10 unique Thanksgiving side dish recipes

Chicken with pecans and wild rice on a plate with a fork to the side on a gray background
Photo credit: BWFolsom/Getty Images

We at MakeItGrateful.com love, love, love all the tried and true Thanksgiving side dishes that have been passed on for generations: sweet potato casserole, sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberries…

But sometimes, it’s fun to mix things up and toss a modern twist onto the menu! These 10 Thanksgiving side dish recipes are still seasonal and fit right in with your feast, but will add just a little something interesting that will have your guests talking for years.

Pomegranate, pear, pistachio salad with pomegranate dressing

Amongst all the heavy, rich casseroles on Thanksgiving Day, it’s refreshing to have a cold, crisp, fresh salad. Look no further than this fruity Pomegranate, pear, pistachio salad with pomegranate dressing from Carlsbad Cravings. It offers loads of crunch and texture to cut through those other creamy dishes.

Buffalo cheddar beer bread and bacon stuffing

Look, if there’s one thing to spend a lot of time cooking on Thanksgiving (other than the turkey), it has to be the stuffing. And this Buffalo cheddar beer bread and bacon stuffing from Half Baked Harvest takes the cake. Bacon, cheddar, scallions, blue cheese and cilantro take this dressing to a whole new level.

Buffalo cheddar beer bread stuffing for Thanksgiving side dish

Sweet potato and caramelized onion mac and cheese

If you’re looking for something a little untraditional this year, skip the regular macaroni and cheese and dish up Sweet potato and caramelized onion mac and cheese! It’s still hearty and rich, but the onions add a subtle sweetness and and the sweet potatoes add a healthy touch. Yum!

Sweet potato and caramelized onion mac and cheese Thanksgiving side dish

Rosemary-maple cornbread muffins

You can’t eat a Thanksgiving feast without having some sort of bread to sop up all the extra gravy and sauces. But don’t bake boring biscuits—instead get creative with this recipe for Rosemary-maple cornbread muffins that boasts a slight sweetness.

Rosemary Maple Cornbread Muffins for Thanksgiving side dish

Vanilla bourbon cranberry sauce

Sure you can do cranberry sauce from a can. But why? This Vanilla bourbon cranberry sauce from Were Far From Normal takes few ingredients and little time, but will knock the socks off the canned stuff.

Vanilla Bourbon Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving side dish

Baked artichoke hearts

I think the reason artichokes are so delicious is because they’re pretty rare. Other than the occasional artichoke dip, you rarely see artichokes on any menu. Change that this year with this recipe for creamy Baked artichoke hearts from The Life Jolie.

Baked Artichoke Hearts for Thanksgiving side dish

Creamy confetti corn with bacon

Not every Thanksgiving table will feature corn or bacon. But to impress your guests, give them both with this Creamy confetti corn with bacon from Cooking Classy recipe. It adds a pop of color and is a totally appropriate dish for the fall season.

Cranberry apple pecan wild rice pilaf

This holiday side dish has all of autumn’s typical flavors, but in one hearty recipe. Tart cranberries, crisp apples, toasted pecans and filling wild rice shine in this Cranberry apple pecan wild rice pilaf from Carlsbad Cravings that would be an unexpected surprise on your table this year.

Apple Cranberry Wild Rice Pilaf for Thanksgiving side dish

Creamy collard green gratin

Move over green bean casserole, Thanksgiving has a new side dish in town. This recipe for Creamy collard green gratin brings the greens, the creaminess and a touch of Southern charm to your Thanksgiving table.

Creamy Collard Green Gratin for Thanksgiving side dish

Pesto mashed potatoes

You can have regular mashed potatoes any day of the week. But on Thanksgiving Day, serve something special, like these Pesto mashed potatoes. They pack a punch of flavor, but aren’t any more difficult to make than regular mashed potatoes. Win, win!

Pesto mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving side dish