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After four rounds and more than 18,000 votes, we can confidently declare that the best Thanksgiving side dish is ... Stuffing!

To participate in round three, vote for your favourite side in each head-to-head battle. Voting will close at midnight and reopen the next day, and so on, until we have crowned a Thanksgiving side champion. Illustration by The Globe and Mail

In food, as in life, there are favourites, and then there are winners. When it comes to choosing which sides to prepare alongside the turkey for your Thanksgiving feast, it can be hard to know which direction to go.

Click to download a PDF of The Globe’s 16 sides of Thanksgiving.

After four rounds and more than 18,000 votes, we can confidently declare that the best Thanksgiving side dish is ... Stuffing!

Click for recipes for each of the eliminated side dishes:

Did the best side win? Some Globe staffers think we were wrong to exclude their favourite dish. Tell us here or by leaving a comment if we missed your number one pick.

23 expert tips to elevate your Thanksgiving food, mood and everything in between

Get the Thanksgiving side dish recipes

Rustic cheese rolls or loaf

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill
  • 1 cup grated old Cheddar cheese
  • 341 mL (12 ounces) wheat beer or lager
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously butter a loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add the dill and cheese and stir to coat with flour. Stir in beer and mustard until the mixture forms a dough. You may need to knead the dough with your hands to bring it together.

Turn the dough into a buttered loaf pan and use a damp hand to smooth the top, or shape it into rolls. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until light golden and firm to touch.

(Also great: This simple white bread loaf recipe or, for a tomato twist, try this cheese and tomato loaf.)

Corn bread

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup grated cheddar
  • 1 green chili, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease an 8-inch baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Combine milk, butter and egg in a medium bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry. Stir in cheddar, chili and cilantro. Do not overmix.

Scrape into the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and firm. Remove from the oven and cool. Cut into squares.

Sweet potato with crispy Parmesan brûlée

  • 4 1/2 cups cooked sweet potato, about 3 large, baked
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Chopped chives

Mash sweet potato in a large bowl with a fork then stir in whipping cream, orange juice, chives and ginger; season with salt and pepper. Alternatively, use a food processor but do not blend until it’s mush – it should have some texture.

Scoop into a gratin dish that will go under the broiler. Combine Parmesan and brown sugar and sprinkle over gratin. Broil until the top is caramelized, about 2 minutes. Garnish with chopped chives. This dish can be reheated in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes.

Squash crisp

  • 2 pounds squash, buttercup or kabocha, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream or sour cream


  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Place squash and stock in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover and cook until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Drain well and mash with a potato masher or fork. Mix in nutmeg, salt, pepper, egg and cream.

Place squash in a greased baking dish. Combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle over squash. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.

Roasted potatoes

  • 2 pounds large Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, chicken or beef fat
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Herbs such as sage or rosemary, optional

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut potatoes in half then cut each half into thirds. Place in a pot and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 7 minutes.

Drain water and place pot back on burner. Shake pot to rough up surface of potatoes to give them crunchy edges. If they don’t rough up enough, use a fork to give them some ridges. Toss with olive oil or fat and season with salt and pepper, and herbs if using.

Place in a single layer on a baking pan or cookie sheet and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through.

Make-ahead mashed potatoes

  • 3 pounds (1.5 kg) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup deli-style cream cheese
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp mashed roasted garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place potatoes in a saucepan with cold salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain and return to pan over low heat to dry off.

Mash potatoes with a masher, put through a food mill or beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

Whisk together cream cheese and egg yolks in a separate bowl. Beat into potatoes. Beat in butter and roasted garlic. Season well with salt and pepper. Pile into a buttered 11-by-7-inch gratin dish and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

To reheat, bake in a 350 F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. These can be made up to two days in advance.

Roasted Brussels sprouts with shallot compote

  • 6 large shallots, unpeeled
  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 ounces (225 g) Brussels sprouts, cut in half
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Add shallots and garlic to a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain and remove skins. Cut shallots in half lengthwise.

Heat butter and oil in a heavy sauté pan (one that has a lid) over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots and sauté for 1 minute. Add Brussels sprouts and toss everything together. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley.

