Most Underrated Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Thanksgiving dinner is one of America's favorite traditions. What's not to like? Turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce (not the canned kind), mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie are too tasty for anyone not to love it.
Still, traditions need a refresh now and then. These Thanksgiving side recipes are completely underappreciated, and they're just what your dinner table needs this year.
Can't choose just one? Make them all. It's Thanksgiving. Live a little.
Roasted Cauliflower With Toasted Pine Nuts
Why Roasted Cauliflower With Toasted Pine Nuts is tasty: Cauliflower gets a bad rap, but when it's properly seasoned, it transforms into crispy comfort food. The pine nuts in this dish add a pleasant crunch.
Try Roasted Cauliflower With Toasted Pine Nuts yourself.
Potato Leek Au Gratin
Why Potato Leek Au Gratin is tasty: While there are a few tasty Thanksgiving side dishes that are good for you, the holiday is mostly a free pass to enjoy any combination of comfort food that your heart desires. It doesn't get much more comforting than layers of thinly sliced potato with gooey melted cheese.
Try Potato Leek Au Gratin yourself.
Why Cranberry Chutney is tasty: It's basically just cranberry jam, but don't underestimate cranberry chutney. It makes everything better, especially turkey. It's also delicious served with crackers and sliced cheese.
Try Cranberry Chutney yourself.
Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
Why Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits are tasty: The best biscuits aren't tough or chewy. They pull apart like butter to fill with your favorite jam, cranberry sauce or, well, more butter!
Try Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits yourself.
Fresh Green Bean Casserole
Why Fresh Green Bean Casserole is tasty: Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving side that's been in and out over the ages. But it's making a comeback because even picky kids can't resist the crispy onions on top.
Try Fresh Green Bean Casserole yourself.
Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Why Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes are tasty: Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, but the entire point of Thanksgiving is to make all the food we already love even better. In this case, it's done by topping the sweet potatoes with honey and roasting them for a rich, candied flavor.
Try Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes yourself.
Roasted Acorn Squash Soup
Why Roasted Acorn Squash Soup is tasty: Acorn squash soup is the smooth, mellow Thanksgiving side dish you never knew you needed. Its nutty, slightly earthy flavor pairs well with cinnamon. Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top to turn up the heat.
Try Roasted Acorn Squash Soup yourself.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Squash
Why Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Squash is tasty: If you have prior Brussel sprout trauma, leave it at the door, and come to the Thanksgiving table with an open mind. Steamed sprouts are an acquired taste, and some people just can't deal with the flavor, period.
Roasting them, however, brings out their hidden sweetness and leaves them with a crispy texture. Toss them with butternut squash, olive oil, salt, pepper and dried cranberries for a healthy and delicious side.
Try Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Squash yourself.
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Why Homemade Macaroni and Cheese is tasty: Macaroni isn't underrated as a food overall, but it's definitely underappreciated as a Thanksgiving side dish. But homemade, baked mac and cheese is nothing like the boxed variety.
Think multiple layers of different cheeses blended with a creamy sauce and baked until the top is crispy and bubbling.
Try Homemade Macaroni and Cheese yourself.
Wild Mushroom Galette
Why Wild Mushroom Galette is tasty: If your entire family detests mushrooms, keep scrolling. Now that the mushroom connoisseurs are left, hear us out.
A mushroom galette is like a mini, mushroom pizza. It's rustic and rich, pairing cremini and shiitake mushrooms with sharp blue cheese and a sour cream pastry crust.
Slice it up and see who's adventurous enough to try a piece (or five).
Try Wild Mushroom Galette yourself.
Skillet Sausage Stuffing
Why Skillet Sausage Stuffing is tasty: The search for the perfect Thanksgiving stuffing recipe is over for meat lovers. Try doubling the recipe and using fresh, sourdough bread cubes and a little extra onion to taste.
Try Skillet Sausage Stuffing yourself.
Brown Buttered Glazed Carrots
Why Brown Buttered Glazed Carrots is tasty: Whoever said glazed carrots were boring hasn't tasted them like this. Roasted in butter and honey, each bite of this tasty side dish is tender and sweet with just a hint of garlic.
Try Brown Buttered Glazed Carrots yourself.
Cornbread With Creamed Corn and Jalapeno Honey
Why Cornbread With Creamed Corn and Jalapeno Honey is tasty: Ordinary cornbread is fine, but there's a trick to getting it just right. Creamed corn makes cornbread moist and tender, and the jalapeno honey adds a fiery sweetness.
Try Cornbread With Creamed Corn and Jalapeno Honey yourself.
