The 60 Best Side Dishes For Thanksgiving

Hope you've got your Halloween decorations all packed away now, since it's time for the next round of holiday preparations to begin. No, we're not talking about Christmas! While the stores may have had candy canes and tinsel on the shelves since September, you're officially allowed to procrastinate until Black Friday since that's pretty much the whole point and purpose of the day. (That, and getting into UFC-style throwdowns with your fellow Walmart shoppers.) Let's not forget the true meaning of the November holiday season, though — stuffing ourselves silly at the annual Thanksgiving feast!

Whether you're going to go traditional with a turkey, small-scale with a chicken, plant-based with tofurkey, or go totally off script with something like roast venison, you'll need some trimmings to accompany the star of the show. From traditional to trendy, comfort food to keto-friendly, this roundup of Thanksgiving sides really does have something for everyone, and that's something every cook can be thankful for!

Ina Garten's Mac And Cheese

Ina Garten is no fan of the plan and simple way of doing things, which is no surprise coming from anyone who calls herself a contessa (barefoot or otherwise). When you're cooking with Ina, you're going big or going home, and this mac and cheese is no exception. Her recipe calls for an entire head of roasted garlic along with 3 different kinds of cheese: gruyère, cheddar, and mozzarella. A far cry from the boxed stuff, this macaroni au fromage is fancy enough to serve on your best china.

Recipe: Ina Garten's Mac And Cheese

Honey-Glazed Carrots

Plain old carrots are super-healthy, true, but they can be a wee bit blah all by themselves. Toss them in a simple olive oil and honey coating, however, and they become something far more exciting. Visually, the glaze also makes the carrots more appealing, and a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley and perhaps some fresh-ground pepper will make them look just as festive as any other dish on your holiday table.

Recipe: Honey Glazed Carrots

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Do you call them sweet potatoes or yams? While technically the two tubers may be different, they are similar enough in appearance, texture, and flavor to be used interchangeably in most recipes, and this one is no exception. These stuffed sweet potatoes (or yams, if you prefer) put a Mexican-inspired spin on the steakhouse classic, filled with black beans and corn and topped with guac, sour cream, cheese, and pico de gallo.

Recipe: Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Steakhouse Wedge Salad

While the main attraction at any steakhouse is obviously going to be a great big juicy hunk of beef, the side dishes shouldn't be ignored. One of our favorites is the classic wedge salad where a hefty chunk of iceberg lettuce is packed with bacon bits and chives and topped with a chunky blue cheese dressing made from real blue cheese crumbles. While such a salad is the perfect accompaniment to a strip steak or filet mignon, it would be equally impressive as a first course for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Recipe: Homemade Steakhouse Wedge Salad

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving dinner preparations tend to be beyond hectic. Despite the fact that we persist in calling it "dinner," many of us eat it in the early afternoon –- all the better to collapse, comatose, in front of the evening's football games or go to bed early to prepare for some crack-of-dawn Black Friday shopping. In order to simplify things, why not make mashed potatoes in your slow cooker? Put them on in the morning, and by mealtime (whenever that may be), all you'll need to do is mash them up and stir in the half-and-half, sour cream, and seasonings.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mashed Potato

One-Pot Mac And Cheese

While for many of us mac and cheese is a main dish, others see it as more of a side. In fact, there is quite a sizable contingent who feels this dish is just as much a part of the Thanksgiving Day spread as stuffing and cranberry sauce. If you're a member of Team Mac and Cheese, you'll appreciate this easy, cheesy one-pot recipe. It takes just 5 minutes of prep time and cooks up in a quarter of an hour.

Recipe: One-Pot Mac And Cheese

Simple Corn Casserole

While we don't know exactly what was on the menu at the first Thanksgiving, one thing we do know they had in abundance in the New World was corn, or, as they may have called it at the time, maize. This simple corn casserole may not date back to the 17thcentury, but it's likely the kind of thing your grandmother served up alongside her holiday bird. Even if this tasty cornbread doesn't bring back childhood memories, it's never too late to make some delicious new ones!

Recipe: Simple Corn Casserole

Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges

One well-known Thanksgiving dish that some people love while others loathe consists of sweet potatoes baked with a marshmallow topping. Not the healthiest thing on the table, true. Lose the marshmallows, though, and sweet potatoes are quite a nutritious powerhouse and something that even white carb-shunners can indulge in. In this recipe, sweet potato wedges are simply parboiled, rubbed with spices, and grilled, but if it's too cold to fire up the backyard bbq, you can always use a stove-top grill pan or just bake them instead.

