Must-Have Sides With Thanksgiving Dinner

The Thanksgiving centerpiece is usually a turkey, but to us, the outskirts of the centerpiece are what make Turkey Day the most delicious holiday of the year. What goods are we talking about? Stuffing, potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce, of course! But you shouldn’t be afraid to branch out beyond these classics. In fact, we encourage it! Here, we present some of our Thanksgiving side dishes that just might become part of your family’s “usual.”

Creamy Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese

Kraft Mac & Cheese may be good when you’re in a time crunch, but Thanksgiving deserves something more spectacular. Follow this easy recipe, courtesy of Delish, for one of the creamiest macaroni and cheese dishes you’ll ever taste.


  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ tsp ground mustard
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5½ cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 pound of spiral pasta tubes (Cavatappi).


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. In a medium pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and cook until golden and smelling nutty, about 1 minute. Slowly add milk while whisking. Continue whisking until no lumps remain and mixture thickens, 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Add cream, ground mustard, and cayenne, and season with salt and pepper. Let simmer for 2 minutes, then turn off heat and whisk in cheese until completely melted.
  4. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions. Reserve about ½ cup pasta water, then drain.
  5. Add ¼ cup pasta water to cheese sauce and stir to combine. Add cooked pasta and stir to coat. Add more pasta water, a tablespoon at a time, to loosen sauce as necessary.

Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Not any old Brussels sprouts; these are balsamic-glazed, which adds a sweet flavor to the roasted vegetables. Follow this recipe courtesy of Ina Garten and Food Network for the best outcome.


  • 1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core
  • 4 oz pancetta, ¼-inch diced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp syrupy balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Place the Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan, including some of the loose leaves, which get crispy when they’re roasted.
  2. Add the pancetta, olive oil, 1½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper; toss with your hands, then spread out in a single layer.
  3. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20-30 minutes until they’re tender and nicely browned and the pancetta is cooked. Toss once during roasting.
  4. Remove from the oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic vinegar, and toss again. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Perfectly Roasted Parsnips

Parsnips don’t get the attention they deserve, and we think it’s time to change that. With this recipe from Delish, you’ll instantly switch up this veggie’s reputation.


  • 2 pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Spread parsnips on 2 large baking sheets, ensuring not to overcrowd. Drizzle with olive oil and season with oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss to coat evenly.
  2. Roast until golden and easily pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes, tossing once halfway through.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole 

If you love a loaded baked potato, you’ll instantly fall in love with this Thanksgiving side dish. Follow this recipe courtesy of Food Network and serve it family-style so everyone can dig into their favorite parts. Of course, if you want to add extra toppings, be our guest. Some loaded potatoes need more than the classic ingredients to be over-the-top delicious.


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 slices bacon, cut ½-inch thick
  • 2¼ pounds russet potatoes (about 4), scrubbed clean and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F and spray a 3-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Cook bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and crispy, 6-7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 2 Tbsp of the bacon drippings.
  3. Put potatoes into the prepared casserole dish. Toss with the reserved bacon drippings, 1 tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper. Roast until potatoes are soft and begin to brown, about 45 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the cream cheese and 1 cup cheddar in a bowl until well-combined. Dollop over the potatoes, then sprinkle with the remaining cheddar. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the potatoes are completely cooked through when poked with a knife, 13-15 minutes.
  5. Dollop the sour cream evenly over the casserole and sprinkle with scallions and bacon pieces.

Stuffing Stuffed Pumpkins

Instead of baking the traditional stuffing, try something different: stuffing in stuffed pumpkins! This recipe from Delish uses the sweetness of the pumpkin to ensure your stuffing is super flavorful.

For the stuffing

  • 6 cups (9 oz) rustic bread, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and torn into pieces
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • Shredded Monterey Jack

For the pumpkins

  • 2 small sugar pumpkins (about 2 pounds each)
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped (5 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F with a rack in the upper and lower third. Spread bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake on the lower rack until crisped but not golden, about 12 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, remove tops from pumpkins and scoop out seeds and pulp. Place pumpkins on a rimmed baking sheet and put tops back on.
  3. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake with a tray on each rack, rotating halfway through, until pumpkins are just tender and squash is tender and golden, about 40 minutes. Remove lids from pumpkins and let cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt butter and add mushrooms, onions, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the kale and thyme and cook, stirring, until kale is just wilted. Remove from heat.
  5. Scrape mushroom mixture into a large bowl. Add cubed bread, roasted squash, broth, pecans, eggs, and cranberries. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Set aside pumpkin tops for later. Spoon stuffing into the pumpkin cavities and roast at 400° F until stuffing is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
  7. Switch oven to broil and sprinkle cheese on top. Broil until golden, about 1 minute. Arrange tops back on pumpkins and serve warm.

Do you have any must-have Thanksgiving side dishes? Share them with us in the comments below!

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