Roasted Beet Salad
Why Roasted Beet Salad is tasty: Thanksgiving dinner is delicious, but most of the dishes are heavy. We'd never pass up on creamy mashed potatoes, but if all of the sides are rich, it's hard to enjoy them all.
This light and earthy beet salad can be made with goat cheese or feta and comes with a delicious balsamic vinaigrette.
Try Roasted Beet Salad yourself.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Why Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes is tasty: Mashed potatoes are only underrated because they're easy to get wrong. A few minor errors can result in a gummy, soggy or dry side dish. Pass.
This mashed potato recipe is a basic, tried and true way to make perfect, creamy mashed potatoes.
Try Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes yourself.
Butternut Squash and Leek Stuffing
Why Butternut Squash and Leek Stuffing is tasty: Turkey is the official meat of Thanksgiving, but it's not always the most flavorful.
This stuffing has a touch of sweetness from the squash, and it's hearty enough to serve as a stand-alone side.
Try Butternut Squash and Leek Stuffing yourself.
Why Creamed Spinach is tasty: Don't like spinach? It doesn't matter. You can't even tell that creamed spinach has spinach in it.
It's creamy, rich and good enough to be served at an upscale steakhouse.
Plus, it only takes 20 minutes to prepare.
Try Creamed Spinach yourself.
Simple Garlic Green Beans
Why Simple Garlic Green Beans is tasty: We already covered green bean casserole, but there's something to be said for well-seasoned green beans all on their own. They're not flashy, but that's the point.
Perfectly cooked green beans are tender but still have a slight snap to them with each bite. Add fresh garlic, sea salt and butter or olive oil for a crowd-pleasing classic.
Try Simple Garlic Green Beans yourself.
Roasted Delicata Squash With Apples and Sage
Why Roasted Delicata Squash With Apples and Sage is tasty: Delicata squash is naturally sweet and creamy when roasted. Unlike butternut squash and acorn squash, the peel is thin and edible.
Just roast them, slice them, and serve them with apples and sage to strike a beautiful balance between savory and sweet.
Try Roasted Delicata Squash With Apples and Sage yourself.
Maple Roasted Acorn Squash
Why Maple Roasted Acorn Squash is tasty: Acorn squash soup is hard to resist, but acorn squash is just as scrumptious by itself. Made with real maple syrup, acorn squash tastes more like a dessert than a side.
Add a touch of cayenne if you're feeling adventurous.
Try Maple Roasted Acorn Squash yourself.
Kale Salad With Carrot Ginger Dressing
Why Kale Salad With Carrot Ginger Dressing is tasty: We get it. Some people are vehemently against salad at Thanksgiving. Why waste the time on it when you have so many other options? But if every single Thanksgiving side was filling, we'd never make it to dessert.
Kale salad balances out the rest of the carb-fest with fresh avocado, cranberries, crunchy chickpeas and dried cranberries.
Try Kale Salad With Carrot Ginger Dressing yourself.
Spiced Butternut Squash Salad
Why Spiced Butternut Squash Salad is tasty: Even salad haters will love this underrated side dish. Slices of red onion, crunchy pumpkin seeds and spinach are tossed with cubed butternut squash and a tasty, slightly sweet dressing.
It's also grain-free, gluten-free and vegetarian for diners with dietary restrictions.
Try Spiced Butternut Squash Salad yourself.
Why Broccoli Salad is tasty: Not many people love the idea of broccoli salad, but everyone likes it once they try it. Why? Because it has bacon in it.
And cranberries, cheddar cheese, sunflower seeds and a dressing that's to die for.
Try Broccoli Salad yourself.
Napa Cabbage Salad
Why Napa Cabbage Salad is tasty: Is this basically Chinese chicken salad? Yep. While it's not a traditional Thanksgiving side, it's always a hit at parties.
It's one of the few salads that even the kids will eat, and the bowl is always scraped clean by the end of dinner.
Try Napa Cabbage Salad yourself.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Why Cream of Mushroom Soup is tasty: Like salad, soup might seem like too much of a hassle for Thanksgiving. But we like options, and this one should not be judged by its canned form. That's like judging ice cream by its freeze-dried form, which isn't ice cream at all.
Homemade cream of mushroom soup is rich, earthy and creamier than anything that will be at your Thanksgiving spread.
Try Cream of Mushroom Soup yourself.
Wild Rice Soup
Why Wild Rice Soup is tasty: Soups are so easy to throw together. This cozy, autumn soup is prepared with fresh, seasonal veggies, wild rice and a zesty, citrusy broth.
Plus, you can make it on the stovetop, in a Crock-Pot or in an Instant Pot with ease. Your pick.
Try Wild Rice Soup yourself.
