Nov 30, 2023
Shortbread Cookies Recipe – Love and Lemons

This shortbread cookie recipe is easy to make with 5 simple ingredients. The cookies are tender and buttery. They practically melt in your mouth!

Shortbread cookies

Shortbread cookies are perfect for the holidays, but they’re so delicious that I make them all throughout the year. They have crisp edges, a buttery flavor, and a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. When I want a little treat to enjoy with a coffee or tea, shortbread cookies always hit the spot.

I’ve previously shared a lemon shortbread cookie recipe and an orange shortbread cookie recipe, but this classic shortbread recipe is the one I make the most. The cookies are simple, scrumptious, and easy to make with 5 ingredients. Add them to a Christmas cookie plate this season, or keep them on hand for whenever you’re craving something sweet. I think you’ll love them!

Shortbread cookie recipe ingredients on baking sheet

Ingredients in Shortbread Cookies

Traditional Scottish shortbread is made with just 3 ingredients:

  • Granulated sugar – Use regular white sugar, not natural cane sugar, for the best tender texture.
  • Butter – For rich, buttery flavor. I use unsalted butter and add salt to the dough separately. If you prefer, use salted butter and omit the salt from the recipe.
  • All-purpose flour – Spoon and level it to avoid packing too much into your measuring cup.

In my shortbread cookie recipe, I enhance the dough with 2 additional ingredients:

  • Vanilla extract – For warm depth of flavor.
  • And sea salt – To make the buttery flavor pop! Omit it if you’re using salted butter.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

What is the difference between butter cookies and shortbread?

While sugar cookies and butter cookies both have a lot in common with shortbread, they’re not exactly the same.

Shortbread contains no leavening, such as baking powder, baking soda, or eggs. Sugar and butter cookies, on the other hand, generally include one or more of these ingredients. The lack of a leavening agent in shortbread contributes to its signature crumbly texture.

Cookie dough in stand mixer

How to Make Shortbread Cookies

This shortbread cookie recipe is easy to make! Here’s how it goes:

First, make the cookie dough. Use a stand mixer or electric mixer to cream the butter. Add the sugar and vanilla, and beat until fluffy. Finally, add the flour and salt and mix on low speed to combine.

Slicing shortbread cookies from block of dough

Next, shape the dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide it in half. Form each half into a rectangular block about 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick.

Then, chill the dough. Wrap each block tightly in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour, until firm.

When the dough has chilled, cut the cookies. Use a sharp knife to cut the block crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Use a toothpick to poke several holes in each cookie. Any pattern goes here! The holes minimize warping in the oven and give the cookies a classic look.

Finally, bake the cookies in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes, or until the edges are just golden brown. Allow them to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

What happens if I don’t chill my shortbread dough?

When I make cookies, I want to enjoy them ASAP, so I’m always tempted to skip chilling the dough. But in this shortbread cookie recipe, it really makes a difference. Chilling the dough helps the cookies hold their shape. If you don’t chill your shortbread dough, the cookies will spread as they bake.

Shortbread cookies on blue plate

Tips for Making Shortbread Cookies

  • Plan ahead. This shortbread cookie recipe starts with room temperature butter. I recommend letting it soften on the counter for an hour before you start to bake!
  • Slice the cookies 1/2 inch thick. Any thinner, and they’ll come out crisp instead of tender. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your taste, but I personally prefer the delicate texture of a 1/2-inch-thick cookie.
  • Baking time determines texture. The longer you bake them, the crisper they’ll be. I like these shortbread cookies best after 10 minutes in the oven. At that point, their edges will be lightly golden brown, but they’ll still look underdone in the middle. Remove them from the oven, and let them rest on the pan for another 10 minutes. They’ll set up with a delicious crumbly texture!
  • Freeze the extras. Shortbread cookies keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. If you want to keep them around for longer, I recommend freezing them. Stored in an airtight container or bag in the freezer, they keep well for up to 3 months. Let them thaw at room temperature before enjoying.

Shortbread cookie recipe

More Cookie Recipes

If you love these classic shortbread cookies, try one of these easy cookie recipes next:

Shortbread Cookies Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Chilling Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Serves 24

These classic shortbread cookies have a delicious buttery flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. They’re perfect for the holidays or with a cup of coffee or tea for an afternoon treat!

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using an electric hand mixer, cream the butter. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed to combine.

  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a rectangular block about 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour, or until firm.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • Unwrap the dough and use a sharp knife to cut it crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices.

  • Arrange the slices on the prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch between cookies. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the cookies, decorating them with your desired pattern. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 10 minutes. The cookies will just be turning golden brown around the bottom edges but will otherwise be very pale and soft. Let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Nov 29, 2023
The 3 Best Baking Sheets of 2023

We tested and reviewed the best baking sheets to help you pick the right ones for your kitchen. Use them to bake cookies, roast veggies, and more!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts on the Best Baking Sheet

Baking sheets are some of the most-used pans in my kitchen. I reach for them whenever I want to make roasted vegetables or bake chocolate chip cookies. I pull out a sheet pan when I’m whipping up a homemade pizza or cooking off crispy potato wedges. And when I want to make the easiest possible dinner, I grab a baking sheet to cook this tasty sheet pan gnocchi.

Given all that baking sheets can do, I think that everyone should own a good one. I recently tested and reviewed the best baking sheets to help you choose the right one for your kitchen. Luckily, these workhorse pans are durable and affordable. Invest a little in a great baking sheet now, and it will serve you well for years!

Our Top Picks

  1. Best Overall: Nordic Ware Naturals Baker’s Half Sheet – 2 for $21.99 at Amazon
  2. Our Other Favorite: Artisan Professional Classic Aluminum Half Sheet –  $23.99 at Amazon
  3. Best Nonstick Baking Sheet: OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Half Sheet – $34.95 at Amazon

Reviews of The Best Baking Sheets

Nordic Ware Naturals Best Baking Sheets

I’ve been using the Nordic Ware Naturals Half Sheet Pan for years, and when I tested it alongside the other pans here, it still came out on top.

I love this pan because the pure aluminum material conducts heat beautifully for even baking. The reinforced encapsulated steel rim prevents the pan from warping, even at high temperatures, and it makes the pan strong enough to support a heavy roasted squash or pie. I recommend lining this pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat when making baked goods. When you’re roasting, it works great with or without parchment!

Another reason I love this pan? It’s insanely affordable. You can snag a 2-pack for $21.99—that’s just $11 per pan!

2 Half Sheet Pans for $21.99 at Amazon

The Specs:

  • Size: 17.9 x 12.9 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Material: Uncoated aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: Hand wash recommended

The Pros:

  • Conducts heat evenly
  • Steel rim prevents warping
  • Rust resistant
  • Affordable price point
  • Holds up well over time

The Cons:

  • Contact with acidic foods can cause corrosion
  • Metal utensils may scratch surface
  • Dishwasher use not recommended – may cause discoloration

What Others Are Saying:

Wirecutter, Epicurious, and The Strategist chose this pan as their #1 pick for the best baking sheet. The Food Network chose it as the best aluminum sheet pan, and AllRecipes said it was the best value baking sheet. It has a 4.7-star rating from over 49,000 Amazon reviews.