Recipe: Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges

Wilted Spinach Salad

Usually the word "wilted" carries a negative connotation with it. Once your flowers wilt, it's time to toss the bouquet, and if your veggies are wilting in your fridge, you'll either need to use them to make soup or add them to the compost bin. When it's a salad you make with intentionally wilted greens though, it's a whole different story. This salad starts off with fresh green spinach that gets cooked just a tiny bit, so it softens up but retains both its flavor and its nutrients.

Recipe: Healthy Wilted Spinach Salad

Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole, a fixture at numerous church basement potlucks, is also a dish that many people see as an integral part of their Thanksgiving dinner. While its popularity may well lie in the fact that it's fairly easy to throw together, still, there's always a way to simplify things even further. This recipe does so by making use of the slow cooker, so the casserole pretty much cooks itself while you're busy basting the turkey.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

Scalloped Potatoes

One of the most fascinating things about potatoes as an ingredient is how versatile they can be, running the gamut from fast-food fries to these super-deluxe scalloped potatoes that are fit to grace any holiday table. This decadent dish is made with plenty of butter, bacon, and heavy cream (also leeks, which are fairly healthy), but it's not particularly difficult or time-consuming to put together. Plus, if you can't be a little indulgent at the holidays, then what's the point of having them at all?

Recipe: Scalloped Potato

Baked Mac And Cheese

This is the classic baked mac and cheese that's been appearing on Thanksgiving tables since ... Actually, we have no idea when. Let's just go with "a long time" and leave it at that. Far from the bland cream + carbs concoction you might be expecting, this dish gets its flavor from chili powder, cumin, and Dijon mustard as well as three different types of cheese: cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan, plus cream cheese for extra richness. It also has a bit of crunch to it, courtesy of panko breadcrumbs.

Recipe: Baked Mac And Cheese

Simple Corn Pudding

While we typically think of a pudding as a kind of sweet, if perhaps slightly bland, dessert, this corn pudding is more of a savory side. It does have some sweetness to it, thanks to the sugar and vanilla, but it is basically a super-moist version of cornbread, making it a suitable accompaniment for roast turkey or chicken. Any leftovers, however, could always be repurposed as a tasty, filling breakfast!

Recipe: Simple Corn Pudding

Sweet Potato Fritters

Sweet potatoes in some form or another are a typical Thanksgiving side, perhaps due to their deep orange color and the fact that they have a flavor somewhat similar to pumpkin. Sweet potatoes don't always have to appear in casserole form, however. This recipe repurposes these autumnal tubers in the form of crispy fritters that are a perfect savory side dish. You could also omit the spices and add some cinnamon and sugar to the mix and transform them into a healthy dessert.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Fritters

Sweet Kale Salad

Yes, kale is just as healthy as all the other fruits and veggies that have been elevated to the pantheon of superfoods. The problem with kale, however, is that it can be, well, kind of nasty, especially when it pops up in places where no green veggie belongs. (Sorry, but it has no business whatsoever in a fruit smoothie!) If you treat kale just right, though, gently massaging its leaves, topping it with a maple citrus dressing, and adding some flavor with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds, then you'll have the perfect fall salad that's as tasty as it is good for you.

Recipe: Sweet Kale Salad

Easy Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

We are a fan of all tiny potatoes, especially adorable little fingerlings! They are quick-cooking, fun to eat, and oh-so-flavorful. Here, these two-bite potatoes are roasted to a crispy golden brown and topped with a delicious roast garlic and rosemary compound butter. Serve them in lieu of traditional mashed potatoes for a Thanksgiving side that's sure to delight. Pro tip: make an extra batch of the butter to spread on rolls.

