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 with Horseradish and Pomegranate Seeds

Brussels Sprouts with Horseradish and Pomegranate Seeds
Brussels sprouts are zipped up with horseradish by chef Ken Oringer of Toro in Boston and New York. Get the recipe for Brussels Sprouts with Horseradish and Pomegranate Seeds »André Baranowski

Roasted Beets with Orange and Crème Fraîche

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. Get the recipe for Roasted Beets with Orange Crème Fraîche »Vanessa Rees

Cumin-Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

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

Coconut Beluga Lentils

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 »Andre Baranowski

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
This simple, satisfying side rounds out any Thanksgiving dinner. Get the recipe for Sautéed Brussels Sprouts »Helen Rosner

Mashed Yams with Lime and Honey

Mashed Yams with Lime and Honey
Creamy baked yams mashed with butter, lime juice, and honey make an easy, bright autumn side dish. Get the recipe for Mashed Yams with Lime and Honey »Helen Rosner

Creamed Brussels Sprouts

Creamed Brussels Sprouts
This creamy, savory preparation brings out Brussels sprouts' natural sweetness. Get the recipe for Creamed Brussels Sprouts »Maxime Iattoni

Maple Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes

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 »Maxime Iattoni

Soy-Braised Kabocha Squash

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. Get the recipe for Soy-Braised Kabocha Squash »Maxime Iattoni

Broiled Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Miso Glaze

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. Get the recipe for Broiled Spaghetti Squash with Walnut-Miso Glaze »Maxime Iattoni

Green Beans with Lemons and Capers

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 »Maxime Iattoni

Green Bean Salad with Feta and Mint

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. Get the recipe for Green Bean Salad with Feta and Mint »Maxime Iattoni

Sweet Potato Honey Fries with Curry-Honey Sauce

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 »Maxime Iattoni

Sage Mashed Potatoes

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 »Todd Coleman

Green Bean and Radish Salad

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

Leeks Vinaigrette

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. Get the recipe for Leeks Vinaigrette »Todd Coleman

Braised Cabbage with Slab Bacon

Braised Cabbage with Slab Bacon
Smoky bacon and plenty of garlic and onion boost the flavor of the cabbage in this winter side dish. Get the recipe for Braised Cabbage with Slab Bacon »James Oseland

Cranberry–Orange Relish

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–Orange Relish »Matt Taylor-Gross

Puréed Carrots with Orange and Ginger

Puréed Carrots with Orange and Ginger
Cookbook author Leah Koenig's family always served puréed carrots as part of their Jewish holiday repertoire. This version, from her forthcoming book The Modern Jewish Cookbook (Chronicle, 2015), gets amped up with ginger, garlic, and bright citrus. Get the recipe for Puréed Carrots with Orange and Ginger »Cory Baldwin

Polenta with Corn and Wild Rice

Minnesota, recipe, polenta, corn, 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 »William Hereford

Potato Gratin

Potato Gratin
This classic gratin dauphinois, or scalloped potatoes, is one of our favorite comfort foods. Get the recipe for Potato Gratin »Vanessa Rees

Chamomile-Pickled New Potatoes with Beurre Blanc

Chamomile-Pickled  New Potatoes with Beurre Blanc and Flowers
"We have always had a big potatoes-and-gravy culture in Denmark," says Danish chef Niclas Grønhøj Møller. "Once you get into summer and new potatoes start coming into season, white gravies—usually milk thickened and flavored with herbs like parsley—come back in style instead of heavier brown gravies." His fresh spin on the combination uses a bright, high-acid beurre blanc in place of a cream-based gravy, and features lightly crunchy pickled potatoes infused with chamomile, a flower that grows wild even in the city. Get the recipe for Chamomile-Pickled New Potatoes with Beurre Blanc »Chris Tonnesen

Shredded Collard Green Salad With Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Collard Green Salad, Senegalese Thanksgiving
The flavor of raw collard greens combines perfectly with tender roasted sweet potatoes and tangy, rich goat cheese in this hearty starter. Get the recipe for Shredded Collard Green Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Cashews »Ryan Liebe