20 Thanksgiving Side Dishes That Travel Well

20 Thanksgiving Side Dishes That Travel Well

Kelli Foster
Nov 17, 2016

If your Thanksgiving involves hopping on the train or settling in for an hour-long car ride, fret not — there are plenty of side dishes that can stand up to the journey. Whether you're lucky enough to have access to precious oven space or you need a dish that can be prepared in advance and ready to hit the table as is, we have plenty of options that travel well. From fresh slaws to pillowy dinner rolls, these are the sides we reach for when hitting the road for Thanksgiving.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

1. Thanksgiving Slaw

Swap the leafy greens for more hearty shredded cabbage, and you won't have to worry about this festive slaw wilting anytime soon. Plus you'll be the person that remembered to bring something green to Thanksgiving.

(Image credit: Katie Webster)

2. Roasted Delicata Squash Salad with Warm Pickled Onion Dressing

This seasonal recipe proves you don't need greens to bring a fresh salad to the table. Serve this roasted squash salad warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

3. Roasted Cabbage Slaw with Hazelnuts & Lemon

Classic slaw gets a holiday-worthy upgrade by quickly cooking the shredded cabbage under the broiler for a more mellow flavor. Assemble this dish at home, then serve at room temperature.

(Image credit: Diana Yen)

4. Canadian-Syrian Thanksgiving Stuffing

Like most stuffing recipes, this smoky-sweet version — mixed with roasted chestnuts and golden raisins — comes with big make-and-take potential.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

5. Gluten-Free Cornbread and Mushroom Stuffing

For your friends who are avoiding (and even for those who aren't) gluten, this big-batch stuffing mixed with toasted cornbread, wild mushrooms, and pecans can be assembled or even cooked in advance, then reheated before dinner.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

6. How To Make Cranberry Sauce: The Simplest, Easiest Method

When you won't have access to the stovetop or oven, opt for a sweet, tart cranberry sauce. It comes together fast, and there's no reheating necessary.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

7. Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole

If you're in charge of the mashed potatoes this year, give the classic side a twist by making it into a casserole. This recipe lends itself to being made in advance and reheats like a dream.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

8. Sour Cream Balsamic Sweet Potatoes

Kick up classic mashed sweet potatoes with a tangy twist. Prep and cook as directed, then stir in the sour cream and balsamic vinegar just before serving.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

9. Stovetop Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Maple Pecan Drizzle

This is the traditional sweet potato side that will make everyone around the table swoon. Pack the cooked sweet potatoes and maple pecan drizzle separately, then combine them right before they hit the table.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

10. How To Make the Creamiest Mashed Cauliflower

You won't have to worry about this lighter (yet still super-creamy) alternative to mashed potatoes getting clumpy or gluey on your car ride. Perk it up with a couple pats of butter before serving.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

11. Broccoli Rabe and White Bean Gratin

Think of this gratin as a two-for-one deal. Not only does it deliver the rich creaminess you expect from this kind of side, but it can also be made in advance and popped in the oven before dinner — even if you're an hour's car ride away.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

12. How To Make Classic Green Bean Casserole

Because you know everyone will be vying for those fried onions on top, hold off on adding them until right before setting the casserole on the table. It will ensure they stay extra crispy.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

13. Baked Polenta with Greens and Gruyère

If you're one of the lucky ones who has access to oven space before dinner, this is the magical veggie-heavy casserole to bring to dinner. Hiding under a layer of shingled polenta rounds is a mess of winter greens and artichokes mixed with melted Gruyère. Make the filling ahead, then slice and bake the polenta upon arrival!

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

14. Wild Rice and Kale Casserole

The hearty grains of wild rice and tough kale that make up this creamy casserole know how to hold their bite and stand the test of travel. Pre-bake this dish and rewarm it when you arrive.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

15. How To Make Glazed Carrots

When you want to keep your Thanksgiving side dish ultra-traditional, hit the road with these citrusy glazed carrots. If you cover the dish in foil before your car ride, they'll still be warm when you arrive.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

16. Stovetop Steam-Fried Green Beans and Mushrooms

When green beans are on your list, but you want something lighter than the classic casserole, this bean and mushroom medley is a welcome choice. It can be prepped and cooked in advance, and just needs to be reheated on the stovetop before serving.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

17. Smoky Creamed Kale

A hint of smoked paprika and earthy kale leaves make this your modern-day solution to the classic creamed spinach side dish. The sturdy leafy greens keep their shape without getting soggy during your trip. Gently rewarm before serving.

(Image credit: Maria Midoes)

18. How To Make 1-Hour Dinner Rolls

These classic, pillowy dinner rolls travel like a true champ, and more carbs are always welcome around the Thanksgiving table, right?

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

19. How To Make Skillet Cornbread

When oven space is a precious commodity or even off limits, a classic soft and sweet cornbread is the side to bring along. No reheating required, and it will earn you rave reviews all around.

(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

20. Herbed Yogurt Biscuits

If you're on board to bring the bread this year, consider swapping out the standard dinner rolls for these herbed biscuits. Keep them covered with a warm kitchen towel so they arrive fluffy and ready to enjoy.

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