5 Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Stand Out This Year

Thanksgiving might just be the most eagerly awaited meal of the year. And while the turkey is the undisputed star, the truth is that this grand gobbler would be nothing without its culinary co-stars: the seasonal sides which add...

Thanksgiving might just be the most eagerly awaited meal of the year. And while the turkey is the undisputed star, the truth is that this grand gobbler would be nothing without its culinary co-stars: the seasonal sides which add up to a truly magnificent meal. Whether you're tired of your side dish standbys or just looking to add something new to your Thanksgiving spread this season, consider these five fabulous sides guaranteed to give that basted Butterball some comestible competition.

Thanksgiving side dishes
Every star needs a supporting cast.

1. Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

Just four ingredients add up to brown butter bliss in this truly luscious recipe from chef star Michael Symon. Just boil and rice the potatoes, cook the butter to a golden brown, and combine with milk and crème fraîche.

As if the sublime promise of this recipe wasn't enough to add it to your Thanksgiving menu, here's one more reason to give it a try: these magnificent mashed potatoes can be made a day in advance and warmed in the oven when you're ready to serve them -- the perfect load lightener during the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving Day.

2. Cast-Iron Blistered Brussels Sprouts

The unsung heroes of any Thanksgiving meal, Brussels sprouts help keep things healthy while imparting some serious flavor to your feast. This Southern Living recipe is all about balance, incorporating honey, soy sauce, red pepper and fresh mint for the perfect combination of savory and sweet with some cast-iron caramelized goodness taking things over the tasty top.

An added bonus? the majority of this recipe ingredients are found in the average pantry, helping to keep your shopping list short.

For a simpler four-ingredients take, check out Ina Garten's classic Roasted Brussels Sprouts -- a mainstay among "Best of" Thanksgiving foods.

3. Slow-Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

When oven and stovetop square footage are at a premium, this slow-cooker recipe from Southern Living comes to the rescue. The citrus sauce imparts refreshing brightness to this set-it-and-forget-it dish. And did someone say bacon?

If you're cooking for a smaller crowd and have oven space to spare, meanwhile, Twice Baked Sweet Potato Boats with Bacon-Pecan Topic are a mouthful -- both in name and as an addition to your Thanksgiving meal. The best part? While your dinner guests will think you slaved away in the kitchen for hours, this recipe is surprisingly simply -- particularly with the right tools, including a pastry blender and food processor.

Thanksgiving side dishes
How will you raise the bar at this year's Thanksgiving feast?

4. Classic Sage and Sausage Stuffing (or Dressing)

Whether you're in the stuffing or dressing camp, this recipe is positively packed with rich flavor. Not to mention that while some stuffings get soggy, this one bakes to a crisp, golden brown.

This Serious Eats recipe also makes a great base for adding in favorite flavors of your own choosing, such as nuts and dried or fresh fruit. It can also be prepared in advance, refrigerated, and baked on the big day. (For an above-and-beyond, crowd-pleasing presentation, we recommend Stuffing Muffins.)

5. Mini Cornbread Puddings

Speaking of muffins, we bring you cornbread, Martha Stewart-style. Part muffin, part pudding and all delicious, these are anything but the crumbly, dry cornbread passed around (and passed on) at many Thanksgiving tables. In fact, Martha's muffins reach new levels of moistness thanks a secret ingredient in the batter: sour cream.

And remember: Just because your whole family loves that green bean casserole with crispy fried onions on top doesn't mean you can't try something new every once in awhile. After all, nothing becomes a favorite without someone giving it a chance first, and there's no end when it comes to epicurean experimentation -- just one more thing to be grateful for this holiday season. Browse Cilantro The Cooks Shop's selection of cookware and much more to bring your culinary dreams to life this Thanksgiving and throughout the year.