Oven space is always a premium around the holidays. The Thanksgiving turkey takes up all the room! We need Thanksgiving Side Dishes NOT cooked in the oven, right? Well here you go! Delicious side dishes and timeless classic dishes you and your family will love!
I know you'll find a new family favorite with so many amazing holiday side dishes to choose from!
PLUS I'm sharing my best tips for stress-free holiday entertaining!
- Holiday Side Dish Recipes
- Tips for a stress-free holiday meal
- Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes and Rutabagas
- Delicious Greens
- Pan-Roasted Vegetables
- Make-ahead Pasta Salads and Bean Salads
- Cranberry Sauce and Apples
- Grilled Side Dishes
- Air Fryer Recipes
- Slow Cooker Recipes and Instant Pot Side Dishes
- Pasta Side Dishes
- Green Salads
Holiday Side Dish Recipes
Are you planning your holiday menu? If you're looking for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner ideas, we're sharing the best holiday side dish recipes! You'll find traditional recipes that will be the perfect addition to your dinner.
You'll also find some new favorites - loads of easy recipes the whole family will enjoy.
Thanksgiving without a doubt is my favorite holiday. I love family time. Watching sports with my brother, giggling with the girls and talking cameras and taking pictures with Dad. I love the holiday season and that big thanksgiving feast!
For me, it is about family and camaraderie. It's about gathering around the dinner table and reconnecting with those you love and giving thanks.
Tips for a stress-free holiday meal
Personally, I LOVE planning for the big day! The Thanksgiving menu is filled with easy recipes, family favorites and cooking dinner. But I also recognize that isn't for everyone!
- Go out to a great restaurant - pick your favorite, something everyone would enjoy!
- Order take-out, it's ok! Order enough for dinner and a bit extra. That way when you're looking for leftovers you'll still have a great late-night snack in the refrigerator.
- Grocery stores offer a complete Turkey dinner - turkey, traditional stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy for an affordable meal! Ham and prime rib meals are also available. You will need to pre-order so check your local store for availability and prices. It's an easy way to make your day stress free!
- For the big day, make easy Thanksgiving side dishes and traditional family favorites. The Christmas menu isn't the time to try a new recipe!
Here's the bottom line.... don't stress - make it fun for everyone, including YOU!!!
So... having said that - if you are cooking Thanksgiving or Christmas this year there is always so much happening in the kitchen, especially in the oven. (But don't worry, if you don't have an oven, use your slow cooker! Grab this recipe for slow cooker turkey breast with stuffing!)
What about the Thanksgiving or Christmas side dishes? Is there enough room to cook them in the oven?
What's a gal/guy to do when everything needs to be done at the same time?
Don't use the oven of course!
Today I wanted to share with you the best Thanksgiving Side Dishes that aren't cooked in the oven! You're going to find at least one (probably more!!) new recipes everyone will love!
Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes and Rutabagas
Make the gravy a day (or two!) ahead. You can even freeze gravy. Just reheat prior to serving!
Candied Sweet Potatoes - This is one of our favorites Thanksgiving Sides and this sweet potato recipe is a must-have on every holiday table. It only uses a handful of ingredients. This recipe has been in our family for over 100 years!
One of the BEST parts is that this easy recipe only has four ingredients! AND it can be made ahead, (up to three days)! The only problem with that is... they may disappear from the refrigerator before Thanksgiving Day! 😋
It's my most favorite of all sweet potato recipes!
Put a container of maple syrup on thanksgiving table so guests can make the potatoes extra special with a drizzle of sweet glaze!
If you'd prefer to stick with a traditional Make-ahead Sweet Potato Casserole, you'll be happy with this amazing dish. Topped with crunchy pecans, it can be made up to two days ahead. Use your slow cooker instead of the oven to bake the recipe.
Potatoes are traditional AND delicious! Here are more popular dishes
Mashed Potatoes with Cauliflower – a tasty twist on an everyday popular side dish!
This updated alternative to traditional whipped potatoes is the perfect balance of potatoes and cauliflower.
Sweet Buttered Rudabagas - This is my favorite root vegetables side dish - hands down! I know... you think I'm crazy right? BUT they are so good! They are also easy to make. Simply boil until tender, drizzle with milk or cream and top with rich, creamy butter.
Baked Potatoes - Don't worry about stuffing them in the oven next to the turkey, break out the Instant Pot. They take just minutes and are just as delicious!
Pressure Cooker Mashed Potatoes - No room in the oven, no room on the stovetop? You still need mashed potatoes, they are Thanksgiving staple! Use your pressure cooker to make delicious mashed potatoes AND gravy all in the same pot!
