Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

November 20, 2018
By: Katie Morton

A successful Thanksgiving celebration is all about family, friends, football, floats, and, most importantly, food. Though the typical cornerstone of the evening meal is a traditional roasted turkey, another essential component of the Thanksgiving feast centers around a wide array of mouthwatering side dishes to complement the main course. Whether you’re all about the traditional dishes or prefer to shake things up with spicy takes on the classics, the following recipes cover all the most scrumptious bases.

1. Trio of Mouthwatering Asparagus Sides

From sweet to savory and everything in between, asparagus is one of the most versatile vegetables. This delicious trio of asparagus recipes hits on the smoky flavor of bacon, the crispy texture of baked parmesan, and the sweet crunch of candied pecans for an undeniably tasty treat.


  • asparagus
  • bacon
  • olive oil
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped or pieces of pecan


For all recipes, cut or snap the ends of the asparagus before cooking.

For bacon-wrapped asparagus: take two pieces of asparagus and wrap a piece of bacon around both pieces. Place on a baking sheet and put in a 375 degrees F oven for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is cooked to your desire.

For parmesan asparagus: line asparagus on baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on top of asparagus. Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper on top of asparagus. Put asparagus in 375 degrees F oven for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of asparagus and place back in oven for 5 minutes.

For candied pecan asparagus: line baking sheet with parchment paper. Line asparagus on parchment paper and put to the side. In a bowl mix 1/2 cup of melted butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, sprinkle of salt, 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, and 1 1/2 cups chopped or pieces of pecan. After mixed well, spread over asparagus and cook in 375 degrees F oven for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

2. Maple Roasted Carrots with Pistachio, Parsley, and Pomegranate

When you’re cooking for a large group of people, simple recipes are like gold. Not only is this dish easy to whip up, it adds a bright pop of color to the buffet. The unique flavor combination (maple and olive oil) and the crunchy texture of the pistachios and pomegranate elevate these roasted carrots to a new dimension.


  • 3 bunches of Dutch carrots (small carrots with greens attached)
  • 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
  • salt and pepper to taste

Note: you can roast carrots in advance and simply reheat and top before serving.


  • Trim greens on carrots and scrub clean.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

    Place carrots in a roasting dish and pour over maple, oil and salt/pepper. Toss to coat.
  • Roast carrots for 30-35 minutes until completely tender.
  • Transfer carrots to serving dish and scatter aggressively with parsley, pistachios, and pomegranate arils.

3. Classic Homemade Thanksgiving Stuffing

If you find yourself solidly in the “don’t mess with the classics” camp but still hope to take a step beyond the usual box mix stuffing, then this traditional stuffing recipe was tailor made for your Thanksgiving feast! All you have to do is pick the perfect loaf of bread, round up some fresh spices, and prepare to dazzle the crowd with your newfound culinary skillset.


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound day-old white French bread, diced into 1/2 inch cubes and dried
  • 1 extra-large (about 2 1/2 cups) sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, diced small
  • 2/3 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary (sticks discarded), finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme (sticks discarded), finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 2 large eggs


  • Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Place cubed bread on a baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until dried out, about 45 minutes. You must begin with very dry bread or it’ll turn to mush. Tip – to save time on the day of, bake and dry out the bread the night before and leave uncovered on the counter uncovered until the morning you’re ready to make the stuffing.
  • When you’re ready to make the stuffing, transfer bread to a very large bowl; set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 9×13-inch pan or 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  • To a large skillet, add 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter and heat over medium-high heat to melt.
  • Add the onions, celery, and cook until vegetables have softened and are just beginning to lightly brown, about 10 minutes. Stir frequently. Transfer vegetables to bowl with bread.
  • Add the parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, 1 1/4 cups chicken broth, and toss well to combine; set aside. Note about salt – the saltiness level of low-sodium chicken broth varies, and so do personal preferences, so salt to taste.
  • To a small bowl, add the remaining 1 1/4 cups chicken broth, 2 eggs, and whisk to combine. Pour mixture over bread and toss well to combine. Turn mixture out into prepared baking dish.
  • Dice the remaining 1/4 cup (half of 1 stick) butter into 8 to 10 pieces and evenly dot the butter over the top of the stuffing. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is as lightly golden browned as desired. Serve immediately. Stuffing is best warm and fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat gently as desired.

4. Cranberry Apple Chutney

Chutney differs from classic cranberry sauce by placing a stronger emphasis on savory elements, such as vinegar. Its chunkier texture is also a departure from the smooth consistency of your standard canned, jellied fare. This cranberry apple chutney has a delicious tang that translates perfectly to the Thanksgiving table.


  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 ounces cranberries
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tart apples, diced
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins


  • In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, bring the water and granulated sugar to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add the cranberries, shallot, brown sugar, cinnamon, and apple cider vinegar.
  • Continue cooking over medium heat for about 5 minutes to allow the cranberries time to start popping.
  • Add the apples and golden raisins and lower the heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
  • Chutney can be served warm or chilled. Store extra in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. You can also freeze this Cranberry Apple Chutney in freezer bags for up to 2 months. To use frozen Cranberry Apple Chutney, first thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Then enjoy it chilled, or warm gently over medium heat on the stove.

5. Sweet Chili Roasted Brussels Sprouts

It isn’t often you hear about spicy dishes being a featured part of the Thanksgiving spread. This delicious Brussels sprouts recipe merges a sweet, sticky chili lime sauce with a spicy kick of Sriracha for a fresh flavor combo that is also vegan and gluten-free!


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon reduced sodium tamari
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For topping:

  • 1/2 cup Chex cereal
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Fleur de sel


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, sweet chili sauce, sriracha, lime juice, tamari, and garlic.
  • On a large baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts in sauce until fully coated. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Roast until slightly charred and tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, pulse the cereal in a food processor until crushed to look like panko bread crumbs. Remove and set aside. Add in the cashews and pulse until they reach crumbs.
  • Add the olive oil to a pan over medium heat along with the crushed cereal and cashews. Toast until just golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Top the crispy brussels sprouts with the "panko" nut topping and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Enjoy!

6. Winter Fruit Salad

You can eat a simple green salad any day of the week, but nothing says celebration quite like a colorful, aromatic salad of fruit! This beauty is almost too picturesque to eat. Almost, but not quite, because it’s also delicious. Sorry to steal your thunder, turkey, but this pretty little dish is bound to become the new centerpiece on the dinner table.


  • 2 red apples, cored and diced
  • 2 pears, cored and diced
  • 4 clementine oranges, peeled and separated into segments
  • 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced into thin, quartered rounds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds

For maple lime dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed


  • Combine all salad ingredients (except the dressing ingredients) in a large bowl.
  • In a separate small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients (maple syrup and lime juice).
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat.
  • Serve immediately.

Thanksgiving traditions are important, but this year, we challenge you to set a place at the table for innovation. What better time to try something new than when you’re tripping on tryptophan at the Thanksgiving table? These delicious side dishes are just what you need to liven things up this year. So what are you waiting for? Use these recipes as a guide to make some magic in the kitchen, then grab a fork and dig in!

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