Thanksgiving is all about the sides. I love Thanksgiving side dishes with a passion, but how exactly do you decide what you’re going to make?

The Five Essential Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Everyone knows the feeling of getting sucked into a research hole on the internet. There are so many sites with massive lists of side dishes out there. But, if you’re anything like me, you get choice paralysis. There is definitely too much of a good thing. So, here are my five (yes, only five!) favorite Thanksgiving sides. I hope one of them makes it on to your Thanksgiving menu.

green bean casserole |

The Ultimate Green Bean Casserole

Let’s start off with this one because, green equals health. This is the mushroom-iest green bean casserole you’ll ever have. I love how the beans are crisp, snappy, and so fresh, all thanks thanks to an ice bath that leaves them an almost absurd shade of green. The mushroom sauce has a quadruple dose of umami thanks to mushrooms, soy sauce, fish sauce, and parm. Store bought crispy onions finish the whole thing off. Honestly, I can eat just these and call it a meal.

velveeta mac and cheese |

Velveeta Mac and Cheese

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? Velveeta mac forever and ever because it’s a creamy, dreamy classic. I mean, just look at that bowl. It’s got the the cheese! Glossy, smooth, and simply delicious. It’s the best and will forever be on our Thanksgiving menu.

everything bagel dinner rolls \

Soft and Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Some people might think that making your own homemade rolls is overkill, especially considering stuffing is an essential. I say, give me all that carb on carb action. Thanksgiving is just once a year and homemade squishy buns are so dreamy. It’s a pro move to brush garlic butter on top after they come out of the oven.

mashed potatoes |

The Best Mashed Potatoes

I’m a mashed potato connoisseur. Mike once did a double blind taste test for me with varying potato varieties and recipes and I was able to identify every singe one. This is my go-to recipe for mashed potatoes. It’s smooth and creamy, buttery and fluffy. It’s truly the best. The secret is that there is no secret, just good technique. Pure potato goodness from just potatoes, garlic, butter, and milk.

stuffing recipe |

Mushroom Shallot Stuffing

Stuffing (or dressing, if you must) lovers unite! I love stuffing so much that I make extra so I can eat it for breakfast every single day after thanksgiving. Turkey sandwiches? No thanks, give me stuffing please! This recipe, which I love making in the crock pot so it frees up the oven, is crisp and custard-y, and full of flavor. You can make it in the oven too, but don’t skip out on toasting the bread before making the stuffing, it’s what makes it so good.

Is it even Thanksgiving without Potato??

I love potatoes so much that I draw potatoes in my spare time. A potato buffet is my dream buffet.

instant pot mashed potatoes |

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Super creamy, super Instant (Pot) mashed potatoes with garlic and cream and butter.

How to make Cheesy Potato Balls |

Cheesy Potato Balls

Cheesy potato balls because even better than mashed potatoes are mashed potatoes stuffed with cheese and deep-fried with a crispy outer crust.

crispy air fryer potatoes |

Air Fryer Potatoes

Crispy air fryer potatoes for those times when you want a crispy roast potato but the turkey’s in the oven.

Potato salad

Potato salad because why can’t you have potato salad at Thanksgiving? This one has addictive kewpie mayo and rice vinegar in it.

Irish Boxty Recipe |

Potato Pancakes

Irish boxty potato pancakes are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Nothing like latkes, more plush and potato-y.

Jalapeño Bacon Ranch Mini Twice Baked Potatoes Recipe |

Jalapeño Bacon Ranch Twice Baked Potatoes

Mini little potatoes you can just keep popping into your mouth, filled with ranch, bacon, and cheese.

Crispy Stovetop Roasted Reds

If your oven isn’t free, these are the potatoes for you: crunchy on the outside and deliciously creamy on the inside.

Crispy Duck Fat Oven Roasted Potatoes

Duck Fat Roast Potatoes

If you want the most flavorful roast potatoes, duck fat is what you need. Maybe the best roasties you’ll ever make.

smoked gouda potato pancakes -

Smoked Gouda Potato Pancakes

Smoked gouda adds creaminess and a deep smoke flavor to these crispy little potato pancakes.

roast potatoes and burrata recipe -

Crispy Roast Potatoes and Burrata

Make your roast potatoes extra lux this Thanksgiving and serve them up with some melty creamy burrata.

miso mashed potato recipe -

Miso Butter Mashed Potatoes

White miso gives these creamy potatoes an extra warm hit of super savory umami.

potato domino recipe -

Potato Dominos

This might be one of my favorite ways of making potatoes: thinly sliced, trimmed into rectangles, and baked. The edges turn into a crispy chip and the centers are thick and creamy.

