slices of grilled sweet potatoes topped with brie, honey, and sliced chives

35 Thanksgiving Sides Because You Screwed Up the Turkey Again

From green bean casserole to the perfect stuffing, a smart selection of sides helps prevent a total holiday disaster.
November 9, 2018, 4:00pm

Sure, turkey might be Thanksgiving's main event, but you don’t achieve holiday greatness with a main course alone. The star of the show is nothing without its supporting ensemble of carefully curated side dishes. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that all the best Thanksgiving foods are beige, but you’ve gotta reserve SOME space on the table for something green, just for the sake of Health. (Also, Brussels sprouts are delicious.)

Whether you want to go with the old-school Thanksgiving classics or update them with a twist of your own, side dishes are the best way to get creative with your holiday menu. We pulled together a master list of all of our favorite Thanksgiving sides, with plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options to make anyone at the table happy.

Green Bean Casserole with Smoked Gouda and Fried Shallots Recipe

Maybe you’ll consider Naomi Pomeroy’s just-a-little-bit-cheffier version of the classic casserole for your holiday feasting this year, with fresh chanterelle mushrooms and smoked gouda cheese sauce in place of the traditional cream o’ mushroom soup.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole Recipe

If one were to find any flaw in the original Campbell’s Soup-based green bean casserole recipe, it is that the vegans of the world are excluded from experiencing it. In our vegan version, we use hemp milk to keep things strictly plant-based.

Green Bean Salad Recipe

Green Bean Salad Recipe

Not a fan of things called “casseroles” in general? This green bean salad with bacon fat and champagne vinegar and tarragon is a brighter, lighter way to get green beans on the table.

Twice-Baked Mashed Potatoes with Cream Cheese Recipe

If you thought mashed potatoes were usually the side dish that disappeared fastest on the dinner table, watch how much faster they go when twice-baked with A FULL CUP OF BUTTER and cream cheese.

Crispy Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Not quite baked, not quite mashed, these buttery smashed fingerling potatoes are the ultimate combo of all the best ways to cook a potato.

Caramelized Onion and Potato Gratin Recipe

Sweet caramelized onions and a bit of fresh thyme balance out the richness of heavy cream and gruyere cheese in this cheesy and indulgent root vegetable gratin.

Hasselback Potatoes Recipe

Hasselback Potatoes Recipe

Get all fancy and Hasselback a potato or two for each of your guests this year, even if they don’t appreciate all that hard work, the ungrateful brats.

Maple-Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe

You've already got the oven going anyway, so give some seasonal root veggies a quick toss in maple syrup and you'll have the easiest vegetable side dish.

Pommes Aligot Recipe

Pommes Aligot Recipe

This is a straight-up 1:1 ratio of potatoes to cheese curds, so if you’ve ever thought, “How can I possibly make Thanksgiving dinner more coma-inducing?” Well, this recipe for the ultimate cheesy potatoes is for you.

Mashed Root Vegetables Recipe

Mashed Root Vegetables Recipe

For a dish that breaks from the format of the traditional Thanksgiving beige and brown, try adding some carrots and sweet potatoes with your good ol’ Russets for the most autumnal root vegetable mash.

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Baked Mash Recipe

This sweet potato and butternut squash mash is simple, but the most essential step is popping it into a 450°F oven for a few minutes so it can get nice and caramelized on top.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Brie Recipe

Creamy brie and a generous amount of chili flakes might make your mom raise an eyebrow, but these easy grilled sweet potatoes could very well be your great contribution to the family’s Thanksgiving traditions.

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Get some—gasp!—crunchy salad greens and roasted vegetables on the Thanksgiving table, and you'll be thankful for the palate cleanser once you've knocked back two servings of stuffing.

Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Somewhere between casserole and streusel, this vegan sweet potato dish will be a crowd pleaser thanks to its topping of toasty pecan crumble.