If you'd prefer serving a sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving Dinner and have a little extra room in the oven, this recipe for Bourbon Sweet Potatoes is sweet with a crunchy topping - delicious!
This make ahead Crockpot Au Gratin Potatoes Recipe is simple and delicious comfort food!
And if you're looking for a delicious Wild Rice Dressing be sure and check out this recipe for Crockpot Stuffing!
Cornbread Stuffing - this is an easy recipe that uses simple ingredients. The best part is it's made in your crockpot.
This parsnip mash with garlic is so savory and good! It would be a great addition to your Holiday table! Easy to make, creamy parsnips mashed with garlic, butter and Parmesan cheese.
Store leftovers in ziplock bags. They are easier to fit into your crowded refrigerator!
No room in the oven? Instead serve steamed, sautéed or pan-fried greens. A light side dish helps balance the heavy meal.
And of course your Christmas side dish recipes will not be complete without green bean recipes, right? You can check out several yummy ideas below!
Minced fresh herbs, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or freshly grated parmesan cheese will dress up almost any side dish!
Steamed Brussels Sprouts - bright green and fresh, these are so easy to make! Only five minutes to steamed perfection!
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts - these are so yummy, pretty and festive when topped with pomegranate seeds.
Another great recipe is this Ranch Roasted Brussels Sprouts - this recipe is made in the oven and roasted the sprouts caramelizes them - so yummy!
More Brussels sprouts? Yes please! This recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts is easy to make and delicious!
Sautéed Swiss Chard - The combination of greens and garlic is tantalizing. Braising the greens and garlic together makes the vegetables savory and delicious!
Southern-Style Collard Greens - This classic dish is easy to make. It's the perfect side dish for almost any meal!
Instant Pot Classic Green Bean Casserole - Filled with salty bacon, onions and garlic. Unlike the traditional green bean casserole it's made in the pressure cooker.
Steamed Fresh Green Beans - Only three ingredients, this dish takes just minutes to make!
No Thanksgiving meal is complete without Classic Campbells Soup Green Bean Casserole, it's an all time favorite. No room in the oven? Instead make it in your slow cooker!
Keep your side dishes warm by lining the cooler with foil. Wrap the heated side dish(s) in a towel and stack them inside. Close the lid tightly.
Pan Roasted Vegetables - Fresh crisp vegetables are lightly sautéed in butter and olive oil until caramelized and sweet. This vegetable casserole dish takes only minutes to make and delivers BIG on flavor!
Sautéed Brussel Sprouts - Cooked in butter and olive oil and season simply with salt they caramelize to become sweet and tasty. A handful of pomegranate arils are so festive and yummy!
Sautéed Portobello Mushrooms - pan-fried with bacon, onions and seasoned with ranch dressing. These are for your mushroom lovers and will be the first thing gone from the buffet.
Make-ahead Pasta Salads and Bean Salads
Set the table the day before - one less thing to do on Thanksgiving Day!
Salads are always great on the buffet and a terrific holiday side dish. - often made ahead they are a super simple side dish that everyone enjoys!
Macaroni Pasta Salad - Everyone loves this easy salad because it's filled with salty bacon and loads of crunchy vegetables in a creamy sauce - bonus? You can make it ahead!
Bow Tie Pasta Salad Recipe - This salad is present at every family gathering! No mayo, filled with vegetables and seasoning and topped with Italian dressing. No mayo so it's perfect for your buffet.
Ham Pasta Salad - A real crowd pleaser this has salty ham, feta cheese, crunchy vegetables and loads of pasta.
Mediterranean White Bean Salad - this is great served warm or cold. A yummy vegetarian option for your buffet.
Cranberry Sauce and Apples
Cranberry Sauce can be made ahead and frozen - take out of the freezer two days before to thaw.
No holiday table is not complete without Cranberry Sauce! You can always serve canned, but homemade is so much better! It's actually so much easier to make than you think and one of the BEST Thanksgiving side dish recipes.
Cranberry Sauce - Sweet, tart and crunchy homemade Cranberry Sauce is a must for holiday gatherings!
Fried Apples Recipe - made with crisp apples, brown sugar and spices. This simple side dish can be made up to three days ahead.
Make a double batch of these, because they will be the first thing to disappear. Better than the Cracker Barrel Fried Apples, this will be so popular!
Freezer friendly, this classic recipe can be made ahead as well.
Grilled Side Dishes
Set your serving dishes out on the counter, along with the utensils the day before. That way you won't be scrambling last minutes to find a gravy boat/platter/bowl that's just the right size! It's great way to get organized ahead of time.
Bacon Wrapped Asparagus - no room in the oven? Make it on the grill. This shares the process step by step.
Vegetables Foil Packets - Wrapped in foil and tossed on the grill these are just fantastic. Bonus? Clean up is a breeze!