Recipe: Easy Roasted Fingerling Potato

Slow Cooker Mac And Cheese

One problem with macaroni and cheese as a comfort food is that even the stuff that comes in a box isn't exactly effort-free to prepare. You have to cook the pasta, drain the pasta, then mix up the sauce with milk, butter (or, horrors, margarine!), and that orange powdery stuff. Well, not only is this mac made from real cheese -– mozzarella and cheddar, to be exact, along with some cream cheese –- but it's actually easier to make since all you do is add the ingredients to the pot and let the slow cooker do all of the work.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Mac And Cheese

Spicy Szechuan Green Beans

Green bean casserole does have its fans, otherwise it wouldn't keep appearing on Thanksgiving dinner tables, but there are those who find the stuff to be seriously bland. Crunchy fried onion rings alone can't compensate for canned veggies drowned in canned soup, after all. These green beans, on the other hand, are something else entirely. The recipe uses fresh beans that are quickly stir-fried to retain their snap, and they get some heat from the Sichuan-inspired flavoring.

Recipe: Spicy Szechuan Green Beans

Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad

Caesar salad is something we're all familiar with -– you got your romaine lettuce, your shredded parmesan, your croutons, and your Caesar dressing (with or without the traditional anchovies). Many restaurants will also add chicken or salmon to turn their Caesar salads into a main dish, but underneath the protein, it's pretty much the same old salad. That's definitely not the case with this twist on the classic Caesar, however. Grilling the lettuce (yes, you can do this!) adds a whole new dimension to the flavor and texture of this classic.

Recipe: Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad

Instant Pot Baked Potato

Thanksgiving dinner can be tricky to pull off, in no small part due to the fact that the turkey tends to monopolize the oven for hours at a time. While you can (and should) cook your pies well in advance, that oven-hogging turkey can wreak havoc with the sides. This may be why mashed potatoes, which can be prepared on the stovetop, are so often served alongside the turkey. If you prefer baked potatoes, though, no worries. You can actually use your Instant Pot to bake them in far less time than they'd need in the oven.

Recipe: Instant Pot Baked Potato

Copycat Trader Joe's Mac And Cheese

Are you a fan of Trader Joe's macaroni and cheese? The best thing about it is it's just as convenient as it is tasty, and it sure makes for a great effort-free meal. A holiday like Thanksgiving, though, is all about made-from-scratch foods. With this copycat recipe, you can enjoy all of the flavor of your favorite heat-and-eat frozen meal, but everyone will think you made it yourself because that is exactly what you did.

Recipe: Copycat Trader Joe's Mac And Cheese

Creamed Corn

Creamed corn is one of those sweet old-fashioned dishes that are perfect for a traditional Norman Rockwell-style Thanksgiving dinner. How, exactly, do you make it, though? It's really not that difficult. All you need to do is simmer sweet corn kernels in a mixture of milk and cream (or you could always use half-and-half) and flavor it with sugar and vanilla. The resulting dish is both sweet and savory and pairs beautifully with turkey and all the rest of the trimmings.

Recipe: Creamed Corn Recipe

Praline Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes, as their name implies, have a natural sweetness to them, which is why they are often used to make desserts such as pies and cakes. They also lend themselves quite well to sweet/savory side dishes like that famous (or infamous) marshmallow-topped casserole. If you're looking to switch things up just a little this year, though, you might try swapping out the marshmallows for a delicious pecan streusel topping, like the one in this recipe.

Recipe: Praline Sweet Potatoes

Honey Cornbread Muffins

While dinner rolls have their place on the Thanksgiving table, so, too, does cornbread, a quick bread that is super-easy to prepare even when you're making it from scratch. These cornbread muffins are made with honey, which gives them a touch of sweetness without tipping them over into dessert territory. If you want to double down on the sweetness, however, you can always serve them with honey butter or pass some additional honey around for drizzling.

Recipe: Moist Honey Cornbread Muffins

Chef Jernard Wells' New Soul Kitchen Lobster Mac & Cheese

If you really want to go all-out to impress your guests this Thanksgiving, don't serve plain old mac and cheese alongside your gold-encrusted, truffle-stuffed turkey. Instead, break out the lobster mac and cheese. Need a go-to recipe? You couldn't do too much better than this one from Chef Jernard Wells' New Soul Kitchen. This super-rich dish is made with heavy cream, nearly 2 pounds of cheddar cheese, and the meat from 3 lobster tails.

Recipe: Chef Jernard Wells' New Soul Kitchen Lobster Mac & Cheese

Warm Spinach Salad

"Warm" and "salad" are two words that don't usually go together, since most types of salad do not lend themselves at all well to cooking. This warm spinach salad, however, occupies a niche that's neither hot nor cold. It starts with a base of fresh spinach leaves, then wilts them just a bit with the addition of a delicious dressing made from warm bacon grease mixed with cider vinegar and Dijon mustard. Bacon, hard-boiled eggs, and blue cheese crumbles top things off to make for a delicious salad that can serve as a hearty side or a light main course.

