Now that fall has all but officially arrived, Thanksgiving will be here before you know it! Take some of the stress out of cooking by planning your menu ahead of time. Today, I have 23 amazingly yummy Thanksgiving side dishes that will wow your guests! After all, Turkey may be the star of the show, but we all know the holiday wouldn’t be the same without all those delicious sides!
How to Plan the Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Menu
Before we get to those delicious Thanksgiving side dishes, let’s quickly talk about how to decide which ones to include on your menu. After all, unless you’re cooking for dozens of people, you probably won’t be making 23 side dishes, right?
While your final menu choices depend entirely on your family’s taste preferences, a good rule of thumb is to pick two traditional recipes that you know everyone loves, one unique new recipe for everyone to try out, and one or two salads to serve before the meal. That way, even if the new recipe flops, everyone still has two side dishes to round out their meal and a little something to hold them over.
If you’re trying to save money, choose recipes that have common ingredients. For example, you may try the green bean casserole as your traditional dish then toss in the chilli garlic green beans (which you’ll find below) as your unique dish.
Okay, now let’s get to those recipes! I made it easy for you to find the perfect side dishes for your menu by breaking into categories. We’ve got easy recipes with just a few main ingredients, some traditional Thanksgiving sides, yummy salads, and a few unique dishes for more adventurous eaters. Finally, since the dinner just isn’t complete without a little bread to soak up all that gravy, we have a couple of Thanksgiving dinner rolls & bread recipes. Let’s get cooking!
Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
1. Brussels Sprouts With Crispy Pancetta
With just four main ingredients and a few spices, you have a hearty delicious side dish that really brings out the best of fall’s harvest flavors. It’s even filling enough on its own to serve as a meal outside of the holiday, so if you don’t add it to your Thanksgiving menu, make sure you save the recipe for another night.
Grab this Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta recipe here.
2. Butternut Squash Mash
Technically this one has 6 ingredients, but the last one is optional and one of the main ingredients is good old salt and pepper. So, really, you’ll only need to buy 4 things to whip up this healthier alternative to mashed potatoes!
Grab the recipe over at I Was Born to Cook
3. Turnip Casserole
It only takes 5 ingredients (plus salt & pepper) to pull off this unique alternative to mashed potatoes! By the way, did you know that turnips and rutabaga are both members of the cabbage family? So, if you’re not really feeling the turnips, you can swap them out with rutabaga.
Snag this recipe from Simply Stacie
4. Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
This one does use a few more ingredients than the other easy recipes but most of them are ingredients that you’ll need for other recipes you’ll be making. So really, you’ll only need to grab maybe 2-3 extra ingredients at the grocery store. It’s still an incredibly simple dish to make!
See how to make it over on Salty Side Dish
5. Classic Stuffed Mushrooms
Set this healthy recipe out as an appetizer to hold everyone over until the main event or serve it alongside your turkey as a healthier alternative to stuffing. The garlic really helps bring out the mild earthy flavor of the mushrooms!
Get the recipe from Peas and Crayons
Traditional Thanksgiving Side Dishes
6. Green Bean Casserole
It’s almost a crime to serve Thanksgiving dinner without a green bean casserole dish! This easy recipe uses fresh green beans and mushrooms to create a complex flavor that will please even the pickiest palates. It’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes for real food eaters.
Grab the green bean casserole recipe right here.
7. Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without sweet potatoes, right? If you don’t have the time (or the desire) to make yet another casserole, try these Instant Pot sweet potatoes and cinnamon butter topping. The butter is divine, and you can easily cut back a bit on the sugar in it without ruining the flavor.
Get the recipe over at Life Family Fun
8. Creamy Homemade Corn Casserole
Another Thanksgiving essential, this simple casserole uses frozen rather than canned corn, so it doesn’t taste quite as “processed” as other corn casserole recipes. Since corn is fairly bland on its own, the red peppers help kick things up a notch.
Grab my creamy homemade corn casserole recipe here.
9. Vegan Chicken Nugget & Apple Stuffing
Did you know that stuffing is one of the most fattening and calorie-dense foods on your Thanksgiving menu? With this recipe you can seriously cut down on the calories and please your vegan friends! Don’t let the word “chicken nugget” scare you, the vegan version isn’t as over-processed as the real thing. Plus, you can easily leave them out and still have a delicious side dish.
Find this vegan Thanksgiving recipe over on Arts & Crackers.