Green beans with pistachios

  • 1 pound green beans, topped and tailed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shells removed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place green beans in a large pot of boiling water and boil for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and refresh with cold water to keep from overcooking.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add pistachios and sauté for 1 minute. Add beans and sauté until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Mushroom gravy

  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms (or any mushroom you like), stems removed
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 cup rich beef or chicken stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan over medium heat, gently brown the onions and garlic in the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until heated through. Sprinkle in the flour and stir until it dissolves. Add the wine, stock and cream. Bring to a simmer. Continue cooking for a few minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in the fresh thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Basic cranberry sauce

  • 12 ounces (375 mL) fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar, brown sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • 1 cup water or orange juice
  • Optional flavourings: Whole spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cardamom or chilies, vanilla, grated orange, lemon or lime zest

Mix cranberries with sugar (or honey or maple syrup) in a medium saucepan. Stir in water or orange juice, bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the cranberries pop. Cool and refrigerate.

For extra flavour, simmer with whole spices (remove before serving) or vanilla or grated citrus zest.

Oven-baked sausage and apple stuffing

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 10 ounces (300 g) sausage meat removed from casing, crumbled
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups cubed egg bread
  • 1 cup grated apple
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup apple cider or juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery and sauté for 2 minutes or until beginning to soften. Add garlic, then crumble in sausage meat and sauté for 2 minutes or until meat loses its pinkness. Stir in spinach, sage and rosemary and cook for 1 minute or until wilted. Stir in bread and apple.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then stir in egg and apple cider. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place in a buttered gratin dish and cover with foil. Bake for 35 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 more minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Mac and cheese

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 500 g grated Swiss or Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound macaroni noodles cooked to al dente


  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 F. Melt butter in saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium-low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes – flour should not colour. Pour in milk and whisk until it comes to a boil.

Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Return pan to low heat, stirring constantly until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper. Add cooked macaroni noodles and pour into a buttered 9-by-13-inch casserole dish

Combine melted butter, thyme, parsley, Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over macaroni. Bake covered for 10 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes or until sauce bubbles and top is browned.

Pumpkin pie

  • 2 cups pumpkin
  • 1½ cups whipping cream
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Combine all filling ingredients and whisk by hand or beat with an electric mixer until well mixed.

Pour into the pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F and bake for about 45 minutes or until the filling is set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Maple pecan pie

  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup (80 g) turbinado or golden brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup (80 g) pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons (40 g) butter, melted
  • ¼ cup (30 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (130 g) finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (130 g) pecan halves
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 360 F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, maple syrup and butter. Whisk in the flour and then the chopped pecans. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell and place the pecan halves on top in concentric circles.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown.

Roasted cauliflower head

  • 2 large heads of cauliflower, whole
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk, cold
  • ½ heaping cup grated Comte cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Prep each cauliflower by removing any outer leaves with a paring knife. Cut carefully so that each cauliflower remains whole. Trim the stems so that each one can sit flat.

Fill a large pot three-quarters full with well-salted water and bring to a boil. Add one cauliflower head to the boiling water, floret-side down, and allow to cook with the lid on for 6 to 8 minutes. Test the cauliflower for doneness by gently piercing with a knife. The stalk should be softened, but still firm. As it will continue to cook in the oven after, leaving the cauliflower a little undercooked is better than overcooking at this stage.

Carefully remove the cauliflower from the boiling water using two large slotted spoons or a spider. Place the cauliflower on a large plate for 10 minutes and allow any excess liquid to steam and strain off. Repeat with the second cauliflower.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour over medium-high heat to form a roux. Allow to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes while continuing to whisk occasionally. Gradually whisk in the cold milk a little at a time, making sure it is fully incorporated between each addition. Whisk in the grated cheese until it is fully melted and a smooth mixture is achieved. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Lay a piece of parchment paper across the surface of the sauce in order to prevent a skin from forming. Keep aside until the cauliflower is ready.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Place each blanched cauliflower stem-side down in a parchment-lined glass baking dish. Divide the olive oil in half and pour evenly over the entire surface of each cauliflower. Place in the oven and allow to bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until the entire surface of the cauliflowers become deeply browned and roasted. Rotate halfway through baking.

Once the cauliflower has become sufficiently roasted, remove it from the oven. Discard the parchment from the surface of the mornay and re-whisk the still-warm sauce until smooth. Spoon half of the sauce over each cauliflower and pop the whole thing back in the oven. Cook again for 5 more minutes. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and serve immediately.

Pan-roasted vegetable medley

  • 8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 250 grams parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 250 grams carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 250 grams Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
  • 2 tablespoons slivered sage leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Place garlic cloves in a small pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute then drain. Remove skins.

Heat butter in a large sauté pan. Add parsnips and carrots and sauté for 4 minutes or until they begin to turn golden. Stir in Brussels sprouts, garlic and sage. Season with salt and pepper. Cover pan and turn heat to medium-low. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Remove cover and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes or until vegetables are deep golden. Can be made ahead of time and reheated.

With files from Globe staff and contributors

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