Our 50 Best-Ever Thanksgiving Sides
Move over, turkey. These Thanksgiving sides will be the star of your holiday table. We take the classics, including stuffing, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, and add a tasty and creative spin. Although the holiday season may look different this year, you can still celebrate with flavorful recipes like Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Buttermilk and Caramelized Apple & Onion Stuffing.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Buttermilk
These garlic mashed potatoes are extra creamy, thanks to the addition of both butter and buttermilk, but you can substitute it with sour cream if buttermilk isn't available near you. To prevent the potatoes from getting gummy, be sure not to overmix them in Step 2. Mashed vegetables tend to get cold easily; keep all tools—the ricer and bowl—warm by running under hot water before using.
Green Beans with Parmesan-Garlic Breadcrumbs
In this easy green bean recipe, browning the butter before tossing it with the breadcrumbs produces a nice nutty flavor. Serve this green bean dish as a healthy alternative to green bean casserole to keep things light on Thanksgiving Day.
Caramelized Onion & Apple Stuffing
Caramelized onions are a sweet and savory addition to this healthy stuffing recipe. Choose an apple that becomes tender yet holds its shape when cooked—try Jonagold or Cortland.
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.
Balsamic Roasted Carrots
Roasting carrots brings out their sweetness, which is enhanced further with a tangy balsamic and maple glaze. Serve them straight-up for an easy weeknight side dish or garnish with chopped hazelnuts for holiday meals and dinner parties.
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.
Cider-Braised Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Everyone loves Brussels sprouts when they're drizzled in a tangy-sweet sauce. Plus, bacon! Serve with chicken, pork or steak and roasted potatoes.
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.
Roasted Honeynut Squash
Honeynut squash looks just like mini butternut squash, but on the inside you'll find an even sweeter, deeper orange flesh. This winter squash has only been available at farmers' markets and in select grocery stores for a few years. If you see it, grab a few to try! This simple roasting method enhances the natural flavor of the squash with butter and spices.
Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes with Spinach
Classic scalloped potatoes get a burst of color, heartier texture and a healthy update with the addition of chopped spinach. The greens in this side dish also create a nice contrast to the creamy, velvety potatoes.
Slow-Cooker Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions
Thanks to fresh green beans, an easy homemade cream sauce and crispy onion topping, this green bean casserole recipe is healthier and more delicious than traditional recipes that use canned soup, beans and onions. Plus, the slow cooker saves you time cooking at the stove. Make sure to use fresh green beans, as frozen green beans will become mushy.
Classic Slow-Cooker Stuffing
Save space in your oven and use your slow cooker to whip up this easy, classic stuffing. Hearty whole-grain bread gets toasted in the oven for only 10 minutes (and you can toast the cubes ahead of time!) while your slow cooker does the rest.
Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes
These healthy mashed sweet potatoes owe their kick to the chipotle peppers. Want it spicier? Add another tablespoon to your mash. You can even use chipotle chile powder to punch up the heat—use a couple teaspoons instead of the full 3 tablespoons of chipotles in adobo.
Honey & Orange Glazed Carrots
Bright and fresh, these candied carrots have just a hint of sweetness from the honey and citrus. This one-pan dish is quick and easy to make, but also has such a pretty presentation that it works both as an entertaining-worthy or weeknight side dish. Look for carrots that are similar in size so they cook evenly.
Winter Greens Salad with Pomegranate & Kumquats
Kumquats deliver a piquant burst of citrus, especially when eaten skins, seeds and all. Here we toss them with a trio of greens for their vivid orange color as much as their zestiness. Pomegranate seeds and pistachios bring a jewellike finish.
Honey-Glazed Roasted Delicata Squash
Tangy cider vinegar, sweet honey, crunchy pine nuts and fresh mint come together to make an amazing glaze in this healthy roasted winter squash recipe. If you use delicata, the whole squash--including the gorgeous skin--is edible.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Chef Michael Symon loves Brussels sprouts because they can be cooked so many different ways. In this healthy recipe, the rich flavor of the walnuts, Dijon and capers is perfection with roasted meats.
Roasted Fennel & Italian Sausage Stuffing
This homemade stuffing recipe is special because it comes complete with a sausage-making lesson from the Sausage King himself, author and famed business owner Bruce Aidells.
This gratin dish has all of the craveable flavors of artichoke dip in a more sophisticated form. It makes a terrific side with any roasted meats or poultry.
