Thanksgiving is typically when most Americans abandon their diet, pull out their stretchy pants, and eat a little bit of everything that makes it to the dinner table — and then desserts. With classic dishes like roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and more, there are plenty of options for festive holiday eats.
Here at Today’s Homeowner, we know everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving recipes. While we mostly write about mundane topics like the best home warranty guide for your house, this month we switched things up and moved from “home maintenance” to the high-brow work of home cooking.
Sometimes, that favorite recipe or dish varies based on where you grew up, your family heritage, or where you live now. Different regions of the country and states have Thanksgiving recipes that are traditional to those areas or staples for their Thanksgiving meals. We decided to ask: What are the most popular Thanksgiving Day recipes in every state?
With help from Google Trends, we have an answer for you. Keep reading to find out your state’s most popular Thanksgiving recipe.
Most Popular Savory Thanksgiving Recipes by State
The most popular Thanksgiving dish depends on where you live. The Midwest is known for comforting casseroles.
Given the chilly late November weather, green bean casserole and corn casserole make perfect sense as popular side dishes in the region. They provide a hearty, warm complement to turkey.
Roasted turkey was the most-searched Thanksgiving recipe overall by count of states, winning nine of the 50 states in our survey. That result makes sense: turkey is the quintessential Thanksgiving protein, and although frying turkey is trendy, most people roast it in the oven.
Stuffing and salad were not far behind. Each was the most searched recipe in six states. Salad garnered support in the West (California, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, among others), while stuffing won the South (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and others). Read on to see the full list of results below:
Most Popular Sweet Thanksgiving Recipes by State
We didn’t forget about dessert, my favorite part of any Thanksgiving meal. We love it all, whether it’s apple pie, pumpkin pie, brownies, or cheesecake. Just like our research on savory foods, your favorite recipes can vary depending on where you live in the country.
Not surprisingly, the southern states love their pecan pie and search for the best recipe more than any other dish. This delicious, traditional southern pie was the most searched-for dessert in six states, including Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.
Interestingly, brownies and pumpkin pie lead the way in most states, tied for 15 states in all. Read on to see every state’s most popular sweet recipe search results.
So, Is Thanksgiving All About Food?
While food is an essential part of the Thanksgiving tradition, the holiday is about more than eating. It's a time for gratefulness and to spend quality time with loved ones. In today's busy world, it can be difficult to gather the family together, so Thanksgiving offers a dedicated occasion to reconnect and reminisce with your closest relatives.
The holiday reminds us to pause and be thankful for health, family, friends, freedoms, and everything we often take for granted. While recipes, parades, Thanksgiving home decorating, and football games are fun traditions, at its core, the holiday provides a reason for human connection.
In many families, it’s a Thanksgiving tradition for certain family cooks to contribute the one dish they’re known for preparing: a particular side dish like sweet potato casserole or green bean casserole, dessert or even homemade biscuits or rolls.
Thanksgiving is a time to eat, be with friends and family, and have no regrets about your calorie intake. If you’re gearing up for your best Thanksgiving yet, throw on those loose pants you saved for a rainy day, go to the grocery store early to beat the lines, and get ready to chow down on some delicious food.
FAQs About Thanksgiving
What are some Thanksgiving desserts besides pie?
In addition to classic pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies, common Thanksgiving desserts include:
- Bread pudding
- Ice cream
What are some Thanksgiving side dishes?
Popular Thanksgiving side dishes include:
- Stuffing or dressing
- Mashed potatoes
- Sweet potatoes
- Green bean casserole
- Creamed corn
- Cranberry sauce
- Roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts, carrots, or squash
What are some Thanksgiving appetizers?
Favorite appetizers and snacks for Thanksgiving gatherings include:
- Cheese and fruit boards
- Deviled eggs
- Dips, like spinach artichoke or buffalo chicken dip
- Meatballs and sausage balls
- Bacon-wrapped stuffed dates
- Chips and salsa
- Stuffed mushrooms
How long does it take to cook a turkey?
Cooking times depend on the size of your turkey and your preferred method of cooking, but for oven cooking in general, you should plan on:
- 4–5 hours for a 10–16 lb turkey
- 5–6 hours for a 16–20 lb turkey
- 6–8 hours for a 20–24 lb turkey
Use a meat thermometer to confirm the turkey reaches 165°F in the breast and 185°F in the thigh and leg. Let it rest at least 20 minutes after pulling it away from the heat before you carve it. If you deep-fry or cook a turkey in a way other than roasting, such as on the grill or in a smoker, cooking times will differ.