Recipe: Warm Spinach Salad

Jamie Oliver's Roast Potatoes

Jamie Oliver is a true chef, meaning that even when he prepares something as simple as roast potatoes, he still adds those little flourishes that make an ordinary side into something restaurant-worthy. Our version of his roast potato recipe makes things a bit easier, though, as it calls for using readily-available new potatoes rather than hard-to-source Maris Pipers. It also allows for the use of duck fat if you have no goose fat on hand, although you could always just go with butter.

Recipe: Jamie Oliver's Roast Potato Recipe

3-Ingredient Cheese Biscuits

Don't you just love 3-ingredient recipes? Particularly at Thanksgiving, when all the other sides and desserts may have you running short on just about everything in the pantry. To make these cheese biscuits, all you'll need is cheese (cheddar, for preference, though other semi-soft cheeses would probably work), milk, and self-rising flour. If you've only got the all-purpose kind, though, you can always make DIY self-rising flour by adding 1½ tablespoon of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt to each cup of flour. Ok, so that makes it a 5-ingredient recipe, but still, that's not too bad.

Recipe: 3-Ingredient Cheese Biscuits

Easy Maple-Roasted Carrots

Carrots are not the most glamorous of veggies. Still, you can always work with them to jazz them up a bit, and they take particularly well to sweet glazes such as this one made from a mix of maple syrup and butter. Just peel the carrots, coat them with the glaze, then bake them until they're tender. As an added touch, you can sprinkle them with chopped fresh parsley to make them look pretty on your holiday table.

Recipe: Easy Maple-Roasted Carrots

Apple Goat Cheese Salad

Apples are fall's favorite fruit, and they feature in many a Thanksgiving celebration in the form of apple pie. (Not everyone likes pumpkin, after all.) Apples need not be confined to the dessert menu, though. Why not pair them with crumbled goat cheese and tasty toasted pecans — honey-roasted ones, if you want a little sweetness — and use them to top a simple romaine-based salad? You could even add in some dried cranberries to make this salad extra-Thanksgivingy.

Recipe: Apple Goat Cheese Salad

Crock Pot Creamed Corn

Creamed corn from a can isn't exactly the kind of thing you want in your festive spread, unless you're using it as an ingredient to make corn pudding, corn casserole, or cornbread. Creamed corn that you make from scratch, though, is flavorful enough to stand on its own as a side dish. This easy creamed corn recipe starts with frozen corn kernels, then cooks them to perfection in the crock pot in a cream cheese and honey sauce. Additional creaminess and tang comes from Greek yogurt added after the cooking is done.

Recipe: Crock Pot Creamed Corn

Rachael Ray's Macaroni And Cheese With A Twist

Rachael Ray may not be a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, but she sure knows what people like to eat, and her recipes for classic comfort foods like macaroni and cheese are popular for good reason. If mac and cheese strikes you as not quite as healthy as you'd like your Thanksgiving sides to be, you might prefer this recipe with a nutritious twist. How did we change Ray's original recipe? We added some leafy green kale for a dish that veggie fans will be sure to find yum-o!

Recipe: Rachael Ray's Macaroni And Cheese With A Twist

Creamed Spinach

Will creamed spinach give you great big muscles and super-strength like Popeye? Probably not. It will, however, add a little color (and a whole lot of nutrition) to your Thanksgiving table. Our recipe starts off with fresh spinach cooked in heavy cream, and gets some additional flavor from a sprinkling of fresh grated nutmeg and parmesan cheese. This dish is super-rich, but that's what makes it pair so well with roast turkey. Don't worry, the spinach is still in there working its healthy magic!

Recipe: Creamed Spinach

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash

Pumpkin gets all the press every fall, but what is pumpkin but a type of squash? There are other types of squash too, you know. Sure, they may not be big or round enough to serve as jack-o-lanterns, but when it comes to cutting them up and cooking them, they are every bit as flavorful. This simple butternut squash, a close cousin to the pumpkin, is roasted with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkling of chile flakes to give it a sweet and spicy pop.