Red Curry Squash Soup
Why Red Curry Squash Soup is tasty: Spicy food fans will obsess over this unique Thanksgiving side dish idea. The squash base gives a cozy, autumn flavor to the dish, while curry gives it a powerful kick and coconut milk adds an exotic, tropical flavor.
It's also completely vegan.
Try Red Curry Squash Soup yourself.
Buckwheat Cranberry Avocado Salad
Why Buckwheat Cranberry Avocado Salad is tasty: This isn't a salad in the traditional sense. It's a grain salad, made with heart-healthy buckwheat and a light, lemon-flavored dressing.
Feel free to experiment with different grains to find your perfect blend.
Try Buckwheat Cranberry Avocado Salad yourself.
Maple Rosemary Cornbread Muffins
Why Maple Rosemary Cornbread Muffins is tasty: Thought we were done discussing cornbread? You thought wrong. These cornbread muffins are unique enough to cement a place on this list.
Instead of honey, they use maple syrup to add a delicate sweetness and fresh rosemary. Dip it in a steamy cup of soup or chili and you won't regret it.
Try Maple Rosemary Cornbread Muffins yourself.
Spicy Chipotle Cornbread
Why Spicy Chipotle Cornbread is tasty: See? We could never be done with cornbread. Spicy chipotle cornbread is different from jalapeno honey cornbread because the peppers are baked into the cornbread itself.
Chipotle peppers add a hot, smoky flavor without overpowering the cornbread. Love it.
Try Spicy Chipotle Cornbread yourself.
Homemade Focaccia With Rosemary
Why Homemade Focaccia With Rosemary is tasty: Focaccia bread can be bought at the store, but it's fun and easy to make it yourself.
It sits somewhere between soft and chewy, and the best focaccia is made with plenty of flaky sea salt, rosemary and olive oil.
Try adding in dried tomatoes or olives for added flavor.
Try Homemade Focaccia With Rosemary yourself.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Why Pumpkin Spice Muffins are tasty: Do these qualify as a Thanksgiving dessert or side? We'll let you be the judge.
Pumpkin spice muffins feature a moist, irresistible pumpkin cake topped with pumpkin spice crumbles and fresh maple icing. Our recommendation? Serve them in secret to the handful of people who actually show up to dinner on time.
Don't forget the coffee.
Try Pumpkin Spice Muffins yourself.
Cranberry Sauce With Oranges and Pecans
Why Cranberry Sauce With Oranges and Pecans is tasty: If you can only make one type of cranberry sauce for the rest of your life, make this one.
It's not just boring, excessively sweet cranberry goo. This is the good stuff, mixed up with fresh fruit, dried fruit, pecans and cinnamon.
It also makes the entire house smell like Thanksgiving.
Try Cranberry Sauce With Oranges and Pecans yourself.
BLT Pasta Salad
Why BLT Pasta Salad is tasty: Pasta salad isn't a traditional Thanksgiving side dish, but if everyone gobbles it up, does it matter?
This pasta salad recipe is like a BLT in a bowl with crisp romaine lettuce, halved cherry tomatoes, onions, avocado, bacon and cubes of sharp cheddar.
Toss it in creamy ranch and watch how fast this tasty side dish disappears.
Try BLT Pasta Salad yourself.
Autumn Ancient Grain Salad
Why Autumn Ancient Grain Salad is tasty: Less filling side dishes are a welcome respite from rich mac and cheese or garlic mashed potatoes.
Autumn ancient grain salad has lots of protein and fiber and more texture compared to ordinary salads, complemented by thinly sliced apple, crunchy pepitas and chewy dried cranberries.
Try Autumn Ancient Grain Salad yourself.
Cheddar Scallion Black Pepper Biscuits
Why Cheddar Scallion Black Pepper Biscuits are tasty: According to Google data, rolls are one of the most searched Thanksgiving side dishes in the United States, second only to mashed potatoes. Ordinary biscuits and rolls lose their luster after eating them year after year, so try these cheddar scallion black pepper biscuits made from scratch.
They're flavored with lemon balm, thyme, clover and parsley. And so much more flavorful than plain biscuits.
Adorn the tops with fresh, edible flowers if you have some in the garden.
Try Cheddar Scallion Black Pepper Biscuits yourself.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Why Sweet Potato Casserole is tasty: Sweet potato dishes are a quintessential component of Thanksgiving dinner, and presentation brings a lot to the table.
This underrated Thanksgiving side creates an attractive checkerboard pattern, layering squares of gooey marshmallow and crunchy pecan pralines over warm, nutty mashed sweet potatoes.
Try Sweet Potato Casserole yourself.
