Our 23 Best Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes Because Perfecting Turkey is Hard Enough

Thanksgiving preparations can get complicated, but your sides don’t have to be

Cooking a turkey is hard enough, why challenge yourself with difficult side items? If you’re looking for a quick and easy Thanksgiving feast or that’s also picture-perfect, we’ve got you covered. Pro tip: many of these Thanksgiving sides double in other dishes when they’re leftovers, so don’t be afraid to err on the side of having too much. From creamy mashed potatoes to brussels sprouts with horseradish and pomegranate seeds, our best easy Thanksgiving side dishes are tasty, but simple.

Brussels sprouts are zipped up with horseradish by chef Ken Oringer of Toro in Boston and New York.

Roasted Beets with Orange and Crème Fraîche

A cool and tangy crème fraîche dressing adorns roasted beets for a simple, colorful side dish. We like to use a combination of red and golden beets for presentation. [See the recipe for Roasted Beets with Orange Crème Fraîche »

Cumin-Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Toasted cumin seeds, mint, and lime juice intensify the sweetness of simple baked root vegetables. Get the recipe for Cumin-Roasted Carrots and Parsnips»

Coconut Beluga Lentils

At Turtle Bay Estate House on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, chef Anthony Dawodu enriches lentils with sweet coconut milk. Get the recipe for Coconut Beluga Lentils »

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

This simple, satisfying side rounds out any Thanksgiving dinner.

Mashed Yams with Lime and Honey

Creamy baked yams mashed with butter, lime juice, and honey make an easy, bright autumn side dish.

Creamed Brussels Sprouts

This creamy, savory preparation brings out Brussels sprouts’ natural sweetness. Creamed Brussels Sprouts »

Maple Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Maple syrup enhances the sweetness of this simple sweet potato mash. Get the recipe for Maple Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes »

Soy-Braised Kabocha Squash

Braising—with a healthy dose of soy—is one of our favorite ways to bring out the texture and flavor of winter squash.

Broiled Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Miso Glaze

It’s rare that we encounter spaghetti squash not shredded into its eponymous noodle-like threads. But kept intact, it reveals a beautifully yielding texture and a savory, subtle flavor that’s perfectly offset by a rich walnut-miso glaze.

Green Beans with Lemons and Capers

Inspired by the briny flavors of veal piccata, this elegant side dish is simplicity itself: blanched green beans tossed in a vinaigrette of capers, bright lemon, and a beautiful olive oil. Get the recipe for Green Beans with Lemons and Capers »

Green Bean Salad with Feta and Mint

Feta, red onion, and mint are a classic combination; tossed with snappy green beans they make a salad of surprising complexity.

Sweet Potato Honey Fries with Curry-Honey Sauce

An aromatic combination of spices elevate the humble sweet potato oven fry to something truly special. Get the recipe for Sweet Potato Honey Fries with Curry-Honey Sauce »

Sage Mashed Potatoes

This fragrant recipes involves a few ingenious methods for infusing the herb’s brisk flavor into the mash. Get the recipe for Sage Mashed Potatoes »

Green Bean and Radish Salad

Quick-cooked green beans, radishes, and garlic are caramelized with honey for an elegant side dish. See the recipe for Green Bean and Radish Salad »

Leeks Vinaigrette

The origins of leeks vinaigrette–poached leeks in a mustardy dressing–are unknown, but it’s easy to imagine someone pulling them out of the stockpot once they had worked their magic, then seasoning them. See the recipe for Leeks Vinaigrette »

Braised Cabbage with Slab Bacon

Smoky bacon and plenty of garlic and onion boost the flavor of the cabbage in this winter side dish.

Cranberry Relish

This bracingly tart relish, from Matthew Jennings of Townsman in Boston is the perfect foil for a rich Thanksgiving spread. Whole pieces or orange flesh and peel add texture to balance the creamy smoothness of mashed potatoes and cornbread dressing. Get the recipe for Cranberry Relish »
Puréed Carrots with Orange and Ginger

Polenta with Corn and Wild Rice

Wild rice adds a toasted nuttiness to this dish, and breaking it up in a food processor allows the rice to cook at the same rate as the polenta. Cookbook author Amy Thielen advises to scrape the corn cobs with the back of a knife after you grate the kernels to extract as much of the corn liquid as you can. Get the recipe for Polenta with Corn and Wild Rice »

Potato Gratin

This classic gratin dauphinois, or scalloped potatoes, is one of our favorite comfort foods.
Get the recipe for Chamomile-Pickled New Potatoes with Beurre Blanc and Flowers »

Shredded Collard Green Salad With Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Shredded Collard Green Salad With Roasted Sweet Potatoes