Recipe: Simple Roasted Butternut Squash

Savory Roasted Beet Salad

Beets, for many years, were a veggie that got no love, at least outside of Eastern European fare like the staple soup known as borscht. In recent years, however, beets have gotten the same hipster upcycling treatment as the once equally-loathed brussels sprouts. It seems that just about any veggie can be rehabilitated if you prepare it just right. In the case of beets, they're actually pretty darn tasty if you dice them small, roast them until they're tender, and pair them with goat cheese and walnuts in a leafy green salad.

Recipe: Savory Roasted Beet Salad

Potatoes Au Gratin

Potatoes au gratin make for an absolutely perfect Thanksgiving side for two reasons. The obvious one is their rich, creamy flavor. Who wouldn't love thin-sliced potatoes smothered in cheese? The harried cook, however, will appreciate the fact that this easy, cheesy potato recipe is something that can be prepared well in advance. When the big day comes, all you need to do is simply pop it into the oven an hour and a half before serving.

Recipe: Potatoes Au Gratin

Instant Pot Mac And Cheese

Everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving sides. Some stick to the basics: stuffing, cranberry sauce, maybe some sweet potatoes. Others may add dishes from their ancestral homelands such as antipasto or potstickers, while those with roots in the south may consider mac and cheese a holiday must-have. The problem with making mac and cheese the usual way, however, is that it takes up too many stove burners at a time when kitchen space is at a premium. But if you can find room on the counter for your Instant Pot, you can have mac and cheese in just minutes courtesy of this super-easy recipe.

Recipe: Instant Pot Mac And Cheese

Sweet Candied Yams With Marshmallows

What, exactly, is a yam, and how does it differ from a sweet potato? While these two vegetables aren't technically the same, the "yams" sold in U.S. supermarkets are usually not yams at all, but are a variety of sweet potato. That doesn't matter a bit as far as this recipe is concerned. A yam by any other name would still taste as sweet, particularly when coated in a brown sugar glaze and smothered in marshmallows as in this classic Thanksgiving side.

Recipe: Sweet Candied Yams With Marshmallows

Lentil And Spinach Salad Recipe

Lentils are sadly underrated. While beans get to stand in for meat in all manner of main dishes and are even being used in vegan baking, lentils are most often thought of as something that's only used to make soup. Let's liberate this legume by using it in a salad, instead! In this recipe, lentils are paired with red onions, feta cheese, and crispy fried onions to make a delicious, nutritious dish that would make the perfect starter for your Thanksgiving meal.

Recipe: Lentil And Spinach Salad

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

You may know and love mascarpone in tiramisu, but have you ever tried it in a savory dish? Mascarpone, along with heavy cream and a generous amount of butter, help to make these mashed potatoes the smoothest, creamiest, fluffiest, most decadently delicious version of this Thanksgiving standby. They are easy enough to make that you're going to want to add them to your regular repertoire, since they're the kind of comfort food you'll crave all through the year.

Recipe: Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Green Beans

If you're a veggie purist, you might have a few issues around Thanksgiving. Why must all the produce on the table be tricked out to the point where it's barely recognizable? Smothering sweet potatoes in marshmallows is bad enough, but who got the idea that green beans needed to be drowned in canned soup? If you prefer your beans straight up, try this recipe. Green beans are drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and roasted in the oven -– and that's it! Well, ok, you can also sprinkle them with sesame seeds if you want to get fancy.

Recipe: Roasted Green Beans

Fully-Loaded Baked Sweet Potatoes

If you do love your veggies with all the toppings, and the marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole is a favorite of yours, you'll probably also love this fresh new spin on that old standby. Rather than peeling and slicing the potatoes, you get to bake them whole (skins and all). Once they're done, you simply slather them with brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter, then top them off with mini marshmallows to make individual serving-sized casseroles!

Recipe: Fully Loaded Baked Sweet Potato

Fall Salad With Roasted Butternut Squash

Squash in a salad? You don't see that every day. Which is a shame, really. Roasted, cubed squash has a richness to it that plays well with a crisp, leafy vegetable such as the kale used in this salad. It's also offset nicely by a tangy, citrusy dressing. Our autumnal salad also includes fall favorites like chopped apples, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds, plus cooked farro to make it extra filling. If you're serving it as a starter course for Thanksgiving, though, feel free to skip the farro since extra filling is probably not what you're going for.