10. Make Ahead Marinated Carrots
Carrots are one of the easiest traditional Thanksgiving side dishes to pull off, especially when you can make them ahead of time like in this recipe! With familiar ingredients like tomato soup (try this organic version), ketchup and mustard, it’ll definitely appeal to pickier eaters!
Grab this carrots recipe over at Mom Vs. The Boys.
11. Spinach and Walnut Salad
This simple side salad uses just three ingredients in the main recipe and 5 in the tasty strawberry dressing. Toss it together the night before and you’ll have one less thing to do on Thanksgiving morning.
Get it from See Lindsay
12. Blue Cheese, Pear, and Walnut Autumn Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
Here’s a fun way to incorporate cranberries into your meal without actually making cranberry sauce. The blue cheese crumbles add a complex flavor to the crisp pears and tangy cranberries.
Grab the recipe from I Should be Mopping the Floor
13. Broccoli Salad with Bacon & Cranberries
Another delicious salad that uses cranberries, this one uses dried cranberries, but you can easily swap them out with fresh ones. If you want to stick to the dried version, try this organic brand.
Get it over at A Reinvented Mom
14. Easy Greek Salad with a Twist
You’ll want to make extra of this tasty Greek salad recipe so you can have it for lunch all week long! It’s hearty enough to eat as a meal all on its own and easy enough to throw together last-minute.
Get this easy Greek salad recipe right here.
15. Edible Flowers Salad Recipe
For a totally unique experience that’s as beautiful as it is tasty, try serving this salad made entirely of edible flowers. If you don’t live in a warm area where flowers grow year-round, you can always call up your local florist for the ingredients.
Grab it from Tempting Recipes by Amy Treasure
Unique Thanksgiving Sides
16. Scalloped Potatoes with Bacon and Jalapenos
This unique dish combines traditional scalloped potatoes with the spicy kick of jalapenos, making it both familiar and unique! Keep it low-key with jalapeno jack cheese or kick it up a few notches by tossing in some whole peppers!
Get the recipe over at Major Hoff Takes a Wife
17. Baked Pineapple and Cheese Casserole
Picky eaters will go crazy for this fruity side dish that combines tangy pineapples with rich cheddar cheese. Unique? Check. Tasty? You betcha!
Find this recipe on My Home and Travels
18. Asparagus Puff Pastry Tart
Asparagus is one of those veggies that people either love or loathe. If your guests are on the apprehensive side, they may just change their minds when they taste this easy side dish! With a few simple ingredients, you’ll have a unique recipe that just may become a new family favorite!
Grab this unique dish over at Dancing Through the Rain
19. Turnip Puff Casserole
This tasty turnip puff looks a lot like sweet potato casserole, so it’s a fantastic way to introduce picky eaters to the nutritious root veggie. It may even turn turnip haters into turnip lovers!
from Merry About Town
20. Chilli Garlic Green Beans
This super easy Thanksgiving recipe only uses 2 main ingredients, plus a little salt and cooking oil, but the result is out of this world yummy! The chillies add a kick while the garlic really helps bring all the flavors together. If you have apprehensive veggie eaters, this is a great way to get them to try green beans.
Get the Chilli Garlic and Green Beans at Recipes from the Pantry
Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls & Bread Recipes
21. Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
If you’re looking for a hearty dinner roll that doubles as a dessert roll, try these yummy pumpkin rolls! It’s a bit more involved than some of the other Thanksgiving side dishes (homemade bread always is), but totally worth it! Try serving them with that tasty cinnamon butter you made for the sweet potatoes!
Get the recipe at Food Wine Sunshine
22. Pumpkin Spice Buttermilk Biscuits
If you love the idea of pumpkin rolls but want something a little easier to pull off last-minute, try these buttermilk biscuits flavored with pumpkin spices.
Get the recipe from Wholefully
23. Homemade Drop Biscuits
Okay, we had pumpkin rolls and pumpkin biscuits, so the next natural evolution is, of course, plain homemade biscuits! Try making half with the pumpkin spice and half without so that you can please all of your guests without a lot of extra work.
Find it on Finding Zest
While all of these recipes are family-friendly, if you have picky kids you may want to add in a few of these healthy Thanksgiving fun food ideas, too! The turkey fruit platter is always a huge hit and makes a great finger foods idea for toddlers.
I hope you and your family enjoy all these delicious Thanksgiving side dishes! The hardest part is deciding which to make for the holiday and which to try right now!
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