled, a package of store-bought gnocchi—one of our favorite convenience products—is browned and crisped in a little bit of bacon fat. Then the sauce (made with canned pumpkin—another great convenience product) is prepared right in that same pan, so cleanup is minimal too. Serve with a simple green salad for an easy dinner that comes together in 30 minutes.
Slow-Cooker Sausage & Apple Stuffing
This sausage and apple stuffing is extra-moist and full of classic fall flavors. Using a slow cooker makes this side dish even easier and saves on oven space.
Cranberry Sauce with Star Anise
This cranberry sauce recipe is scented with star anise, which has a dynamic flavor—earthy, spicy and sweet at the same time.
Sauteed Butternut Squash
Sautéeing butternut squash in olive oil quickly yields perfectly cooked results and slightly caramelizes the squash for extra flavor. This recipe makes a delicious vegetable side dish to pair with roasted meats.
Sweet Potato & Turnip Mash with Sage Butter
This sweet potato and turnip mash is fragrant with fresh sage.
Pressure-Cooker Mac & Cheese
Make a healthier version of classic macaroni and cheese with this recipe that adds broccoli for a nutritional boost and an easy way to eat more vegetables. Using an electric pressure cooker, such as the Instant Pot, gets dinner on the table in just 30 minutes.
Multi-Grain Mushroom Pilaf
Nutty-tasting grains, such as wild rice, barley and wheat berries, make this simple side-dish pilaf so much more than the sum of its parts. Since the wild rice cooks faster than wheat berries and hulled barley, presoak the longer-cooking grains to make the cooking times compatible. If you would like to add fresh mushrooms, quickly sauté them and stir them into the cooked pilaf. Or try this flavor variation: Omit dill and substitute 1 teaspoon lemon zest for lemon juice. Stir in ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese just before serving.
Garlic & Chive Mashed Potatoes
Russets are our potato of choice for this garlicky mashed potato recipe because they cook up super-fluffy.
Kale Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing
The lightly sweet, creamy homemade poppy seed dressing takes this crunchy salad to the next level for a mouthwatering vegetable side dish or light lunch. Top with cooked chicken for a heartier meal.