Wilted Kale With Warm Shallot Dressing
Vinegar is the key to making this sautéed kale recipe special. Look for vinegar that's cloudy—it likely still has some of the mother in the bottle and will give you a sweet acidity rather than a harsh bite. Organic apple cider vinegar is usually your best bet. For the most eye-catching version of this side, use different colored varieties of kale.
Parsnip Mash with Olive Tapenade
Nutty parsnips make for a tasty mashed-potato substitute. For the best parsnip mash, puree the root veggie in a food processor instead of using a ricer, as parsnips are woodier than potatoes.
Roasted Vegetable Antipasto
A zesty vinaigrette makes these roasted beets, fennel, carrots and Brussels sprouts pop. If you can't find small carrots, halve larger ones crosswise then quarter lengthwise. Put this vegetable antipasto on your Thanksgiving menu as a side dish or appetizer.
Roasted Lemon-Parmesan Cauliflower with Capers
Roasted cauliflower and lemon segments tossed with Parmesan, olive oil and capers makes an easy side dish. Pair it with roast chicken.
Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Green Horseradish Sauce
These roasted smashed potatoes show off all the goodness of russets: fluffy insides surrounded by shatteringly crisp skin. The easy horseradish sauce topping adds a delicious flavor boost.
Apple, Fig & Brussels Sprouts Salad
To add a little bit of green to the Thanksgiving table, this Apple, Fig & Brussels Sprouts Salad is a sweet-tart side to neutralize heavier dishes. Salad dressing made from sweet and mellow white balsamic vinegar balances out the assertive greens and Brussels sprouts in this fall salad. If you have one handy, a small mandoline makes it easy to slice the Brussels and apple.
Mashed Cauliflower & Yukon Golds
The term “cauliflower mashed potatoes” usually means subbing cauliflower for potatoes completely, but in this recipe we use both cauliflower and potatoes: Yukon Golds add to the buttery hue of the mash and their waxy texture balances out the more watery cauliflower to keep it velvety. The mash is easy enough to make as a weeknight dinner recipe, but it would also make an excellent side dish for Thanksgiving or another special occasion.
This easy carrot soup recipe is a great way to use up a bag of carrots that were forgotten in your produce drawer. The carrots cook together with aromatics like onions, garlic and fresh herbs before being puréed into a silky smooth soup that's delicious for dinner or packed up for lunch.
Roasted Cranberry, Squash & Cauliflower Salad
Serve this healthy salad as a main course or as a starter for a special meal. To speed up prep, look for precut butternut squash in the refrigerated area of the produce section at your grocery store.
Chorizo, Chestnut, Brussels Sprout & Apple Stuffing
Who says a Thanksgiving stuffing recipe has to be dominated by the bread? Check out this veggie-packed healthy stuffing, with 4 cups of Brussels sprouts topping the list. Chorizo adds some piquant flavor, in this case a zesty chile-pepper-and-vinegar kick found in the Mexican version of the sausage, but quite frankly you won't go wrong using any type of fresh, spicy sausage.
No-Sugar-Added Sweet Potato Casserole
Instead of loading up this comfort food side with tons of brown sugar and marshmallows, we have turned to sweet spices, vanilla and inherently sweet dried fruit to enhance the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes. A topping of pecans and pepitas replaces traditional marshmallow topping to keep it healthy and add texture and color for a beautiful casserole.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Roasting butternut squash with herbs and garlic gives this healthy soup a more complex flavor. A bit of maple syrup adds sweetness, while a splash of apple-cider vinegar brightens up the flavors. This easy recipe requires just 15 minutes of active prep time, but you can cut down on that even more by buying precut squash. Serve with bread and a salad for a light supper, or as a starter for a holiday meal.
Garlic & Chive Mashed Potatoes
Russets are our potato of choice for this garlicky mashed potato recipe because they cook up super-fluffy.
Farro Salad with Cranberries & Persimmons
When shopping for this healthy salad recipe, be sure to pick up the right type of persimmons. The flat-bottomed Fuyus called for here are bright orange and have texture of an almost-ripe peach when ready to eat—perfect for salsas and salads, with or without the peel. Oval-shaped, darker orange and larger Hachiyas are only edible when almost liquid on the inside. The flesh is best used in baking or can be scooped out of the skin and eaten like custard. Underripe, they are off-puttingly tart.
Smoky Mashed Sweet Potatoes
This colorful twist on traditional mashed potatoes swaps in roasted sweet potatoes and incorporates the flavors of smoked paprika, cayenne, and orange zest. You can use regular paprika instead of smoked, and can omit the cayenne for a less spicy version.
The Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce
This is our go-to recipe for homemade cranberry sauce. It's simple (just five ingredients!), is lightly sweet without being too sugary and has just the right amount of zesty flavor from orange peel. Plus, it's so easy—it goes from stove to table in just 20 minutes!
Creamy Mashed Rutabaga with Bacon
Traditional Thanksgiving recipes dictate spuds be mashed and buttered, but for this veggie side, we whipped up rutabaga with bacon. Whole milk adds a smooth, creamy texture to this mash.
Oven-Roasted Squash with Garlic & Parsley
Winter squash becomes tender and sweeter when roasted--a delicious side for a holiday dinner. Look for interesting squash like kabocha or hubbard at your farmers' market and try them in this recipe. Recipe adapted from Alice Waters.
Fig & Walnut Wild Rice Dressing
This gluten-free dressing (or stuffing, if you prefer) leans on a blend of brown and wild rice for a complex nutty flavor. Look for dried Mission figs in the bulk aisle or with the packaged dried fruit in your grocery store. You can swap in dried cherries or cranberries if you can't find dried figs.
Mashed Celeriac with Herbs
Celeriac is a delicious low-carb alternative to creamy mashed potatoes. Pureeing the steamed celeriac in a food processor ensures a smooth, light and fluffy texture.
Simple Sautéed Spinach
Sautéed spinach (or any greens) with garlic and a squeeze of lemon (or vinegar) is a simple formula that lets spinach shine and will never go out of favor.
Garlic-Rosemary Smashed Potatoes
A combination of baked, mashed and roasted, these crusty, garlicky smashed potatoes are a healthy and creative alternative. Serve alongside a seared steak or roasted pork tenderloin and green beans.
Warm Pear & Spinach Salad with Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette
Mature, larger-leaved spinach holds up better to the warm bacon vinaigrette than baby spinach in this healthy spinach salad recipe. If you don't want the spinach to wilt, let the dressing cool before tossing it with the salad.
Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Honey-Balsamic Glaze
This lightning-fast side dish produces deliciously sweet Brussels sprouts, thanks to honey that caramelizes and crispy, salty bacon. They're so good your kids will even eat them! If the Brussels sprouts are hard to skewer, consider microwaving them a minute longer and then try skewering again. If you'd like to make this Brussels sprouts recipe vegetarian, simply omit the bacon.
Celeriac, Gruyère & Potato Tart
This tart is as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. Serve this potato tart as an appetizer or cut a larger serving for a healthy vegetarian dinner. If you don't have a mandoline, use your sharpest knife to slice the potatoes and celeriac as thin as possible.
Red Wine & Balsamic Pearl Onion Tarte Tatin
This tarte tatin hits that irresistible sweet-and-sour combo: sweet comes from roasty onions, balsamic and a touch of sugar; vinegar lends sour notes. The series of reductions intensify the flavors and create what is basically a pan sauce. Serve a slice of this tarte tatin with a salad for a light meal or alongside your favorite cut of beef for a heartier dinner.
Pan-roasted carrots become an exotic winter side dish recipe when topped with dukkah, an Egyptian spice blend, in this healthy vegetable recipe for Thanksgiving dinner. The dukkah adds crunch and umami with seeds and nuts while fresh herbs brighten the carrots.
Honey, Balsamic & Rosemary Roasted Figs
These roasted figs are brimming with sweet-and-savory flavors. The final dish tastes like a less sweet, chunkier version of fig jam but also delivers savory depth, thanks to the rosemary and salt. Add these roasted figs atop yogurt, ice cream, toast or even grilled pork or chicken.
Loaded Scalloped Potatoes with Bacon, Cheddar & Chives
Imagine a loaded baked potato topped with bacon, Cheddar and chives combined with the creamy goodness of scalloped potatoes, and you have the ultimate comfort food casserole. This scalloped potato recipe is made healthier than original versions by using low-fat milk in place of heavy cream, but it still tastes just as rich and creamy.
Steamed Green Beans with Rosemary-Garlic Vinaigrette & Fried Shallots
Here's a new way to delight your green-bean-loving guests. The genius of this easy green bean recipe is in the dressing, which is made with savory oil that has also been used to fry shallots and garlic.
Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
In this easy vegetable side dish recipe, sweet potatoes are tossed with maple syrup, butter and lemon juice and are roasted until tender and golden brown. The delicious glaze that forms on these maple-roasted sweet potatoes transform this ultra-simple dish into something sublime.