Fall Fest: Winning Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Ace your Thanksgiving with these all-star side dishes.
By: Caitlin Heikkila

Cooking Channel Truffled Cheese Mash Beyond The Basic Mash-Potatoes

Photo by: Armando Rafael Moutela ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved. 2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Armando Rafael Moutela, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved. 2014, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s be serious. The sides are the real stars of the Thanksgiving dinner table. Once your plate is piled high with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing and cranberries, the bird is hardly the main event.

We've rounded up our go-to picks for each category, but tell us: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish? Vote in the comments as we give thanks to our picks.

1. Mashed potatoes are comfort food royalty. Dress them up for the Thanksgiving holiday with truffles and cheese (pictured above), and you may earn VIP spud status for life.

2. Get your greens Thanksgiving-style with a classic green bean casserole. This version uses only fresh ingredients and no canned stuff, so put that onion-soup mix away.

fresh-green-bean-casserole-recipe

fresh-green-bean-casserole-recipe

Fresh Green Bean Cassarole

Photo by: Marshall Troy ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Marshall Troy, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

3. Simplicity rules on Thanksgiving when there are so many flavors on one plate. Bay leaves and thyme bring out the best in oven-roasted butternut squash, with large Kosher salt crystals to add a bit of crunch.

Laura Calder - Roasted Squash.

Photo by: Adrian Mueller ©2012, Adrian Mueller / AMueller.com, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Adrian Mueller, 2012, Adrian Mueller / AMueller.com, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

4. Candied yams are a traditional Thanksgiving debate: sweet or savory? If you opt for sweet, try topping yours with gingersnap cookies in lieu of marshmallows.

©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

5. If cranberry sauce conjures memories of gelatinous, can-shaped goo, we suggest  this homemade version. Undertones of vanilla and orange balance the berries' sweet-tart taste for instantly better Thanksgiving memories.

Looking for more picks? Here are other Thanksgiving side classics from friends and family:

Jeanette's Healthy Living:  100 Healthy Holiday Side Dish Recipes

Big Girls, Small Kitchen:  Maitake, Leek & Bacon Dressing

The Cultural Dish:  Pumpkin Risotto
Napa Farmhouse 1885:  Sweet Potato Biscuits
Daisy at Home:  Roasted Cranberry Pear Sauce

Elephants and the Coconut Trees:  Baby Lima Beans Salad with Bell Pepper and Pomegranate

Dishing With Divya:  Ash Gourd Raita
Dishin & Dishes:  Stuffin Muffins
Keep Reading

Next Up

Fall Fest: Top In Season Thanksgiving Sides

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year's feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we're bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Fall Fest: Carrot Recipes to Covet

Turn carrots into soup, salad, dessert and even jam with these clever ideas.

Healthiest Thanksgiving Sides

Get maximum flavor and enjoyment out of Thanksgiving without getting overly stuffed by incorporating lots of nonstarchy vegetables into side dishes.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes That'll Hold Up to Reheating

Get make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish recipes that will reheat well on Cooking Channel, including cranberry sauce, stuffing and more.

Fall Fest: Bring On the Brussels Sprouts

Get Cooking Channel's favorite Brussels sprouts recipes just in time for Thanksgiving.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Sides

The great news is that most side dishes are either meatless or can be made without meat very easily (and just as deliciously).

Fall Fest: Cauliflower and Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese

Take your Dutch oven out from its seasonal hiatus to host a twist on Rachael Ray's Cauliflower Mac 'n' Cheese.

Summer Fest: 5 Ways to Prepare Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are available most of the year, but the fall season is truly when they shine as that is when the fresh crop comes in.

On TV

Sinful Sweets

7:30am | 6:30c

Sinful Sweets

8:30am | 7:30c

Sinful Sweets

9:30am | 8:30c

Food Quest

10am | 9c

Carnival Eats

10:30am | 9:30c

Carnival Eats

11am | 10c

Carnival Eats

11:30am | 10:30c

Carnival Eats

12pm | 11c

Carnival Eats

12:30pm | 11:30c

Carnival Eats

1pm | 12c

Carnival Eats

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Good Eats

3pm | 2c

Good Eats

3:30pm | 2:30c

Good Eats

4pm | 3c

Good Eats

4:30pm | 3:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

MasterChef Canada

8pm | 7c

Big Bad BBQ Brawl

10:30pm | 9:30c

Good Eats

11pm | 10c

Big Bad BBQ Brawl

2:30am | 1:30c

Good Eats

3am | 2c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Episodes Sundays 8|7c

Last-Minute Sides

So Much Pretty Food Here