Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Find healthy Thanksgiving side dishes to make ahead including cranberry, mashed potato, squash and green bean recipes.

Staff Picks

Creamed Spinach Casserole

Rating: 3.4 stars
2
This creamy spinach casserole recipe is a more sophisticated cousin to creamed spinach. It's perfect for weekend entertaining or as a holiday side dish.

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

Rating: 5 stars
1
These scalloped potatoes are surprisingly rich and creamy even though they're made with no dairy (milk, butter or cheese)--vegan comfort food at its best. We use almond milk, herbs and spices to make a flavorful sauce and finish the dish with a crunchy almond topping. This makes a satisfying side dish if you're cooking for dairy-free or vegan diets.

Cauliflower-Broccoli Gratin

Rating: 3 stars
1
This creamy broccoli-and-cauliflower casserole is a hassle-free side dish that just about everyone loves. Our healthier version skips the heavy cream and butter found in most recipes--saving about 160 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat compared to a traditional version.

Layered Mashed Potato & Mushroom Casserole

Rating: 4.82 stars
3
Fancy up regular mashed potatoes with a layer of mushroom duxelle--a sauté of finely chopped mushrooms and shallots. We omitted the traditional butter in the duxelle and added chard for a nutritional boost. Serve this hearty side in place of mashed potatoes at any holiday feast or enjoy it as a vegetarian main dish.

Cheesy Potato Casserole

Rating: 3.67 stars
3
The original version of this cheesy potato casserole stars canned soup, full-fat sour cream, a stick of butter and a crust of crushed potato chips. We lightened it considerably by using a homemade white sauce instead of canned soup and swapping nonfat Greek yogurt for the sour cream. Crushed corn flakes replace the potato chips. All in all, we slashed 200 calories, 25 grams of fat (12 grams saturated) and 170 milligrams of sodium per serving. Dig in!

Carrot-Parsnip Gratin

Make this creamy carrot-and-parsnip casserole for your next holiday meal--everyone will beg you for the recipe! Our healthier version skips the heavy cream and butter found in most recipes--saving about 160 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat compared to a traditional version.

Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Rating: 4.86 stars
12
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.

Steamed Butternut Squash

Rating: 5 stars
1
Butternut squash steams quickly, making this a great cooking technique to enjoy this fall vegetable as a weeknight side dish. For extra flavor, toss the steamed butternut squash with salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil, butter or Parmesan cheese after cooking.

Sautéed Butternut Squash

Sautéeing butternut squash in olive oil quickly yields perfectly cooked results and slighly caramelizes the squash for extra flavor. This recipe makes a delicious vegetable side dish to pair with roasted meats.

Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes with Spinach

Rating: 5 stars
1
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.

Cauliflower Casserole with Everything Bagel Seasoning

Rating: 4.5 stars
1
The cheesy-seedy crust that tops this healthy cauliflower casserole recipe evokes everything bagels. Serve for the holidays or as a hearty side dish with roast chicken.

"Use a Spoon" Chopped Salad

Rating: 4.57 stars
6
When Paul Newman and Michel Nischan opened their Westport, Connecticut, restaurant Dressing Room, Paul's request was that the menu always include a chopped salad that you could eat with a spoon. This chopped salad recipe is full of great flavors, colors and textures, featuring celery, carrots, red pepper, apple, cucumber, greens, cabbage, goat cheese and almonds. This is great for any holiday meal: you can let it stand and it stays crisp.
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Inspiration and Ideas

Cornbread & Oyster-Mushroom Stuffing

This stuffing is perfect to bake a day or two in advance so it has time to dry out a bit, which lets it absorb the flavors more readily.

Make-Ahead Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Cut down on Thanksgiving Day craziness and free up space in your oven by making some dishes ahead of time. From Green Bean Casserole to Scalloped Potatoes, all of these classic Thanksgiving side dishes come with tips to prep them ahead of time. A quick reheat is all they’ll need before making their way to your dinner table.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Onions

Rating: 4.93 stars
6

Fresh herbs, onion and bacon sauté alongside Brussels sprouts in this easy vegetable side dish recipe. This savory dish is delicious in the fall and winter months, when Brussels sprouts are in season. If you can find them still attached to the stalk, don't be intimidated--buy them, as they're likely more fresh. Recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.