Your Favorite Thanksgiving Sides

November  7, 2015

Turkeys may come and go, but it seems that the dishes served alongside—the potato casseroles and mashes, stuffings (or dressings), breads, sauces, and vegetables—incite the most love (or dislike). 

From lots and lots of sweet potatoes to the stuffing-or-dressing conundrum, everyone has a favorite. Each year, the table expands to make room for more, but most agree that Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without that one person who absolutely has to have the green bean casserole. 

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We're now three weeks out from the big day—just in time to finalize the menu. Awhile ago, Bevi took to the Hotline and asked: "What is your favorite side dish to make for Thanksgiving?" From generations-old recipes to new classics, here are your most-loved Thanksgiving sides: 

  • Sdebrango answered with "stuffing, if that counts as a side dish." Apparently, as lorigoldsby and bevi pointed out, it's stuffing if it's actually in the bird, and dressing if it's not. Whatever you call it at your table, it seems to have a lot of fans. 
  • AntoniaJames loves to make a fennel gratin that her Italian host mother taught her, which is both delicious and allows her to reminisce about her time in Italy. 
  • Sam1148 praised the cranberry sauce "in the can," noting that "it must have must must be semi-clear. If you hate that, you hate your mother." He also suggests another cranberry sauce, one that we're particularly fond of over here, known for its rather unusual color.


  • Nutcakes echoed our sentiments about getting a little Thanksgiving-ed out, when they stated "I'd have to skip Thanksgiving and go with Calvin Trillin's Spaghetti Carbonara before I'd ever put canned cranberry sauce or the green bean thing on my table." Pierino agreed, stating spaghetti carbonara was a staple on his table, too. 

  • Hardlikearmour is a sweet potato casserole fan, though "not the kind with marshmallows I'm afraid. I've been making the Cook's Illustrated version with a pecan streusel topping for the past few years, and its hard for me to imagine Thanksgiving without it!" Sweet potato casseroles, after all, can be particularly polarizing dishes.
  • Continuing the sweet potato obsession, Jessicabakes goes for mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows, while creamtea makes her mother's version that's orange-glazed and covered with pecans. Robin O'D goes for a delicious sounding blend of mashed sweet potatoes with plenty of fresh ginger, cream, and butter. 

  • Wssmom loves mashed potatoes with goat cheese and caramelized onions, while sdebrango likes them without fuss. 
  • ChefJune's favorite is a dish of "roasted brussels sprouts, chestnuts, and pearl onions. (with garlic, olive oil, and herbes de Provence)." 
  • Finally, AntoniaJames sums it up pretty well: "Interesting how this thread is looking a lot like the 'foods that divide' Hotline question... That speaks to the passion each of us has for memory-evoking traditional foods."

Whatever you choose to put on your table, we wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings! Now, get prepping

What are your favorite "must-always-make" Thanksgiving dishes? Tell us in the comments below!

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Taylor Rondestvedt

Written by: Taylor Rondestvedt

Is never without a loaf of rye bread and currently stocks 5 different butters in her kitchen.


Betsey November 10, 2015
My grandma's dressing. We don't do stuffing since my stepmom is a veg.
Soozll November 7, 2015
Sauerkraut with caramelized onions and caraway. It was always on the Thanksgiving table when I was growing up and it's been on mine since I started making TG dinner. It's a welcome contrast to all the rich foods with it's tangy flavor and loose texture. It also makes for an outstanding addition to our turkey cranberry sauce sandwiches the next day!
JaneMiami November 11, 2016
That sounds amazing Soozll! Could you possibly share that recipe on food52 ?
Maureen M. November 7, 2015
Sweet potato rolls - an old James Beard recipe I've been making for almost 40 years - cause my kids wouldn't eat sweet potatoes plain ...
and potato stuffing - my great grandmother's recipe -