Try other sizes! If you love the Nordic Ware half sheet pan, you might enjoy their other cookware too. They offer jelly roll pans as well as eighth and quarter sheet pans that are great for making baked potatoes, baking small batches of cookies, and toasting nuts.

Artisan Professional Classic Aluminum Baking Sheet

The Artisan Professional Classic Aluminum Baking Sheet Pan is another of the best baking sheets. It shares many of the qualities I like in my top pick from Nordic Ware. The natural, uncoated aluminum material offers excellent heat conductivity and resists rust, and a reinforced rim prevents warping. I recommend lining this pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper for baking projects, but you could go without it when you’re roasting. When I roast veggies on this pan, they don’t stick to the smooth surface!

The reason I ranked this half sheet pan below Nordic Ware’s is the price. This heavy duty pan clocks in at $23.99.

The Specs:

  • Size: 18 x 13 inches
  • Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Material: Uncoated aluminum
  • Dishwasher safe: Hand wash recommended

The Pros:

  • Conducts heat evenly
  • Reinforced rim prevents warping
  • Won’t rust

The Cons:

  • Pricier than Nordic Ware pans
  • Dishwasher use may deteriorate finish

What Others Are Saying:

Wirecutter chose this sheet pan as their runner up. It has a 4.6-star rating from over 1,300 Amazon reviews.

OXO Nonstick Half Sheet Pan

If you’re looking for the best baking sheets with a non-stick surface, you have two options:

  1. Line one of the above aluminum pans with parchment paper. This works perfectly for baking delicate cookies, and cleanup is a breeze!
  2. Buy a baking sheet with a non-stick coating.

If you want to go the second route, I recommend the OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Half Sheet Pan. It’s made of heavy gauge aluminized steel with a ceramic reinforced non-stick surface. The bottom of the pan has a grooved pattern, which promotes even baking and browning by increasing airflow around whatever’s on the pan.

The cookies I baked on this sheet pan baked evenly and slid right off. The veggies I roasted on it browned faster than on other pans. The textured surface really sped things up!

The Specs:

  • Size: 17.84 x 2.97 x 1.25 inches
  • Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Material: Ceramic-reinforced aluminized steel
  • Dishwasher safe

The Pros:

  • Can bake cookies directly on nonstick surface
  • Textured surface promotes even baking and browning
  • Rolled edges minimize warping
  • Dishwasher safe

The Cons:

  • Non-stick coating may wear off over time
  • Grooved surface can be harder to clean
  • Heavier than other pans

What Others Are Saying:

The Strategist chose this pan as the best pan for baking, and Epicurious selected it as the best nonstick baking sheet. It has a 4.7-star rating from over 1,200 Amazon reviews.

Other Baking Sheets We Tested

Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick Baking Sheet

I loved this carbon steel pan for roasting veggies, but when I baked cookies on it, they burned underneath. Due to this pan’s nonstick coating, it is only oven-safe up to 450°F, and you shouldn’t use metal utensils on it to avoid scratching its surface. The Chicago Metallic Non-Stick Baking Sheet is available at Amazon for $17.99.

USA Pan Bakeware Half Sheet Pan

I’ve had a number of USA Pan cookie sheets in the past, and I’ve really liked them. Similar to the OXO non-stick pan, the USA Pan Half Sheet Pan is made of aluminized steel with a corrugated surface to promote air circulation. Reinforced rims provide a sturdy grip and diminish warping. I didn’t include this pan among my top choices because the nonstick coating wears off over time. The USA Pan Half Sheet Pan is available at Amazon for $23.99.

Vollrath Wear-Ever Half-Size Sheet Pan

Like my top 2 picks, this sheet pan is made of uncoated aluminum to promote even baking and browning. However, I can’t recommend this pan because the open rim has sharp edges. I worried about cutting myself while handling or cleaning it. The Vollrath Wear-Ever Sheet Pan is available at Amazon for $29.87.

How We Picked and Tested

I selected baking sheets to test based on online reviews, personal recommendations, and my past experiences with different baking sheets as a recipe developer. I narrowed my list to six rimmed half sheet pans because

  1. The 18 x 13-inch size is practical. You can fit an entire sheet pan dinner or a big batch of roasted vegetables or cookies on a half sheet pan. If you have a standard-size oven, this is the pan size I would recommend.
  2. The rim has benefits. It captures juices and oils released by whatever you’re cooking and gives the pan structure.

I roasted a mix of sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and broccolini on each selection, and I also baked a batch of my vegan chocolate chip cookies. I evaluated the vegetables for speed and evenness of browning and noted whether or not they stuck to the baking sheets. When baking the cookies, I looked to see if they stuck to nonstick pans (I recommend parchment for uncoated pans) and if they cooked evenly without burning underneath.

My top picks yielded consistent results—vegetables with crisp, golden brown edges and perfectly baked cookies—without warping every time.

Best baking sheets on stovetop

What to Do with Baking Sheets

Did you pick a sheet pan? Time to bake!

  1. Make cookies. Check out these 17 Easy Cookie Recipes.
  2. Roast vegetables. Try roasted broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted cauliflower, or roasted butternut squash.
  3. Make a sheet pan dinner. We LOVE this sheet pan gnocchi recipe!
  4. Cook your favorite protein. I use my sheet pans for baking tofu, tempeh, and roasted chickpeas.
  5. Make homemade pizza! Try my veggie pizza, pesto pizza, or Margherita pizza recipe.

Prices were accurate at the time of publication.

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Nov 25, 2023
What is a Parsnip? (And How to Cook It) Recipe

Learn how to cook parsnips! Closely related to carrots, this humble root vegetable has a sweet, nutty flavor. It’s delicious roasted, mashed, and more.

Roasted parsnips

The humble parsnip is one of the most underrated vegetables. It’s cheap, versatile, easy to work with, and PACKED with flavor…but most of us cook it rarely, if at all.

I think it’s time parsnips got a lot more love, so I’m sharing my complete guide to them below. You’ll learn how to cook them, how to store them, and find my favorite parsnip recipes. I hope you’ll give this tasty root vegetable a chance!

What is a parsnip?

A parsnip is a pale, tapered root vegetable that resembles a white carrot. The resemblance makes sense, because parsnips and carrots are cousins. They’re both members of the Apiaceae family, along with fennel, parsley, celery, and more.

What do parsnips taste like?

Parsnips have a starchy texture and sweet, nutty, and earthy flavor.

Fun fact: Unlike many crops, parsnips benefit from cold temperatures while they’re in the ground. A cold snap converts the roots’ starches to sugars, making them sweeter.

Though parsnips are widely available throughout the fall and winter, the sweetest ones are harvested in spring. These have been overwintered (left in the ground during the winter), so they are high in natural sugars.

