Impress Your Family at Thanksgiving With These 5 Simple Side Dish Recipes

Family eating Thanksgiving dinner

While the turkey is the star of the show at Thanksgiving celebrations, let's be honest, it's the side-dishes that are the real MVPs. From mashed potatoes, to cranberry sauce and even green bean casserole, it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a variety of side-dishes to share with your loved ones.

Whether you've been drafted to bring a side dish, or your hosting the entire Thanksgiving dinner, you can wow your friends and family with one of these classic side-dishes that people will be begging you to make every year from now on.

Mashed potatoes, green bean casseroles and sweet potato side dishes await to be served

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is one of those dishes that has either become a staple in your home every Thanksgiving, or you’ve never had a single bite. The controversial dish was created by Dorcas Reilly while she was working in the Campbell’s Soup Co. test kitchen and has graced tables across the country for more than 60 years.

If you’re feeling ambitious and ready to try out this American tradition, we recommend this recipe for one of the best green bean casseroles out there.


  • 1 beans, trimmed
  • 6 tbsp.butter, divided
  • 1onion, sliced into half moons
  • 8 oz.sliced mushrooms
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c.flour
  • 3 c.whole milk
  • 1 1/2 c.French's fried onions


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Use a large pot to boil water and add green beans.
  3. Cook green beans until they are bright green (around 6 minutes).
  4. Transfer green beans to ice bath to cool.
  5. Drain and transfer green beans to a large bowl.
  6. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
  7. Add onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are tender (around 5 minutes).
  8. Add mushrooms to the skillet and season totaste with salt and pepper.
  9. Cook the mixture, stirring often until mushrooms appear golden (around 5 minutes).
  10. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  11. Transfer mixture to green bean bowl.
  12. Using the same skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of butter.
  13. Whisk in flour and cook the mixture for around 2 minutes.
  14. Slowly add the milk
  15. Season the mixture with salt and pepper (to taste).
  16. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until it thickens (about four minutes).
  17. Remove the mixture from the heat, then add green bean mixture and toss.
  18. Cook until the casserole has been warmed through and is bubbling (around 30 minutes).
  19. Top with fried onions.
  20. Bake an additional 5 minutes.
Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

Chefs, you’ll want to stay vigilant if you plan on preparing this dish. There may be tiny little fingers trying to grab some of the marshmallows you’ll need to top this Thanksgiving side-dish classic.


  • Cooking spray 
  • 4 c.large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 c.packed brown sugar
  • 8 tbsp.melted (1 stick) butter
  • 1 tsp.pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c.milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9-x-13” baking dish with cooking spray
  2. Place sweet potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.
  3. Bring pot to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are soft (around 15 minutes).
  4. Drain the sweet potatoes and then transfer them to a large bowl.
  5. Stir the sweet potatoes together with the sugar, butter, vanilla, milk, eggs and salt until smooth.
  6. Pour the mixture into the baking dish.
  7. Top with marshmallows and place in the oven and cook until it’s golden (about 30 minutes).
Ultimate mashed potato with black pepper in white faceted bowl with wooden spoon

Best Mashed Potatoes

What would Thanksgiving be without mashed potatoes? Your favorite carb-laden side-dish is super simple to make, so if you’ve been drafted to prepare mashed potatoes for your guests, there’s nothing simpler than this recipe.


  • 3 lb.potatoes (about 4 large, combo of russets and Yukon Golds)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1stick butter, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
  • 1/2 c.milk
  • 1/2 c.sour cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Fill a large pot with water, enough to cover the potatoes. Add a generous pinch of salt.
  2. Bring water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they’re completely soft (usually between 16-18 minutes).
  3. Drain the water and return the potatoes to the pot
  4. Use a potato masher or a handmixer to mash the potatoes until they are smooth.
  5. In a separate small saucepan, melt one stick of butter and ½ cup of milk.
  6. Pour the melted butter and milk mixture into the pot.
  7. Stir until it’s completely combined and creamy.
  8. Add sour cream and stir.
  9. Season mashed potatoes to taste with salt and ground pepper.
Cranberry Sauce in Crystal Bowl

Cranberry Sauce

Some people love cranberry sauce and can’t have Thanksgiving without it. Other people demand the cranberry sauce straight from the can, while others won’t touch it no matter where it comes from.

So, why not try to make the cranberry sauce from scratch at home? It won’t take you long and you might even convert some of the cranberry sauce haters in your world with this super simple recipe:


  • 1 c.sugar
  • 1 c.water
  • 1(12-oz.) package fresh cranberries
  • 2 zest
  • Kosher salt


  1. Use a small saucepan over low heat to combine sugar and water until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Add the cranberries and cook over low heat until they burst (about 10 minutes).
  3. Stir in orange zest and pinch of salt.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat and allow the dish to cool completely.
  5. Transfer cranberry sauce to reusable container and refrigerate.
Oven roasted brussels sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts have always had a bad rap, but in fact, if prepared properly, they are easily one of the tastiest vegetables you can make for your Thanksgiving guests!


  • 1 lb.Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tbsp.olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Place Brussel sprouts on large baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss until combined.
  5. Roast the Brussel sprouts until they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside (around 25 minutes).
  6. Shake the pan halfway through cooking.
  7. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately.

Photos: Getty Images

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