Oven space is always a premium around the holidays. That big turkey takes up all the room! We need Thanksgiving Side Dishes NOT cooked in the oven, right? Well here you go!
I know you’ll find a new favorite so many amazing holiday side dishes to choose from! PLUS I’m sharing my best tips for stress-free holiday entertaining!
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.
For me, it is about family and camaraderie. It’s about reconnecting with those you love and giving thanks. Having extra time to spend with Dan.
What does Thanksgiving mean to you?
Tips for a stress-free holiday meal
Personally, I LOVE to cook Thanksgiving 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, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy for about fifty bucks! Ham & prime rib meals are also available. You will need to pre-order so check your local store for availability and prices.
Here’s the bottom line…. don’t stress – make it fun for everyone, including YOU!!!
So… having said that – if you are cooking Thanksgiving this year there is always so much happening in the kitchen, especially in the oven.
What about the 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 some great 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 Side Dishes NOT made and a must-have on every holiday table. This recipe has been in our family for over 100 years!
One of the BEST parts is that it only takes 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! 😋
Potatoes are traditional AND delicious! Here are more popular dishes
Mashed Potatoes with Cauliflower – a tasty twist on an everyday side dish! This updated alternative to traditional whipped potatoes makes them even better!
Sweet Buttered Rudabagas – This is my favorite 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? Use your pressure cooker to make delicious mashed potatoes AND gravy all in the same pot!
Store leftovers in ziplock bags. They are easier to fit into your crowded refrigerator!
Pass on the traditional green bean casserole dish. Instead, consider serving steamed, sautéed or pan-fried greens. A light side dish helps balance the heavy meal.
Steamed Brussels Sprouts – bright green and fresh, these are so easy to make! Only five minutes to steamed perfection!
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 and delicious. It’s the perfect side dish for almost any meal!
Instant Pot Green Beans – Filled with salty bacon, onions and garlic this Southern-style recipe is quick and easy to make in the pressure cooker!
Steamed Green Beans – Only three ingredients, this dish takes just minutes to make!
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 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!
Make-ahead Pasta 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 – 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 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 dishes.
Cranberry Sauce – Sweet, tart and crunchy homemade Cranberry Sauce is a must for holiday gatherings!
Grilled Side Dishes
Set your serving dishes out on the counter, along with the utensils. That way you won’t be scrambling last minutes to find a gravy boat/platter/bowl that’s just the right size!
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!
Slow Cooker and Instant Pot
This meal is a lot of work, consider making it a potluck! Everyone always brings their best dishes. You cook the 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 dish is made in the slow cooker. 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!
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 one of the best holiday side dishes. It’s affordable and easy to make. If you’re looking for a meat-free side, here are some options. The Chili Mac does have beef, but you could always substitute with a vegetarian option.
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!
Chili Mac and Cheese – super yummy and filled with beef, beans and 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 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!
Ok, I’m going to toss in just one holiday side dish that requires the oven, but you can make these the day before – Cloverleaf Rolls. You have to serve rolls, right? 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 some great holiday side dishes and tips to make your meal less stressful and more fun! Happy Thanksgiving!First Published: November 11, 2017 Last Updated: October 2020 to add new recipes and improve readability