thanksgiving side dishes

Top 5 Must-Have Thanksgiving Side Dishes

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Though the turkey gets all the attention, the sides are what keep us at the table. What are some easy Thanksgiving side dishes that are full of holiday flavor? Make-ahead mashed potatoes get the dirty work done early, requiring a simple reheat on the big day. In fact, the only hard thing about these Thanksgiving side dishes will be saving your appetite for the season’s best fall dessert recipes.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes Guaranteed to Steal the Show

What sides are needed for Thanksgiving? While mashed potatoes are a holiday favorite, stuffing is a classic complement to turkey. We cover all the bases with easy and flavorful Thanksgiving side dishes for every preference and palate.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

traditional thanksgiving dishes
Image Source: AllRecipes


Mashed potatoes are one of the most popular Thanksgiving side dishes but require significant attention right before serving your holiday feast. This recipe allows for prepping, cooking, and flavoring the potatoes several days in advance, saving time on Thanksgiving day.


  • Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Milk
  • Onion salt

After boiling, mashing, and flavoring the potatoes, transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and refrigerate. Reheat in the oven for 50 minutes on Thanksgiving for creamy, fluffy mashed potatoes that taste freshly made.

Get the full recipe.

Lemon-Maple Squash

unique thanksgiving sides
Image Source: Food Network


Traditional Thanksgiving dishes include butternut squash in many forms, but this one has a fresh, zesty flavor from lemon and maple syrup. In addition, all that sweetness gets an unexpected, but complementary, kick from a dash of red pepper.


  • Butternut squash
  • Lemon juice
  • Maple syrup
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Butter

After slicing the squash in thick wedges, mix maple syrup, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes together and pour over each wedge. Dot with butter and bake at 350℉ for 50 minutes, flipping once. Did some of the sweet, sticky juices stain your oven’s interior? A little post-holiday oven maintenance with a vinegar steam clean can remove spills and spots.

Get the full recipe here.

Air Fryer Green Beans With Gremolata and Toasted Almonds

easy thanksgiving side dishes
Image Source: FoodSource


The ubiquitous air fryer works its magic on green beans, turning them into one of the most unique Thanksgiving sides with a crispy crunch. In the minutes it takes to blister the beans, the flavorful gremolata comes together with lemon zest, parsley, and garlic.


  • Green beans
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh parsley
  • Lemon zest
  • Roasted, sliced almonds

After air frying the green beans for 12 minutes, top with the gremolata and sliced almonds. Both provide flavor and crunch to the blistered beans, while a drizzle of additional olive oil keeps them moist and tender.

Get the full recipe here.

Sweet Potato Souffle

While this isn’t a traditional souffle, its soft, custard-like texture is reminiscent of the delicate dessert. Plus, the potatoes’ natural sweetness is enhanced with a brown sugar and pecan topping, straddling the line between side dish and sweet treat.


  • Sweet potatoes
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Pecans

Roasting the potatoes before mashing them intensifies their sweetness and retains their nutrients before topping them with brown sugar and pecans. Bake for 40 minutes, until the souffle, is irresistibly golden brown and bubbling.

Easiest Sausage Stuffing

What sides are needed for Thanksgiving
Image Source: AllRecipes


Stuffing is one of those must-have Thanksgiving side dishes that has many variations but none are easier or more flavorful than this recipe. What’s the secret? Breakfast sausage and packaged bread stuffing mix give it the soft and savory texture we crave all year long.


  • Ground breakfast sausage
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Butter
  • Packaged bread stuffing mix

While the sausage browns with the celery and onion, add boiling water and melted butter to the bread stuffing mix. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before adding the drained sausage mixture. Between the flavorful sausage and aromatic vegetables, this 30-minute stuffing will taste like it is baked all day.

Get the full recipe.

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