Parsnip recipe ingredients

How to Cook Parsnips

There are so many ways to cook this versatile root veggie! I enjoy

  • adding it to soups and stews,
  • boiling and mashing it,
  • shaving it for salads,
  • and using it in desserts (think carrot cake, but with parsnips).

But my favorite method for how to cook parsnips is roasting. Here’s how to do it:

Start with 1 1/2 pounds parsnips. Look for ones that are small to medium in size, as large parsnips often have a tough woody core. They should be firm, not flimsy, and free of any soft or browned spots.

How to cook parsnips - cut into sticks on a baking sheet prior to roasting

Next, chop them. No need to peel! The most flavorful part is right under the skin, so peeling can strip away flavor. Instead, give each root a good scrub and cut the parsnips into 1/2-inch-thick matchsticks.

Then, season them. Place the veggies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle them generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread in an even layer on the pan.

Roast in a 425°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender and browned.

Roasted parsnips on a baking sheet

You could stop there, but a simple dressing really takes this recipe over the top!

While they’re still warm, toss the roasted roots with a simple mix of olive oil, garlic, and fresh rosemary. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of gremolata (or chopped parsley), and toss again. Season to taste and serve!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.


Store the roasted veggies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or a 350°F oven.

Store fresh parsnips in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. They keep best wrapped in a towel or a plastic bag.

Parsnip recipe

Favorite Parsnip Recipes

Looking for more ways to cook this flavorful veggie? We love these easy recipes:

And if you want more easy veggie sides, try these roasted Brussels sprouts, baked sweet potatoes, or roasted vegetables next.

Roasted Parsnips

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 4

This recipe is one of our favorite cooking methods for parsnips! They come out perfectly tender with crisp, golden brown edges. Lemon juice, fresh herbs, and garlic take this easy side dish over the top.

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • Place the parsnips on the baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread evenly on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender and browned around the edges.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, rosemary, and garlic. Add the parsnips and toss to coat. Add the gremolata and lemon juice and toss again. Season to taste and serve.

Sources used for this article: Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden; Johnny’s Selected Seeds

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Nov 22, 2023
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe – Love and Lemons

This crispy roasted Brussels sprouts recipe is my favorite healthy side dish! A delicious lemon Parmesan dressing makes it bright, zingy & addictive.

Brussel Sprouts

How do you feel about Brussels sprouts? Do you love them, or hate them? Over the last few years, I feel like they’ve been getting more and more popular, and I couldn’t be happier about it! Brussels sprouts are some of my favorite fall veggies – they’re fresh and healthy, but still hearty, and they pair well with all sorts of seasonings. But, in my opinion, the key to loving Brussels sprouts is preparing them the right way. No one’s clamoring for more boiled or steamed sprouts – they’re often bitter, and they have an unappealing mushy texture.

So if you’re still on the fence about them, try this roasted Brussels sprouts recipe. They come out of the oven with golden brown centers and crackly, crisp outer leaves. I love them straight off the sheet pan, but when they’re dressed with this easy Lemon, Thyme, and Parmesan seasoning, even the biggest Brussels sprouts skeptics can’t resist them.

How to cook brussel sprouts

How to Cook Brussels Sprouts

Making perfect, crispy baked Brussels sprouts is easy! Here’s what you need to do:

First, trim and chop the Brussels sprouts. Chop off and discard any dry or woody stems at the bottom of the sprouts. Then, slice larger sprouts in half, leaving smaller ones whole. Aim for all your veggies to be a similar size so that they cook evenly.

Roasted brussel sprouts recipe

Next, season the sprouts. Toss them with olive oil and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and arrange them in an even layer with their cut sides facing down. This way, you’ll get nice browning on the cut sides of the sprouts, and their exposed leaves will become deliciously crisp as they bake. It’s ok to have a few loose leaves mixed in with the whole sprouts – they come out lightly charred and irresistibly crunchy.

Finally, it’s time to bake! Transfer the sheet pan to a 425-degree oven and bake for 2o to 30 minutes, until the veggies are tender and golden brown around the edges. Enjoy!

Brussel sprouts on a baking sheet with olive oil

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Serving Suggestions

First and foremost, roasted Brussels sprouts are a delicious side dish. Serve them plain, simply seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper, or dress them up! Drizzle them with a bit of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and toss them with feta or Parmesan cheese, herbs, red pepper flakes, and nuts or pepitas. Find my favorite lemon Parmesan seasoning in the recipe below, or head to this post for more variations!

You can also turn these roasted sprouts into a meal on their own. Here are a few easy ideas to get you started:

Oven roasted brussel sprouts

More Brussels Sprouts Recipes

I hope you love making these oven roasted Brussels sprouts, but don’t stop there! You can also enjoy them raw or sautéed. Here are a few of my other favorite ways to prepare them:

Baked brussel sprouts

More Roasted Vegetable Recipes

If you love this recipe, try roasting one of these veggies next:

Roasted brussel sprouts

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serves 3 to 4

Learn how to cook Brussels sprouts with this easy recipe! Bright, fresh, and delicious, it’s the perfect holiday side dish.

Lemon Parmesan seasoning, optional

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Preheat the oven to 425° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half, toss with drizzles of olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper, and spread on the baking sheet. Roast 20 to 30 minutes or until tender and golden brown around the edges. The exact timing will depend on the size of your sprouts.
  • If desired, toss the roasted Brussels sprouts with the lemon juice, zest, Parmesan, and thyme leaves. Garnish with parsley and red pepper flakes.


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Nov 18, 2023
Spinach Salad Recipe – Love and Lemons

This easy spinach salad recipe is a fresh, delicious side dish! It’s filled with apples, dried cranberries, and pecans. A tangy dressing ties it all together.

Spinach salad

This spinach salad recipe is simple, fresh, and delicious. A version of my mom’s favorite salad, it’s filled with crisp apples, dried cranberries, red onion, creamy goat cheese, and toasty candied pecans. A bright apple cider vinaigrette ties it all together. *Chef’s kiss*

This fall, I’ve been making it on repeat. To be totally honest, that’s a bit out of character for me, because I’m not always a fan of spinach salad recipes (something about the texture of the greens, I think).

So you should trust me when I say that THIS spinach salad really works. It’s sweet, tangy, and savory, and it features a mouthwatering blend of tender, crisp, and chewy components. In my book, it’s the perfect easy side dish or light lunch. I think you’re going to love it!

Spinach salad recipe ingredients

Spinach Salad Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy spinach salad recipe:

  • Fresh spinach, of course! I love tender baby spinach here, but mature spinach will work too. Tear the leaves if they are large.
  • Apple – It adds refreshing crunch. Use a sweet, crisp variety like Gala or Honeycrisp.
  • Red onion – For savory flavor. Thinly slice it so that it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.
  • Candied pecans – These sweet, spiced nuts are easy to make on the stove, but if you’d like to streamline the recipe, you can use regular toasted pecans instead.
  • Goat cheese – For creamy texture and tangy flavor. Shaved pecorino is great here too.
  • Dried cranberries – They add chewy texture and sweet-tart flavor.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Spinach Salad Dressing

This spinach salad recipe has one last component: the dressing!

