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Brown Wooden Chopsticks on White Ceramic Bowl

Ranking My Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes

November 24, 2021 3 min read 20 Comments

We all know about the stars of Thanksgiving…the main characters, turkey and ham. But what about the supporting cast, the secondary stars of the show; the side dishes. I mean without the sides, can the main dishes even shine?

The stuffing, the creamy mashed potatoes, the corn on the cob, the green bean casserole, the mac ‘n’ cheese, … yep, I can take this train to foreverville. For now, I present you with a definitive and completely non-subjective ranking of some of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes!

GRAVY

It was a tough choice…okay that’s a lie, it wasn’t tough. And yes, it’s a side! There’s something so fulfilling and delicious about gravy that it actually gets my first place slot. I put it on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.  As a matter of fact,  I could eat it by itself—with a spoon, with a straw, over here, or over there! It’s especially delightful when you get a couple of tender turkey bits in every bite!

CANDIED YAMS 

I personally love anything sweet so candied yams would have to take the second spot. All that honey, raw sugar, fall spices (like nutmeg & cinnamon), a dab of butter, and baking flavors like vanilla, almond, and dare I say…rum, all just melts together to make a delicious treat. Have it for dessert, breakfast …or anytime you want a lil’ something sweetly satisfying. 

STUFFING 

Thanksgiving just ain’t Thanksgiving without some stuffing! Whether you go Little Red Hen and make it from scratch or decide on putting your own flair to a box version, by all means don’t leave this satisfying bread symposium of onions, celery, peppers, turkey drippings off your menu!

SALAD

I eat so much rabbit food during the year that another day can’t possibly hurt.  It’s one of my favs because you can go simple (classic spring mix, cherry tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette or more decadent (gourmet cheeses & fruits), this palate cleanser can help get your mouth ready for servings number 1, 2, or 3 if you have the room!

MAC ‘N’ CHEESE  

I have a love-hate relationship with mac and cheese but Thanksgiving just isn’t complete without some ooey-gooey-cheesy goodness! A good-aged cheddar, milk, a little seasoning, pinch of sugar, a smidgen of finely chopped onions, and bread crumbs and you’re on your way to making your mac and cheese saaang.  

ROLLS & BREADS

Carbs? Enough said! There’s just something about the smells of fresh-baked rolls and bread (even if it’s out of a can), with a dab of butter/margarine slowly cascading down the mountain of carbs that makes it one of the sides that also must make it to the Thanksgiving round table.

WILD RICE

This one is a side I regularly eat with things like salmon or baked chicken.  But guess what? It’s just as fabulously with Turkey.  The mellow flavorings and long grains can be just what you’re looking for if you want rice with a bit more panache. 

GREEN BEANS

If this isn’t a mainstay Thanksgiving veggie, then what in the Thanksgiving is? It doesn’t overpower other side dishes or compete with other veggies at the table. It’s just always happy to be invited to the party!

CORNBREAD

In theory, cornbread should be at the very top of this list or perhaps in the category of rolls and breads. Yet with its rustic crumble and gentle sweetness, it’s a nice addition especially if you get the edges lightly crispy. The only bad thing is you may find yourself eating piece after piece after piece, and before you know it, no more room for food.


All in all, Thanksgiving is a day to cherish fun memories, eat good food, and spend time with loved ones. So gobble til you wobble and enjoy your time off!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

20 Comments

  • Helen Claire Little November 25, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    Oh wow! I’m from the UK and I’ve never seen candied yams! I need to try this. And everything else on your list! Yummy!

    • annaelleliz November 26, 2021 at 11:59 pm

      They are delish! Hands down my sweet treat for Thanksgiving! Some sweet potatoes, butter, sugar and some flavor + spices are all you need!

  • theweekendfox November 25, 2021 at 11:53 am

    Yum! I think Thanksgiving is alllll about the sides. Lol I love candied yams and brussel sprouts!

    • annaelleliz November 26, 2021 at 11:58 pm

      Right? That’s what I’m talking about! Gotta give the side dishes the love they deserve 😂

  • Richelle Milar November 25, 2021 at 2:50 am

    Wow! These are all really delicious side dish! I cant choose one cause I love all of it, however my kids really loves mac n cheese!

    • annaelleliz November 26, 2021 at 11:57 pm

      Can’t go wrong with some mac ‘n’ cheese 🧀

  • pacioalita9 November 25, 2021 at 1:03 am

    oh, so tough choice here but If I have to rank them too, iL go for salads and cornbread

    • annaelleliz November 26, 2021 at 11:56 pm

      Oooh, good choices! It’s the butter on the straight-out-the-oven cornbread that always gets me 🍴😋

  • Beth Pierce November 25, 2021 at 12:57 am

    These are all great but gravy will always be on top of my list. I always make my own gravy every thanksgiving

    • annaelleliz November 26, 2021 at 11:55 pm

      Right there with you on the train to gravy town 🚂. Put a cup in a bowl and I’ll eat it like soup!

  • terristeffes November 24, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    I love my mom’s dressing and I’d have to add her homemade noodles.

    • annaelleliz November 26, 2021 at 11:53 pm

      All about the dressing! And whaaat homemade noodles? I’ll have to attempt to make some next year!

  • mriveraediblesense November 24, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    My first would have to be mac and cheese followed closely by collard greens.

    • annaelleliz November 26, 2021 at 11:53 pm

      Mmm, collard greens are just *chef’s kiss* with some Turkey and stuffing!

  • skigrl985 November 24, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    I’ve never done mac n cheese at Thanksgiving! My kids would love if I added that 😉 And I agree with gravy. Just drip a little over everything for me!

    • annaelleliz November 26, 2021 at 11:52 pm

      Ohh I can’t remember a time we didn’t have mac ‘n’ cheese..okay maybe one year, lol! The gravy is what makes Thanksgiving!

  • Lisalisa November 24, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    I too love them all but my favorite would be the Yams!

    • annaelleliz November 26, 2021 at 11:49 pm

      Right there with ya! It’s my favorite Thanksgiving treat!

  • Amber Myers November 24, 2021 at 4:54 pm

    Oh yum, I love all of these. It’s tough to rank! I just like to eat.

    • annaelleliz November 26, 2021 at 10:47 pm

      Haha! It’s hard to choose, especially for Thanksgiving when you have sooo many options!

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