Are you planning for the big day? If so, look no further than these cold Thanksgiving side dishes! They're festive, easy to make, and delicious, and they *mostly* can be made ahead of time for a stress-free holiday dinner!
There are many warm components at a Thanksgiving table - roast turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, gravy, mashed potatoes, etc., and it can be intimidating trying to serve them warm all at once.
That's where these cold Thanksgiving side dishes come into play. And best believe, there are some real winners in this list!
Why Serve Cold Side Dishes?
- They're light, refreshing, and balance out heavier meals. Often when I'm eating something hearty like spaghetti bolognese or meatloaf, I need a fresh and tangy side as a "palate cleanser. This helps to "restart" the pallet so you can enjoy the main dish better. Naturally, most of these cold sides are on the healthy side and are veggie-centered.
- Cold side dishes travel well. You don't have to worry about reheating them or packing them in layers of aluminum foil. This makes traveling less stressful, especially if you're taking the food with you on a potluck or another outside gathering.
- They're a great way to feed a crowd or a large group. If you're hosting many guests, keeping cold Thanksgiving sides in the fridge can be a good way to cut on time and effort.
- Most of these recipes are perfect for make-ahead. This way you can focus on what's really important during the holiday season - your guests!
- No need to stress over reheating! These cold Thanksgiving side dishes can go directly from the fridge to the table. This creates less stress since you don't have to worry about everything being hot at the same time.
Cold Thanksgiving Side Dishes List
Before we dive into this list by sections, check out what our readers are obsessed with right now!
The savory tart is my favorite. Which one is yours?
Sweet Potato Beet Salad with Feta
Cornbread without Buttermilk (Dairy-free)
Savory Leek and Kale Tart
Thanksgiving Devilled Eggs
Turkey Cheese Ball
I promise these are not your regular boring salads. They're tangy, refreshing, and well-seasoned, and act as palette cleansers.
Serve them with any main dish like meatballs, lasagna, wellington, etc.
I know with salads it can be tricky to prepare them ahead of time.
What I like to do is prepare each component - dressing, rinsed greens, chopped veggies, etc. a day or two before and combine everything just before serving.
Mediterranean Risoni Salad with Spinach and Feta
Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes
Green Thanksgiving Salad
Crunchy Kale Slaw
Thanksgiving Fruit Salad
Spinach, Pear and Feta Salad Recipe
Apple Fennel Salad
Vegetable Side Dishes
If you want to serve a veggie-centered cold side dish that is not a salad, here are some of the best options.
Easy Salad Kabobs Recipe
Honey Glazed Baby Carrots
Marinated Green Beans
Turkey Veggie Tray Appetizer
German Marinated Beets
Make-Ahead Cold Side Dishes
These recipes can be made a few days ahead of time and can be stored in the fridge until the very last minute.
Creamy Potato Salad without Eggs
Vegan Zucchini Boats with Lentils
Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
Marinated Mozzarella Balls
Avocado Deviled Eggs
For the deviled eggs, make sure to keep each component in separate containers and combine them before serving.
Marinated Brussels Sprouts
Dips and Sauces
And finally, no table is complete without a creamy sauce or dip. They can be served both cold and at room temperature, your choice.
Easy Hummus without Garlic
White Bean Dip Recipe
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Philadelphia Cream Cheese Dip
Creamy Whipped Ricotta
Tomato Eggplant Dip (Zaalouk)
If you try any of these cold Thanksgiving side dishes, let me know in the comments below! I'm curious to know which one is your favorite. 🤩