I make an apple cider vinaigrette with

  • apple cider vinegar,
  • honey or maple syrup,
  • garlic,
  • Dijon mustard,
  • extra-virgin olive oil,
  • and salt and pepper.

Its tangy flavor is a lovely complement to the sweet apples and candied pecans.

To make it, just add the dressing ingredients to a jar, secure the lid, and shake to combine. So easy!

  • Tip: This dressing keeps well for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Make it ahead so that the salad is extra-quick to assemble!

Pouring dressing over apple, red onion, and greens in bowl

Possible Recipe Variations

This spinach salad recipe is flexible! Though I love it as written, there are all sorts of ways to change it up. Feel free to make it your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Swap the dressing. Try my balsamic dressing or lemon vinaigrette.
  • Change up the nuts. Replace the pecans with toasted almonds or walnuts.
  • Try another cheese. Feta cheese or shaved Parmesan would be delicious!
  • Use different fruits. Toss in sliced pears or orange segments instead of the apples, or use pomegranate arils instead of the cranberries.
  • Make it a main dish. Add a whole grain like farro or wild rice or a protein like roasted chickpeas.
  • Make a strawberry spinach salad by replacing the apples with sliced strawberries. Omit the dried cranberries, and dress the salad with balsamic dressing or lemon vinaigrette.

Let me know what variations you try!

Tossing salad in bowl with tongs

What to Serve with Spinach Salad

This spinach salad is a versatile side dish. It’s special enough to serve at Thanksgiving or any holiday meal, but it’s simple enough to prepare on regular weeknights too. Pair it with a simply cooked protein or any of these recipes:

I also love to make this salad for lunch. It’s on the lighter side, so I often toss in some cooked farro or roasted chickpeas to make it heartier.

I hope you enjoy!

Spinach salad recipe

More Favorite Salad Recipes

If you love this spinach salad, try one of these fresh salad recipes next:

Spinach Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

This easy spinach salad recipe is a fresh, delicious side dish or lunch! To get ahead, prepare the candied pecans and apple cider vinaigrette in advance. Store the pecans at room temperature for up to a week and the dressing in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • In a large bowl, place the spinach, apple, and onion. Add some of the dressing and toss to combine.

  • Add the pecans, goat cheese, and cranberries and gently toss. Add more dressing, as desired. Season to taste and serve.

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Nov 17, 2023
Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe

This homemade mac and cheese recipe will be a hit with the whole family! It’s insanely cheesy, so creamy, and baked with crispy breadcrumbs on top.

Baked mac and cheese

If your family is anything like ours, then this baked mac and cheese recipe will be a huge hit. Jack can’t get enough of it, I keep finding myself going back for more, and our kiddo has been asking for “MAC!” ever since the first time he tried it. It’s creamy, it’s cheesy, and it’s packed with gooey noodles and crispy, toasty breadcrumbs. Seriously, comfort food doesn’t get better than this.

I’ve been wanting to add a baked macaroni and cheese recipe to the blog for a while now. A few years back, I ran an Instagram poll about holiday sides, and so many of you said that homemade mac and cheese was one of your favorites. I hope this recipe makes it onto your Thanksgiving or Christmas table this year. If not, we can attest that it’s a delicious everyday dinner too. Enjoy!

Homemade mac and cheese recipe ingredients

Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe Ingredients

If you’re used to eating mac and cheese from a box, get ready. This homemade macaroni and cheese is on a totally different level. Here’s what makes it so great:

  • Macaroni, of course! This cute elbow pasta is perfect for cradling the cheesy sauce.
  • Sharp cheddar and Gruyere cheese – I LOVE this combo in my baked mac and cheese! The cheddar is tangy, the Gruyère is nutty, and both melt into an amazingly creamy sauce.
  • Butter, flour, and whole milk – These ingredients form a simple béchamel sauce, the starting point for the cheese sauce in this recipe. You’ll use the butter and flour to make a roux, which will thicken the sauce. Then, you’ll whisk in the milk to give the sauce rich body.
  • Garlic – For sharp depth of flavor.
  • Dijon mustard – Many classic mac and cheese recipes call for mustard powder, but because I always have Dijon mustard on hand, I add it instead. It gives the sauce delicious tang.
  • Smoked paprika – For a subtle smoky taste.
  • Coarse breadcrumbs – To make them, just pulse a couple slices of good bread in a food processor until they’re coarsely ground. Once they toast in the oven, they create a crispy topping for the creamy mac and cheese.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – You’ll toss it with the breadcrumbs to help them crisp up as they bake.
  • Pecorino cheese – Ok, yes, there are three kinds of cheese in this recipe! I add the pecorino to the breadcrumb topping to give it a salty, cheesy kick.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

What is the best cheese for mac and cheese?

It’s a personal question! I think cheddar and Gruyere are the best cheeses for mac and cheese because they both have a sharp, nutty flavor and melt well.

I highly recommend using them in this recipe, but if you want to change it up, by all means, do! Any cheese that melts well would work here, such as…

  • Gouda
  • Mozzarella
  • Monterey Jack
  • Swiss

Creamy cheese sauce in a pot

How to Make Baked Mac and Cheese

Ready to make this homemade mac and cheese recipe?

Start by prepping the breadcrumb topping and cooking the pasta. Set them aside while you make the sauce.

First, you’ll make a simple béchamel sauce, a classic French sauce made from a roux and milk. To make the roux, you’ll melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the flour to the melted butter, and whisk continuously until the mixture turns light brown. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking continuously.

Then, add the seasonings. Whisk in the garlic, mustard, paprika, salt, and several grinds of pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer, still whisking continuously.

Next, add the cheddar and Gruyere cheeses, and keep whisking until the cheese is melted. Cook the sauce over medium-low heat, whisking often, until it thickens slightly, about 6 to 8 minutes. You’ll end up with the creamy, cheesy deliciousness pictured above!!

Pouring elbow pasta into pot of creamy cheese sauce

Pour the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce…

Macaroni noodles in pot of creamy sauce

…and stir to coat.

Then, assemble and bake. Transfer the cheesy noodles to an oiled baking dish, and sprinkle with the breadcrumb topping. Bake at 425°F until the topping is crisp and the cheese is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Serve as a main dish with a salad or roasted broccoli or as a crowd-pleasing side dish!

Storing Mac and Cheese

This mac and cheese is best on the day it’s made, but leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Pop them in the microwave to reheat, or warm them in baking dish covered with aluminum foil in a 350°F oven.