Grilled Asparagus - No Bacon? No problem! Asparagus is so easy to make on the grill and the smoky flavor makes them even better!
Air Fryer Recipes
You're going to do a lot of chopping and slicing over the next few days. Sharpen your knives today so they are ready on Thanksgiving Day!
- Air Fryer Maple Glazed Carrots - so easy to make in the air fryer, you'll love the flavor from pure maple syrup.
- Are you making deviled eggs for a side dish? Air Fryer Boiled Eggs will free up some space on top of the oven.
- Air Fryer Roasted Pineapple - this recipe works great as a side dish or appetizers. The edges of the pineapple get crispy and caramelized, delish!
- No rolls, no problem! Make Air Fryer Garlic Bread instead - I love that crispy crust!
Slow Cooker Recipes and Instant Pot Side Dishes
This meal is a lot of work, consider making it a potluck! Everyone always brings their best sides and most popular thanksgiving recipes. It's a welcome addition and there will be a ton of different options. You make the roast turkey and let others fill in with great Thanksgiving side dishes.
Looking for more recipes using your pressure cooker? I have a whole post with 40+ side dishes made in the pressure cooker - click here to find a new favorite recipe!
Creamed Style Corn - this is an easy slow cooker recipe. Frozen corn, cream cheese, butter, milk and seasonings. Toss everything together, set the heat and that's all there is to it for the creamiest corn around!
Instant Pot Corn on the Cob - This is a dish I make year-round. Shuck the corn, toss it in the pressure cooker with water and set the timer. Quick, easy and always delicious!
How about making your Thanksgiving Stuffing in the crockpot? This cornbread recipe is absolutely delicious!
Pasta Side Dishes
Ask your guests to bring a dessert and set up a sweets buffet. Add a bowls of Hershey's kisses, m&m's and peppermint candies for a little extra something sweet!
Pasta is a great best holiday recipes. It's affordable and easy to make. Or if you're looking for a meat-free main dish as well. Here are some options. The Chili Mac does have beef, but you could always substitute with a vegetarian option.
Here are more terrific holiday recipes!
Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese - Drool-worthy comfort food just got that much easier! Ditch the box and make your own using your pressure cooker!
Pasta Puttanesca - Using pantry ingredients, this budget friendly pasta is a real show stopper and takes less than 30 minutes to make! I just love that rich flavor.
Chili Mac and Cheese - super yummy and filled with beef, beans and cheese. If you want to lighten it up, just leave out the meat for a vegetarian option!
Easy Lemon Pasta - with bright fresh flavors you can skip the turkey and just serve this as your main course!
Of course you can't make the salad the day ahead, but you can make the vinaigrette! Put it together in a screw top jar up to three days ahead. Then just shake it when it's time to serve!
Your Thanksgiving spread needs a salad - but not any old salad, the holidays deserve something special!
Fall Harvest Salad - filled with butter lettuce, roasted butternut squash, Fuyu persimmons, red onions and topped with a Topped with a creamy homemade salad dressing. This is a perfect Thanksgiving side dish.
Iceberg Wedge Salad - Yummy, crunchy and topped with your favorites this beautiful salad
Steakhouse Salad - This one is my personal favorite. It has fried salami, loads of salty olives and plenty of fresh vegetables. The dressing takes just a minute to make. This is not your everyday salad!
Honey Glazed Orange Salad - Ok... this one runs a close second! Fresh oranges and greens with a homemade vinaigrette and topped with crunchy pistachios - YUM!!!
Shaved Brussel Sprout and Kale Salad - packed with loads of crunchy greens and topped with bright fresh fruit. So pretty and perfect for autumn.
Fresh Garden Salad - A crunchy fresh salad is always a great compliment to your meal. Adding a handful of blueberries makes it a little special. This salad is delicious!
Pumpkin Soup is a lovely way to start your meal - this is a vegan soup and would be a great optional for your non-meat eating friends. It's one of the classic Thanksgiving side dish recipes.
Of course no meal is complete without dinner rolls - this recipe is super easy!
Or these homemade Cloverleaf Rolls are absolutely divine. These are tender and buttery, drool-worthy and delicious!
Hmmm.... but you may have to make two batches because as soon as they come out of the oven everyone is going to want one! 😋
It's easy to say, but the most important thing is to not stress. Have a great meal. Enjoy your time and visit with family and friends. Make memories, that's the most important thing!
And for my fail-safe Holiday Turkey Recipe just click here!
I hope you found new delicious recipes and helpful tips to make your meal less stressful and more fun! Happy Thanksgiving!First Published: November 11, 2017 Last Updated: May 12, 2021 to add new recipes and improve readability