3 Delicious Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Plus 8 Side Dishes You Can Prepare In Advance


Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving Side Dishes are the usual array of delicious comfort foods, a festive table, and the company of family and friends.

Thanksgiving at its finest! If you need to downsize your guest list this year, we want to help

3 Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Among our recipes is Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. Butternut squash is rich in vitamin A, a nutrient that promotes good vision and a healthy immune system.

Today’s soup contains 400% of your daily vitamin A needs.

This soup can be made two or three days in advance. Serve with panko garnish after heating.

Another side dish that requires little food preparation is Rice Medley Salad with Apples and Raisins.

In addition to providing dietary fiber, this salad contains 3 grams of fiber per serving.

The Sweet and Sour Harvest Slaw is a side dish that does not require the oven or the stovetop.

The best way to serve it is to toss it with dressing before serving. Napa cabbage has a mellow flavor but does not hold up to extended marinating like green or purple cabbage.

You can make the dressing ahead of time and refrigerate it. Leave the apple and green onion prep for the day of serving, and chop the cabbage and bell pepper the day before.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Serves: 6 (1 cup serving) / Prep time: 20 minutes / Total time: 1 hour
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 173 kcal


  • 8 cups about 2 small peeled, seeded butternut squash chunks
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons tub margarine divided
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled, minced
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons sherry
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives


  • 375°F is the recommended temperature for the oven. Sprinkle squash chunks with oil and place on a sided sheet pan. Then toss to coat. Until squash is tender, roast it for 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon margarine in a large stockpot over medium heat and sauté onions, garlic, and sage for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Put roasted squash and broth in a stockpot and bring to a boil.
  • Puree soup with an immersion blender, food processor, or blender.
  • Using a food processor or a regular blender, puree soup in batches. Stir sherry into soup and return to pot.
  • Cook soup topping in a small sauce pan with remaining 2 teaspoons margarine.
  • Toast panko bread crumbs until golden brown.
  • Allow crumbs to cool for about five minutes after removing them from the heat.
  • Add Parmesan cheese and chives. Cheese and bread crumbs can be garnished on top of the soup.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 173kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 343mgFiber: 4gCalcium: 137mg
Keyword buttenrut, roasted butternut soup, squash soup
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Rice Medley Salad with Apples and Raisins

Rice Medley Salad with Apples and Raisins

Rice Medley Salad with Apples and Raisins

Serves: 6 (about 2/3 cup per serving) / Prep time: 15 minutes / Total time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 188 kcal


  • jar with a tight-fitting lid
  • large bowl


  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild and brown rice blend such as Lundberg Wild Blend rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced apple Honeycrisp or Fuji work well
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 4 thinly sliced green onions green and white parts


  • Follow package instructions, using 1 1/2 cups of water and omitting salt and oil if necessary.
  • After rice has been cooked, rinse it under cold water until it has cooled completely.
  • Set aside after draining well.
  • Mix orange juice, vinegar, oil, sugar, salt, and black pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
  • All ingredients should be combined in a jar and shaken well.
  • The drained rice, apples, raisins, green onion, and dressing should be combined in a large bowl.
  • Stir gently to combine.
  • Before serving, refrigerate for at least six hours or overnight.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 188kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 3gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 37gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 170mgFiber: 3gCalcium: 20mg
Keyword rice, rice salad, rice salad wit apples and raisinis, rice salad with apples
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Sweet and Sour Harvest Slaw

Sweet and Sour Harvest Slaw

Sweet and Sour Harvest Slaw

Serves: 6 (3/4 cup per serving) / Prep time: 15 minutes / Total time: 20 minutes
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 122 kcal


  • jar with a tight-fitting lid
  • large bowl


  • 3 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
  • 1 cup diced apple such as Honeycrisp
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onion
  • 1/4 cup pepitas


  • Mix vinegar, sugar, water, oil, salt, and black pepper in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake to combine.
  • Make a large bowl with cabbage, apples, blueberries, red peppers, and green onions.
  • Toss slaw with dressing and drizzle over. Serve slaw topped with seeds.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 122kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 3gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 182mgFiber: 3gCalcium: 47mg
Keyword Harvest salad, sweet and sour, sweet and sour salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Thanksgiving Side Dishes You Can Prepare In Advance

Some people think the side dishes are the best part of Thanksgiving. The best-mashed potatoes are made with baking-type russets, not round white or red potatoes, which can become glue-like when mashed.