Yaki Imo: Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes |

Japanese Roasted Sweet Potatoes

This is the purest sweet potato you’ll ever taste. Toasty, caramelized goodness.

chili roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes with savory crunchy granola |

Chili Roasted Potatoes

Roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes tossed in a lime-soy dressing with a crunchy savory granola situation on top.


After potatoes, stuffing is my next favorite side dish. Sometimes, when I feel like some extreme comfort food I’ll bake up a small dish of stuffing. Weird flex, I know, but damn, stuffing is the good stuff.

Mushroom, Rosemary & Thyme Challah Stuffing

Rosemary Challah Stuffing

Classic stuffing flavors with the power of soft and plushy challah bread.

5 Ingredient 15 Minute Instant Pot Mushroom and Onion Stuffing |

Mushroom and Onion Stuffing

This stuffing is made in the Instant Pot and it’s gosh darn delicious!

crispy stuffing cakes with quail eggs -

Crispy Stuffing Cakes

If you love the crispy bits on stuffing, these little stuffing cakes are for you.

lemongrass stuffing recipe -

Lemongrass Stuffing

A little bit of herb-y lemongrass is always a good thing. Stuffing with a Vietnamese twist.

herby breakfast strata - www.iamafoodblog.comfort

Herby Stuffing

Technically this isn’t stuffing, more of a herby breakfast strata, but really, what is stuffing if not bread cubes soaked with deliciousness and baked up?

roasted acorn squash breakfast bread pudding -

Acorn Squash Stuffing

Creamy acorn squash and bread cubes together forever, topped off with cheese because cheesy stuffing is a game changer.

Vegetable Thanksgiving side dishes

Green things, because health. And not so green things because we’re inclusive and you don’t have to be green to be a vegetable.

honeynut squash |

Honeynut Squash

Not only are they cute, they taste good too! Serve up some honeynut squash with greek yogurt and honeyed walnuts.

air fryer brussels sprouts |

Crispy Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts

Sweet and tender with crispy edges, almost just like deep-frying :)

cauliflower tots -

Cheddar Cauliflower Tots

These oven baked tots are only 5 ingredients and full of cauliflower-cheesy goodness.

miso mustard sesame bean salad recipe -

Miso Dijon Green Beans

Forget your classic green been casserole and serve up some crisp green beans tossed in a miso dijon dressing.

honey garlic sprouts recipe -

Pan Seared Honey Garlic Sprouts

Sweet and savory honey garlic sprouts because honey garlic vegetables are basically like candy.

honey garlic eggplant recipe -

Honey Garlic Eggplant

Again, see above :)

honey garlic roasted butternut squash | i am a food blog

Honey Garlic Butternut Squash

Ditto, but make it squash.

oven roasted cauliflower

Oven Roasted Cauliflower

I love how sweet and caramelized cauliflower gets when you roast it. Hmm, I think I like sweet vegetables, gotta work on getting more of those bitter greens in my life.

burrata and kale

Burrata and Kale

Kale is a leafy green! One that tastes amazing when you braise it in tomato sauce and top it off with burrata.

broccoli cheddar tots recipe -

Broccoli Tots

I love all things in tot form and these broccoli tots are just so poppable. And forkable. And delicious.

Keto Friendly Creamy Lemony Zoodles |

Creamy Lemon-y Zoodles

Zucchini but make it noodle-y. And add cream sauce.

air fryer asparagus

Air Fryer Asparagus

So fresh, so green. The air fryer makes all vegetables taste good, to be honest.

Lemon & Dill Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Lemon and Dill Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Fresh and feisty oven roasted sprouts with lemon and dill.

Kale Chips

What do you mean kale chips aren’t a Thanksgiving side?! When you think about it, kale chips are just crispy kale and that’s a side in my books.

sriracha roasted cauliflower recipe -

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Oven roasted cauliflower but make it tangy and spicy kind of like buffalo wings, but cauliflower.

Pan Seared Asparagus with Miso Butter

Super simple pan-seared asparagus with rich and savory miso butter.

Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli

Perfectly crips with just the right amount of char.

Super Tender Instant Pot Garlic Butter Brussels Sprouts Recipe |

Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts

If you’re more a fan of tender sprouts without the crispiness, this is the sprouts recipe for you.

Bread and Biscuit Thanksgiving side dishes

Warm bread and biscuits fresh out of the oven are a treat but more so at Thanksgiving because it makes the house so warm and cozy.

milk bread |

Milk Bread

This is the softest, most plush bread you’ll ever make. Spread some butter on and sprinkle on the flaky sea salt!

brazilian cheese bread

Brazilian Cheese Bread

I love the chewy crisp texture of pao de queijo and bonus, it’s gluten free!

Morrocan Batbout Recipe |

Moroccan Pita Bread

These little pillow puffs are so soft. Break one open and make the best turkey slider.

pretzels |


Pretzels are a celebration food and Thanksgiving is a celebration!

