This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.
Turkey takes center stage on the Thanksgiving table, but everyone knows the sides and desserts make the meal. From creamy mashed potatoes to cornbread stuffing, these classic Thanksgiving side dishes have you covered. Bonus: many of these recipes are make-ahead, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your friends and family on the big day.
24 Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes
These mashed potatoes are a must on Thanksgiving! Not only are they ultra-creamy and comforting but they can also be prepared up to 2 days in advance and reheated in the microwave – a bonus over the holidays when space in the oven and on the stove is at a premium. Get the recipe.
It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without stuffing, and this version is my all-time most requested. The recipe is a cinch to make because it uses store-bought stuffing cubes, and the addition of sausage adds a ton of flavor without the need for a lot of other seasonings. Get the recipe.
A gratin is a delicious way to turn vegetables into true comfort food. Using heavy cream in place of a béchamel sauce keeps the sauce simple, making the dish perfect for the busy holidays. Get the recipe.
Cranberry sauce is the perfect accompaniment to roast turkey, and homemade is so much more delicious than the canned variety. The addition of orange zest and juice make this version a bit more special for the holidays. Get the recipe.
I serve this rich gravy every Thanksgiving. Spiked with cognac and enriched with cream, it is what makes my Herb & Brown Sugar Dry-Brined Turkey and High-Heat Roast Turkey so delicious. Get the recipe.
If ever there were a dish worthy of a special occasion, it would be potatoes au gratin. Made with layers of potatoes, heavy cream, and Parmigianno-Reggiano, it is ultra-rich and worth every single calorie. Get the recipe.
This easy steakhouse-style creamed spinach dish is the perfect rich side dish to lean roast turkey. Made with frozen spinach, it is quick, easy, and make-ahead. Get the recipe.
Enriched with eggs, challah cubes make a deliciously rich base for stuffing. This version is crispy on top and chockfull of buttery, earthy wild mushrooms. Get the recipe.
Are you accustomed to marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving? Try this version with a crunchy brown sugar-pecan streusel and you’ll never look back! Get the recipe.
Roasted Brussels sprouts are delicious all on their own, but tossing them with a bit of honey and balsamic vinegar after pulling them out of the oven takes them to the next level. Consider yourself warned — these are hard to stop eating straight from the pan! Get the recipe.
These buttermilk biscuits are flaky, buttery, and rich, and have a beautiful golden exterior. Bonus: you can prepare them ahead and bake them right before serving. Get the recipe.
Over the holidays, you can usually find haricots verts, or French green beans, trimmed and ready to cook. Sautéed with shallots, these elegant beans pair nicely with anything from roast turkey, to seared salmon, to grilled steak. Get the recipe.
A close cousin to cornbread, spoon bread is creamy, rich, and – you guessed it – eaten with a spoon. While delicious in the summer made with fresh corn, it’s equally good as a Thanksgiving side dish made with frozen corn. Get the recipe.
Cakier than Southern-style cornbread, this Northern-inspired version gets an additional pop of flavor and texture from fresh thyme, corn, and Cheddar cheese. Get the recipe.
Ordinary cooked carrots aren’t very exciting, but roasted carrots are a whole different story. Not only do they take on a delicious caramelized flavor, but they’re also super simple to make and will add lovely color to your Thanksgiving table. Get the recipe.
Rich and creamy mashed potatoes baked in crispy, salty potato skins, twice-baked potatoes make any meal feel like a celebration. Bonus: you can make them mostly ahead of time and even freeze them. Get the recipe
If you like traditional cranberry sauce, you’ll love this tart-sweet relish made with cranberries, orange zest, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and pecans. Get the recipe.
If you’re looking for a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, this healthy cauliflower purée is the ticket. It’s so comforting and creamy, you won’t even miss the potatoes! Get the recipe.
Warm cornbread muffins are always a welcome addition to the Thanksgiving bread basket. You can whip up the batter for these muffins in no time, and they bake in just 20 minutes. Get the recipe.
This savory and sweet Brussels sprout salad is best made ahead of time, making it the perfect room temperature side dish for a holiday buffet. And leftovers pair perfectly with turkey sandwiches! Get the recipe.
This traditional cornbread and sausage stuffing has the consistency of spoon bread and golden, crispy top. The cornbread is homemade, so it takes a bit more time than traditional stuffing, but the recipe can be done in steps and is 100% worth the extra effort. Get the recipe.
22. MAC AND CHEESE
The epitome of comfort food, this mac and cheese is extra creamy topped with crispy herb-flecked panko. The recipe is inspired by the macaroni and cheese served at Maple Ave, a restaurant in Vienna, VA. Get the recipe.
Need an impressive vegetable dish to bring to a holiday party? This is the one! With blistered and caramelized string beans, chunks of mellow garlic, nutty Parmesan cheese, and crunchy pine nuts, it beats the traditional green bean casserole any day. Get the recipe.
Made with pumpkin purée, these hearty cornbread muffins are healthier than traditional cornbread but just as delicious. The pumpkin gives the muffins a gorgeous golden-brown color and sweet earthy flavor. Get the recipe.