Thanksgiving is a holiday we celebrate every year. It’s a holiday to be thankful for everything we have, and how we got it. It’s also a time to focus on the positive. What else is Thanksgiving about? The food. The recipies that have become tradition in our own little piece of the world. Our favorite bites. Here you’ll find the Top 10 Thanksgiving Sides (Recipes) that are used around America, and the recipes that I use to keep that tradition going in my home.
What are some common popular sides for Thanksgiving?
1. Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce
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Cranberry sauce is one of the abosolute easiest side dishes to make homemade! Growing up I had always enjoyed mom’s canned cranberry sauce. In truth, I still like it, I just like my homemade cranberry sauce more. Although it doesn’t have that satisfying “plop” of a sound when it is about to be set on the table on Thanksgiving day, the aromas that drift through your kitchen when you’re making it outweigh the plop every time. Starting this year, you have to make your own.
2. Creamy Crowd Pleasing Mashed Potatoes
Top 10 Thanksgiving Sides (Recipes) would not be complete without mashed potatoes. Thanksgiving seems to require mashed potatoes on the Thanksgiving table. In fact, for many, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without them!
3. Delicious Candied Yams
There are lots of ways to make sweet potatoes, and lot of controversy around what is the best way to serve them. I generally serve them one of two ways. Candied yams (minus the marshmallows), and whipped. Both are easy, and both are delicious.
4. Stuffing / Dressing – they’re both fantastic!
First, let’s clear up something. Stuffing goes into the bird, and dressing is made on the side. Both are delicious, dressing is easier. I make my dressing two days in advance. I take it out of the fridge 45 minutes prior to cooking. When I make it the memories of growing up come flooding back because every year, early on the morning of Thanksgiving my mom would start the stuffing. The whole house smelled amazing. She made stuffing and she made dressing. (Mom has always been about pleasing everyone).
5. Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Have you ever had whipped sweet potatoes? It’s easy to open up a can and warm them up in the oven or on the stove top, but whip up your own and you’re likely to enjoy sweet potatoes like you never have before. Seriously. This dish can also be made ahead and warmed up slowly on the stovetop or in the oven when the turkey comes out. Just take them out of the fridge a little bit ahead of time. You’ll be happy you added this to your menu!
Thanksgiving Vegetable Side Dishes
6. Green Beans Thanksgiving Side
A green bean casserole is a traditional Thanksgiving side, but I have to say – I don’t make it. There are so many rich and savory dishes on Thanksgiving, that I really like to have a couple of dishes that are more light, bright, and fresh. I think it leads to a good balance, and it’s simple! I prep my green beans ahead of time (cleaning, snapping, etc.) so they are ready to go the day of. A beautiful, bright green dish will pop your Thanksgiving table.
7. Roasted Carrots Thanksgiving Side Dish
Every year I have roasted carrots on my Thanksgiving table. I use the tri-color carrots, and cook them up slowly the day before. I reheat them on Thanksgiving day when the turkey comes out of the oven. Butternut squash with cranberries are also a favorite, but I don’t often use this on Thanksgiving day.
Here’s another example of an easy-to-make side dish that brings a little bit more brightness to the table on Thanksgiving. In fact, with my recipes I include my favorite cranberries. Talk about a holiday color combo! Another easy dish that can be put together in advance!
Top 10 Thanksgiving Sides (Recipes):
What are some less common Thanksgiving side dishes?
9. Stuffed Tomatoes
One of the side dishes I like to make that isn’t traditional is a stuffed tomato. It’s an easy way to add something a little different. I don’t make them every year, but when I do make them guests always ask for more! You could also try a mini version in Grape tomatoes as an appetizer!
This is a long standing favorite in our home. Sometimes the stuffed mushrooms are served as an appetizer, and sometimes served at a side. They are easy to put together and can be done mostly in advance. I usually put them together the day before.
I’ll admit, I haven’t made a lot of bread! In fact, for my dinner rolls I use store bought Peppridge Farm Artisan Baked French Rolls for two reasons:
- They are easy to make right from the freezer.
- These rolls are delicious – and I haven’t found anyone who disagrees!
So take the pressure off in that department and do yourself a favor by making these rolls! They smell really great cooking before you get the turkey into the oven!
Which Thanksgiving sides can I make in advance?
The short answer is: every, single one (at least to some degree)!
- Cranberry Sauce – two days ahead
- Stuffing – one day ahead
- Mashed Potatoes – one to two days ahead
- Candied Sweet Potatoes or Whipped Sweet Potatoes – one to two days ahead
Dishes you can prep ahead of Thanksgiving Day and cook the day of:
- Green Beans
- Brussels Sprouts (you’ll partially cook these ahead of time)
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Stuffed Tomatoes
- All of your Thanksgiving desserts
What are your best Thanksgiving recipes and your go-to Thanksgiving sides?
Do you have a recipe that’s a tradition in your family that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it!
Have you thought about Thanksgiving Cocktails?
If not, I’ve got a twenty of my favorite holiday cocktails right here for you! Holiday Sips takes all of the guesswork out of what cocktails to serve this holiday season! It’s a done-for-you guide on which cocktails and appetizers to serve together! Check it out!
Enjoy your holiday season! I hope your Thanksgiving is stress free and absolutley delicious!