The Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

If you’re looking for new, delicious and easy Thanksgiving side dishes to make for the holiday table this year, we’ve got you covered! From make-ahead casseroles to fun takes on favorite veggies, there’s a little something for everyone here in this list of 15+ of the BEST Thanksgiving side dishes.

collage of 4 images of side dishes with the text the best thanksgiving side dishes

Thanksgiving is coming! If you’re anything like me, you’re looking for a new recipe or two to add to your Thanksgiving dinner menu this year.

Let’s be real: while Thanksgiving turkey is always delicious, I am always in search of the most delicious side dishes because they are the star of the show. To me, at least.

So today, I want to share some of the best and easiest side dishes I have to offer to add to your Thanksgiving spread. I’m also pulling in some recipes from friends of mine to widen our net. We’re using fresh ingredients and striking the perfect balance at this year’s Thanksgiving table. 

I’ve categorized these side dish recipes to make it easier on you to figure out what fits the bill for YOU.

These categories are:

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    • Make Ahead Casseroles… for those of us who need easy side dishes that can also be made in advance. These recipes are also good for travel, too. Make ’em ahead of time and bring ’em along warm or to bake at your final destination.
    • Veggie-Centric Side Dishes. Because everyone has at least one vegetarian at their Thanksgiving celebration and because we want them to enjoy the meal as much as any meat-eater!
    • Side Dishes with Meat. Why? I shockingly have a lot of sides that involve bacon, and they needed their own category.
    A spoon holds a helping of Sage Stuffing for turkey

    What kinds of side dishes are listed here?

    We’ve got a little something for everyone and are spanning various ingredients. Here, you’ll find a classic recipe or two (AKA the traditional recipes we all know and love), as well as some more unique dishes that make a great addition to the holiday table.

    So we’ve got green beans, cranberry sauce (or cranberry chutney), green bean casserole, butternut squash and more. There are brussels sprouts, corn casserole (with sour cream), fall salads and more that are all bursting with so much flavor. 

    Basically… we’ve got tons of ideas to fill out your Thanksgiving menu and honestly, these are some of the BEST Thanksgiving side dishes around that pair with the main dish, whether it’s a roast turkey, a holiday ham or something else.

    How many side dishes to serve 

    Two is a good place to start, especially if you have a smaller crowd of 4 people. That being said, I’m of the mind to always have MORE sides to where everyone can get a taste of something, as well as provide pickier eaters have a selection to choose from. 

    Add another side dish for every additional 3-4 people. From there, you’ll just want to scale up your production of each offering for a bigger crowd.

    So how do you choose the best side dishes for your group? I like to have a little bit of everything for different tastes and dietary requirements! Also, you KNOW everyone has their own favorite Thanksgiving sides, so it’s good to ask them.

    We like to vary it up in our household, but there are classics that are included in our feast every year, including my mom’s stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole.

    A woman in orange holds a casserole dish of Fresh Green Bean Casserole

    Occasions for Thanksgiving side dishes

    Beyond the main event, there are so many times you can serve up these side dishes for Thanksgiving, not just on Thanksgiving day.

    • Friendsgiving celebrations before Thanksgiving
    • Thanksgiving office parties 
    • Weeknight dinners… in case you want a taste of these delicious Thanksgiving side dishes before or after the big day
    • For sustenance before the local Turkey Trot or volunteer shift 
    • To enjoy as a part of leftovers (looking at you, Turkey Cranberry Sandwich)
    • Throughout the holiday season

    If you’re bringing these Thanksgiving side dishes on the road with you, just make sure they’re safely packaged. Nobody wants a crushed dish when it arrives at the big dinner.

    ALSO, many of these easy Thanksgiving sides also double as Christmas and New Year’s sides, so Thanksgiving can work as a test run for other events you might have coming up. 

    Close up of a white bowl holding creamy mashed potatoes
    the best mashed potatoes

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    It’s fun to have delicious side dishes for turkey day. Here are some of my favorite things to do if I’m hosting the feast…

    • Aim for a variety of flavors and textures. Not only will your guests possibly have different preferences than you, but it’s nice to have a mixture.
    • Plan out how to serve each side dish before you make it. This means deciding what casserole dish (or serving platter) you’ll place it on, as well as if you need tongs, spoons, etc. Set these aside early.
    • Stock up on disposable storage containers to send guests home with leftovers after your big feast.

    So if you’re looking for new Thanksgiving side dishes to make this year or just want to peruse some different options, we’ve got you covered. 

    Need more Thanksgiving advice?

    • Need hosting help? Check out How to Host Friendsgiving, then read my list of Friendsgiving Food Ideas!
    • Want to serve the best Thanksgiving desserts? I’ve rounded up 33+ Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren’t Pie for ya…
    • Need some ideas about appetizers for the big day? Check out my Best Thanksgiving Appetizers post.

    Check out these delicious recipes below. I hope that you’ll find a new family favorite!

    The Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

    If you're looking for new, delicious and easy Thanksgiving side dishes to make for the holiday table this year, we've got you covered! From make-ahead casseroles to fun takes on favorite veggies, there's a little something for everyone here in this list of 15+ of the BEST Thanksgiving side dishes.

    Make-Ahead Casseroles

    Veggie-Centric Side Dishes

    Side Dishes with Meat

    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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      1. Haha. I love that you want to come over for Thanksgiving. 🙂 I’ve been tapped for dessert, so the rest of our meal is a mystery to me… Where will you be spending your Turkey Day?

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