Recipe Review

Help! What’s the Best “Knock Their Socks Off” Thanksgiving Side Dish I Can Make?

updated Nov 22, 2019
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Credit: Lauren Volo

Welcome to “Ask Kitchn,” where our editors put their heads together and answer reader questions. While we can’t answer every email, we thought it would be fun to let you into our team chat a couple of times a month. Want to ask us something? Email

From Kitchn’s Reddit AMA: I really want to wow my family with a surprise side dish, do you have any suggestions? I would say that I’m an average to above average cook. I really want to knock their socks off. It’s okay if the side dish stays away from classic Thanksgiving. I just want it to be unexpected and delicious!

Arie: I love this question!

Faith: Yes, what is the ultimate “impress like hell” side dish for Tgiving.

Arie: I’m obsessed with this cranberry sauce. It is like NO other cranberry sauce I’ve ever had. It’s not too sweet, not too tart. And the figs! Such a treat.

Faith: This is not a pretty dish but it’s a wowzer — cream-braised Brussels sprouts.

Jesse: I was going to suggest a Brussels sprouts gratin!

Faith: Do you have one you like?

Jesse: I don’t really — but the one I keep seeing on Insta is this one. It’s really pretty!

Faith: Also this butternut squash dish, which sort of checks that “creamy orange vegetable” Thanksgiving box, but is fresh and different and converts people to butternut squash.

Arie: Also this is the only stuffing I’ll ever make ever again. It’s not mushy like so many stuffing recipes can be because you use grilled bread. And the added cranberries and kale make it feel a little lighter/fresher. This is always a star.

Lisa: I’m late to this but I’m going to make that mushroom casserole (with brown rice) that Lauren K loves! I’m going to a Thanksgiving that’s hosted by a professional chef, and while I haven’t made this before, it looks like it’s going to impress!

Lauren Kodiak: Everyone requests it every year, Lisa! You are in good hands with it.


Arie: Yesssss of course!

Lauren Masur: Honestly if you sprinkle pomegranate seeds on ANYTHING people think you’re a Michelin-starred chef.

Faith: HOT TIP ^

Readers, it’s your turn!

Tell us what the most impressive, knock-your-socks-off, need-to make-again-immediately side dish that you’ve made or had for Thanksgiving.