It’s time to give thanks for family togetherness and extra yummy good food! Thanksgiving brings the family together around one table, giving hosts a chance to give thanks AND show off their cooking skills. While the main courses can vary depending on dietary restrictions, cultural background, and personal preferences, it’s the side dishes that allow for near-endless variation. This year, make your Thanksgiving side dishes a little “extra” to ensure there’s something for everyone attending your holiday meal. Include your family’s favorite classics along with a few new on-trend dishes, served on the finest Thanksgiving table decor from Ashley.

Thanksgiving Recipes & Side Dishes

There are hundreds of Thanksgiving sides to choose from, each with its own merits. In order to find the right selection for your celebration, consider including at least one side dish from each major category. For example, pick a cold salad or slaw, a hot starch or two, at least one green vegetable and another colorful veggie option, a creamy hot side dish or soup, and something healthy to round it all out. Of course, many Thanksgiving dinner sides fit into multiple categories at once. Just make sure you’re covering all the bases with at least a few different dishes, scaled to the number of guests you plan to host.

Start by looking for familiar recipes from friends and family members. If you’ve always loved your grandmother’s green bean casserole or aunt’s cornbread stuffing, you’ll be better off replicating their recipes from firsthand advice than online searches. It’s when the recipe is no longer available from a familiar source that it’s time to start searching. Don’t be afraid to also try new and unfamiliar recipes to spice up your Thanksgiving routine. Just be sure to give each recipe a try shortly before the holiday to ensure it doesn’t need a lot of tweaks before the big day.

Best Thanksgiving Recipes for the Family

Keep Thanksgiving vegetable sides simple and classic to make them appealing to all ages. Save jazzed-up green bean casserole recipes for gatherings where unusual ingredients will be appreciated. If you’re trying to please guests from ages 8 to 80, turn to reliable versions that everyone is familiar with already. When looking for healthy Thanksgiving sides that encourage guests to eat exotic ingredients like kohl rabi or quinoa, that’s when you should turn to high-rated gourmet recipes.

For classic favorites, consider creamy mashed potatoes made from Yukon Gold taters, green bean casserole topped with fried onions, and a stuffing that’s relevant to your tastes or regional preferences. A fan of Southern cuisine? Try setting out dishes of oyster dressing, creamy yellow squash casserole, and red cabbage coleslaw. Cornbread, yeast dinner rolls, and savory cheddar biscuits provide a highly piled bread plate for passing around. Some side dishes for Thanksgiving even border on desserts despite being served with the main dish. A sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows is optional but highly recommended for guests that can’t get enough of it.

Don’t forget seasonal roasted vegetables, ranging from butternut squash to golden glazed carrots. If you’re following a specific diet like paleo or keto eating plans, swap out carbohydrate-heavy starches for roasted mushrooms, charcuterie boards, and grilled cheese blocks. It’s easy to find side dish options for every preference, right down to side dishes featuring hot ingredients like cashew-based vegan cheese, wild-harvested mushrooms, or middle eastern vegetables.

Serving Options for Thanksgiving Sides

No Thanksgiving side dish is complete without an elegant serving dish to present it in. The serving platters you select for the holiday don’t necessarily have to be themed. Even simple, attractive serving ware that matches the general decor of the room will give a cohesive look to the table. Wood and marble serving boards display finger foods like cheese arrangements or crudites in an earthy style. Look for autumnal color schemes, such as platters in rich gold, red, or burnt orange. Eye-catching bowls and dishes make sure that side dishes don’t get overlooked when tables are full with dozens of delicious options. Glass platters and dishes are a classic option for letting the most attractive side dishes show themselves off to your hungry guests.

Displaying Your Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Of course, you’ll want to let your guests know exactly what you’re serving after picking out a range of side dishes to meet every preference. Make sure your Thanksgiving tabletop decor includes display options for the whole menu as well as holders for individual dish labels. For the easiest process of buffet-style self-service for the holiday, make sure all labels include allergen information and notes on ingredients. You should also provide the entire Thanksgiving dinner menu somewhere near the entrance of the room. This gives guests a chance to review the menu before anything is served so they can make requests or ask questions about dish ingredients in case of dietary restrictions or allergies.

Thanksgiving Table Decor Ideas

Serving dishes and dining sets set the theme for the holiday. Yet there’s more to table decor than just dishes. Lanterns and candle holders provide mood lighting and double as a centerpiece without requiring any further ornamentation. For a rising centerpiece that ties the entire room together, try setting out a wreath in the middle of the table and filling it with decorative pumpkins and seasonal details. Don’t forget finishing touches like themed napkin rings and decorative bows for dining room chairs.

How Many Side Dishes Should I Make for Thanksgiving?

Scale your menu, especially the number of different side dishes you make, to the projected number of guests. Cook for the maximum possible number of guests since you can always share the leftovers if you have a smaller-than-expected crowd. You’ll generally want at least four to five side dishes even if cooking for only a small number of people. For a crowd of six or more, make sure you’re serving at least 8 to 10 different side dishes to avoid having to make too many dishes of any one recipe. Include vegan Thanksgiving sides and healthy options when serving a crowd you don’t know well since you can’t always get answers about dietary restrictions ahead of time.

Prepare for a Thanksgiving that will warm everyone’s heart with a little help from Ashley. Our holiday table decor and dining sets make planning the meal much easier.