5 Thanksgiving Side Dishes To Complete Your Meal

thanksgiving side dishes

No Turkey Day meal is ever quite right without Thanksgiving side dishes. The side dishes add a lot of variety and excitement to Thanksgiving dinner, especially when cooked to perfection. It’s not always easy to come up with the right side dishes for your dinner, though, which is why these recipes are sure to help.

The Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes for Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so it’s time to plan your menu. Whether you’re having guests over or just making dinner for your close circle, no Thanksgiving meal is ever complete without the perfect sides. Here are the recipes for the best side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

When you think of Thanksgiving Day sides, Brussels sprouts are a good addition. Add bacon to the mix, and you’ve got yourself a dish to remember.


  • 3 lbs medium Brussels sprouts
  • 8 thick slices of bacon (about 8 oz), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper



  1. Begin by bringing a generously salted pot of water to a rolling boil. Prepare the Brussels sprouts by trimming the bottom end while keeping the core intact, and remove the outer dark leaves. Cut them in half through the core. Add the Brussels sprouts to the boiling water and cook them uncovered until they become tender, which usually takes about 6 minutes. After cooking, drain and rinse them under cold running water. (You can do this step a day in advance if needed.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a very large skillet or stewpot, combine the oil and bacon. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the bacon becomes crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the crispy bacon and set it aside. Increase the heat to medium-high, and add the Brussels sprouts to the skillet, cooking while stirring occasionally until they turn brown and the edges become crispy, which should take about 10 minutes. Finally, stir in the vinegar, salt, pepper, and the reserved bacon. Serve the dish while it’s still warm.

2. Stovetop Broccoli Casserole

If you’re looking for healthy sides for Thanksgiving, this broccoli dish will surely hit the spot.


  • 1 (2-lb) pack fresh broccoli florets (about 2-inch pieces, about 13 cups total)
  • 12 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups), divided
  • 5 tbsp (2 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup yellow onion (from 1 medium onion), chopped
  • 1 cup round buttery crackers, crushed
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic (about 3 garlic cloves), finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup tap water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper



  1. Place the broccoli and tap water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Loosely cover it with plastic wrap (with poked holes) or with a lid. Microwave the broccoli on high until it becomes fork tender, about 8 minutes. Remove the cover and set the bowl aside.
  2. While the broccoli is in the microwave, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium-sized Dutch oven or enameled cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the crushed crackers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the crackers are lightly toasted, which should take about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the chopped parsley. Transfer this mixture to a small bowl and set it aside. Wipe the skillet clean.
  3. In the same Dutch oven or skillet, add the remaining butter and melt it over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, approximately 1 minute. Evenly sprinkle the mixture with flour and let it cook until the mixture turns light brown, about 1 minute.
  4. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer while whisking constantly until the mixture becomes very thick, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the mustard, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of cheese. Continue to cook until the cheese is fully melted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mayonnaise and steamed broccoli. Cook until the sauce becomes a thick consistency, about 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Sprinkle the casserole with the remaining cheese. Remove it from the heat, immediately cover, and let it stand until the cheese is fully melted, about 10 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle the top with the seasoned crackers. Serve the casserole while it’s still warm.


3. Ultra-Creamy Mashed Potatoes

You can’t have a list of Thanksgiving sides without a crowd favorite: mashed potatoes. And this recipe will definitely wow your guests!


  • 4 lb medium Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more
  • Freshly ground black pepper



  1. Begin by placing the potatoes in a large pot. Pour enough cold water to cover them by about 1 inch. Add a generous handful of kosher salt. Set the pot on the stovetop over high heat and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and let it simmer until the potatoes become very tender but remain intact, which should take around 30 to 35 minutes. Drain the potatoes, give them a quick rinse with cool water to remove any excess starch, and return them to the warm pot (off the heat) to allow them to dry while you prepare the milk mixture.
  2. In a small saucepan, warm the milk, heavy cream, garlic, and rosemary over medium heat until they become fragrant, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  3. Pass the hot potatoes through a ricer or food mill into a large bowl. Add the unsalted butter and salt. Stir until the butter is fully incorporated.
  4. Strain the warm milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring glass. Pour it into the potatoes, half a cup at a time, stirring after each addition until the liquid is fully incorporated and the mixture becomes smooth before adding more.
  5. Serve the mashed potatoes with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper on top.


4. Ben Mims’ Perfect Cornbread

There are many Thanksgiving side dish recipes, but one that definitely lives up to expectations is this cornbread one.


  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup plain yellow cornmeal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda



  1. Start by preheating your oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, baking powder, salt, flour, and baking soda. Then, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs and stir this mixture into the cornmeal mixture just until everything is combined.
  2. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it smokes slightly. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Incorporate the melted butter into the cornbread batter and pour the batter into the hot skillet.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cornbread turns golden brown and starts to pull away from the sides of the skillet. Once done, turn over the cornbread onto a wire rack and serve it while it’s still warm.


5. Creamed Corn

When it comes to Thanksgiving sides recipes, you can never go wrong with creamed corn.


  • One 32-oz bag frozen sweet corn, thawed
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt



  1. Place the corn and 1 1/2 cups of water in a large pot or Dutch oven and bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the corn becomes tender, which should take about 15 minutes.
  2. Take 2 cups of the cooked corn and its liquid and put it into a food processor or blender. Blend or process until it becomes smooth, which usually takes about 2 minutes. Add the pureed corn back into the pot and let the mixture simmer.
  3. In the meantime, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour and 2/3 cup of water. Stir this slurry into the contents of the pot and season it with a teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens, which should be about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter and an additional 1 teaspoon of salt.


Choose Your Thanksgiving Dinner Sides

As you can see, there are several Thanksgiving side dishes you can prepare this coming holiday. The best part about these sides is that you can reheat and enjoy them all over again if you have leftovers. Eat them as is, or include them in a sandwich or two over the following days.



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