Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Our Favorite Traditional (and Modern) Thanksgiving Side Dishes

October 18, 2021
homemade green bean casserole
Sam Jones/QuinnBrein

Thanksgiving side dishes make the meal! We have some delicious options—from the historically-inspired to modern-day classics to vegetarian options. Make the most of the harvest bounty!

Historically-Inspired Sides

The first Thanksgiving probably didn’t include many of our classics today, such as cranberries or mashed potatoes. (Read more in Why We Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving.)

They were more likely to have chestnuts, squash, corn, and beans on hand, not potatoes, so we have included some historically-inspired side dishes for something different!

Classic Succotash

It’s quite likely the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags ate this dish, which features a mix of beans and corn. The word “succotash” comes from Wampanoag msíckquatash, meaning “boiled corn kernels.”

Homemade Succotash with Lima Beans, Corn, and Bacon. Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Chestnut Croquettes

At the time of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, there were certainly chestnuts in the forest. This recipe for Chestnut Croquettes is very simple, and makes a lovely accompaniment to turkey or goose.

Goose leg with croquette and orange sauce. Credit: Ryzhkov Photography/Shutterstock

Favorite Thanksgiving Sides

We love the colorful, healthy hues of today’s Thanksgiving food—from red cranberries to deep-orange sweet potatoes to vibrant green Brussels sprouts (provided they’re not overcooked!). Here are some of our favorite sides.

Cornbread Stuffing

This classic Cornbread Stuffing (pictured below) is a favorite on the holiday table. Our recipe will stuff a 15 to 18 pound turkey. For other options, check out our Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing and our Potato Lovers Stuffing! If you make a cornbread stuffing, we would substitute dinner rolls for cornbread in your menu. 

Credit: Sam Jones/QuinnBrien

Pecan-Crusted Sweet Potato Casserole

The pecan crunch adds some great texture to this dish and the Thanksgiving meal. For more sweet potato options, see our Mashed Sweet Potatoes and this old-fashioned Sweet Potato Soufflé.

Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Basic Cranberry Sauce

If you’d like to make a homemade sauce, this one’s basic and beloved. For something a little more creative, try our Chai-Spiced Orange-Cranberry Sauce

Credit: Anna Shepulova/shutterstock

Mashed Potatoes With Chives

Chives give mashed potatoes a tangy flavor. For other potato options, see our recipes for Cheesy Potatoes, Stuffed Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

Credit: Sam Jones/QuinnBrein

Green Bean Casserole

To the joy of some and the lament of others, Green Bean Casserole is a holiday staple in many households. Here you’ll find a lighter homemade version that ditches the canned soup component.

Credit: Sam Jones/QuinnBrein

Carrot Puff Recipe

This colorful Carrot Puff—also called Carrot Soufflé—is a popular side dish. Even kids and adults who aren’t fans of cooked carrots like its smooth, light consistency.

Or for a simple carrot side, try our Honey-Glazed Carrots and Parsnips recipe.

Photo by Elzbieta Sekowska/Shutterstock

Cranberry Waldorf Salad

For those who wish to serve a salad dish, try this colorful Cranberry Waldorf Salad. You can adjust the ingredients to your liking. (We’d add more cranberries, less celery.)


Fall Harvest Squash Rolls

These fall harvest squash rolls are always a hit! People are surprised when they learn they’re made from squash. Another option for dinner rolls is our Cornmeal Yeast Rolls.

Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Spiced Carrot Biscuits with Salted Caramel Butter

Looking for something different yet still delicious? Try these tasty biscuits, which won third place in our 2014 Recipe Contest!

Carrot biscuits. Photo by Becky Luigart-Stayner
Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Everyone looks forward to the squash boats! It’s an easy and delicious side dish you can enjoy again and again.

Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Shallots and Bacon

If you’re not sure about Brussels sprouts, roast them and you’ll never look back. Brussels sprouts, bacon, and shallots is one of the most delicious flavor combinations. Another reader favorite for the holidays is Creamed Brussels Sprouts.

Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Vegetarian Dishes

Curried Butternut Squash and Rice

This colorful butternut squash and rice recipe showcases the flavor of fall’s harvest in an easy yet deeply satisfying vegetarian (and vegan) meal.

Credit: Sergey Fati/Shutterstock

Roasted Autumn Vegetables

Hearty root vegetables are especially phenomenal when roasted. All you really need is olive oil and seasoning and voilà! 

Serve over lentils with fresh parsley for garnish. 

Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese

This Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese recipe was an entry in our Old Farmer’s Almanac Reader Recipe Contest using pumpkin. Though it did not win a prize, it got many thumbs up!

Credit: Koss13/Shutterstock

Sweet Potato Lentil Coconut Curry

This Sweet Potato Lentil Coconut Curry is hearty, warming, colorful, and very adaptable!

Credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Anything strike your fancy? To find recipes for the complete Thanksgiving meal (from turkey to pumpkin pie), see our Best Thanksgiving Recipes.

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North America’s first thanksgiving.

The first thanksgiving was in Newfoundland in 1578.