Tips for The Best Homemade Mac and Cheese

  • Undercook the pasta. Boil it until it’s a minute shy of al dente, when the noodles still have a slight bite. I typically cook them for 1 minute less than the low end of the time range on the package. They’ll soften more once you mix them with the cheese sauce. If you fully cook the pasta from the start, it’ll be too soft in the final dish.
  • Grate the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheese will not work here! It’s typically coated in anti-caking agents that will prevent you from making a really smooth and creamy cheese sauce. For the best baked macaroni and cheese, always grate the cheese yourself.
  • Whisk, whisk, whisk. If you check out the recipe below, you’ll see that I tell you to whisk nearly continuously as you make the cheese sauce. Whisking is crucial for evenly dispersing the roux in the milk, yielding a thick, creamy sauce without lumps. It also helps prevent the sauce from scorching on the bottom of the pot. Don’t let that sauce simmer unattended!
  • Dig in right away. This baked macaroni and cheese will have the creamiest texture when it’s right out of the oven, as the noodles will continue to absorb the cheese sauce as it sits. If you like your mac and cheese to be extra-creamy, only let it cool for a few minutes before digging in.

Homemade mac and cheese recipe

More Favorite Comfort Food Recipes

If you love this baked mac and cheese recipe, try one of these comfort food recipes next:

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serves 8

This homemade mac and cheese recipe is one of our family favorites! It’s insanely cheesy, super creamy, and baked with crispy breadcrumbs on top. Serve it as a vegetarian main or as a side dish with a holiday meal.

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  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and butter a 9×13-inch baking dish.

  • In a small bowl, place the bread crumbs and olive oil. Toss to coat the bread crumbs, then add the pecorino cheese and toss to combine.

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the macaroni according to the package instructions, cooking it a minute shy of al dente. Drain and toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.

  • In another large pot (or wash and dry the pasta pot and reuse it), melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture is light golden brown, about 4 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk. Add the garlic, mustard, paprika, salt, and several grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer, whisking continuously.

  • Add the cheddar and Gruyère cheeses and whisk until melted. Cook, whisking often, over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat.

  • Transfer to the prepared baking dish and top with the bread crumb mixture. Bake until the topping is crisp and the cheese is bubbling, about 20 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Alison Roman.

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Nov 16, 2023
Candied Pecans Recipe – Love and Lemons

Learn how to make candied pecans with this easy recipe! Ready in 10 minutes, they’re a great gift or delicious topping for salads and more.

Candied pecans

Candied pecans are a wonderful topping for salads, side dishes, and desserts…but in our house, they rarely make it that far. These sweet, crunchy, cinnamon-spiced nuts are SO tasty that Jack, the kiddo, and I usually polish them off as a snack. It’s very easy to think you’re going to have just one, maybe two, and then eat half a batch. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Luckily, if you accidentally eat all the nuts you were supposed to put on a salad, it’s quick and easy to make more. This candied pecans recipe calls for 5 ingredients and comes together in less than 10 minutes!

As we get into the holiday season, this recipe is a great one to have in your back pocket. The candied pecans would be a lovely homemade gift, and they’re a delicious addition to festive recipes and holiday cheese boards. Keep reading to learn how to make them!

Candied pecans recipe ingredients

How to Make Candied Pecans

This candied pecans recipe starts with 5 simple ingredients:

  • Pecans, of course! Raw pecan halves, to be exact.
  • Brown sugar and water – They create a sweet glaze that coats the pecans. Light brown sugar and dark brown sugar both work well here.
  • Ground cinnamon – For warm depth of flavor. For a fun variation, experiment with other spices like ground ginger or cayenne pepper.
  • And sea salt – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Brown sugar mixture bubbling in saucepan

When you’re ready to cook, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You’ll candy the pecans on the stove, not in the oven, but keep this baking sheet handy! After you coat the pecans in the cinnamon sugar mixture, you’ll spread them on this pan to crisp up.

Next, make the brown sugar glaze. In a medium skillet over medium heat, combine the brown sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt. Cook until the sugar dissolves and bubbles, about 1 minute.

Stirring to coat nuts in brown sugar glaze

Then, add the pecans. Cook, stirring, until they’re evenly coated in the glaze, another 1 to 2 minutes.

Mixing pecans with sticky brown sugar mixture in saucepan

When the pecans are well coated, remove them from the heat. Spread them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Set them aside for 10 to 15 minutes to cool and crisp up. So easy!

Candied pecans on a baking sheet

Recipe Tips

  • Use a nonstick pan. It’s not necessarily a requirement for this recipe, but it makes for easy cleanup. You’ll end up with more cinnamon sugar goodness on the pecans and less on the pan!
  • Wait for the sugar to bubble before you add the pecans. If it doesn’t, the pecans’ sugar coating won’t crisp up as it cools. The sugar has to reach a high temperature in order to become crisp.
  • Try another nut. This technique doesn’t just work with pecans! Use it to make candied walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and more.


Store homemade candied pecans in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Can you freeze candied pecans?

Yes! If you’d like to keep the candied nuts around for longer, pop them in the freezer. They freeze well for up to 3 months. Allow frozen nuts to thaw at room temperature before using.

Candied pecans recipe

How to Use Candied Pecans

There are SO many delicious ways to use these easy candied pecans! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

How do you like to use candied pecans? Let me know in the comments!

Candied Pecans

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Serves 6

These easy candied pecans have a delicious brown sugar-cinnamon coating. Sweet, crunchy, and full of nutty flavor, they’re a lovely gift, tasty snack, or great topping for salads, desserts, and more.

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • cups raw pecan halves

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • In a medium skillet over medium heat, stir together the brown sugar, water, cinnamon, and salt. Cook until the sugar dissolves and bubbles, about 1 minute. Add the pecans and cook, stirring, until coated, another 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Spread the pecans in a single layer on the baking sheet and set aside to cool and crisp up.

  • Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, candied pecans keep well for up to a week. Freeze them for longer storage.


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Nov 14, 2023
50 Thanksgiving Side Dishes – Recipes by Love and Lemons

Whether you’re seeking classic Thanksgiving recipes or something totally new, you’re sure to love one (or more!) of these 50 Thanksgiving side dishes.

Best Thanksgiving side dishes

Roast turkey and pumpkin pie may have permanent spots on your Thanksgiving menu, but if you’re anything like me, you like to throw new Thanksgiving side dishes into the mix every now and again. If you’re looking for new Thanksgiving recipes, read on to find over 50 of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. With ideas ranging from classics like mashed potatoes and green bean casserole to inventive stuffings and soups, you’re sure to find a dish (or two!) you’ll love.

Classic Casserole and Stuffing Thanksgiving Recipes

If you want a classic Thanksgiving menu, these side dishes belong on your table. They include staples like green bean and sweet potato casserole, as well as a few unique twists on homemade stuffing.

Best Thanksgiving stuffing recipe

Best Stuffing

Based on my mom’s classic recipe, this rich, savory stuffing is my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. It’s moist and gooey in the middle, crisp on top, and brimming with flavor from leeks, celery, and fresh herbs. Try it once, and you’ll never get the boxed kind again!

Sweet potato casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

You won’t miss the marshmallows in this savory sweet potato casserole. I top a creamy, gingery layer of sweet potatoes with a crisp, toasty pecan crumble and plenty of fresh herbs.

