30 Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes Guaranteed to Please

thanksgiving sides
Photo: Louise Hagger

Thanksgiving side dishes don't need to be time-consuming in order to be delicious. Streamline your Thanksgiving meal prep with these easy side dish recipes, including sautéed and roasted seasonal vegetables and favorite potato and sweet potato dishes to seamlessly complement your turkey.

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thanksgiving sides
Louise Hagger

Gather round the table and give thanks for family, friends, health, happiness…and these easy Thanksgiving side dishes. Sure, the turkey is dubbed the star of the show, but if you ask your loved ones what their favorite Thanksgiving dish is, you'll almost always be met with a side. From Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes to a sweet, fragrant Cranberry Sauce, all of the classics are making an appearance at Thanksgiving this year and our recipes couldn't be easier to perfect. While making homemade cranberry sauce isn't as simple as opening up a can, it's not actually all that complicated—in 20 minutes time (with very little hands-on work), you can have a much more delicious version that will certainly draw oohs and aahs from your guests.

When we state that a recipe is easy, it means a few things: First, these recipes don't require any hard to find or expensive ingredients. Everything should be readily available at your local grocery store (and you probably have a lot of these ingredients in your pantry already). Next, the active time is minimal, which means that even if a recipe takes an hour or more to cook, the hands-on work required is simple and fast. Finally, these easy Thanksgiving side dish recipes don't require any fancy techniques or a culinary school degree.

For example, dinner rolls are essential for the Thanksgiving meal, but making them from scratch can seem daunting. Consider baking homemade cornbread instead. It's a quick bread, so no kneading, folding, or shaping is required. There are two versions to choose from here—Cheese and Sweet-Pepper Cornbread and Classic Cornbread. Whether you like traditional flavors or prefer to spice things up, both are delicious options.

Ahead, easy Thanksgiving side dish recipes that will be gobbled up by all.

02 of 31

Classic Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauce
Aaron Dyer

Even loyalists to canned cranberry sauce may just come around to this deliciously easy homemade version. Fresh orange juice and zest help create a bright cranberry sauce that's not too tart.

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Shredded Brussels-Sprouts Salad with Hazelnut Crunch

brussels sprouts hazelnut crunch
Louise Hagger

Fancy something green for the table? Shred Brussels sprouts through a food processor or with a very sharp knife; it's simple and will taste fresher than the pre-shredded bags found in grocery stores. After that, the sprouts get tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, and a fragrant homemade hazelnut crunch for a crisp, healthy side.

04 of 31

Miso-and-Honey-Glazed Carrots

Aya Brackett

A flavorful mix of miso paste, honey, butter, and lemon will convince guests you did something truly special to this carrot side dish. All it takes is poaching the carrots in these ingredients and water for about 20 minutes before they're ready to be served.

05 of 31

Roasted Red Potatoes

roasted red potatoes
Emily Laurae

Move aside, mashed potatoes! Some of us like crispy roast potatoes with our roast turkey. Prep the potatoes ahead and crank up the oven when the turkey comes out to rest, then you'll have piping hot roasted potatoes to pop on a platter once you've organized all the other sides.

06 of 31

Classic Cornbread

corn bread

This is the only cornbread recipe you'll ever need. Buttermilk keeps this quick bread moist and helps to create a fine crumb. This recipe serves eight, so there's plenty to go around if you're hosting a more intimate feast.

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Fried Brussels Sprouts

Martyna Szczesna

Not a fan of raw Brussels sprouts? Try these easy crispy fried sprouts, tossed with a maple syrup and lime juice dressing.

08 of 31

Rutabaga-Sweet Potato Mash with Garlic and Sage

Rutabaga–Sweet Potato Mash with Garlic and Sage
Lennart Weibull

You were already going to make sweet potato mash for Thanksgiving, but why not dress them up a bit? Rutabaga is an underused root vegetable that shares the spotlight in this delicious side.

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Lemon-Pepper Green Beans

lemon pepper green beans
Louise Hagger

Let the flavor of green beans shine! There's no need to overdress this crisp vegetable; just toss them simply with olive oil and freshly grated lemon zest, and pair with a fresh (and easy!) Minty Yogurt Sauce on the side.

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Marcus Nilsson

For something a little different on the side, serve soft polenta in place of mashed potatoes. This easy, creamy cornmeal mush can be made ahead and kept warm over low heat while you finish the rest of the meal.

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Roasted Delicata Squash with Garden Herbs

roasted delicata squash with garden herbs
Mikkel Vang

A dainty delicata squash is much easier to cut than butternut or acorn squash. In this recipe, they're simply sliced into rounds, brushed with olive oil, and roasted for just 15 minutes. A combination of fresh rosemary and sage adds an appealing, autumnal finish.

