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40 fabulous recipes for Thanksgiving side dishes

40 fabulous Thanksgiving side dishes: some classic, some new.

Turkey. I can take it or leave it. For me, Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes, the must-haves (mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, stuffing) and the new recipes we grant an audition each year. Some will make the cut, and become permanent fixtures on the holiday table. Others will pass into family lore (remember the year she made that weird whatever-it-was?). The story of the jellied cranberry sauce I unmolded over the sink, only to watch the entire thing slide off the platter and down the drain, continues to amuse my family; that was my one and only experiment with molded cranberry sauce. Still, those of us who prepare the meal keep exploring new possibilities to bring diversity to the menu. If you are one of those explorers, this list of classic and not-yet-classic Thanksgiving side dishes is for you. I'd love to try all of them. There are so many possibilities, and I haven't even tackled cranberry sauce, salads or soups. For many more ideas, check out The Perfect Pantry's Thanksgiving recipes, an eclectic and fun recipe collection.

Lemony green beans, from Kalyn's Kitchen.


Brussels sprouts and broccoli with maple mustard vinaigrette, from The Perfect Pantry
Broccoli raab (broccoli rabe) with honey and grapes, from The Perfect Pantry
Roasted butternut squash with smoked paprika yogurt sauce, from The Perfect Pantry
Mashed garlic sweet potatoes, from The Perfect Pantry
Oven-roasted carrots, from The Perfect Pantry
Lemony green beans, from Kalyn's Kitchen (pictured above)
Smothered cabbage, from A Veggie Venture
Buttered red potatoes with dill, from Natasha's Kitchen
Broccoli wild rice casserole, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Saffron and honey glazed root vegetables, from eCurry
Roasted cauliflower and aged white Cheddar gratin, from Closet Cooking
Kale and potato gratin, from The Kitchn
Baked parsnip fries, from Love and Lemons
Sautéed broccoli with garlic and pine nuts, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chickpea and turnip stew with Ethiopian spices, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
Black and orange forbidden rice with acorn squash and pecans, from A Spicy Perspective

Cornbread stuffing with sausage and raisins, from The Perfect Pantry.


Cornbread stuffing with sausage and raisins, from The Perfect Pantry (pictured above)
Rustic multigrain stuffing with nuts and dried fruit, from Noble Pig
Mushroom challah dressing, from What Jew Wanna Eat
Mushroom fennel quinoa stuffing, from Skinnytaste
Chestnut stuffing with leeks and apples, from The Parsley Thief
Traditional bread stuffing with herbs, from A Food Centric Life
CrockPot cornbread stuffing, from A Year of Slow Cooking
Gluten-free cranberry apple stuffing, from Elana's Pantry

Giblet gravy, from Simply Recipes.


Fig gravy, from The Perfect Pantry
Mushroom gravy, from Natasha's Kitchen
Giblet gravy, from Simply Recipes (pictured above)
Easy paleo herb gravy, from Nom Nom Paleo
Make ahead turkey wing gravy, from Food Wishes
The best vegetarian gravy, from Umami Girl

Irish soda bread muffins, from The Perfect Pantry.

Biscuits, rolls and muffins

Pumpkin-pecan mini muffins, from The Perfect Pantry
Irish soda bread muffins, from The Perfect Pantry (pictured above)
Cheddar cheese biscuits, from The Perfect Pantry
Apple raisin walnut spice muffins, from The Perfect Pantry
Make ahead freezer biscuits, from Copykat.com
Pumpkin spiced dinner rolls, from Savory Simple
Southern buttermilk biscuits, from Leite's Culinaria
Flaky crescent rolls, from Eat Live Run
Honey wheat rolls, from Taste and Tell
Sweet potato biscuits, from Gluten-free Goddess Recipes

I hope you find new recipes to try for your holiday menu. What are some of your must-have Thanksgiving side dishes? (Feel free to leave links in the comments to recipes you find on your favorite food blogs.)

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


My family lore is dinner for 28+, luscious non-traditional additions (gingerbread made with hand-grated ginger, cranberry orange tart...) untouched- and the dear departed man who put catsup on everything.

I'm completely with you on the belief that Thanksgiving dinner is really ALL about the side dishes. But I do love leftover turkey for sandwiches!

Great collection of tasty-sounding ideas; thanks for including some of my recipes!

I totally agree with you, Lydia! Turkey is a pretty bland meat and is only made special by spectacular sides and accompaniments. This is a fantastic round up of recipes for Thanksgiving and all year round!

The holidays are coming fast. We really should have turkey more than twice a year just so we can have all our favourite side dishes.

Mary, I feel your pain. I tried banning catsup from the holiday table once, but now I just give in to it.

Kalyn, I keep buying smaller and smaller turkeys, so there aren't many leftovers!

Jamie, I think the sides are the most fun for the cook, don't you?

What I like best about Thanksgiving in Hawaii is the diversity of the side dishes and the fact the grocery supermarkets give away free turkeys to customers (not really free because we paid for them over the year with other purchases): http://www.foodland.com/maikai-weekly-special/weeks-maika-i-product

In Hawaii when you are invited to a house or beach party or dinner you are expected to bring a pot-luck dish of your choice or a bottle for the host/hostess. Being that Hawaii has an international population with over 36 foreign embassies or consulates in Honolulu with no indigenous, immigrant or religious ethnic group being a majority makes Thanksgiving very interesting with all the ethnic side dishes and traditions.

Yes there will be roasted turkey, mash potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green beans, gravy on the table but there also might be baked ham, prime rib, leg of lamb, fresh Maine lobster, fish, kalua pig (whole roasted pig or shredded), poi, lomi lomi salmon, chicken long rice, taro buns and side dishes from Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Okinawa, Malaysia, Korea, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, United Kingdom, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Ukraine,Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Africa and Middle East to name a few.

The only static thing for Hawaii Thanksgiving is the best weather on the planet normally 84 F degrees and sunny for daytime and 72 F degrees nighttime for Thanksgiving Day!

Ken, you're certainly tempting all of us to spend Thanksgiving in Hawaii!

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