These Are the Traditional Thanksgiving Sides Your Guests Are Hoping For

Buttered Stuffing with Mushrooms
Photo: Blaine Moats

It's the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes that truly make the meal. For your next turn as host, try our traditional stuffing recipe, cranberry compote, sweet potatoes, and more Thanksgiving classics. These holiday eats are so delicious, you'll be inspired to make them all year.

01 of 17

Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Scott Little

It's no surprise that this is one of our Test Kitchen's most popular recipes ever. Mashed potatoes are a staple among traditional Thanksgiving side dishes, and this version is so delicious, we could eat enough to make it a main course! Not only is it creamy and full of robust garlic, but our secret ingredient (chicken broth) adds a whole extra level of flavor.

02 of 17

Bacon-Topped Green Bean Casserole

Bacon-Topped Green Bean Casserole
Andy Lyons

True, traditional green bean casseroles for Thanksgiving often call for canned beans, but we can't resist the crisp-tender fresh veggies in this recipe. When topped with bacon and made with mushrooms mixed right in, this homemade green bean casserole will quickly find a place on your Thanksgiving menu for years to come.

Test Kitchen Tip: Get ahead of the kitchen chaos by making it the day before and refrigerating until bake time.

03 of 17

Buttered Stuffing with Mushrooms

Buttered Stuffing with Mushrooms
Blaine Moats

Thanks to its crispy edges and softer center, this traditional Thanksgiving stuffing recipe is ideal for those who prefer both dryer stuffings and moist bread-based stuffings. A full pound and a half of mushrooms pump up the umami factor, while a handful of fresh herbs and splash of white wine brighten the flavors.

04 of 17

Classic Dinner Rolls

Classic Dinner Rolls
Andy Lyons

These no-knead, light-as-air Thanksgiving rolls are buttery brown on the outside and tender on the inside. The best part about this traditional Thanksgiving side dish recipe: They're delicious as part of your holiday feast and taste great split and toasted the next day, too. Just add leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing for a leftovers sandwich.

05 of 17

Bacon-Mushroom Twice-Baked Potatoes

Bacon-Mushroom Twice-Baked Potatoes
Jacob Fox

These potatoes are even more stuffed than you'll be after dinner! This Thanksgiving vegetable side dish is dressed up for the holiday with garlic, mushrooms, sour cream, bacon, and Swiss cheese. Garnish the spuds with fresh chives just before serving for a bit of color and a hint of onion flavor.

06 of 17

Best Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

Best Four-Cheese Macaroni Cheese
Kritsada Panichgul

With a creamy cheese sauce and golden-brown crusty topper, our holiday mac and cheese recipe is so good you'll want to eat it all up yourself. (We're sure tempted!) Our best tip for this baked and bubbly traditional Thanksgiving side dish: Shred your cheeses yourself before melting for the richest, most luscious sauce. Pre-shredded cheeses just don't melt the same. Plus, you can make and serve it all in the same dish! We like this oval gratin dish ($8, Sur La Table).

07 of 17

Bourbon and Cider Pan Gravy

bourbon cider pan gravy
Carson Downing

Whether gravy is technically a side dish is up for debate, but it's a must-have for any traditional Thanksgiving dinner. This one is seasoned with drippings from the roast turkey (if you're not serving turkey this year, you can still make it without!) along with bourbon or apple cider.

08 of 17

New England Cranberry-Orange Relish

New England Cranberry-Orange Relish
Con Poulos

For all lovers of traditional Thanksgiving cranberry recipes, we've got a side dish just for you! Tangy cranberries and sweet oranges combine to make this classic relish. Spoon it atop your entrée or spread on rolls. Come Black Friday, try it as a topping for waffles or pancakes.

09 of 17

Roasted Chestnut Stuffing

Roasted Chestnut Stuffing
Jason Donnelly

Add sophistication to your baked stuffing casserole with one quick addition: chestnuts. The subtle flavor and smooth texture of these roasted nuts bring an unexpected richness to every bite of this traditional bread stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving. All the classic veggies, including celery, carrots, and onions, are still here, so this Thanksgiving vegetable side dish offers every familiar flavor you remember from childhood.

10 of 17

Double-Cheddar Holiday Biscuits

Double-Cheddar Holiday Biscuits
Con Poulos

What's a holiday feast without the bread? Incomplete, if you ask us. The southern Thanksgiving side dish gets even better when you add a big dose—two full cups—of cheese. For a hint of tang, try customizing this side dish recipe with buttermilk instead of regular milk.

11 of 17

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Lemon

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Lemon
Con Poulos

All other side dishes for Thanksgiving will now need to defend their turf on the table—there's competition for new favorite Thanksgiving vegetable recipe. Just four ingredients turn these sprouts into the perfect complement to the rest of your Thanksgiving menu. First, they're caramelized, bringing out an unexpected sweetness, then a delicious jolt of lemon juice adds bright, fresh flavor to the entire traditional Thanksgiving vegetable side dish.

12 of 17

Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas

Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas
Andy Lyons

This recipe proves that veggie side dishes for Thanksgiving don't have to be boring. Roasting the carrots, sweet potatoes, and red potatoes in this hearty recipe boosts their fall flavors. Simply drizzle the traditional Thanksgiving side dish with our homemade rosemary-brown sugar dressing and add the chickpeas before sliding the dish in the oven.

13 of 17

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes with Peanut Streusel

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes with Peanut Streusel
Carson Downing

Scalloped potatoes are another holiday staple, but this year we're giving you permission to get creative with it. Think outside the box by topping our scalloped sweet potatoes with a delicious peanut streusel and a garnish of fresh parsley. It's a great way to incorporate new flavors while pleasing guests who come expecting traditional dishes.

14 of 17

Corn Bread Stuffing with Tomatoes and Sausage

Corn Bread Stuffing with Tomatoes and Sausage
Jason Donnelly

Some like it hot—especially when it's chilly outside. With that in mind, try spicy Italian sausage to add a kick of heat to the sweet corn bread, tomatoes, and savory spices in this traditional Thanksgiving stuffing recipe that's prepared in a cast iron skillet ($30, Target). If you prefer a milder version, use bulk pork sausage in place of the hot Italian version.

15 of 17

Roasted Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Salad
Kritsada Panichgul

The spice is right with this prep-ahead salad. (Quick tip: It calls for chilling four to 24 hours after cooking and before dressing, so you can save oven space on Thanksgiving day.) The root vegetable recipe uses the best of fall flavors, from roasted winter veggies to nuts and dried cranberries. Lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, and sweetened up with maple syrup, this traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato recipe is a wonderful addition to any buffet of holiday sides.

16 of 17

Sweet Potato Casserole

Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Blaine Moats

This sweet potato casserole is the old-fashioned version you remember—boiled sweet potatoes mashed with butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. It's one of the best Thanksgiving side dishes! If your family table served the sweet potato casserole topped with mini marshmallows ($2, Target) instead of a sweet pecan streusel, feel free to make that swap to our recipe.

17 of 17

Twice-Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes

Twice-Baked Candied Sweet Potatoes recipe plate marshmallows
Andy Lyons

For many of us, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving dinner without mini marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes. Put a twist on the classic side dish by baking individual sweet potatoes and topping them with marshmallows, pecans, and brown sugar.

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