4 delicious and quick Thanksgiving sides ideas that will please your guests this year!

by Anjelina

We are aware that the turkey is the center of attention during Thanksgiving dinner. But, let’s face it, it wouldn’t be the same without all the delicious sides! Everything is better when the plates are full of all kinds of tasty dishes – the more, the better, while the souls are overflowing with gratitude and happiness! If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, don’t worry, because we have selected some of the best Thanksgiving sides ideas that will help you prepare well for the festive dinner! We will start with some classic side dishes and continue with a non-traditional suggestion that will wow your guests!

Thanksgiving sides ideas to match the festive spirit

Thanksgiving sides ideas mashed potatoes mac and cheese cranberry sauce

There are some sides that are simply a must for Thanksgiving dinner and are just as important as the turkey itself. When preparing the menu, include at least a few traditional side dishes and light appetizers, as well as delicious desserts. It is a sure way that your guests will be pleased and that the spirit of the holiday will be preserved! Here are some of the most classic and essential Thanksgiving sides ideas to prepare for your guests:

1. Mashed potatoes

fluffy creamy buttery mashed potatoes side dish for thanksgiving


Mashed potatoes should definitely be on the holiday table, as it is a favorite and often prepared dish in every home! Preparing the creamiest fluffy mashed potatoes is not at all difficult. Follow our easy recipe for a smooth texture that melts in your mouth!


  • 4 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) cream cheese
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) half-and-half cream
  • 1 cup (240 ml) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Put potatoes in a large pot. Cover them by an inch with water and add 1 teaspoon of salt.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes (potatoes should be soft, not crumbly).
  3. Drain and rinse with cool water. Return potatoes to the warm pot to dry.
  4. Mash the potatoes with a fork or a potato masher.
  5. Add butter and cream cheese. Use an electric hand mixer and thoroughly mix everything together.
  6. Slowly add in the half-and-half cream while whisking with the mixer.
  7. Finally, add salt and paper and place the mashed potatoes into a serving dish.

2. Baked Mac & Cheese

mac and cheese creamy cheesy inside crispy golden brown top delicious side

What can be better than cheesy and creamy macaroni with a crunchy buttery top? Do you want to have a bite of them already? Check out our recipe below if you can’t wait to find out how to make them quickly and easily for your guests at Thanksgiving dinner!



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup (160 ml) panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ tablespoon salt

Mac & Cheese:

  • ½ pound elbow macaroni pasta
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour (all-purpose)
  • 2 and ½ cups (600 ml) warm milk
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups (470 ml) grated cheddar cheese


For the topping:

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add panko breadcrumbs and stir until it all turns golden brown (5 minutes).
  2. Add salt, stir and transfer to a bowl.

For the macaroni and cheese:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. In a large pot, add water and salt and bring to a boil. Add elbow macaroni pasta and cook for about 7-8 minutes (slightly undercooked).
  3. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  4. Put the butter in a large saucepan and melt over medium heat.
  5. Gradually add the flour, stirring constantly until golden.
  6. Slowly add in milk, whisking continuously until nice and smooth.
  7. Reduce the heat to low. Add in the grated Parmesan cheese, mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
  8. Add the cooked macaroni and stir all together. Transfer the macaroni to a casserole dish.
  9. Evenly spread the topping over the macaroni.
  10. Bake for nearly 30 minutes until golden brown.

3. Cranberry sauce

Thanksgiving sides ideas cranberry sauce turkey thanksgiving dinner side dish

You no longer have an excuse not to make homemade cranberry sauce! We’re sharing with you an easy and quick recipe that you can make in advance, days before Thanksgiving!


  • ½ cup (120 ml) orange juice
  • 1 cup (240 ml) white granulated sugar
  • 8 oz. (230 g) cranberries


  1. Pour the orange juice in a medium saucepan and add sugar. Let the mixture boil on high heat and stir.
  2. Remove from heat, and add the cranberries. Bring back to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes (until the cranberries burst).
  3. Mash everything until you reach a desired consistency.
  4. Let cool and refrigerate overnight.

Non-traditional Thanksgiving side dish

If you want to shine at Thanksgiving dinner, prepare a non-traditional side dish to delight everyone at the table! Here is our best suggestion:

Pumpkin risotto

pumpkin risotto non-traditional Thanksgiving side idea to amaze everyone at the table

Surprise your loved ones with homemade risotto that isn’t typical for Thanksgiving dinner, but is extremely delicious! We are sharing an easy yet healthy recipe that will surely become your favorite!


  • 1 cup (240 ml) Arborio rice
  • ½ cup (120 ml) pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup (120 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 ½ cups (840 ml) vegetable broth
  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) white wine
  • 3 tablespoons fresh sage leaves (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • salt to taste


  1. Add olive oil into a large skillet and bring to a medium-low heat. Add chopped onion and salt to taste and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Put chopped sage and minced garlic into the skillet and cook until slightly golden.
  3. Add rice and stir for about a minute until it becomes translucent. Pour in white wine and stir, then add 1 cup vegetable broth and stir until absorbed. Repeat the process until there is no broth left, and the rice is cooked.
  4. Add in pumpkin puree and Parmesan cheese and cook for a few more minutes (1-2).
  5. Remove from heat. Garnish with sage, or more Parmesan (optional).

Also read: Easy Recipes & Ideas for Thanksgiving Appetizers in 2023


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