Need some Thanksgiving side dish recipes?
You have probably already figured out how to cook your Thanksgiving turkey (if not, there are plenty of recipes online, but here's a hint: it's just as simple as this 5-Minute Baked Chicken Recipe!), but maybe it's the Thanksgiving side dish recipes you're stuck on. I've shared a bunch of my favorites below, and PLEASE share yours in the comments — especially let us know which of your recipe ideas are simple and can be made-ahead, because we all want to de-stress our holiday, right?!
Thanksgiving side dish recipes:
- Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Stuffing – this one can be made ahead and ready to stuff the turkey with the next day or just bake in a buttered dish. Notice the new picture! ***This post also has info on cooking a turkey and other Thanksgiving meal prep info.
- Here is the BEST Cranberry Gelatin recipe, it's my favorite of ALL the Thanksgiving side dish recipes, oh how I love this stuff. Or here's a Fermented Cranberry Relish – this is so good that even those who aren't huge cranberry fans will love it. It also can be made-ahead.
- Here's how to make homemade dinner rolls or cinnamon rolls. These only take about 12 minutes of kitchen time to make!
- Or if you eat gluten free or you're on a keto or low-carb diet, these homemade KETO dinner rolls will open up a whole new world for you and you really can eat bread again!!! Even if you don't follow a strict diet, these are so good and loaded with nutrition that you'll want to try them anyway — our son said he likes them better than my regular dinner rolls!
- Mashed potatoes can be made ahead and thrown into the crock pot to keep warm. In case you don't know how to make them, it's easy — amounts are not exact because it depends on how much you're making and your own tastes, but here are the basics:
Clean 1-2 potatoes per person (how many depends if you have big eaters, if you want leftovers, how much other food you'll have, etc.), cut the bad spots off, and rinse under hot water. Cut into smaller chunks, drop into boiling water and cook 'til they're very soft — 10-20 minutes or so, depending on how big the pieces are. Just carefully check them with a fork before straining out the water. Next add in any or all of the following, depending on what you like… For a pot full of potatoes I throw in:
- About 4-8 Tablespoons of butter
- 8 ounces or more of cream cheese
- Sea salt and pepper to your taste (I like a lot for flavor)
- A splash of milk or cream
Then use your potato masher and start mashing. If it's too thick, add a little milk or cream until you get it just how you like it. Serve with gravy of course! Or butter and sour cream, yum.
Notes for future reference:
- Medium sized potatoes are about a half-pound each.
- 12# fills a 7 quart crock pot.
- About 11# fills an 8 quart pressure cooker, but it was too full to pressure cook, so I just added water almost to the top and boiled it right in there (on saute) with my multi-function pressure cooker (don't turn it up too high, and keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil over and make a mess, trust me…). Then after straining, I mashed it in there too with the ingredients mentioned above and used the slow-cook feature to keep warm until serving — still only one pot dirtied!
- If you're making less potatoes for a smaller crowd, just use this recipe for making fast and easy pressure cooker mashed potatoes. (And here are the 10 best ways to use your pressure cooker!)
- Note to self on amounts: when hosting my family, my white 7 quart crock pot full (12#) is enough for dinner plus leftovers for everyone!
- Here's how to make gravy: No list of Thanksgiving side dish recipes is complete without mentioning gravy, a must-have on your holiday table. Remove the bird (cover with foil to keep it hot or get someone else working on carving it, covering the serving plate as you go to keep it hot) and pour the juices from the bottom of the pan into a separate frying pan on the stove. You could also use your big electric frying pan like mine if you're lucky enough have one! Bring the juices to a slow boil. In the meantime in a separate glass bowl, mix together 3/4 cup flour with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, then add enough water to make it a little bit thick, but still pretty easy to whisk. (Apparently adding the salt to the flour like that first helps prevent lumps.) Start adding a little of the meat juices, a ladle-full at a time (about 1/3 cup or so, it doesn't have to be exact) and keep whisking. Do this with 3-4 ladles full of juices or so, then take this mixture and pour the whole thing into the pan with the rest of the meat juices, and keep whisking. (Doing it this way warms up the flour mixture and prevents lumps when you pour the whole thing into the pan with the juices, it's called tempering.) Start taste-testing as you add sea salt and pepper until it tastes yummy. I like it just like that, but some will also add in herbs or seasonings like parsley, onion powder or garlic powder, but just add a little at a time and taste-test. (Some use arrowroot flour or organic cornstarch for gluten-free options, but I haven't experimented with those much.)
- Homemade applesauce is a nice side dish with turkey.
- Green Bean Casserole with homemade crispy shoestring onions – a real food version! Can be made-ahead and ready to bake later.
- Stuffed Acorn Squash – can be made ahead and bake later.
- Or here's how to make basic baked squash: cut a butternut squash in half long-wise. Clean out the seeds into the trash with a spoon and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet in the oven. Bake at 350* until the flesh is soft, at least an hour, maybe longer. Let cool, then scoop the cooked squash out with a spoon into a bowl. Mash it up with a masher, then stir in some melted butter (2-4 Tablespoons or so) and a little organic sugar or real maple syrup (2 Tablespoons or so) and some salt and pepper to your taste. Spoon into a buttered baking dish and keep in the fridge until 30 minutes or so before you want to serve it. Bake 'til hot, serve with more butter, maple syrup, and salt and pepper if desired.
- Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts – a favorite around here, holiday or not. Can get it ready ahead of time, so you just need to roast them.
- For those of you that were thinking ahead and got some healthy tallow for frying, are you going to deep fry your turkey in it for a healthy frying oil?
- Here’s a good fall recipe for you: Kelly’s Organic Squash Bisque.
How about some Thanksgiving desserts?
- Pumpkin White Chocolate Fudge Bars with Caramel Glaze (or Cupcakes) & 5 Ways to Make Hosting Easy on T-Day!
- Grain-free pumpkin cream cheese bars – can be made-ahead.
- Pumpkin pie ice cream would make a great turkey-day dessert! Can be made-ahead.
- Stags Antler Cookies which make a great Thanksgiving cookie recipe! Can be made-ahead.
More you might like:
Healthy Turkey Leftover Ideas:
- There are tons of chicken recipes at this main dish recipes post that you can use leftover turkey in instead!