Prepare your Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Side Dishes feast step by step, dish by dish, as early as possible.

Peel, chop, grate, mix, chill: There’s no rest for the (organized) cook the night before Thanksgiving.

Preparing the traditional feast may seem monumental, but it’s not so overwhelming if you break it down into snippets of work.

Here are some tips for the unorganized cooks among us who might like to get a head start on the Thanksgiving Side Dishes prep work:


Because of food spoilage, you should not mix the stuffing or stuff the bird until just before it goes into the oven.

However, to save a last-minute frenzy, you can chop all the ingredients and prepare them to combine on Turkey Day.

Keep your dry and wet ingredients separated until just before you begin cooking.
When it’s time for the big show, empty the containers of wet and dry ingredients into a bowl, add the liquid, give them a good toss, and you are good to go.

Mashed Potatoes

Probably the most frequently asked question the day before Thanksgiving is whether potatoes can be cooked and mashed ahead of time.

The answer is yes. Here’s what to do:

Make your mashed potatoes, as usual, a day ahead, put them into an airtight container, and store them in the refrigerator. Afterward, reheat them in the microwave or in an oven-safe covered dish.

If you are ambitious, you can even freeze mashed potatoes. Just whip them as usual, then drop big dollops onto a wax-paper-covered cookie sheet and freeze.

Pull the dollops off the paper and drop them into a freezer bag when solid. To reheat, put the dollops in a microwave bowl and heat until hot, stirring occasionally.

Sweet Potatoes

Most sweet-potato recipes can be made in advance. If your recipe calls for melted marshmallows or a crumb sprinkle on top, wait to add those when the casserole is reheated.

Green-Bean Casserole

This one is so simple that it’s probably easier to just wait until you’re ready to cook it, but if you want to do the prep in advance, wait to add the french-fried-onion topping until just before the casserole goes into the oven.

Tip: You will find the green bean casserole recipe inside a Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup label.

Dinner Rolls

For yeast rolls, follow the recipe, allowing the dough to go through the first rise as usual. Once the rolls are shaped, place them on baking sheets.

For the second rise, instead of placing rolls in a warm spot, cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator. They will rise slowly overnight.

When ready to bake, remove them from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you start baking.


You can make gelatin molds, relish, pies, or freezer salads well in advance, but keep them cool or refrigerate until just before serving.

If you’ve made relish and run short on refrigerator space, you can put the bowl of relish in a cool place — like the garage — and it will do just fine. Just don’t forget where you put it.

Whipped Cream

This is tricky. Once whipped, the cream will hold in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, although you might need to whip it a bit more before serving.

You can make stabilized whipped cream that will hold up overnight. To do that, combine 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin and 4 teaspoons of cold water in a small saucepan.

The gelatin must be stirred constantly over low heat until it dissolves. Allow it to cool. When whipping the cream, add the cooled gelatin mixture once the cream begins to thicken. Continue beating until the cream is stiff.

Cookbook author Flo Braker advocates another method. She whips the cream a few days before and freezes dollops on top of pies or other desserts.

Braker says to whip the cream to the consistency you like, use a pastry bag to pipe it out onto foil, and then freeze.

When solid, put mounds of frozen cream into freezer bags. To serve, place frozen scoops of cream on top of pie slices about 15 minutes before serving.


If you want honest-to-goodness pan gravy, it has to be done at the last minute; there’s no getting around it. But we did find some instructions for a semi-do-ahead gravy in Rick Rodgers’ book, “Thanksgiving 101” (Broadway Books, $15).

Here’s what Rodgers says to do: A day or two in advance, whisk together 112 tablespoons butter with 112 tablespoons flour in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.

Cook about 3 minutes until lightly browned.

Whisk in 1 cup of stock or broth (it can be canned or from scratch) and bring it to a simmer.

Cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. This makes one cup of gravy base that can be refrigerated for about two days.

Immediately after the turkey is removed from the oven, pour the drippings into a glass measure and cool for about 5 minutes.

Skim off the fat, then pour the drippings into the roasting pan. Add the refrigerated gravy base and whisk while bringing it to a boil.

Cook about 10 minutes until thick. Depending on how much drippings you have, this will make about 112 cups of gravy. For more gravy, double the recipe for gravy base.


Pumpkin and fruit pies can be made a day in advance. Pumpkin pie should be refrigerated, but if you are out of refrigerator space, you can leave it at room temperature for a few hours. Fruit pies will hold up at room temperature for one day.