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Taste Test: The Best Thanksgiving Side Dishes

We taste-tested dozens of store-bought Thanksgiving side dishes to find our favorites -- fool your guests with these winners.
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BEST STUFFING

Stove Top Stuffing Mix Turkey Flavor

Judges gave this old standby top marks for flavor and texture, calling it "moist, but not mushy," and praising the authentic Thanksgiving flavor: "It tastes like it came from the center of the turkey." ($1.80 for 6 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST CREAMED SPINACH

Stouffer's Creamed Spinach

Stouffer's has been making this simple comfort food -- chopped spinach in a parmesan-andromano- cheese sauce -- since its frozen foods line debuted in 1954. Tasters loved the "creamy, buttery" texture and "big, leafy" spinach pieces. ($2.40 for 9 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST PUMPKIN PIE

Mrs. Smith's Hearty Pumpkin Pie

This tasty pie stood out over bland competitors for its "cinnamon-nutmeg kick" and "supercreamy" texture. Tasters declared it "close to homemade," and no wonder: Mrs. Smith (yes, she was a real person) whipped up her first pie at home in the early 1900s. ($5, at grocery stores)

BEST MASHED POTATOES

Idahoan Buttery Yukon Gold

This company has been making instant potatoes with real butter since 1960. Testers said the superbuttery spuds seem "lightly whipped" and praised the "actual pieces of potato" -- the mix is made with potato chunks, not flakes. ($1.30 for 4 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST GRAVY

Boston Market Roasted Turkey Gravy

Most gravy we tasted was salty, gloppy and downright scary, but judges said this jarred version from the popular restaurant chain "tastes like real pan drippings," with "great oniony flavor." ($2 for 10 ounces, at grocery stores)

BEST DINNER ROLLS

Alexia French Rolls

This 6-year-old New York City company is known for its allnatural frozen fries, but its rolls are just as impressive: Tasters said they're "just like a bakery's -- crusty on the outside, doughy on the inside." ($4 for 8 rolls, alexiafoods.com for stores)

Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in November 2007.

 

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