Ask a Chef: What's Your Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish?


By now, we know that SE staffers love stuffing and you guys love mashed potatoes, but what about the pros?

"Sausage, sage, and mushroom stuffing. A close second is green bean casserole... love those crispy onions on top. —Frank McMahon, Hank's Seafood, Charleston, SC

"Garlic mashed potaotes and gravy."— Mike Isabella, Kapnos and Graffiato in Washington, D.C

"It's a tough call between brussels sprouts roasted in either turkey or goose fat, and a really good stuffing with tons of savory sausage, confit giblets, and braised neck." —Tony Maws, Craigie on Main, Cambridge, MA and Kirkland Tap & Trotter, Somerville, MA

"My all-time favorite side during Thanksgiving was a dish my grandmother made called 'garbage.' We had it every holiday and it was basically a coleslaw with a little bit of everything in there—olives, cheese, celery, etc. It was sooooo good. I would always look forward to Thanksgiving to have it." —Richard Gras, Oak, Dallas, TX


"I love rice dressing and also sweet potato and marshmallow casserole." —Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans

"Frozen cranberry salad, which is not really a salad—it's more like a frozen yogurt with pineapple walnuts and cranberry." —Jay Abrams, Presidio Social Club, San Francisco

"Wet stuffing is always the best. When roasting a whole bird, stuff the carcass with stale bread, butter, parsley, diced onion, celery and carrot. I like to chop up the gizzards and mix that into the stuffing as well. Let the bird roast and the juices get absorbed by the stuffing." —Joe Monnich, The Dandelion, Philadelphia

"Old school sweet potatoes, cooked with ginger ale, brown sugar, and browned salted butter." — Joey Campanaro, Little Owl and Market Table, New York


"My favorite Thanksgiving dish is 'My Mother's Southern Sausage Dressing'—I could eat the dressing alone and it would still feel like Thanksgiving! The sausage dressing is the basis for the dressing that we make to go along with our smoked turkeys at Hill Country Barbecue Market every year for Thanksgiving. In the South, the 'Dressing' is made along side the turkey and thus called dressing—never stuffing! The advantage for the home cook is that an unstuffed turkey takes less time to cook and the dressing has a nice crisp crust and a moist center unlike stuffing which [to me] is all mush." —Elizabeth Karmel, Hill Country Barbecue Market and Hill Country Chicken, New York

"Mashed potatoes with gravy. Lots of gravy." —Richard Kuo, Pearl and Ash, New York

"Oyster dressing. I hate when the cornbread gets mushy. It should be baked, butter-fried crispy and then baked again with all the herbs, oysters and veggies!" —Ford Fry, JCT Kitchen & Bar and The Optimist, Atlanta

"I like to do a variation on the classic bread stuffing that my mother used to make. To make it, I add cornbread for texture along with homemade sausage (I like a gamey one—duck or venison work well) and dried cherries. I use a lot of turkey stock so that it comes out almost like bread pudding: golden and crisp on the top, creamy pudding inside and bursting with cherries. At Gotham, instead of sausage, we incorporate duck confit, which makes for a truly extraordinary stuffing." — Alfred Portale, Gotham Bar & Grill, New York


[Photograph: Brent Herrig]

"I love making and eating foie gras dressing with bread and armagnac soaked prunes. (this is best with the slow roasted truffled turkey)." —Anita Lo, Annisa, New York

"Thanksgiving is my single favorite holiday. I like so much that there are times that I will have a Thanksgiving celebration in May or July, just to prepare the feast again. Most years my guest list can have as many as 80 people, but never under 35. Every year I try to change it up, but some things never change, like my favorite side —chorizo cornbread dressing." — Douglas Rodriguez, Alma de Cuba, Philadelphia

"There is nothing I love more than oyster dressing. It's not actually a dressing, but rather a stuffing. I call it Oyster Dressing on my menu because that's what my grandmother used to call it. It consists of 2 cups of milk, 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, 1 cup of chicken stock, 1 cup of cooked mire poix, 12 shucked ousters in their juice, 1 sleeve of Saltines, 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley, and 1 teaspoon of chopped herbs. It's not only a personal favorite of mine, but of those who come into Commerce for Thanksgiving as well." —Harold Moore, Commerce, New York


"Roasted brussels sprouts with pancetta and sweet vermouth." —Michael Paley, Metropole, Cincinnati

"Brussels sprouts with chestnuts and bacon, hands down. —Brandon McGlamery, Luma Park and Prato, Winter Park, FL

"Mashed potatoes. I like eating crispy roasted turkey skin with creamy mashed potatoes." Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto

"Sweet potatoes with cumin, maple and marshmallows, the mini ones." —John Gorham, Tasty n Sons, Portland, OR


"We forgo the classic mashed potatoes for a creamy potato gratin that I make with layers of Yukon Gold potatoes, Gruyere cheese, and a roasted garlic cream. The dish is baked creating a golden brown crust on top and melty, cheesy interior. It's just an extremely comforting dish." Iron Chef Jose Garces

"My favorite dish to make is called Onions in Onions. Roast large white onions, cut in half and scoop out the middle. Fill with pearl onions that have been roasted with pancetta, rosemary, cream and beer. Top with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese and bake until golden and bubbly." —Jimmy Bradley, The Red Cat and The Harrison, New York

"White trash green bean casserole. Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans that squeak between your teeth, and French's french fried onions. I've tried to improve and elevate this dish with fresh, home made ingredients and it's just not the same. It's truly greater than the sum of its parts." —Greg Baker, The Refinery, Tampa, FL

"Brussels sprouts. I make them with bacon and lemon. I also love stuffing. I make one with pork sausage, and another with finely cut mirepoix." —Jenn Louis, Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern, Portland, OR