Green bean casserole

Green Bean Casserole

No canned soup here! This from-scratch green bean casserole recipe features fresh green beans, crispy baked onions, and a rich, creamy homemade mushroom sauce.

Baked mac and cheese

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Our kiddo LOVES this mac and cheese recipe, so it’s a new staple among our family’s Thanksgiving side dishes. It’s insanely cheesy, so creamy, and baked with crispy breadcrumbs on top.

Mushroom and Sage Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe

Vegan Stuffing

This hearty stuffing is made with crusty bread, fresh herbs, celery, onions, and mushrooms for an umami kick. Olive oil acts as a flavorful substitute for the traditional butter.

Thanksgiving Cornbread stuffing recipe

Cornbread Stuffing

If having cornbread stuffing on your Thanksgiving table is a must, try this recipe for a fun twist! Mixed with poblanos and dried currants, it’s delectably spicy and sweet.

Potato Thanksgiving Side Dishes

4 mashes, plus 3 delicious recipes for crispy roasted potatoes! Try any of them—among these Thanksgiving side dishes, you really can’t go wrong.

Creamy mashed potatoes

Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe

I’m not exaggerating when I say that these are the best mashed potatoes I’ve tried! Loaded up with butter, milk, and sour cream, they’re ultra-rich and blissfully creamy. Serve them topped with (more) butter or savory mushroom gravy.

Oven Roasted Potatoes in bowl with serving tongs

Oven Roasted Potatoes

Crispy on the outside, creamy in the middle, and tossed in a zingy lemon-rosemary dressing, these easy roasted potatoes are always a hit.

Garlic mashed potatoes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I make these creamy mashed potatoes without any dairy! They get their luscious texture and rich flavor from olive oil, roasted garlic, and a good splash of starchy potato cooking water.

Thanksgiving side dishes - Hasselback potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes

These retro potatoes are cut into thin slices most of the way through but left intact at the bottom. They look impressive and taste DELICIOUS, with crisp edges, tender middles, and lots of garlic butter on top.

Best Thanksgiving side dishes - Instant Pot mashed potatoes

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes

Score yourself some extra space on the stove this Thanksgiving, and make your mashed potatoes in the Instant Pot! They’re smooth, creamy, rich, buttery, and SO darn convenient. One of our new favorite Thanksgiving side dishes!

Smashed potatoes

Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Served hot from the baking sheet, these tasty taters have ultra-crispy edges. Dress them up with sprinkles of Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, and red pepper flakes.

Cauliflower mashed potatoes

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

If you’re a fan of creamy mashed potatoes, you’ll love this recipe! You can’t taste the cauliflower, but it makes these mashed potatoes extra fluffy, smooth, and light.

Sweet Potato Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Not one for sweet potato casserole? Try one of these Thanksgiving side dishes instead!

Best Thanksgiving recipes - Mashed sweet potatoes

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Jack goes crazy for regular mashed potatoes, but me, I’m obsessed with these mashed sweets. They’re super smooth and creamy, and ginger and rosemary fill them with cozy fall flavor.

Baked sweet potatoes on a plate

Traditional Baked Sweet Potato

Good Thanksgiving recipes don’t have to be complicated! With crispy skins and smooth, sweet flesh, these easy baked sweet potatoes would be a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving menu.

Roasted root vegetables

Roasted Root Vegetables

This easy side dish will be a sleeper hit on your Thanksgiving table. The medley of roasted sweet potatoes and humble root veggies looks unassuming, but it’s incredibly flavorful, drizzled with an infused sage oil and topped with crispy sage leaves.

Wild rice pilaf

Wild Rice Pilaf

This simple pilaf is flecked with tender roasted sweet potatoes, shaved Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, and herbs. It would be a fresh, festive alternative to sweet potato casserole–or even stuffing–on a Thanksgiving menu.

Vegetable Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Looking for the crispiest Brussels sprouts? The best-ever green beans? A few out-of-the-box recipes to freshen up your holiday rotation? These are the Thanksgiving side dishes for you.

Roasted Brussels sprouts in bowl with spoon

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

A zingy lemon Parmesan dressing takes these crispy roasted Brussels sprouts over the top.

Best Thanksgiving side dishes - Creamed spinach

Creamed Spinach

This recipe is the perfect last-minute Thanksgiving side dish. You can make it in 15 minutes, and it’s fresh, bright, and delicious. Use coconut milk to make it dairy-free!

Best Thanksgiving recipes - Roasted carrots

Roasted Carrots

A tangy yogurt sauce and sprinkles of nutty, aromatic dukkah balance the natural sweetness of these vibrant roasted carrots.

Sautéed Brussels sprouts

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

Oven at its max? Sauté your Brussels sprouts instead of roasting them.

Thanksgiving sides - Roasted vegetables recipe

Roasted Vegetables

Sage, rosemary, and an apple cider vinaigrette add bold autumn flavor to these colorful roasted veggies.

Green beans almondine

Green Beans Almondine

Skip the green bean casserole this year, and add these glossy green beans to your Thanksgiving menu instead!

Best Thanksgiving side dishes - mashed cauliflower recipe

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

This creamy mash is lighter than mashed potatoes, but it’s no less delicious.

Mushroom gravy over mashed cauliflower

Mushroom Gravy

Even meat lovers will fall for this velvety (vegan) mushroom gravy! It’s perfect for ladling over mashed potatoes, stuffing, and more.

Balsamic Brussel Sprouts

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

Roasted with honey and balsamic, these sprouts are crispy, caramelized, and packed with amazing sweet and tangy flavor.

Thanksgiving side dishes - Roasted beets

Roasted Beets

The ultimate make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish! You can roast the beets up to 3 days before the big meal. Then, toss them with herbs, oranges, and a squeeze of lemon when you’re ready to eat.

Best Thanksgiving recipes - Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Dress up simple roasted cauliflower with lemon zest and fresh herbs, and it becomes a delectable Thanksgiving side dish! The cauliflower is good warm or at room temperature, so feel free to roast it up to a few hours in advance.

Sautéed green beans

Sautéed Green Beans

This recipe is one of the simplest Thanksgiving side dishes, and if you ask me, it’s also one of the best. Featuring a lemon dressing and fresh thyme, it’s bright, colorful, and easy to make.

Squash Thanksgiving Side Dishes

I can never plan a Thanksgiving menu without including a squash recipe. It’s one of the most versatile, flavorful veggies of the season. Why not show it off in our autumn feast?

Thanksgiving side dishes - stuffed acorn squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

If you’re serving vegan or vegetarian guests at Thanksgiving, this recipe would be a great one to add to your menu. The hearty stuffed squash is a fantastic meatless main, but if you’re tucking into turkey, it’ll make an excellent side dish, too.

Best Thanksgiving side dishes - delicata squash with apples and sage

Roasted Delicata Squash with Apples & Sage

This recipe falls into my favorite category of Thanksgiving side dishes: those that showcase fall produce at its finest. It’s a delicious, sweet and savory mix of squash, apples, kale, and fresh herbs.

