Thanksgiving Side Dishes: Mashed Potatoes & Cranberry Sauce


Hannah Petersen, Staff Writer

Every family has its favorite holiday traditions and one that surpasses them all is Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone does it differently and some families even have recipes that have been passed down for generations. Whether you’re looking to make a dish to share with family or friends or going somewhere and want to contribute to the Thanksgiving feast, below there is sure to be something for you (vegetarians included.)


Mashed potatoes – A staple of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Potatoes can be made in many different ways but below is a basic mashed potato recipe that can be changed to meet any taste.



~ 2 pounds of potatoes, Russets, and or Yukon gold

~ Salt and pepper (to taste)

~ 1 stick of butter, plus 2 tbsp for garnish


~ ½ cup of milk

~ ½ cup sour cream 

~ Chives (if desired for topping.)



  1. In a large pot, submerge potatoes in water and add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until very soft. (Should be around 16-18 minutes.) Drain the water and keep the potatoes in the pot.
  2. Use a potato masher and mash until smooth or at the desired consistency.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt butter and milk until combined and warm.
  4. Pour milk butter mixture over potatoes and stir until well combined and creamy. Add sour cream and stir until well combined.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Transfer potatoes to a serving bowl and top with remaining tablespoons of butter. Add chives on top for additional garnish if desired.


Cranberry sauce – Many families buy cranberries in a can but if you’re looking for something a little more gourmet, this recipe should do the trick.



~ 1 cup granulated sugar

~ 1 cup water

~ 12 oz fresh cranberries

~ 2 tbsp orange zest

~ Salt



  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine sugar and water until sugar is fully dissolved. 
  2. Add cranberries and continue to cook until they burst and are soft. Stir in orange zest and a pinch of salt.
  3. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool completely before transferring to the fridge. If you are looking to eliminate some cooking and stress the day of Thanksgiving, you can make this side up to a week in advance and leave it in the fridge until it is ready to be served.