12 Tasty Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Make With Your Kids

Are you looking for some tasty new dishes to serve at Thanksgiving?

Do you want to bring your kids into the kitchen for a small cooking adventure?

Now you can invite your kids to help prepare some tasty side dishes the whole family will love.

We scoured the Internet and asked top parenting and food bloggers for the best Thanksgiving recipes kids and adults can make (and eat!) together.

In this article, we’ll share our top 12 Thanksgiving side dishes to make with your kids.

You’ll also find a few tips for making it an enjoyable experience.

Check out some simple side dish recipes our top parenting and food bloggers recommended for Thanksgiving that kids and adults can make (and eat!) together.

Why Cook WITH the Kids?

Do you kick your kids out of the kitchen, worried that they’ll just slow you down and make a big mess? (Oh, the mess!)

Messes can be cleaned up, but kids only grow up once. So open a fresh roll of paper towels and make some meal-prep memories with them.

This holiday, take the challenge to cook at least one dish with each of your kids.

Here are some reasons why:

  • When kids are included in the creation, they are 72.6% more likely to eat it. Okay, this is a made-up statistic. But seriously, they are much more likely to eat something they’ve helped make—even Brussels sprouts. They have a vested interest in that dish being awesome.
  • Teaching children to navigate the kitchen is a parent’s responsibility. Help both boys and girls develop critical life skills from an early age.
  • Kids feel great when they learn something of value. You can almost see their self-worth increasing when they tell grandparents and aunts and uncles, “I made this!”
  • Cooking together provides an opportunity to connect with your kids. It may take longer to prepare a meal, but the interaction and rapport you’ll build is far more rewarding (and long-lasting) than a perfectly prepared meal.

You can do it! Step back, take a breath and make a plan. The recipes below will make family cooking easy.

Tips for cooking with kids:

  • Safety first: If your child hasn’t spent much time in the kitchen, reserve some time to review safety. Be sure to talk about hot burners, sharp knives and how oil jumps when it’s cooking. We use special “kid knives” that don’t cut skin (don’t ask me the science behind that one) and have heard of families using a pizza cutter instead of a knife. Be sure to teach your kids about sanitation (hand-washing, raw meat handling, etc.). Also, younger children might need a sturdy stool.
  • Make cooking fun! Dress up in aprons or chef hats (toques). Put on some music. Get creative with the presentation of your food.
  • Embrace the mess. Instead of dreading it, plan for it. You might be delightfully surprised! Also, if kids change into play clothes, a stain or two is no big deal. Make clean-up part of the fun.
  • Read recipes beforehand. While waiting for you to read and decide what’s appropriate for them, kids get bored and disaster strikes. (See above note about messes.) And all children are at different levels of kitchen savvy. As a parent, you’ll need to make safe choices about what your child should and shouldn’t do. You know your child best!
  • Dive into a holiday dish when you are relaxed and have a bit of extra time. If at all possible, prep or cook the dish the day before to ensure a little wiggle room on the clock. If you are making it the same day, take a deep breath and make sure not to rush. Remind yourself “I’m here to raise a child, not to make the perfect glaze.”
  • Talk to your kids about what they’re creating.

Ready?

Check out this recipe roundup of family-friendly Thanksgiving side dishes. Read it with your kids and choose something to make together.

#1: Stuffing

Ree Drummond, one of the longest-running parent bloggers, shares her favorite stuffing recipe. Check it out and you’ll see why she’s been a favorite of so many moms and dads over the years.

stuffing

In the bird or on the side, stuffing is a Thanksgiving favorite.

Ree’s husband’s family introduced her to this recipe. The great texture is due to crunchy celery and two different kinds of bread. Also, this recipe is done in two steps, one of which needs to be done the day before. Bonus! You can do this part with your kids 24 hours ahead and enjoy fewer time constraints.

#2: Potatoes Au Gratin

Mel’s Kitchen Café is a food blog that’s full of family-friendly recipes. Mel’s priority is to give her kids healthy food they’ll eat on a budget. Here, she gives you tips on getting a cheesy, creamy potato side dish.

potatoes au gratin

Potatoes au gratin is a tasty alternative to mashed spuds.

If you and your child grate the cheese the night before and seal in an airtight container, this yummy creation won’t take much time or brain power to put together before your guests arrive.

#3: Cheesy Broccoli & Rice

Stephanie, from Macaroni and Cheesecake, delivers this easy cheesy broccoli and rice combination. This food blog is well-organized and all of the dishes are illustrated with scrumptious-looking photos.

cheesy rice with broccoli

Enjoy easy cheesy broccoli & rice on Thanksgiving or any time of year.

This is a quick, three-step recipe. So if your child has a short attention span and likes broccoli, check this one out.

#4: Brussels Sprouts With Cranberries

Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, hits it out of the park with tangy-sweet ingredients. In this recipe, the Brussels sprouts are roasted while you cook and stir two other ingredients to make the sauce.

brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts and cranberries—a delicious combination.

This is great if your child likes to stand at the stovetop and stir. You’ll like the flavor, quick prep (10 minutes) and 30 minutes to cook. This dish must be served promptly, so plan accordingly.