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Roasted Carrots with Oak Dukkah

oat dukkah roasted carrots
Sidney Bensimon

Choose rainbow carrots rather than a single hue for an eye-catching vegetable side. Dukkah refers to a crunchy combination of nuts, seeds, and spices. This version calls for rolled oats, sesame seeds, cumin, shelled pistachios, coriander, and fennel seeds to top the carrots.

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Wild-Rice Stuffed Squash


Vegetarians will love feasting on colorful and hearty stuffed acorn squash. The squash is roasted and then filled with a mixture of wild rice, pecans, and dried cherries.

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Spiced-Pear-and-Cranberry Chutney

Anna Williams

Try a sweet and tart fruit chutney in place of classic cranberry sauce this year. Make it up to three days in advance to cut down on prep work immediately before the big feast.

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Garlic-Thyme Mashed Potatoes


One of the best ways to master Thanksgiving prep is making these mashed potatoes two days in advance. They reheat seamlessly and taste just as rich and creamy as they did on the first day they were made.

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Test Kitchen's Favorite Stuffing

test kitchen favorite stuffing
Julia Gartland

Meet your new go-to Thanksgiving stuffing recipe. It's a fabulous, old-fashioned recipe that uses fresh sage, garlic, and a homemade giblet stock to flavor country white bread.

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Julienned-Carrot and Kale Salad

julienned carrot and kale salad
Mikkel Vang

Need a really fast side? This seasonal salad comes together in just 15 minutes. Guests will appreciate the light crunch that this slaw offers alongside the heavier, creamier side dishes on the table.

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Cheese and Sweet-Pepper Cornbread

Lennart Weibull

Rounds of sweet mini chile peppers make a colorful, spicy topping for cornbread. This recipe yields a 9x13 pan of cornbread that will feed a crowd. Slice into individual wedges to serve.

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Sweet-Potato-and-Cauliflower Mash

sweet potato cauliflower mash
Louise Hagger

Add a bit of texture to classic sweet potato mash with cooked cauliflower. The mild white vegetable easily takes on the warm, autumnal flavors from nutmeg and cayenne pepper.

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Pomegranate Relish

pomegranate relish
Louise Hagger

Try this gorgeous pomegranate relish in place of cranberry sauce this year. It's fast and easy to make, and it can be prepared up to two days ahead. Spoon it on the turkey or just dig in with a spoon.

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Raw Swiss Chard, Cabbage, and Brussels Sprout Salad

Marcus Nilsson

Make this salad a few hours in advance (hence the long total cook time listed) so all the flavors can mingle together. It's a fantastic way to highlight in-season vegetables such as cabbage, Swiss chard, and Brussels sprouts.

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Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

instant pot mashed potatoes
Bryan Gardner

Save stove space and make use of the handy Instant Pot. Cook a big batch of mashed potatoes and keep them warm in the pot until time to serve.

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Vegan Stuffing with Mushrooms and Leeks

vegan stuffing in casserole dish
Bryan Gardner

Vegetarians and vegans rejoice! Here's a delicious Thanksgiving stuffing that you and everyone at the table will enjoy. Mushrooms and leeks add plenty of flavor in place of the usual sausage or bacon.

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Herbed Green Beans with Warm Mustard Vinaigrette

linda xiao

The key to these delicious green beans is blanching them just until crisp. Afterwards, toss them in a mustard vinaigrette for a mild kick and voila!

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Cardamom-Scented Sweet Potato Rounds with Cilantro

Anna Williams

The warm aroma from this dish as it bakes is just as appealing as the flavor itself thanks to spicy cardamom. It's an easy, hands-off side—just slice sweet potatoes into thick rounds, then roast them with butter and toasted spices.

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Green Bean Casserole


For many families, green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving must-have. This homemade version uses fresh green beans, a creamy homemade mushroom sauce, and an extra special topping of crisp fried shallots.

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Cornbread and Sausage Stuffing

cornbread sausage stuffing
David Loftus

Cubes of homemade or store-bought cornbread are enriched with fresh pork sausage, turkey giblets, and plenty of fresh sage for this meaty, aromatic stuffing. All of the ingredients absorb a custard, which creates a decadent, moist texture.

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Acorn Squash Purée

Basic Acorn Squash Puree
John Kernick

This Thanksgiving, try an easy squash side dish in place of the usual sweet potatoes. Tender roasted acorn squash is puréed and enhanced with a touch of butter and a pinch of nutmeg.

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Mini Cornbread Puddings


Like extra-moist and tender mini muffins, these two-bite cornbread puddings are made with sour cream and frozen corn kernels. They're perfect as a Thanksgiving side dish or even as an appetizer.

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Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Lemon


Fresh Brussels sprouts are shredded and used raw in this refreshing slaw-style salad. A simple dressing of olive oil and lemon juice makes this dish a refreshing addition to the Thanksgiving menu.

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes

mashed sweet potatoes
José Manuel Picayo Rivera

The buttery flesh and honeyed flavor of sweet potatoes means they don't need a whole lot of dressing up. Just a touch of brown sugar perks up their holiday spirit.

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