Red Curry Sweet Potato Soup Recipe

Maybe what your Thanksgiving dinner this year needs is a spicy sweet potato soup, with plenty of bright ginger and lemongrass to perk you up in spite of all that tryptophan.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts Recipe

Fair warning: You’re going to get the kitchen a lil smoky with this recipe, but it’s worth it for the crispiest, best Brussels sprouts of your whole life.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Recipe

For those who are stuck on the fact that Brussels sprouts are no more than doll-sized cabbages, we say: How do you feel about super crispy Brussels sprouts, served with bacon?

Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Kale, and Citrus Salad Recipe

A raw kale salad? For Thanksgiving? Actually groundbreaking.

Creamed Spinach Recipe

If you're not into raw, crunchy vegetables on the holiday table, then these easy, creamy greens swimming in cheese might be a little more your speed.

Salt-Baked Beets Recipe

Salt-Baked Beets Recipe

Big chunks of beets and goat cheese will always work well together, and this recipe uses a beet reduction to get even more purple magic onto your Thanksgiving table.

Traditional Stuffing Recipe

Matty Matheson, beloved Canadian, is here for you with the most traditional Thanksgiving stuffing recipe—perfect whether you’re celebrating in November or in October, as our neighbors to the north do.

Sausage, Apple, and Fennel Stuffing Recipe

Keep it simple and lean by using the dehydrated cubes of bread from boxed stuffing mixes for this if you want to, or use torn day-old white bread. Either way, this aromatic and flavorful sausage stuffing will be your new Thanksgiving favorite.

Deep-Fried Stuffing Balls Recipe

Thought stuffing couldn't get better? Well, turn it into deep-fried stuffing balls and dip them into gravy like fondue. drooling emoji

Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe

Wild Rice Stuffing Recipe

Get something gluten-free onto the menu this year with this satisfying wild rice and mushroom stuffing.

Cornbread, Chorizo, and Quahog Stuffing Recipe

If you can’t get your hands on large quahog clams, any other fresh small clams, cooked and chopped, will do just fine for this New England-inspired stuffing.

Cornbread Kush Recipe

Cornbread Kush Recipe

Learn a little bit from historian and chef Michael Twitty about this cornbread dressing that is steeped in African and enslaved peoples’ culinary traditions. “We're simply talking about the origin story of a dish that speaks to how far we've come, and how ingenious enslaved Africans and African Americans were, taking what little they had and turning it into delicacies that crossed the color line.”

Sausage and Fig Stuffing Recipe

Apples or pears might be easier to get your hands on for something subtly sweet, but we promise that it will be worth it to track down fresh figs for this unconventional stuffing recipe.

Cheesy Cauliflower and Bacon Gratin Recipe

There's not a vegetable in sight that can't be improved upon with the addition of cheese and bacon. Add this cauliflower gratin to your Thanksgiving feast, and kick off comfort food season the right way.

Easy Jalapeño Cornbread Recipe

Not a spicy boi? Forego the jalapeño here and you’ve still got a classic cornbread batter that's perfect for soaking up all that gravy.

Parker House Rolls Recipe

Parker House Rolls Recipe

There’s no polite way to say it: Making Parker House rolls is a real bitch of a process, but they're also THE BEST vehicle for making sandwiches out of Thanksgiving leftovers, so you kinda gotta just do it.

Perfect Homemade Gravy Recipe

Yeah, we said it. Homemade gravy doesn't get any better than this.

Great Grandma Ninny's Gravy Recipe

Great Grandma Ninny’s Gravy Recipe

JK, we’re kidding, Julia Ziegler-Haynes’ family! Your great grandma’s gravy is delicious, too, and of course it's a family classic for a reason!!!

Grilled Cranberry Sauce Recipe

This smoky cranberry sauce is like nothing you’re used to, with a generous amount of ancho chile powder, cinnamon, and cranberries that have been caramelized and grilled over an open flame.

Chunky Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

You could strain out the extra skins for a smoother result that's closer to what comes out of the can, but we like a little texture in our homemade cranberry sauce.

Cranberry-Citrus Sauce Recipe

Instead of drowning cranberries in enough cups of sugar to turn the whole mixture into jam, this homemade cranberry sauce relies on orange juice to cut their flavor and add a little sweetness.

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