Turkey Dinner Galette
Why Turkey Dinner Galette is tasty: This gorgeous galette can be made as a Thanksgiving side dish or used as a tasty way to repurpose leftover turkey.
It only takes about 20 minutes to make, filling a light pastry crust with turkey, mashed potatoes, and Swiss cheese, all topped with dollops of tart cranberry sauce and fresh thyme.
Try Turkey Dinner Galette yourself.
Pumpkin Shaped Dinner Rolls
Why Pumpkin Shaped Dinner Rolls are tasty: Admittedly, these taste like regular Big Batch Quick Dinner Rolls, but aren't they so much cuter? Once you make the dough according to the usual recipe, use decorative twine to wrap each roll into a pumpkin shape.
Wrapping them a little unevenly makes them look more like real pumpkins, especially if you add fresh herb leaves on top.
Try Pumpkin Shaped Dinner Rolls yourself.
Asparagus Puff Pastry Boats
Why Asparagus Puff Pastry Boats are tasty: Asparagus puff pastry boats are the Thanksgiving side dish you didn't know you needed. They're both decadent and classy, thanks to the addition of smoked salmon and notes of dill and fresh lime.
Each pastry boat holds a few spears of roasted asparagus, grated cheddar, and natural yogurt, with sesame and hemp seeds sprinkled on top for garnish.
Try Asparagus Puff Pastry Boats yourself.
Lemon Garlic Roasted Asparagus
Why Lemon Garlic Roasted Asparagus is tasty: Now that asparagus is already invited to the party, preparing it doesn't have to be time-consuming and artistic.
It's also an amazing Thanksgiving side when roasted in the oven with salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, lemon and your favorite seasoning blend. We're partial to Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel Seasoning.
Try Lemon Garlic Roasted Asparagus yourself.
Roasted Brussel Sprout Salad
Why Roasted Brussel Sprout Salad is tasty: Side salads are commonly served at Thanksgiving. This Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad is just the thing to whip up when you've run out of time and only have a few ingredients on hand.
It only has five ingredients, including shaved Brussel sprouts, pecans, dried cranberries, bacon and balsamic glaze. No one will ever know it only took you 10 minutes to make.
Try Roasted Brussel Sprout Salad yourself.
Roasted Butternut Squash
Why Roasted Butternut Squash is tasty: Butternut squash doesn't have to be pulverized into a puree or soup to be delicious. Roasted and sliced into thin slivers, this winter squash turns into an addictive side dish.
With avocado oil, a dash of maple syrup, tangy balsamic vinegar and crushed walnuts, it's also one of the more heart (and waistline) friendly Thanksgiving side options.
Try Roasted Butternut Squash yourself.
Stuffed Acorn Squash Boats
Why Stuffed Acorn Squash Boats are tasty: If squash wasn't meant to be stuffed, why does it have such a convenient hollow in the middle?
Acorn squash has a nuttier, sweeter flavor than butternut squash, and it's a breeze to prepare. Cut a whole squash in half, scoop out the seeds, bake it, and fill it to the brim with sausage, rice, chicken and red apple.
They look delightfully festive on a serving tray, but they're so quick to prepare that you might want to buy a few extra to whip up on a weeknight.
Try Stuffed Acorn Squash Boats yourself.
Triple Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Why Triple Whipped Sweet Potatoes are tasty: Did you know sweet potatoes weren't originally orange? While orange sweet potatoes are the most common, when they were first cultivated, they came in several colors including purple and white.
Pick up a few rainbow sweet potatoes from your local natural grocery store and whip them up into a quick pureed side dish that adds gorgeous color to your Thanksgiving dinner table.
Toppings like blue cheese, walnuts, freshly made herb butter and pomegranate seeds make this dish nearly too pretty to eat.
Try Triple Whipped Sweet Potatoes yourself.
Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Whipped Goat Cheese
Why Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Whipped Goat Cheese are tasty: Sweet potato dishes can also be beautifully simple. Instead of baking them with marshmallows, try a grown-up version that's just as easy to make.
Roast cubed sweet potatoes with a touch of honey, then top it off with tangy, whipped goat cheese for a perfect middle ground between sweet and savory.
Try Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Whipped Goat Cheese yourself.
Hot and Spicy BBQ Corn on the Cob
Why Hot and Spicy BBQ Corn on the Cob is tasty: Corn on the cob is often thought of as a food for the Fourth of July and summer BBQs, but sweet, crispy corn is a juicy addition to the list of Thanksgiving side options.
You don't really need a recipe to make it, but this one adds a pleasant jolt of heat with a hot and spicy marinade.
Try Hot and Spicy BBQ Corn on the Cob yourself.