#5: Fried Green Beans

Six Sisters work as a team for their lifestyle, fashion, recipe and craft blog. They have pages and pages of fabulous recipes to peruse; you’ll love this resource. And you’ll love the fried green beans.

fried green beans

A novel way to eat green beans and a healthy way to eat fries.

If you’re not comfortable having your kids around a fryer, they can still dip the prepped green beans in two different mixtures (fun!) while the adult cooks the beans for 2 minutes in the fryer.

#6: Candied Sweet Potatoes

Robyn at Add a Pinch gives her followers big southern flavor, as well as southern charm. She shares this recipe for candied sweet potatoes, handed down from her grandmother.

candied sweet potatoes

Sweet and delicious without a marshmallow in sight.

This recipe has only four simple ingredients, but the one that makes it taste best is love.

#7: Zucchini With Cheese

Kalyn, from Kalyn’s Kitchen, shares her friend’s recipe for cheese zucchini. This dish looks almost like dessert with all the cheese. She gives you tips on preparing vegetables so they’re not mushy, and kids (and adults) are more likely to savor.

zucchini with cheese

Try different cheeses to vary the taste.

The zucchini can be seasoned in a variety of ways and with different cheeses, depending on what your family likes best.

#8: Root Vegetables

Lindsey, at Café Johnsonia, shares this simple, roasted root-vegetable side. Something fantastic about Lindsey is that she not only shares mostly gluten-free recipes, but many are plant-based as well. So if you have gluten-free or vegan guests, check her website out.

roasted root vegetables

These carrots, potatoes and turnips with a yummy glaze may not make it all the way around the table.

These simple roasted vegetables will get your mouth watering. Your child can help you whisk together the glaze while the veggies are in the oven. As a bonus, you have some timing flexibility. These veggies can be kept warm in the oven if you’re not quite ready to sit down.

#9: Biscuits

These easy cream biscuits from Si at Bountiful Kitchen are sure to be a hit around your Thanksgiving table.

biscuits

Kids love to cut biscuits into circles.

Hands-on for kids—literally. Children can pat out the dough with their hands and then use a cutter to create the biscuits. Now just imagine this biscuit smeared with homemade cranberry sauce!

#10: Cranberry Sauce

For anyone who’s never known how to make homemade cranberry sauce, Robyn at Add a Pinch shows you how easy it is.

cranberry sauce

The sound of cranberries popping draws kids to the kitchen.

If you have a young child who’s new in the kitchen, this might be the recipe for you. You’ll get a maximum amount of reward for a minimal amount of effort.

#11: Mini Pumpkin Pies

At Bakerella, you’ll find all sorts of baked goods, especially desserts. This mini pumpkin pie recipe is made simpler by using a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter and refrigerated ready-to-roll piecrusts.

mini pumpkin pies

Kids will eat these kid-sized pies in one bite!

Kids can participate in several ways: from rolling out the prepared crust, cutting out the pumpkin shapes with the cookie cutter, mixing, measuring and more. The mini pies can be made in advance and refrigerated.

#12: Cinnamon Chips

Sara, from Mom Endeavors, brings us this delightfully simple recipe. The only ingredients you’ll need are tortillas, butter and cinnamon sugar to make this delicious cinnamon chips dessert.

cinnamon chips

These cinnamon chips are almost too pretty to eat.

Your kids will like to use cookie cutters and sprinkle on cinnamon sugar to make these simple chips. This is so easy, it may become a new family favorite you make year after year.

Some Final Thoughts

Make it happen!

Cooking with kids during the holidays can seem like a daunting task. When you plan ahead and think about what your family enjoys, you can prepare the holiday meal with your kids. Better yet, have your kids plan with you! With so many recipes and resources available, you’re bound to find one or ten that you want to try.

What do you think? Tell us about your favorite family side dishes for Thanksgiving or anytime! What are your best tips for cooking with kids? We love hearing from you! Leave a note or photo in the comments below.

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About the Author, KJ Ammerman

Kristin Ammerman is a mom, creative writer and the evangelist of fun for My Kids' Adventures. Her three kids love that their mom's job includes trying out new family activities. Other posts by »


  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks for finding all these delicious recipes, Kristin!
    Using the pumpkin cookie cutter to cut out the crust is a clever idea.
    Now I’m hungry!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    Thanks, Jen! I found a lot of great recipes and tips while researching for this article!

  • Kathleen Gooch

    Yummy looking. Going to give some of these a try. Thanks for the resources.

  • Pingback: 12 Tasty Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Make With Your Kids | CookingPlanet

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    Thanks! Glad you liked them!

  • Tiffany Schrader

    Mmmm, lots of recipes I want to try. I think I’ll start with Cranberry Brussels Sprouts. Thanks Kristin!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    So glad my kids are the only ones that like brussels sprouts! LOL! Have a great Thanksgiving!

  • Pingback: Montessori Primer: Inviting Your Children to Help Prepare Thanksgiving Dinner | Montessori at Vickery

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