The Thanksgiving Sides Celeb Chefs Can’t Stop Making

dinner table decoration

Thanksgiving sides can make or break your Thanksgiving spread. As everyone knows, the turkey usually receives top billing — and a prominent place on the table — but it’s the sides that are arguably the unsung heroes. So when it comes to side dishes, celebrity chefs don’t mess around. Here are their top picks for recipes that’ll thrill your guests — and you, right alongside them.

Mozzarella & Pomegranate Salad With Mint, From Padma Lakshmi

“This salad is great not only for Thanksgiving, but all other holiday gatherings as well. Peeling pomegranates can be labor-intensive, but that is really the bulk of your effort here. The mint adds a beautiful, herbaceous freshness, and the pomegranate is a bright, tart foil to the fatty cheese. Many supermarkets sell gumball-sized mozzarella pearls in water — use that if you can find them, so you don’t have to do any chopping. This is a beautiful, colorful addition to any table.”

Serves 4-6


  • 2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese in water, pearls or cubed, drained
  • 2 cups fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon sliced serrano chiles
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt and crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped or torn fresh mint leaves, for serving


In a large bowl, combine mozzarella and pomegranate seeds.

Add chiles, oil, vinegar, lime juice, and stir.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well again.

Garnish with mint just before serving. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Healthy Green Bean Casserole, From Ashlea Carver of All the Healthy Things

“I love that this healthier version of green bean casserole is made with simple, whole-food ingredients. And honestly, it tastes so much better than the traditional version made with canned soup!”


For the “Fried” Onion Topping:

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the Casserole Filling:

  • 24 oz fresh green beans
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 oz sliced baby Bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease 9×13 baking dish.

Make the Crispy “Fried” Onions: Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a large skillet. Once melted, add the sliced onion and sauté for 4 to 6 minutes or until the onions and started to become lightly golden brown and tender. Transfer the onions to a mixing bowl and then add the breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Toss until everything is combined and the onions are well coated in the breadcrumbs.

Blanch the Green Beans: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add the green beans. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then use a slotted spoon to remove the green beans and immediately transfer them to an ice water bath to stop them from cooking. Drain the green beans and transfer them to the casserole dish.

Make the Mushroom Sauce: Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms sauté until they become brown and tender, around 3-5 minutes. Then, add the minced garlic and thyme and sauté for another minute.

Next, sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and then stir until well-incorporated.

Lower the heat a bit and slowly stir in the chicken stock. Once everything is well-incorporated, stir in the half and half, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes until it has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon. If the sauce is too thick, you can add an extra 1/4 cup of broth.

Assemble the Casserole: Pour the sauce evenly over the green beans in the casserole dish. Stir gently to ensure that everything is well combined and the green beans are evenly coated with sauce.

Top the casserole with the “fried” onion mixture and then bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 until the casserole is bubbling along the edges and the top is golden brown. If the top of the casserole starts to become too brown, you can top it with foil to prevent it from burning. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Cornbread, From Carla Hall

A gorgeously simple cornbread with a surprising, sweet twist.


For the cornbread:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • ½ cup buttermilk 
  • ½ cup store-bought canned cream-style corn 
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon canola or other neutral oil

For the topping:

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) salted butter, softened 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar 
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract


  1. Place four 3.5-inch cast-iron skillets in the oven, then preheat it to 425ºF.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, creamed corn, and 1⁄4 cup oil.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Using oven mitts or pot holders, take the hot skillets out of the oven. Divide the remaining 1 tablespoon oil between the skillets, quickly tilting the pans so that the oil coats the bottom and sides, and then pour the batter evenly into the skillets. The batter will begin sizzling right away.
  4. Put the skillets in the oven and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about ten to thirteen minutes. Remove the hot skillets from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool slightly.
  5. While the cornbread bakes, prepare the cinnamon butter. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients with a rubber spatula. Stir until everything is mixed well and is an even color (no streaks). Transfer the butter into an airtight container. Serve the cornbread hot or warm with a dollop of cinnamon butter.

Brown Buttered Squash with Walnuts and Dates, From Alison Roman

“I am not a sweet vegetable person, but this squash with brown butter-fried walnuts, plump sticky dates and lots of flaky salt really does it for me. I like to use small squash like delicata or honeynut, both of which have tender, edible skin and seeds that I don’t bother removing (they crisp up as they roast, so so good). If you’re using a larger squash like butternut or kabocha, just cut into quarters (I still wouldn’t bother peeling, it’s also perfectly edible, or you can eat around it, like a baked potato).”

Serves 6–8

  • 2 pounds squash, such as honeynut, delicata, butternut, kabocha or acorn, quartered, seeds removed if you like, unpeeled
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 cup / 4 ounces walnut halves or pieces, pecans, hazelnuts or almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces dates, about 9, pitted and torn in half
  • 2 Tbsp. thyme, marjoram, or oregano leaves
  • Flaky sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 4 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Make sure all the squash is cut-side down and roast, without turning, until completely tender and deeply caramelized on the underside (squash will never quite look caramelized on top, only where it meets the sheet tray. To check for doneness, the skin of the squash should look like a slightly deflated balloon, but you can also use a spatula to peek on the cut-side to check it for browning), 45–50 minutes (the squash can be roasted ahead, if you want to reheat in the oven closer to serving, pop into a 425° oven for 10–15 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small pot or skillet over medium heat. Once it starts to foam but before it’s brown, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and walnuts. The nuts will foam up and disappear into the butter—don’t forget about them.