Honeynut squash

Roasted Honeynut Squash

Have you tried honeynut squash? This mini butternut has exceptionally sweet, creamy flesh. Roasted with a maple glaze and served over whipped ricotta, it would be a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving table.

Butternut squash mac and cheese

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

This ultra-creamy macaroni and cheese will be a HUGE holiday hit! Pureed roasted squash, ground sage, and nutmeg add cozy fall flavor to the luscious sauce.

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash on a serving platter

Maple Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasted with maple syrup, olive oil, herbs, and salt and pepper, this acorn squash is a simple, elegant Thanksgiving side dish.

Thanksgiving side dishes - Roasted kabocha squash with sesame seeds and scallions

Roasted Kabocha Squash

My sesame ginger dressing adds savory, nutty flavor to these creamy wedges of roasted kabocha squash.

Best Thanksgiving side dishes - Roasted butternut squash

Roasted Butternut Squash

An easy, last-minute side dish that doesn’t skimp on flavor! You only need olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of herbs to make simple roasted butternut squash a Thanksgiving-worthy side dish.

Salad Thanksgiving Side Dishes

These Thanksgiving side dishes will add a bright pop of color and fresh flavor to your holiday meal.

Thanksgiving recipes - Arugula salad

Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Don’t mistake this recipe for a plain old green salad! Even though it’s easy to make, it tastes sophisticated and complex. Sweet, juicy roasted grapes mingle with nutty Parmesan and crunchy roasted almonds, and a bright lemon vinaigrette ties it all together.

Thanksgiving side dishes - Homemade Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

This recipe is always a crowd pleaser! My easy Greek yogurt Caesar dressing fills it with tangy, briny flavor.

Thanksgiving side dishes - Farro salad

Farro Salad

Nutty farro plays off sweet apples and dates, a tangy dressing, and bitter greens in this simple, yet unexpected, salad. To get ahead, cook the farro and make the dressing a day in advance.

Thanksgiving side dishes - green bean salad

Green Bean Salad

A simpler, fresher alternative to classic green bean casserole.

Thanksgiving recipes - Roasted Beet Salad

Beet Salad with Goat Cheese & Balsamic

For a really gorgeous Thanksgiving side dish, make this salad with as many types of beets as you can find. Filled with jeweled yellows, pinks, and reds, it’ll be a stunning addition to your holiday menu.

Best Thanksgiving recipes - Wheat Berry Salad

Wheat Berry Salad

This salad is basically fall in a bowl! It’s packed with roasted squash, nutty wheat berries, dried cranberries, fresh sage… Could anything be more autumnal?

Thanksgiving pear salad recipe

Pear Salad with Balsamic and Walnuts

Whisk together the balsamic vinaigrette a day or two ahead of time, and this pear salad will be a breeze to assemble right before you eat.

Roasted butternut squash salad

Butternut Squash Salad

A lightly creamy, cumin-spiced dressing adds earthy, aromatic flavor to this roasted squash salad.

Thanksgiving side dishes - Best Kale Salad recipe

Kale Salad

Add tons of color to your Thanksgiving table with this rainbow kale salad! To get ahead, you can toss the kale with the vibrant dressing up to two days in advance. Then, sprinkle on the toppings right before you eat.

Slaw Thanksgiving Recipes

When it comes to Thanksgiving side dishes, slaws are often overlooked. But in my opinion, they’re a fantastic addition to a holiday menu. They offer a crisp, refreshing contrast to heavier fare like stuffing and mashed potatoes. Plus, they’re perfect for making ahead!

Thanksgiving side dishes - Shaved Brussels sprout salad

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

I bring this salad to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner every year. It has 8 ingredients, it’s lemony and bright, and it keeps well if you make it ahead of time. What’s not to love?

Thanksgiving side dishes - best broccoli salad

Best Broccoli Salad

This recipe only gets better if you make it ahead of time. Toss the broccoli, onion, and cranberries in the lightly creamy, tangy dressing up to 2 days in advance. Just wait to add the smoky roasted nuts until right before you eat.

Best Thanksgiving recipes - kohlrabi apple slaw

Kohlrabi Slaw

If you’re looking for Thanksgiving sides that are easy to pull together at the last minute, this sweet and tangy slaw is for you. It’s made with just 10 ingredients and comes together in no time.

Soup Thanksgiving Recipes

Soup is a perfect way to start a Thanksgiving meal. It’s simple, comforting, flavorful. And conveniently, it almost always tastes better on the second day than it does on the first. If you can, I highly recommend making these Thanksgiving recipes ahead.

Butternut squash soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Ginger, rosemary, and sage infuse this creamy butternut squash soup with warming autumn flavor.

Thanksgiving recipes - Cauliflower soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Your guests will never guess that this creamy cauliflower soup is totally dairy-free! It’s rich and velvety, but blended cauliflower – not milk or cream – creates its luscious texture.

Acorn squash soup

Acorn Squash Soup

I love the way that crunchy toppings contrast with this sublimely creamy, cozy soup. Pile your bowl with toasted pepitas or homemade croutons before you dig in!

Thanksgiving side dishes - Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup

This cream of mushroom soup is too good to hide in a green bean casserole! Savory, tangy, and

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Nov 12, 2023
Mushroom Gravy Recipe – Love and Lemons

This mushroom gravy recipe will take your mashed potatoes to a whole new level! It’s vegan, but even meat lovers will fall for its rich, savory flavor.

Mushroom gravy

I’ve had a mushroom gravy recipe on my list to make for years. After trying this one, all I can think is, “What took me so long?!” This mushroom gravy is rich, velvety, and packed with savory flavor. It’s totally vegan, but it’ll give any gravy made with meat or butter a run for its money. Every time I make it, I always eat a few spoonfuls straight from the pan. It’s that good! Pour it over mashed potatoes once, and you’ll never want to eat them any other way.

Mushrooms, broth, rosemary, thyme, flour, soy sauce, olive oil, shallots, and garlic

Vegan Mushroom Gravy Recipe Ingredients

This mushroom gravy recipe comes together with a handful of basic ingredients:

  • Mushrooms, of course! They add hearty texture and umami flavor to this mushroom gravy recipe.
  • Shallot and garlic – For sharp, savory depth of flavor.
  • Tamari or soy sauce – If you’ve made my veggie burger or sautéed mushrooms, you know that I love cooking mushrooms with tamari. It really highlights their rich, savory flavor. Soy sauce will work here too, but make sure to use tamari if you need this gravy to be gluten-free.
  • Rosemary and thyme – These herbs take this vegan mushroom gravy over the top! Their fresh, aromatic flavors make it cozy and complex.
  • All-purpose flour – It makes the gravy nice and thick. (See the recipe below for a gluten-free option.)
  • Vegetable stock – It gives the gravy body.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – For richness.
  • And sea salt and fresh black pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Vegan mushroom gravy in a sauce boat

This mushroom gravy reheats perfectly, so feel free to prepare it a day or two in advance. It thickens as it sits, so you’ll likely need to stir in an extra splash of water or broth when you warm it up. Add a little at a time until the gravy reaches your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!

