Top 5 Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Top 5 Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Nov 20, 2020Bearded Butcher Blend Seasoning Co.

For some people, Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes. The perfect side dishes will compliment your turkey by adding flavors, textures, and colors to your Thanksgiving menu. There's no limit to the number of excellent side dish recipes out there you can make this Thanksgiving.

We have a video and a blog post for you on our favorite way to make the tastiest Thanksgiving turkey, and we hope you check that out. But today, we would like to share some of our favorite classic holiday side dishes and show you some of the spins we put on them to make them our own. Plus, we'll give you great recipes that you can use to get consistent results and make your Thanksgiving meal a complete success.

Glazed Pecan and Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

What's more inviting than a gooey, warm casserole dish filled with baked sweet potatoes? This is a classic, and an all time favorite of ours. Not only is this a crowd pleasing dish, it's also easy to make. The sweet potatoes can be prepared ahead of time to save effort on the big day.

Wash, peel, and cube the potatoes. Place the potatoes in a pot and add enough apple cider to reach halfway up to the level of potatoes, then top off with filtered water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving the liquid. Return the liquid to the stove top and reduce to about 1/2 cup over medium-high heat.

In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar with one tablespoon of filtered water. Heat until the sugar has dissolved, then combine with 1 cup pecans. Stirring constantly, cook pecans for about 5 minutes, then spread on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet to cool and set, about 30 minutes.

The potatoes can be mashed, riced, or pureed. We prefer to use a food processor to get a smooth texture.

Add 4 tablespoons butter to the pot of reduced liquid, along with 1/3 cup real maple syrup and three tablespoons dark brown sugar, then bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the mashed or pureed potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon Bearded Butcher Blend Chipotle Seasoning, and the bourbon. Combine with a whisk or spoon.

Melt enough butter to coat the bottom of a casserole pan. Spread potato mixture evenly into the pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine mini marshmallows with the glazed pecans and top the potatoes. Bake for 20-25 minutes until marshmallows are golden and the potato mixture is bubbly.


  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes

  • 2 cups apple cider

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, divided

  • 1 cup pecan halves or pieces

  • 1/2 tsp Bearded Butcher Blend Chipotle Seasoning

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (can substitute real vanilla extract)

  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus additional for coating pan

  • 2 cups mini marshmallows


  1. Wash, peel, and cube sweet potatoes, then boil until tender in apple cider and water mixture. Drain and reserve liquid. Mash or puree potatoes.

  2. Reduce reserved liquid to about 1/2 cup, then add 4 Tbsp butter, 1/3 cup syrup, 3 tbsp dark brown sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat.

  3. Melt 1/4 cup brown sugar with 1 tbsp water, add pecans and cook 5 minutes. Spread on cookie sheet to cool.

  4. Combine potatoes with liquid, Chipotle seasoning, and bourbon. Whisk, then spread in a buttered casserole dish.

  5. Toss pecans and marshmallows together, then top the potatoes.

  6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until marshmallows are golden and potato mixture is bubbly. Serve warm.

Gluten-Free Skillet Honey Cornbread

One of the more disappointing things for those who are Celiac, or have a gluten-restricted diet is the lack of gluten-free side dishes at Thanksgiving. Did you know that cornbread can be made entirely without flour? That's right, and today, we will give you our recipe for the best gluten free corn cake you'll ever try. It's so easy to make and doesn't require a trip to the specialty store for gluten-free flour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9" cast iron skillet with butter. Place in the oven to warm.

Measure out two cups of coarse ground cornmeal. You can use either yellow or white cornmeal, or even a mixture. Place half of the corn meal in your food processor or blender and process until it's a flour-like texture. This step will give you a more tender crumb than using cornmeal alone. Whisk the flours together with the baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, honey, and 4 tablespoons melted butter. Add corn kernels and stir to coat.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour liquid ingredients in. With a spoon, combine until just mixed. The batter will have small lumps. Over-mixing will result in a tough, inedible cornbread.

Carefully remove the skillet from the oven, ensuring the butter hasn't burned. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. It should sizzle when the batter hits the hot metal. This gives the dark, golden brown edges and tender center you are looking for.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Brush melted butter on the top and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.


  • 2 cups cornmeal, yellow or white

  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 4 tbsp butter, melted, plus more for topping

  • 1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh, frozen, or canned

  • 1/4 cup honey


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 9" cast iron skillet and place in the oven to heat.

  2. In a food processor or blender, grind 1 cup cornmeal until a smooth texture has been achieved. Combine cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

  3. Mix buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and honey to combine. stir in corn kernels.

  4. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients. Stir just until combined.

  5. Pour into hot cast iron skillet. bake 20-25 min until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Bacon Green Bean Casserole

We all know that "typical" green bean casserole. It's often slimy and a weird green-gray color, and the best part is those fried onions. You'll be surprised to find that this recipe is almost as fast and simple to make as the one using canned beans and mushroom soup. Simply make this side dish using wholesome, fresh ingredients and watch that dish get licked clean. The addition of bacon fat and pieces gives this a rich, delicious extra flavor.

For the onions: thin slice a yellow onion. You'll want a sharp knife for this task. We recommend the Victorinox 6" boning knife for getting uniform, thin slices. Beat an egg in a shallow bowl with one tablespoon of milk, salt, and pepper. Coat the sliced onions in flour or cornstarch, then dredge in the egg. On a plate or shallow dish, coat onions in breadcrumbs. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and bake at 475 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Try not to eat them all.