3. Swirl the pot, stirring constantly and continue to cook the walnuts in the browning butter. Eventually, the walnuts will toast and the butter will brown, 4–6 minutes. Remove from heat, add the dates and season with salt and pepper; remove from heat (this walnut/date mixture can be done ahead, just rewarm gently over medium heat before serving).

4. To serve, transfer squash to a large serving platter or shallow bowl. Spoon walnut/date mixture over and scatter with thyme, flaky salt and another good grind of black pepper.

DO AHEAD: Brown butter/walnut/date mixture can be made hours in advance; rewarm gently before serving. Squash can be roasted a few hours in advance, rewarmed (they are good room-temp, but great when warm).

LEFTOVERS: I don’t love how the butter solidifies when chilled, but even still, I would absolutely cut this squash up and eat it in a salad the next day. Or re-warm and eat with your leftover turkey.

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese, From Jessica Seinfeld

“Not only is this mac n’ cheese a big, cozy crowd pleaser, but it will impress any naysayer who thinks plant-based meals aren’t satisfying.”

Yield: 6 servings


For the macaroni and cheese:

  • For the macaroni and cheese
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1 pound short pasta, such as cavatappi, elbows, or small shells
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4½ cups unsweetened cashew or almond milk
  • 16 ounces (4 cups) shredded plant-based cheddar cheese (We like Violife)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the topping:

  • 1 cup panko or coarse dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leafed parsley


Position the oven rack about 8 inches from the top and heat the oven to 400°F.

Make the macaroni and cheese: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then salt it. Add the pasta and cook until it’s a few minutes short of al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven). Drain into a colander and pass under cold running water to stop the cooking. Shake out any excess water.

Meanwhile, to make the cheese sauce, in a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for about 3 minutes to cook out the raw flavor of the flour. Add 1 cup of the milk and whisk until it forms a smooth paste.

Continue to whisk in the remaining milk a little at a time, at first, to avoid lumps. Let the mixture reach a simmer while whisking often, paying attention to the corners where the flour can collect.

Remove from the heat and add the cheese, nutritional yeast, dry mustard, the ½ teaspoon salt, the black pepper, and the cayenne pepper. Whisk until creamy and smooth. Add the pasta and stir well to coat. Taste for salt; you may want to add a little more. Scrape the mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Make the breadcrumb topping: In a small bowl stir together the breadcrumbs, oil, salt, and pepper. Grate in the garlic and stir to combine.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the macaroni and cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling. Then turn on the broiler and broil for 1 to 3 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving and sprinkle the top with the parsley.

Classic Macaroni and Cheese, From Michael Schulson

Because who can say no to mac and cheese at any time of year? (Especially one from chef Michael Schulson, CEO and founder of Schulson Collective.)

Yield: 6 servings


  • 4 cup dry macaroni
  • 1ea whole egg
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • ½ lb grated fontina cheese
  • ½ lb grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper


Step 1: Boil pasta until very al dente

Step 2: Beat egg in a small bowl and set aside.

Step 3: In a larger pot, melt butter and add flour. Whisk together over medium heat, cooking for 5 minutes. Be careful to not burn.

Step 4: Pour milk into flour and butter mixture and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes until thick.

Step 5: Slowly add ½ cup of sauce into the beaten egg bowl. Whisk constantly as to not cook the egg.

Step 6: Pour egg mixture back into the sauce. Add cheese into the sauce and stir until melted. Add all spices and mix until incorporated.

Step 7: Mix cooked/ drained pasta into the cheese sauce, then transfer into a baking dish.

Step 8: Top with extra cheese if desired. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Step 9: Serve and enjoy!

Corn Soufflé, From Teri Turner of NoCrumbsLeft

“When I first moved out of my parents’ house, I sort of turned my nose up on my mom’s old-school recipes, feeling like I could create something better. But time has a way of changing things. I’ve now come full circle, because over the years I came to understand what old school recipes are about: family, love, and memories. My corn soufflé recipe isn’t the typical NoCrumbsLeft fare, but it is delicious just the same. Plus, corn soufflé couldn’t be easier to make. Most of the ingredients are store-bought, dumped in a bowl, and combined. Then you just put it all in a baking dish, and bake for about an hour until golden brown.”

Easy Holiday Corn Soufflé

Prep Time: 5 minutes 

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 6 servings


  • 2 cans creamed corn
  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 1 box Jiffy Corn mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick butter, melted


Pre-heat oven to 350.

Combine all ingredients well.

Grease a baking dish with butter or a non-stick cooking spray.

Bake for until cooked through and golden brown, about one hour. Enjoy!

Potato Gattò, From Ereka Vetrini

“Potato Gattò (Gattò di Patate) is a Neapolitan baked potato ‘pie’ stuffed with cheese, cured meats and topped with crunchy bread crumbs. Unlike traditional Thanksgiving mashed potatoes it can be made a day or two in advance which means more time with friends and family, less time in the kitchen. The best Thanksgiving sides are those that can be made ahead of time.”


  • 3 lb Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 Cup grated cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 Cup milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 8oz soppresata
  • 4oz smoked mozz
  • 4 oz fresh mozz


  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 Cup grated parm cheese
  • 1 Cup seasoned panko bread crumbs (seasoned with 1 Tbsp dried parsley, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and pepper to taste)


Preheat oven to 375F

Grease a casserole dish and dust with seasoned breadcrumbs

Boil potatoes until very tender, peel and run through a ricer or mash really well

Mix in butter, grated cheese, eggs, milk, salt, pepper, soppresata, smoked mozz and fresh mozz

Add mixture to casserole dish and top with breadcrumb topping (see above)

Bake for 30 minutes.

Brussel Sprouts With Toasted Walnuts, Pomegranate & Balsamic Reduction, from Donatella Arpaia

Says Donatella, brand ambassador for Philips Kitchen Appliances, “Brussels sprouts & the Air fryer are a match made in heaven! Their insides become tender while their outsides crisp to perfection. Thanks to the super-hot circulating air, they’re sweeter, crunchier, and more flavorful than if I had roasted them in the oven. Tossing them with pine nuts and tangy, pomegranate seeds add texture and brightness, finish with a balsamic glaze takes this dish over the top.”

Serves 4


  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved through the stems (cut larger ones in quarters)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of agave
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Zest of one lemon
  • ¼ cup crushed pine nuts
  • Half cup pomegranate seeds


Clean trim, and cut Brussel sprouts in half (consistent size). Place brussels sprouts in bowl and toss with half of the EVOO and sea salt. Then brush basket of air fryer and places vegetables in a single layer for crispiest result. Set to 375 Fry for 15 minutes, shaking basket halfway through. If you like it extra crispy set air fryer 400 for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, toast pine nuts and place on side. Then pour in balsamic vinegar and agave and simmer until thickened and starting to look syrupy, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent burning, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in remainder of olive oil. 

Place Brussel sprouts on Platter drizzle on pine nuts and pomegranates and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top as well as lemon zest

  • If you don’t have air fryer follow same instructions above except set oven to 400 for about 25 minutes.
  • *Prep Ahead: balsamic reduction can be prepared up to 3 days before hand, Day before clean and trim your Brussel sprouts.

Sausage Cornbread Stuffing From Anne Burrell

This Southern-style stuffing will be a hit regardless of which side of the Mason-Dixon you’re on.


  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 large onion, finely diced 
  • 3 ribs celery, finely diced
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely diced
  • 1 lb spicy sausage, casing removed, broken up into bit size chunks 
  • 10 sage leaves, finely chopped 
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, leaves chopped
  • 10 cups stale cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock 
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts 
  • 2 cups dried cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Coat a large sauté pan over medium heat, with olive oil and add the onions and celery. Season with salt and cook the vegetables until they start to become soft and are very aromatic. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the sausage and cook until the sausage browns. Sprinkle in the sage and rosemary and remove from the heat. 
  2. In a large bowl add the cornbread cubes, and toss in the sausage mixture. Add the chicken stock and knead with your hands until the bread is very moist and wet. Taste to check for seasoning and season with salt, if needed (it does). Stir in the walnuts and the dried cranberries. Transfer to an ovenproof serving dish. 
  3. Roast until the stuffing is hot all the way through and it is crusty on top. Remove from the oven and serve.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, from Katie Lee

If you’re anything like us, you could have brussels sprouts so many different ways, and we highly recommend this approach from the co-host of Food Network’s The Kitchen, which comes from her cookbook It’s Not Complicated.

“If I were to make a list of my top-ten successful recipes, this salad would be on it,” Lee says. “The dressing is bright and lemony; the sprouts are crunchy, with their bitterness perfectly balanced out by the sweet dates and creamy Manchego. I came up with the idea for it a few years ago around Thanksgiving. I find that everything else in the traditional meal is so heavy on the plate, and this salad adds the perfect pop of flavor. Bonus: You don’t have to take up any of that valuable oven space. If you want to stretch the salad, add a bag of arugula.”

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Total time: 15 minutes


  • ½ cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound (455 g) Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed
  • ¼ cup (35 g) chopped dates
  • ¼ cup (35 g) diced Manchego cheese
  • ¼ cup (35 g) chopped almonds


In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and shallots. Let stand for 5 minutes, so the acidity in the lemon juice can begin to break down the shallots. Whisk in the mustard and honey until well combined. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified. Season aggressively with salt and add pepper to taste.

In a food processor fitted with the slicing blade, process the sprouts until all are thinly sliced. (Alternatively, use a knife to thinly slice them, or buy a bag of already sliced sprouts in the produce section of your grocery store.) Add the sprouts, dates, cheese, and almonds to a salad bowl, drizzle with the dressing, and toss to coat.

The salad can be dressed 15 to 20 minutes in advance if you like more tender brussels sprouts.