Recipe: Hearty Fall Salad With Roasted Butternut Squash

Sous Vide Mashed Potatoes

Do you have your own sous vide machine? While this trendy appliance never became the "must have" item that the Instant Pot did, they are still fun to have and to use if your kitchen space (and budget) permits. If you're ever going to put your sous vide machine to use, Thanksgiving would be the time to do it! Even if you don't have one, you can still try using the flavor-sealing sous vide cooking method to make mashed potatoes as long as you have a large pot, some heavy-duty Ziploc bags, and a water circulator.

Recipe: Best Sous Vide Mashed Potatoes

Copycat Cracker Barrel Biscuits

Cracker Barrel is one of those family-type eateries that was "fast casual" long before the term existed. While much of their menu is similar to what you'd find at a Denny's or Waffle House, they do have a few standout items, like their fluffy buttermilk biscuits. If you want to make these for Thanksgiving, we recommend prepping them in advance as the rolling out and cutting isn't the kind of thing you want to do at the last minute. Of course, if you want to save yourself some trouble, you can always skip the rolling and make them into drop biscuits instead.

Recipe: Copycat Cracker Barrel Biscuits

Savory Mashed Butternut Squash

While mashed potatoes are creamy, comforting, and pair nicely with gravy, we've always found them to be a bit bland as an accompaniment for turkey. Mashed squash, on the other hand, has a rich flavor of its own that perfectly complements the big bird, no gravy required. What's even better is the fact that squash is one of those "eat the rainbow" foods we're always being told to consume. (Potato-white is a color that does not occur in the rainbow.) Squash is packed with vitamins and antioxidants, making this a super-healthy Thanksgiving side.

Recipe: Savory Mashed Butternut Squash

Easy Green Chile Mac & Cheese

Ahh, autumn in the Southwest. While folks in other parts of the country may be out picking pumpkins and drinking hot apple cider as soon as temperatures drop, throughout the southwestern states you know fall is in the air when you smell the roasting green chiles. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, the chiles have long been harvested, but we feel green chiles still deserve a place in the cornucopia. With this mac and cheese, you can use either canned or frozen green chiles to bring a little heat to your holiday table.

Recipe: Easy Green Chile Mac & Cheese

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potatoes not only share their bright orange color with the pumpkin, but they are equally versatile as well. While sweet potato pie may not be as well-known as the pumpkin version, it's every bit as delicious, and sweet potato cake is even better! This streusel-topped sweet potato casserole, however, is something that straddles the line between dessert and veggie side dish, so it can be used in either instance, or even brought out for a Thanksgiving day brunch. 

Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Picture this: it's Thanksgiving day, the turkey is in the oven, and every stove burner is also being put to use. But wait, whoops, you forgot the mashed potatoes. Oh nooo!! What to do? Instant Pot to the rescue  The pressure cooker will have them ready in minutes. All you'll need to do is add the seasonings and creamy stuff (butter, cream cheese, and yogurt) and mash, then you can cross one more dish off your list.

Recipe: Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Mixed Greens

Considering so many Thanksgiving sides tend to be dripping in butter, drenched in cream, or swimming in sugar, it's always good to have a few simpler dishes on the table. One such side would be these mixed greens –- spinach, kale, collard, turnip, mustard, the choice is up to you. All you have to do is to sauté them in a little vegetable oil with a tiny bit of minced garlic, then add a sprinkle of salt. Easy-peasy, and incredibly healthy, to boot.

Recipe: Mixed Greens

Copycat Longhorn Steakhouse Mac And Cheese

If you're eating at a higher-end steakhouse, side dishes may be limited to more classic offerings such as baked potatoes, wedge salads, and sauteed mushrooms. At a chain steakhouse, however, you'll often find fries, onion rings, and yes, even mac and cheese. If you're a fan of the mac and cheese offered at Longhorn Steakhouse, why not make it at home? There's no rule saying you have to serve it with steak, either — it might just be the perfect accompaniment to your Thanksgiving turkey.

