21 Thanksgiving Side Dishes: The Greatest Hits, Plus New Classics

So everyone's happy.

November 16, 2018
Photo by Bobbi Lin

There is no other holiday on the U.S. federal calendar that lets you celebrate vegetables, salads, and side dishes in such an unbridled, unapologetic way as Thanksgiving does. When it comes to this holiday, turkey—as much as I love the taste of it with its drippings and the amazing future sandwiches it's destined to root—is the one true side at my table. Thanksgiving lets you go the extra mile with the supporting characters, so much so that, for many, they somehow end up becoming the stars of the show.

It's a beautiful day, isn't it, when the underdog finally gets to shine?

I'm a sides guy, in short. I think many people are. Which is why it makes sense to really nail down your mix because there's a lot going on in side dish land: You've got to keep some mainstay classics because the point of Thanksgiving is, on the one hand, tradition: the comfort of repetition and family and the dinner table. On the other hand, time (and the day off!) to do nothing but dwell in the kitchen, cooking and communing and experimenting with new recipes. In the midst of all the cheesy casseroles and starchy starches (the reliable standbys), it helps to throw in something green, or something crunchy, or something fresh and vibrant and zingy—something novel. Eye-opening side dishes that will become, in their magnificence, new classics.

I've gathered below our best Thanksgiving side dish recipes, including some of our latest favorites.

Our Most Popular Thanksgiving Sides

Plus, Some Shiny New Classics

The True "Side Dish" at My Table

What's the must-have side at your Thanksgiving every year? Let us know in the comments below (and psst—please share the recipe if you have it).

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Top Comment:
“My family don't think it's Thanksgiving without broccoli casserole. I was trying to skip it this year for something new and different, but not so. :)”
— Brenda D.

Also, we'll be staffing our Hotline every day from Sunday at 8 a.m. until Thursday at 8 p.m., ready for all your Turkey-Day conundrums. So ask away!

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Eric Kim is the Senior Editor and 'Table for One' columnist at Food52. Formerly the Digital Manager of, he writes about food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson Kim. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway.


Brenda D. November 20, 2018
My family don't think it's Thanksgiving without broccoli casserole. I was trying to skip it this year for something new and different, but not so. :)
Author Comment
Eric K. November 21, 2018
Aw me too, Brenda. We make a broccoli cheese rice casserole that probably came from the back of a Velveeta box, tbh! But we love it. Happy Thanksgiving.
Peppa November 19, 2018
Despite my fancy cooking skills, every year I am requested to make my "famous" creamed peas and onions, which is basically a bag of frozen peas and + a bag of frozen pearl onions simmered with heavy cream and salt. Maybe I'm not as good a cook as I think I am. :)
Author Comment
Eric K. November 19, 2018
Or you're just a Thanksgiving genius. ;) That sounds divine to me.
ElenAubry November 19, 2018
Sounds both Delightful and easy to follow. Simply genuis.
Valerie November 18, 2018
Where’s the recipe for pecan crusted sweet potato?
Author Comment
Eric K. November 18, 2018
Hi Valere, it’s this dish:
Timothy E. November 18, 2018
The email "teaser" mentioned Gingered Cranberries but I do not see a recipe for them in this article. A search of the site only produced a chutney. My interest is peaked. Do you actually have a Gingered Cranberry recipe?
Author Comment
Eric K. November 18, 2018
Here you go, Timothy!
Timothy E. November 22, 2018
Thank you!
BerryBaby November 17, 2018
All traditional fare and, of course, classic green bean casserole made with canned green beans. Everyone insists on canned not fresh beans.
It's a once a year indulgence!
Author Comment
Eric K. November 17, 2018
My brother, too; canned, never fresh.
myartofbeinghere November 16, 2018
I've made this cranberry sauce recipe probably the last 5 years straight for Thanksgiving. I think it's just about perfect.
Author Comment
Eric K. November 16, 2018
We think so, too. :)