Small Batch Sourdough Focaccia |

Sourdough Focaccia

Fluffy crisp focaccia dimpled with olive oil and seasoned with rosemary.

How to make small batch sourdough |


Make a loaf of sourdough: crusty, fragrant, hearty, and soul stirring.

parmesan garlic knots |

Parmesan Garlic Knots

These guys will go like hot cakes! So garlicky and so good.

Everything Bagel Dinner Rolls |

Everything Bagel Dinner Rolls

Soft and fluffy dinner rolls brushed with butter and everything bagel spice.

challah bread recipe -


A easy basic challah!

potato buns -

Potato Buns

Little mini potato buns that are soft and squishy with the power of potatoes.

Small Batch Skillet Buttermilk Biscuits |

Buttermilk Biscuits

Use your food processor to make these biscuits: light and fluffy with crispy bottoms.

cheddar scallion biscuits | i am a food blog

Cheddar Scallion Biscuits

Sky high biscuits studded with scallions and cheddar.

smoked salmon chive biscuits

Smoked Salmon and Chive Biscuits

Salty, smoky specks of salmon and punchy chives in these flaky biscuits.

homemade red lobster cheddar bay biscuits! recipe on

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside copycat Red Lobster style biscuits.

Black Pepper Parmesan Biscuits

Quick and easy drop biscuits with pepper, parm, and chives.

Salad and Salad-Adjacent Thanksgiving side dishes

I love salads with Thanksgiving dinner because they offer a fresh and tart counterpoint to all the richness. Plus they make me feel like I’m being a little healthy.

Sesame Soy Broccoli Salad

I could eat just this salad and be happy! Crunchy tender broccoli, red onions, sliced almonds, and craisins.

Quinoa Salad with Hazelnut, Apple and Dried Cranberries

Apple Hazelnut Quinoa Salad

A nutty crunchy satisfying salad that eats like a meal.

Chinese Cucumber Avocado Salad |

Cucumber Avocado Salad

Crunchy cucumbers and creamy buttery avocados.

Shiitake Quinoa Salad Recipe -

Shiitake Salad

Pan seared shiitakes with avocado and quinoa in a shallot oil dressing.

fattoush salad -


If you’re looking for a light salad that will bring some freshness to the table, this is it: chopped veggies, crispy pitas, and a sumac lemon dressing.

vietnamese quinoa salad recipe -

Mint and Cucumber Quinoa Salad

Kind of like a Vietnamese vermicelli bowl but with quinoa. Super refreshing.

kabocha celery salad

Kabocha Celery Salad

Pumpkin because it’s fall and celery because it crunches. This is a fall celebration salad.

miso smashed cucumber and green bean salad -

Smashed Cucumber and Green Bean Salad

Super refreshing and crunchy to offset the richness of Thanksgiving dinner.

papaya pear arugula salad with lime mustard dressing -

Papaya Pear Arugula Salad

Juicy papayas, crunchy pears, and peppery arugula in a lime mustard vinaigrette.

sweet side dish: christmas quinoa salad recipe -

Pear and Pecan Quinoa Salad

A super festive quinoa salad with all the textures and flavors in a orange honey vinaigrette.

Mac and Cheeses are the best Thanksgiving side dishes

The preferred side dish on the East Coast. Those folks know! Creamy cheesy mac and cheese is a welcome addition to any Thanksgiving spread.

One Pot Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Recipe -

One Pot Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

Pumpkin mac and cheese at Thanksgiving is just the right thing to do.

Creamy, spicy, comforting hatch green chile mac and cheese. Perfect for warming you up the coming fall days. #macandcheese #dinner #dinnerrecipes #cheese #comfort #comfortfood #hatchchile #greenchile

Spicy Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Just in case you need a little spice in your life.

mac and cheese waffles -

Mac and Cheese Waffles

Did you know you can waffle mac and cheese!? The edges get wonderfully crisp and crunchy and the insides are soft and cheesy.

jalapeno broccoli mac and cheese recipe -

Stovetop Jalapeño Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Spicy and creamy with bonus broccoli.

scoobi doo pasta with burrata and tomatoes -

Scoobi Doo with Burrata and Tomatoes

This one isn’t really a mac and cheese but I had to include it because it has scoobi doo mac and it has burrata, which is cheese!

boursin pasta -

Creamy Herby Garlicky Mac and Cheese

Literally the EASIEST mac and cheese you will ever make because it is just penne and Boursin cheese.

Whew! That was a lot of side dishes. I’m amazed you made it this far. Hope you got inspired and happy side dishing!
xoxo steph

Read More


  1. Sabrina says:

    going with mac and cheese waffles! never saw this before, love it, but really appreciate all, a great resource for inspiration, thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *