7 Best Side Dishes for Turkey Dinner You’ll Enjoy

There is nothing like a summer turkey dinner. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and best of all, you get to enjoy great food with family and friends. For the most part, I thought turkey could only be enjoyed for thanksgiving, but my sister showed me the error of my ways.

One summer day, my sister decided to have a summer turkey dinner. She invited our family and friends over and asked everyone to bring a side dish. But, for the life of me, I could not figure out what side dish to bring. So, I asked my sister for some ideas. She suggested a few things, but nothing sounded good to me.

Finally, she said, “Just bring whatever you want.” Immediately, I started my research and finally found the perfect summer turkey dinner sides.

So, if you also need some delicious side dish inspiration to complement your summer turkey dinner, look no further! Just read on for some amazing suggestions that will make your meal unforgettable!

Side Dishes for Summer Turkey Dinner

  1. Cranberry Sauce
  2. Cranberry Pie
  3. Pork Stuffing
  4. Pomegranate, Pistachio, and Pear Salad
  5. Lemon Fried Rice
  6. Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Bacon Pecan
  7. Orange, Cranberry, and Quinoa Salad
  8. Roasted Cabbage

Cranberry Sauce

summer turkey dinner sides

First up is Cranberry sauce, and though it’s primarily traditional, I must say it makes an excellent sidekick for your summer turkey dinner. The tartness of the cranberries pairs perfectly with the juicy, flavorful turkey. Plus, the bright red color of the sauce adds a beautiful pop of color to your meal.

And, if you’re looking for ways to use up leftover cranberry sauce, try using it as a sandwich spread or dolloping it over pound cake or ice cream. It’s also deliciously stirred into oatmeal or yogurt. So don’t be afraid to get creative with your leftovers. With so many delicious ways to enjoy it, cranberry sauce is a summertime staple that everyone will love.

Quick recipe: Cranberry Sauce with a Twist Recipe

  • Ingredients: Fresh cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  • Instructions:
    1. In a saucepan, simmer cranberries, sugar, and water on medium heat for 15 minutes or until thickened.
    2. Add a pinch of orange zest and simmer for another 5 minutes.
    3. Chill before serving.

Cranberry Pie

While cranberry sauce is a revered classic, there’s another dish that should rise to the holiday occasion: Cranberry Pie. It’s a shame that this vibrant dessert often plays second fiddle to its apple and pumpkin counterparts, because it certainly deserves the spotlight.

The beauty of a Cranberry Pie lies in its bold simplicity. The tartness of the cranberries is an absolute revelation, cutting through the sweetness that so often dominates the dessert table. When encased in a flaky, buttery crust, the cranberries transform into a luscious, ruby-red filling that’s both sharp and refreshing. It’s a pie that wakes up your palate and can cleanse the richness of a festive feast like no other.

Moreover, Cranberry Pie is a visual feast. Its deep, garnet color is a thing of beauty and makes for an enchanting centerpiece. Serving this pie not only delights the taste buds but also adds a touch of elegance to your table setting.

So, if you’re looking to introduce a new tradition to your holiday lineup or simply want to bake something that will stand out from the usual suspects, give Cranberry Pie a chance. It’s not just a dessert; it’s an experience that might just become a new favorite.

Quick recipe: Savory Cranberry Pie 


  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 sheets of refrigerated pie crust (or homemade if you prefer)
  • 1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Cooking Time: Approximately 50 minutes


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the fresh cranberries, sugar, flour, orange zest and juice, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly until the cranberries are well coated.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one sheet of pie crust and carefully place it into a 9-inch pie dish. Trim the edges, leaving a slight overhang.
  4. Pour the cranberry filling into the pie crust, spreading it out evenly.
  5. Roll out the second sheet of pie crust and place it over the filling. Trim any excess crust, and crimp the edges to seal the pie. You can get creative here with a lattice top or use cookie cutters for a decorative touch.
  6. Cut a few slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Brush the top with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a little sugar for a golden, sparkly finish.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
  8. Allow the pie to cool before serving. This will let the filling set and make it easier to slice.

Serve this beautiful Cranberry Pie with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and watch as your guests marvel at this not-so-traditional holiday treat that just might steal the show.

Pork Stuffing

summer turkey dinner

Typically stuffing is a dish that is associated with winter holiday meals, but it can also be a delicious side dish for a summer turkey dinner.