While the onions are baking, you can blanch the green beans. Simply snap off the ends, then cut in half the green beans. Bring a large pot of water to boil with a good amount of salt. Use at least a tablespoon. Put green beans in boiling water and continue boiling until all of the beans are bright green, about five minutes. Immediately drain and rinse in cold water until the green beans are cool to the touch. You can add a few handfuls of ice to help speed up the process. The goal of blanching is to soften the bean, but prevent it from overcooking.

Now, we are going to make a simple mushroom gravy. In a heavy-bottom sauce pan, sauté bacon pieces and add Bearded Butchers Blend Original Seasoning. Toss in sliced white mushrooms and sauté on medium-high heat, stirring regularly. Add in the garlic. The mushrooms will let off moisture as they cook. If there is too much moisture, sprinkle with flour or cornstarch lightly to absorb. Next, add in chicken broth and simmer for several minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and add cream. Stir regularly until gravy is thick, about 10 minutes.

Add in the green beans and a handful of the fried onions. Pour into a casserole dish and top with remaining fried onions. You can refrigerate the covered dish up to three days ahead of time, then finish it the day of festivities if you would like.

Place the casserole dish in a preheated oven at 400 degrees and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool slightly before serving.


For the Onions:

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • salt and pepper
  • Flour or cornstarch
  • Panko crumbs or homemade bread crumbs.

For the Casserole:

  • 1 lb fresh green beans, snapped and halved
  • 8-10 slices of bacon, chopped in 1/4" pieces
  • 1 tbsp Bearded Butchers Blend Original Seasoning
  • 1 8 oz package white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed, crushed, or minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half


  1. Slice onions thin, flour. Lightly beat egg and milk. Dredge onions in batter, then toss with breadcrumbs. Bake in preheated oven at 475 degrees 20 to 25 min until golden brown. Set aside.

  2. Bring water and salt to boil. Add green beans and boil 5 min until bright green. Drain and rinse in ice cold water. Set aside.

  3. Sauté bacon pieces with Original seasoning in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add mushrooms and garlic, then sauté 5 min. Absorb excess moisture with flour or cornstarch as needed. Add chicken broth and cream. Thicken on medium low heat, stirring regularly about 10 min.

  4. Combine gravy, green beans, and a handful of onions. Pour into casserole pan, then top with remaining onions.

  5. Bake 10 to 15 min until golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm.

Cheddar Bacon Mashed Potatoes

Everyone loves mashed potatoes, and this recipe takes it up a notch or two. You can make a gravy to go with this recipe, but it's not really necessary. These fluffy mashed potatoes are stars all to themselves. The key to getting a fluffy mashed potato is to remove as much starch as possible. Selecting the right potatoes is a good stat. Use red or russet potatoes. Avoid Yukon gold potatoes as they will give a smoother, stickier result.

Wash and peel the potatoes, then cut into 1" pieces, being as consistent as possible. Rinse well to remove starches. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to an active simmer, cover, and cook potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse in cool water, then return to the pot. Allow potatoes to steam off excess moisture, about 2 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine butter and heavy cream until melted. Pan-fry bacon, then cut into small pieces, about 1/8". Discard bacon grease.

Use a potato ricer to get the fluffiest potatoes. A masher will work, but be careful not to overwork the potatoes. Mix in the bacon and cheddar cheese. Fold in chives. Add cracked black pepper and salt to taste.


  • 6-8 potatoes, red or russet, or a mix of the two
  • 4-6 slices of hickory-smoked bacon, fried and drained.
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • Chives, cut in 1/8" pieces
  • 1 tbsp salt, plus more to taste


  1. Wash and peel potatoes. Cut into 1" consistent pieces. Cover in cold water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook 15-20 minutes. Potatoes are ready when a fork slides in and out easily. Drain and rinse, then return to the pot to dry.

  2. Melt butter and cream in small saucepan. Fry bacon and chop into small pieces, draining and discarding grease.

  3. Use a ricer to mash potatoes, then and cream mixture and bacon, gently stirring. Add chives and fold. Serve hot.

Drunken Cranberry Sauce

There are few Thanksgiving side dishes more necessary for your table than classic cranberry sauce. We all love the canned stuff, there's just something about the way it looks that's so appropriate for the season. It's almost as easy to make this homemade, cranked up cranberry sauce as it is to open a can. Plus, it's a great conversation piece.

Place port and sugar in a large, heavy-bottom saucepan. On low heat, stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Add in cranberries and cook on medium-high heat to a low boil until the skins burst. stir in grated orange peel and cook on low heat five minutes. Cool, then cover. This can be made three days in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve. Spritz with lemon juice.


  • 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup Port wine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp grated orange peel


  1. Combine sugar and port in sauce pan. Heat on low until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add in cranberries and cook on medium-high heat until skins burst.
  3. Stir in grated orange peel and cook 5 minutes on low heat.
  4. Cool, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. A spritz of lemon juice will brighten the flavors.

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays to plan a menu for. There are so many wonderful recipes, and nothing is better than a table loaded with delicious side dishes to complement that amazing turkey. This is a holiday that's all about family, friends, food, and thankfulness, and we appreciate the opportunity to share our recipes with you.



The Bearded Butchers are dedicated to providing as much information as we possibly can to help you understand how to best process and prepare meats of all kinds. To help you, we maintain a blog and YouTube channel with lots of free, high-quality information. The Bearded Butchers and are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This means that The Bearded Butchers may receive a commission if you click on a link above and make a purchase on



More articles