The Best Thanksgiving Sides From the Food & Wine Test Kitchen

Be the guest that brings the best dish or prepare an unforgettable spread as host with our collection of the ultimate Thanksgiving side dishes.

Root Vegetable Tian Recipe
Photo: Greg DuPree

In the last 45 years, Food & Wine has created and tested hundreds of Thanksgiving recipes, sharing new inspiration for holiday spreads each year. After you make the big decision of what main course to serve (turkey or another centerpiece dish), we have easy side dishes to save you time and energy, vegetarian side dishes to cater to all guests, over-the-top ideas for extravagant gatherings, and a slew of ways to prepare staples like squash, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy, and dinner rolls. We know that the options can be daunting — here are the best Thanksgiving sides if you're planning ahead for a stellar spread.

01 of 21

Fried Herb Yeast Rolls

Fried Herb Yeast Rolls

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

These buttery, soft yeast rolls strewn with flecks of fried herbs and toasted garlic are rich and buttery with a fluffy crumb that’s so tender it almost melts in your mouth — and they can be made ahead.

02 of 21

Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potato Hand Pies

Brussels sprouts and Sweet potato hand pies
Gerard + Belevender

Lightly mashed sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, tangy sour cream, and aged cheddar make up the creamy-cheesy filling in these savory hand pies that taste like a bite of Thanksgiving.

03 of 21

Apple, Shallot, and Potato Gratin

Apple, Shallot & Potato Gratin

Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely 

Sweet and tangy apples, buttery potatoes, and sweet shallot team up in these creamy au gratin potatoes.

04 of 21

Cranberry Kosho

Cranberry Kosho Recipe
Victor Protasio

Kosho is a fermented Japanese condiment traditionally prepared with yuzu. This version uses sweet-tart cranberries and gets some heat from jalapeños and their seeds. The resulting puree is sour, spicy, and salty, pairing perfectly with turkey. You can make it up to two weeks ahead in 15 minutes.

05 of 21

Root Vegetable Tian

Root Vegetable Tian Recipe
Greg DuPree

For the thinnest, most even slices, rely on a mandoline to cut the layered vegetables for this make-ahead tian, a roasted arrangement of four vegetables.

06 of 21

Pastrami-and-Rye Stuffing

Pastrami and Rye Stuffing

Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Deeply savory, this deli-inspired rye bread stuffing packs layers of flavor from earthy rye, smoky and meaty pastrami, sweet onions, and sharp mustard. It can be assembled two days ahead.

07 of 21

Mashed Potatoes, Kind of Robuchon-Style

A large bowl of Robuchon-style mashed potatoes topped with melted butter

Diana Chistruga

We have more than 15 variations on mashed potatoes, but Anthony Bourdain's recipe for Joël Robuchon's super silky, super rich, super light version is a comforting, luxurious celebration of butter in all its glory.

08 of 21

Vegetarian Wild Mushroom Sourdough Dressing

Vegetarian Wild Mushroom Sourdough Dressing Recipe
Victor Protasio

Tangy, crusty sourdough creates a dressing with contrast: chewy center pieces that have soaked up the stock and crispy, toasted edges.

09 of 21

Owamni Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Chile Crisp

Owamni Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Chile Crisp

Chef Sean Sherman shares a simple, splendid recipe for roasted sweet potatoes with chili crisp, which he serves at his restaurant, Owamni, in Minneapolis. Chiles are native to the Americas, so Sherman cleverly blended dried homegrown chiles with maple sugar to create a wonderful Indigenous take on the cult-favorite Chinese condiment. 

10 of 21

Roasted Carrots with Preserved Lemons and Dates

Roasted Carrots with Preserved Lemon and Dates
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

This simple roasted carrots recipe comes together in minutes and delivers big flavors, thanks to the mixed herbs, bright citrus, and sweet dates. Fresh cilantro, parsley, and mint add green freshness to the dish and work wonderfully with the orange, lemon, za'atar, and honey vinaigrette. 

11 of 21

Rainbow Vegetable Gratin

rainbow vegetable gratin with slice being removed
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Six layers of colorful vegetables cook together in this free-form gratin; panko and Parmigiano-Reggiano absorb extra juices and provide a nice crunch.

12 of 21

Fresh Figs With Labneh and Carob Molasses

Fresh Figs With Labneh and Carob Molasses
Photo by Heami Lee / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Each bite combines a gentle sweetness from the figs glossed in molasses; a floral, creamy freshness from the olive oil and labneh; and a playground of different textures.

13 of 21

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan Recipe

Julia Hartbeck

With the tang of citrus and a hint of umami from Parmesan, this lemon roasted broccoli recipe hits all the right notes while retaining enough versatility to be paired with a wide range of dishes.

14 of 21

Green Bean Casserole with Almost-Burnt Almonds

Green bean casserole with almost burnt almonds
David Malosh

Tender-crisp green beans are baked in a silky vegetarian sauce, with incredible crunch and intense nutty flavor from browned almonds.

15 of 21

Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli with Cranberry Agrodolce

Brussels and Broccoli Agrodolce
Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Prissy Lee

Golden brown brussels sprouts and almost-charred, smoky broccoli are tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce studded with tart cranberries, Fresno chiles, and shallots for an easy, elegant side dish.

16 of 21

Three-Cheese Cauliflower Gratin

Three Cheese Cauliflower Gratin
Victor Protasio

A powerhouse of English cheeses — Montgomery’s crumbly and nutty Cheddar; Ogleshield, a washed-rind Jersey cow milk cheese; and buttery, blue-veined Colston Bassett Stilton — blankets cauliflower florets in a béchamel.

17 of 21

Mixed Onion Agrodolce

Mixed Onion Agrodolce Recipe
Caitlin Bensel

A combination of shallots, cipollini onions, and pearl onions delivers a lovely contrast of shapes and texture, while dried plums add a jammy sweetness.

18 of 21

Rutabaga, Celery Root, and Potato Gratin

Root Vegetable Gratin
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Earthy celery root and rutabaga anchor the gratin, which is accented by the salty and umami notes of Parmesan cheese.

19 of 21

Crudités with Carrot Dip and Romesco

Crudites with carrot dip and romesco
Sarah Crowder

Arrange cucumber, apple sticks, radishes, and any other favorite vegetables to surround two dips made with benne seeds and peanuts.

20 of 21

Roasted Winter Squash with Vanilla Butter

Roasted Winter Squash with Vanilla Butter
© Con Poulos

Fragrant vanilla-bean butter flavors the squash and softens the skin during roasting. Customize your variety of winter squash to keep it interesting.

21 of 21

Roasted Beets with Beet Green Salsa Verde

Roasted Beets with Beet Green Salsa Verde
© John Kernick

Tyler Florence uses vibrant beets and their greens to make this fresh side dish that our readers love.

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