Readers Say

This is the best Thanksgiving side dish, according to readers

Plus, readers share the Thanksgiving dishes unique to their families.

Readers told us about Thanksgiving side dishes that are unique to their families. Globe Staff/Sally Pasley Vargas

In only a few days, it will be Thanksgiving, and you are probably working hard to pull things together, planning guest lists and making several trips to the grocery store. The pumpkin pie will be in preparation, and you most likely have your recipes all picked out. But just in case you don’t, here’s a bit of inspiration.

report from Bet Massachusetts found that in Massachusetts, stuffing was observed to be the most popular side dish, during the holiday. We decided to run our own poll, and sure enough, 204 readers overwhelmingly voted for stuffing as the most beloved Thanksgiving side dish, taking 65% of the vote. Mashed potatoes was a distant second, coming in with 15% of the vote.

Which of these Thanksgiving sides is your favorite?
Mashed potatoes
Macaroni and cheese
Green bean casserole
Cranberry sauce

We also asked readers whether they have any special side dishes that are unique to their family, and over 80 people responded. Scroll down to hear about the original and atypical recipes that some of our readers shared.


Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

“Cranberry sauce naturally sweetened with an orange and apple juice (and sometimes bourbon).”

-Joyce, Brookline

“Cornbread pudding/soufflé. Although maybe it’s not unique? I’m not originally from MA, and a lot of people seem confused by this dish, so I’m calling it unique!”

-Lauren, Groveland

“A fruit cocktail and whipped cream concoction that horrified me when I married into my husband’s family, but now appears right next to the turkey and stuffing. It always throws ‘Friendsgiving’ guests, as they think it’s too early for dessert. But it’s known around here as ‘salad.'”

-Lisa, Chelmsford

“Don’t know if it’s unique, but husband’s family cooks bacon on the bird. You can get two rounds of bacon cooked for snacks while everyone’s waiting for the bird. Hard to turn down a bacon tradition.”

-Suzy E., Bedford

“This is it: Esther Kaufman’s Long Beach NY Simple Stuffing: 8 cups stale white bread cubed, no crusts; 1 cup minced onion; 1 teaspoon salt; ½ cup butter; 1 cup diced celery with leaves; parsley, sage, thyme and pepper. Dry out the bread at 325 degrees, but don’t let it brown. Cook the onion in butter, add the seasonings. Add the celery, cook 3-5 minutes. Pour over the bread, mixing well, and stuff the bird.”

-Kitty K., Brookline

“We make roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon, red onions, and balsamic vinegar.”

-Mary Ann R., Weston

“Sweet potatoes and what I call ‘cauliflower bake’ (potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, cream of mushroom soup, breadcrumb top).”

-Brad, Medford

“Green jello! I used to make a molded salad that included lime jello, cream cheese and applesauce. My three kids finally convinced me that the salad they had dubbed ‘green jello’ was a concoction only liked by me.”

-Sue C., Jamaica Plain

“Cracker stuffing! A sleeve of Saltines mixed in with mashed potatoes, butter, milk. It was passed down through the generations. It tastes like both and is sooooo delish with gravy on it.”

-K.C., Reading

“Great Grandma’s rolls have been in the family for over 80 years. They are only made on Thanksgiving.”

-Dan, Littleton