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Ideas for Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Have you made up your mind up about what Thanksgiving appetizers to serve? Don’t worry, there is still plenty of time to think about it, especially if you are going to go the simple way. While you are at it, why don’t you start taking a look at these Thanksgiving side dishes? They may not be the main focus of the night, but they will add to the entire experience.

Thanksgiving side dishes

Thanksgiving Table

Just like with the appetizers, you have more choices than you can count when thinking of what to serve as Thanksgiving side dishes. So that you won’t get overwhelmed with ideas, I have chosen some of the most popular and tried and tested side dishes that are sure to make Thanksgiving dinner a success.


Thanksgiving side dishes

Ultimate Cornbread Stuffing

Turkey may be the highlight of practically all Thanksgiving dinners, but it sure will not be complete without stuffing! Every family has his own favorite version of stuffing, but if you want to make something a little different this year, I suggest this Ultimate Cornbread Stuffing. Corn muffin mix enhanced with heavy cream, poppy seeds, and bacon (among many other goodies) – don’t tell me that isn’t enticing?

If you like your stuffing moist and really tasty, then this Moist and Savory Stuffing recipe will be more to your liking. Alternatively, give your stuffing that extra crunch by making this Apple, Cranberry & Pecan Stuffing. That’s as crunchy as it gets!

Of course, we are not going to forget those who are looking at preparing “healthified” meals this Thanksgiving. For you guys, here’s Healthified Stuffing. With only 120 calories, perhaps you can have a double serving!

Last, but not the least, is this Chorizo and Cranberry Stuffing. Talk about a big twist on your ordinary stuffing!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Thanksgiving side dishes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

For many, Thanksgiving is not complete with mashed sweet potatoes. I have to admit that I prefer good old mashed potatoes, but there is something about sweet potatoes that make it extra special when served during this holiday. Perhaps it’s just tradition, but who cares? If you love sweet potatoes, here is an easy recipe for what may very well be the sweetest of Thanksgiving side dishes.


  • 1-1/2 lb. sweet potatoes (about 5), peeled, quartered
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 Tbsp. KRAFT Light Zesty Italian Dressing
  • 1/2 cup BREAKSTONE’S Reduced Fat or KNUDSEN Light Sour Cream
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar


  1. Cook potatoes in boiling water in large saucepan 10 min. or until tender. Remove potatoes from saucepan; drain.
  2. Cook and stir onions in dressing in same saucepan on medium-high heat 5 min. or until crisp-tender. Add potatoes; mash lightly.
  3. Add remaining ingredients; cook on medium heat until heated through, stirring occasionally.

With the recipe being so simple, you can get this done in less than an hour!

If you want a twist to your usual mashed sweet potatoes, check these other recipes out.

Wild Rice

Thanksgiving side dishes

Wild Rice Salad

While rice may be a staple in other parts of the world, majority of Americans do not eat rice on a daily basis. As you think about your Thanksgiving dinner, though, why not consider making a wild rice dish? Wild rice is a versatile ingredient, and you can create a lot of tasty side dishes with it. A good start is to make this Long Grain and Wild Rice Salad with Blue Cheese, Cranberries and Walnuts. The blue cheese gives it a nice flavor and the fruits add wonderful texture.

An easier option is this simple Wild Rice Salad. Simple it may be, but it already incorporates turkey meat and the slivered almonds and grapes give it an interesting dimension.

Other Thanksgiving side dishes you can make with wild rice:

Green Bean Casserole

Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole is yet another of the classic Thanksgiving side dishes. Sure, the kids may not go gaga over this vegetable, but if you make and present it right, they might actually fall head over heels with it.

Countless versions of this casserole exist, as you can expect, but I think Alton Brown’s version will be an interesting one to try this Thanksgiving. He calls it Not Your Mama’s Green Bean Casserole.1

For the topping:

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Nonstick spray

For beans:

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

For sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half


  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  2. Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Bake in the oven until golden brown, tossing every 10 minutes, for approximately 30 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.
  4. While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
  5. Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Add the half-and-half and cook until the mixture thickens, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

While this dish takes about 2 hours to make, it sure is worth the effort! If you want to take the easier route, though, you may opt to make this Classic Green Bean Casserole or this Creamy Garlic-Green Bean Casserole.

Mac and Cheese

Thanksgiving side dishes

Old Fashioned Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese, anyone? This might not be the healthiest dish ever made, but it surely will be a welcome one on Thanksgiving. If you prefer to go the classic way, here’s a recipe for Old Fashioned Mac and Cheese.

I do have a feeling that you will want to stray even just a tad from the usual way of preparing Mac and Cheese. How about adding some barbecue goodness to the mix? Why not consider giving this Memphis-Style BBQ Mac & Cheese a chance?

If your Thanksgiving guests love it spicy, I have the perfect Mac and Cheese variant for you to try out. It’s called Rainbow Mac and Cheese, but do not be fooled by the pretty name. It does look pretty, but it has a little kick to it!

Images via Jeffrey Beall, dolescum, hildgrim

  1. Source: Food Network []

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