From experience, the key to making good stuffing is to use fresh bread and to add plenty of herbs and vegetables. This will give the stuffing a light, airy texture that is perfect for summer.

Hence, to make a summer-friendly stuffing, start by sauteing some onions and garlic in olive oil. Then add diced celery, chopped herbs, and minced pork. Mix in cubed bread, and moisten with chicken stock. Bake the stuffing until it is golden brown and crispy on the outside, then serve it alongside your turkey dinner for a summer twist on a classic dish.

Quick recipe: Herb-Infused Pork Stuffing Recipe

  • Ingredients: Fresh bread cubes, pork mince, onions, garlic, celery, herbs (thyme, rosemary), chicken stock
  • Cooking Time: 45 minutes
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
    2. Sauté onions, garlic, and celery in olive oil for 10 minutes.
    3. Add pork and herbs, cook for another 10 minutes.
    4. In a large bowl, mix with bread cubes and moisten with chicken stock.
    5. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

Pomegranate, Pistachio, and Pear Salad

smoked turkey summer sides

This next side dish is not only summery but also incredibly beautiful to look at. It’s perfect for impressing your guests with its vibrant colors and unique flavor combination. Moreover, this light and refreshing dish is the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day.

Either way, Pomegranates, pistachios, and pears salad make a great side dish for a summer turkey dinner. The juicy sweetness of the pomegranate pairs perfectly with the savory turkey, while the pistachios add a crunchy contrast. The pears provide a refreshing hint of acidity, making this dish irresistible.

Plus, it’s incredibly easy to prepare. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, and you’re all set! Also, this dish can be served as a standalone salad or even as a topping for grilled chicken or fish. So whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue or simply looking for a delicious way to use up some ripe fruit, this Pomegranate, Pistachio, and Pear Salad is sure to hit the spot.

Quick recipe: Pomegranate, Pistachio, and Pear Salad

  • Ingredients: Pomegranate seeds, pistachios, pear slices, mixed greens, vinaigrette
  • Cooking Time: 10 minutes (assembly)
  • Instructions:
    1. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients.
    2. Drizzle with vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Lemon Fried Rice

summer turkey dinner ideas

Following up is another summery twist on a classic dish, Lemon Fried Rice. This dish is perfect for using up leftover rice and is packed with summer flavors.

Quite frankly, the zesty flavor of the lemon helps to cut through the richness of the turkey, and the crispy texture of the rice is a perfect contrast to the tender meat. Plus, the colorful vegetables add a lovely visual element to the dish.

Best of all, this side dish is easy to prepare. Simply sauté the rice in some olive oil, then add the lemon juice, vegetables, and turkey. Give it a good stir, then serve. This dish can also be made ahead of time and reheated when you’re ready to eat, which is always a bonus during busy summer days.

In addition, you can use lemon fried rice as a base for another summertime favorite, like grilled salmon or shrimp. No matter how you enjoy it, this delicious side dish is sure to please.

Quick recipe: Lemon Fried Rice

  • Ingredients: Cooked rice, lemon juice/lemon zest, assorted veggies (bell peppers, carrots), olive oil/sesame oil
  • Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  • Instructions:
    1. Heat olive oil in a pan.
    2. Sauté rice and veggies for 10 minutes.
    3. Add lemon juice and stir well, cooking for another 10 minutes.

Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Bacon Pecan

Now y’all know I love me some bacon. There’s just something about that smoky, salty flavor that makes my mouth water. So when I was brainstorming side dishes for our summer turkey dinner, I knew I wanted to incorporate bacon somehow.

So, that’s how I came up with this bourbon sweet potato casserole with bacon pecan topping. The sweetness of the potatoes is balanced by the savory bacon, and the pecans add a nice crunch. Plus, the bourbon gives it a little bit of a kick. Now, I ain’t saying you have to be drunk to enjoy this casserole but, let’s just say it doesn’t hurt. 😉

As far as preparation goes, it’s pretty simple. Just bake your sweet potatoes, mash ’em up, mix in some eggs, milk, and spices, and pour them into a casserole dish. Top with crumbled bacon and chopped pecans and bake until golden brown. Easy peasy!

This dish can also be enjoyed as a stand-alone side or even as a main course if you’re looking for something light. And if you’re not a fan of bourbon, you can always leave it out or substitute it with another type of alcohol. Either way, I guarantee this casserole will be a hit at your summer turkey dinner.

Quick recipe: Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Bacon Pecan

  • Ingredients: Sweet potatoes, bacon, pecans, bourbon, milk, eggs
  • Cooking Time: 1 hour
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
    2. Mash baked sweet potatoes.
    3. Mix with milk, eggs, and bourbon.
    4. Top with crumbled bacon and chopped pecans.
    5. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden.

Orange, Cranberry, and Quinoa Salad

what goes with turkey dinner

Next up is another summertime favorite, this orange, cranberry, and quinoa salad is the perfect way to use up leftover quinoa. It’s invigorating and full of summer flavors. Plus, it’s a great source of protein and fiber, making it a healthy option for our summer turkey dinner.

Moreover, the zesty orange and tart cranberry flavors are the perfect complement to the richness of the turkey, while the quinoa adds a nutty depth of flavor and a satisfyingly chewy texture. Also, this salad is super easy to make, just mix everything together, and you’re good to go!

Similarly, if you’re looking for a way to use up any leftover salad, just throw it on top of some greens for a tasty lunch the next day.

What’s more, it’s also a great dish to take to potlucks and BBQs. Simply double the recipe, and you’re good to go!

Quick recipe: Orange, Cranberry, and Quinoa Salad

  • Ingredients: Cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, orange segments, mint leaves, salt, black pepper
  • Cooking Time: 15 minutes (assembly)
  • Instructions:
    1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients.
    2. Chill for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Roasted Cabbage

what to serve with turkey in the summer

Admittedly, other than for slaw, cabbage is often overlooked as a side dish. But, I believe that it deserves a spot on your summer dinner table. Roasted cabbage is a wonderfully light and fresh way to enjoy this humble vegetable, and it pairs exceptionally well with grilled turkey.

I’d have to say the key to making roasted cabbage is to slice it thinly and cook it until the edges are slightly charred. This gives the cabbage a nice crispy texture that contrasts well with the juicy turkey.

Personally, I like to serve my roasted cabbage with a simple lemon vinaigrette, but you could also use your favorite hot sauce or BBQ sauce. Regardless, cabbage is an incredibly versatile vegetable, so don’t be afraid to get creative with your seasonings. Trust me, your guests will be pleasantly surprised by this unique and delicious side dish.

Quick recipe: Charred Roasted Cabbage

  • Ingredients: Cabbage slices, olive oil, lemon vinaigrette, salt,  black pepper
  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes
  • Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
    2. Arrange thinly sliced cabbage on a baking sheet.
    3. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 25 minutes or until edges are charred.
    4. Serve with lemon vinaigrette or cranberry sauce.


What do you eat with turkey in the summer?

There are many summertime favorites that pair well with turkey, like roasted vegetables, salads, and rice dishes. For a complete summer turkey dinner, try serving one of these delicious side dishes listed in this article.

What is the best way to cook summer turkey?

The best way to cook summer turkey is to grill it. This will give the turkey a nice smoky flavor that is perfect for summertime. Just be sure to cook the turkey all the way through, as grilling can sometimes leave the inside of the turkey undercooked.

What are some good side dishes for a summer BBQ?

Some good side dishes for a summer BBQ include roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, coleslaw, and fruit salad.

What are the 12 most popular Thanksgiving dishes?

The 12 most popular Thanksgiving dishes are turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, yams, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cornbread dressing, rolls, and butter. These dishes are typically served as part of a traditional Thanksgiving feast. However, many families have their own unique traditions and may serve different dishes.


In short, summer turkey dinner is the perfect way to enjoy all of your favorite summertime flavors. And with so many delicious side dishes to choose from, there’s sure to be something for everyone at your table.

So, whether you’re looking for a healthy option or something more indulgent, be sure to give these summer turkey dinner sides a try. Your guests will be sure to thank you!

7 Best Side Dishes for Summer Turkey Dinner You’ll Enjoy

Here are 7 exciting recipe ideas to pair with your signature dish.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 390 kcal


  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Cranberry Pie
  • Pork Stuffing
  • Pomegranate Pistachio, and Pear Salad
  • Lemon Fried Rice
  • Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole with Bacon Pecan
  • Orange Cranberry, and Quinoa Salad
  • Roasted Cabbage


  • Choose your preferred recipe
  • Prepare the ingredients needed to complete the recipe
  • Prepare your side dish
Keyword what to serve with turkey in the summer