Turkey may be the main event, and everyone may love pie for dessert, but most of a Thanksgiving meal consists of sides.
While every guest may have their personal favorite walking into your holiday dinner, they’ll walk out with a new favorite as soon as you introduce them to one of these spectacular side dishes.
From old classics perfected to mad scientist creations, here are the best Thanksgiving side dishes to wow guests this year.
1 Green Bean Casserole
You might find yourself eating a lot of Thanksgiving dishes on any other afternoon in November, but green bean casserole is nearly universally reserved for the holiday table. While you can debate the merits of creamy green beans on a random Monday night, there’s no debate about this excellent crowd pleaser on the Thanksgiving table. Skip the store-bought soup and frozen green beans for true home-made flavor from scratch (but stick with canned fried onions for a mix of ease and flavor).
See the recipe at America’s Test Kitchen
2 Charred Sweet Potatoes With Hot Honey Butter
Heavy sweet potato dishes tend to put guests to sleep right at the table, if not for the caloric smackdown of sweet potato and marshmallows, then from utter boredom. These spicy taters are neither boring nor ridiculously filling, but they will add a pleasant zing to any Thanksgiving meal. Mixing hot sauce with butter makes the ideal spread for sweet potato’s comforting heft, while pumpkin seeds, lime, and a nice char add further intrigue.
Find the recipe at Bon Appetit
3 Pull-Apart Stuffing Rolls
Take a cue from your corner pizza place and inject some garlic knot deliciousness into your Thanksgiving meal. Super doughy knots combine with sausage, sage, celery, onion, and garlic to create a new holiday classic. Be careful not to lose a finger as you set these down in front of ravenous guests.
See the recipe at Serious Eats
4 Creamed Dried Sweet Corn
It may take a little advance work to order dried sweet corn in time for the holiday, but that extra effort means everyone at the table will likely be unfamiliar with this stellar side, making it all the more delicious. A Pennsylvania Dutch tradition at Thanksgiving time, dried sweet corn is soaked overnight in milk and cream, then mixed with sautéed onions and chives for fresh bite.
Find the recipe at Epicurious
5 Salt and Vinegar Mashed Potatoes
What’s your secret, your guests will demand. Oh just a little salt, you’ll respond coyly. These classic-looking mashed potatoes come hiding secret weapons, salt and vinegar, which drive the creamy dish into flavor overload. They’re like your favorite potato chips turned into a heaping bowl of holiday love.
See the recipe at Food52
6 Quinoa Salad
After the pull-apart stuffing rolls and creamed corn, not to mention turkey and pie, your guests may desperately search the table for something a bit lighter to fill out their plates. This quinoa salad is perfect for balance. It’s dead simple, can be made ahead of time, doesn’t require heating or refrigeration, and will please vegetarian attendees.
Find the recipe at The Kitchn
7 Pimento Mac and Cheese
Trust in Martha. The one and only Martha Stewart amps up mac and cheese with this pimento-inspired take, spiked with cayenne, mustard powder and Worcestershire sauce. Baking the mac in the oven with plenty of eggs, sour cream and onions results in a creamy mass of utter, irresistible Thanksgiving indulgence.
Get the recipe at Martha Stewart