Recipe: Copycat Longhorn Steakhouse Mac And Cheese

Candied Yams

Candied yams are actually made from sweet potatoes, as true yams are hard to come by in the U.S. Nonetheless, whatever they may or may not be, candied yams have been enshrined as one of the de rigueur Thanksgiving sides, just a step below stuffing and cranberry sauce in the pantheon. If you don't like your veggies too decadent, though, you might want to try this recipe, which takes a more minimalist approach than most. The yams here are coated with a spiced butter and maple sugar syrup and there's not a single marshmallow in sight.

Recipe: Candied Yams

Collard Greens

Collard greens are a true Southern classic, but even if you're above the Mason-Dixon line, you really ought to give them a try, especially if you're a fan of similar greens like kale and spinach. These collard greens are first sauteed with garlic, then simmered in broth until they're really tender. While they make for a nice simple Thanksgiving side, you might also want to save this recipe for after Thanksgiving, as the greens get some extra flavor if you cook them with a turkey wing.

Recipe: Collard Greens

Simple Roasted Carrots

If you are looking for a super-simple side dish to stand in contrast to all the opulence on your Thanksgiving table, these roast carrots will surely do the trick. Yes, there is a little time involved in preparing them, simply because you have to peel all the carrots, but this is a task you can surely outsource to the kids. (The older ones, at least, since vegetable peelers can still be kind of sharp.) Once the carrots are peeled, all you need to is add butter, salt, and pepper, then bake until they're soft.

Recipe: Simple Roasted Carrot

Copycat Outback Steakhouse Mac And Cheese

Outback Steakhouse is one of America's most popular chain restaurants, Australian shtick and all. Luckily, the mac and cheese on their menu is a pretty straightforward interpretation of the comfort food classic, meaning that no vegemite, kangaroo meat, or other Aussie oddities are involved in its preparation. Instead, the steakhouse chain's version of this side is just your basic Velveeta-sauced pasta, and this copycat recipe will be no trouble to prepare for your Thanksgiving spread.

Recipe: Copycat Outback Steakhouse Mac And Cheese

Thanksgiving Rice Pilaf

While tart, tangy cranberries definitely have their place on the Thanksgiving table, they shouldn't be limited to just that one sauce. Even when you add the option of whole berry vs. jellied, cranberry sauce just doesn't do justice to this fruit's versatility. This rice pilaf recipe, however, looks to rectify that. Cranberries are paired with fresh veggies and herbs and mixed into wild rice to make a super-flavorful (and colorful!) rice pilaf that's the perfect accompaniment to roast turkey.

Recipe: Thanksgiving Rice Pilaf

Air Fryer Garlic Green Beans

Thanksgiving may be the biggest meal prep day of the year. Your oven is likely on for hours at a time, every stove burner may be in use, and appliances you seldom use (hello, George Foreman grill and sous vide machine!) are getting dragged out of the cupboard and pressed into service. Meanwhile, your poor air fryer sits all alone on the countertop ... Don't let it languish! Cooking these garlicky green beans is the perfect task for it.

Recipe: Air Fryer Garlic Green Beans

Hasselback Potatoes

True to their name, hasselback potatoes can be kind of a hassle to prepare. You need to do some fancy knife work to get those thin, accordion-like slices without accidentally chopping your potato in two. If you're able to spare the time, these twice-baked potatoes are sure to wow your Thanksgiving guests. As for the flavor ... well, let's just say this is as close to tasting like potato chips as a baked potato is ever going to get, only without the whole junk food stigma.

Recipe: Hasselback Potato

Creamy Homestyle Mac And Cheese

Thanksgiving dinner is no time to serve macaroni and cheese from a box. Well, not unless your main entree is a frozen turkey dinner. If you're going to go all out and roast your own turkey, however, you might want to put in a bit of extra effort and make the mac and cheese from scratch, too. This home-style version isn't too fancy, but it's a huge step up from the boxed or even frozen kind since it's made with heavy cream and cheddar cheese instead of "cheese food" or whatever that mysterious powdered stuff may be.

Recipe: Creamy Homestyle Mac And Cheese

Cast Iron Cornbread

If you have a cast iron pan, you probably use it all the time to fry bacon and sear steaks, but have you ever used it for baking? Cast iron skillets are great for this since they have no melty plastic parts that could hinder the transition from stovetop to oven. What's more, using a cast-iron skillet to bake this cornbread not only gives it that old-timey look that goes over well on a traditional holiday like Thanksgiving, but it also adds some extra iron to your diet!

Recipe: Cast Iron Cornbread