Mashed potatoes with vegan gravy

Mushroom Gravy Serving Suggestions

This mushroom gravy would be a delicious addition to a Thanksgiving or holiday dinner. I love it with classic side dishes like stuffing and roasted Brussels sprouts, but like any good gravy recipe, it’s best with mashed potatoes. Spoon it over my traditional roasted garlic mashed potatoes, or try an out-of-the-box mash instead. This vegan mushroom gravy would be a perfect topping for my mashed cauliflower or parsnip puree.

If you have any leftovers, stir some cooked white beans into the gravy, pour it over creamy mashed cauliflower, and enjoy it as a meal on its own! In fact, I like this combination so much that I make it for dinner throughout the fall and winter. Served with homemade focaccia or crusty bread, it’s satisfying, healthy, and comforting.

Mushroom gravy recipe

More Favorite Holiday Recipes

If you love this recipe, try one of these holiday side dishes next:

And for more tasty vegan recipes, check out this post!

Mushroom Gravy

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Serves 8

Take your mashed potatoes to a whole new level with this rich, savory mushroom gravy! It’s fantastic on these garlic mashed potatoes as well as my mashed cauliflower and parsnip puree. Vegan.

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  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft, about 4 minutes.

  • Add the mushrooms and cook until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tamari, garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and stir for 1 minute.

  • Add the broth and simmer until thickened, whisking often, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make this recipe gluten free: Omit the flour in step 2. At the end of step 3, spoon a few tablespoons of the liquid into a small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons cornstarch and stir until smooth. Pour this mixture back into the pan and stir until the gravy thickens.

More Details
Nov 11, 2023
Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe – Love and Lemons

Learn how to make the best mashed potatoes with this easy recipe! Rich, creamy, and flavorful, they’re always a crowd-pleasing side dish.

Mashed potatoes

I can’t share a mashed potatoes recipe without mentioning my husband Jack. He LOVES homemade mashed potatoes, specifically ones that are rich, creamy, and flavorful.

I’ve made plenty that he’s liked in the past (see these garlic mashed potatoes and these Instant Pot mashed potatoes). But this year, I finally made the potatoes he’d been waiting for: ones loaded up with butter, milk, and sour cream.

I’m not kidding when I say that these are the best mashed potatoes I’ve tried. They’re ultra-rich and blissfully creamy, and the sour cream gives them a delicious tangy kick. They’re easy to make (and make ahead!), and they’re guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser at Thanksgiving or any meal. If not from me, then take it from Jack—you’re going to love this mashed potatoes recipe.

Best mashed potatoes recipe ingredients

How to Make Mashed Potatoes

You can find the complete recipe with measurements at the bottom of this post, but for now, I’ll give you an overview of how it goes:


This classic recipe starts with 7 simple ingredients:

  • Potatoes, of course! 3 pounds yields enough for about 8 people. Double the recipe if you’re serving more!
  • Garlic – For savory depth of flavor.
  • Unsalted butter – For richness and buttery flavor.
  • Milk – It smooths the starchy potatoes into an incredibly creamy mash. Use whole milk for the creamiest results.
  • Sour creamTechnically, this ingredient is optional. If you skip it, the recipe will still come out great. But for the best mashed potatoes, I highly recommend folding it in! It makes the taters extra-creamy and gives them a tangy taste.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

What are the best potatoes for mashed potatoes?

I think Yukon Golds and russets are the best potatoes for mashing.

  • Yukon Gold potatoes are thin-skinned yellow potatoes. I love to mash them because they have a creamy texture, rich golden color, and buttery flavor.
  • Russet potatoes are white potatoes that are high in natural starches. Thanks to all that starch, they yield fluffy mashed potatoes.

Feel free to make this recipe with either of these types of potatoes.

Another option I like is to use a mix of both kinds. The russets help with fluffiness and the Yukon Golds supply great flavor. It’s a combination that can’t be beat!

Potatoes boiling in white pot


My method for how to make mashed potatoes couldn’t be simpler! Here’s how it goes:

First, peel and chop the potatoes. Cut them into large chunks—halve smaller Yukon Golds and cut larger russets into quarters or sixths. Do your best to cut the pieces to a consistent size so that they cook evenly.

Next, cook. Place the potatoes and garlic in a large pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add a tablespoon of salt, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and gently boil until the potatoes are fork-tender.

How Long to Boil Potatoes for Mashed Potatoes

When I make this recipe, I generally boil the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes.

But the timing can vary! The potatoes are ready when you can easily pierce them with a fork. Avoid undercooking them. If they’re still firm in the center, you’ll end up with lumpy mashed potatoes!

Mashing potato mixture in white pot

When the potatoes are tender, drain them into a colander. Lightly shake to remove excess water, and return the potatoes to the pot.

Finally, mash! Use a potato masher to partially mash the potatoes. Then, pour in the milk and add the butter, salt, and pepper. Continue mashing until the potatoes have reach your desired consistency (we like them totally smooth!). If desired, use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir in the sour cream.

Season to taste, adding more butter, sour cream, and salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!

Recipe Tip

Don’t forget the fixings! We love these potatoes with butter, chives, and salt and pepper on top. You can’t go wrong with mushroom gravy either.

Creamy mashed potatoes in pot

How to Store Mashed Potatoes

These mashed potatoes keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

You have a few options for reheating them:

  • In the microwave – Microwave until heated through, stirring every 2 minutes.
  • In the oven – Transfer the potatoes to a casserole dish or oven-safe pan. Dot the top with butter and cover. Warm in a 350°F oven until heated through, 25 minutes or more depending on the size and shape of your baking dish.

I’ve also had success reheating these mashed potatoes using the Keep Warm setting of my Instant Pot. A slow cooker would work well too!

If the potatoes seem dry after reheating, stir in some melted butter or a splash of milk to loosen them up.

Best mashed potatoes recipe

More Favorite Potato Recipes

If you love these homemade mashed potatoes, try one of these potato recipes next:

Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 8

These are the best homemade mashed potatoes I’ve tried! They’re smooth, creamy, and full of rich flavor. Serve them with butter and chives, or top them with savory mushroom gravy. This recipe is an easy, delicious side dish for Thanksgiving or any meal.
  • 3 pounds potatoes, russet potatoes, Yukon Golds, or a mix, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 stick, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • teaspoons sea salt, plus more for the cooking water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ to ½ cup sour cream, optional
  • Chopped fresh chives, for garnish

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  • Place the potatoes and garlic in a large pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Season the water with a tablespoon of salt.

  • Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and gently boil for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain and return to the pot.

  • Begin to mash the potatoes and garlic with a potato masher. When they are partially mashed, add the butter, milk, salt, and several grinds of pepper. Continuing mashing until the potatoes reach your desired consistency (we like them totally smooth), then use a spatula or wooden spoon to fold in the sour cream, if using.

  • Season to taste and serve topped with butter and chives.

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