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What Is Your Favorite Thanksgiving Food: Dive into 80 Favorites!

You’re about to embark on a culinary journey through Thanksgiving traditions. Ever wondered why turkey’s the star? Or how stuffing and cranberry sauce earned their places at the table?

You’ll discover regional dishes, learn how to cater for special diets, and even venture into non-traditional territory. Whether you’re hosting or bringing a dish to share, we’ve got tips and insights that’ll make your Thanksgiving meal unforgettable.

Key Takeaways

  • Indigenous people played a significant role in teaching colonists about growing and using corn, which became a staple in Thanksgiving meals.
  • Seafood, such as clams and lobsters, were part of early Thanksgiving feasts in New England.
  • Venison was a popular choice among colonial settlers for Thanksgiving meals.
  • Regional dishes across America add unique twists to Thanksgiving feasts, incorporating local flavors and traditions.

80 Popular Thanksgiving Dishes

Thanksgiving, a celebration rich in tradition and flavors, brings together family and friends to share a sumptuous feast, expressing gratitude and reveling in the warmth of togetherness.

From the savory allure of roasted turkey to the sweet whisper of pumpkin pie, the culinary tapestry of this festive occasion is diverse and tantalizing.

Each dish, a symphony of flavors, represents the essence of autumnal bounty and the culinary heritage of diverse communities. Whether you are a seasoned chef or a culinary enthusiast, this compilation is bound to inspire your palate and enrich your Thanksgiving culinary repertoire.


  1. Butternut squash soup
  2. Shrimp cocktail
  3. Spinach and artichoke dip
  4. Deviled eggs
  5. Cheese and charcuterie board
  6. Stuffed mushrooms
  7. Cranberry brie bites
  8. Bruschetta
  9. Caprese skewers
  10. Sweet potato crostini


  1. Roast turkey
  2. Baked ham
  3. Roast beef
  4. Herb-roasted chicken
  5. Vegetarian Wellington
  6. Stuffed bell peppers
  7. Pork roast
  8. Grilled salmon
  9. Cornish hens
  10. Beef tenderloin


  1. Mashed potatoes
  2. Sweet potato casserole
  3. Green bean casserole
  4. Stuffing/dressing
  5. Cranberry sauce
  6. Roasted vegetables
  7. Cornbread
  8. Creamed spinach
  9. Brussels sprouts with bacon
  10. Scalloped potatoes


  1. Dinner rolls
  2. Cornbread
  3. Garlic bread
  4. Parker House rolls
  5. Biscuits


  1. Turkey gravy
  2. Cranberry sauce
  3. Mushroom gravy
  4. Giblet gravy
  5. Au jus


  1. Pumpkin pie
  2. Pecan pie
  3. Apple pie
  4. Sweet potato pie
  5. Cheesecake
  6. Chocolate mousse
  7. Apple crisp
  8. Bread pudding
  9. Cranberry upside-down cake
  10. Pumpkin roll


  1. Carrot cake
  2. Red velvet cake
  3. German chocolate cake
  4. Spice cake
  5. Lemon cake


  1. Chocolate chip cookies
  2. Sugar cookies
  3. Snickerdoodles
  4. Gingerbread cookies
  5. Oatmeal raisin cookies


  1. Pecan bars
  2. Pumpkin bars
  3. Apple bars
  4. Lemon bars
  5. Seven-layer bars


  1. Rice pudding
  2. Bread pudding
  3. Chocolate pudding
  4. Butterscotch pudding
  5. Tapioca pudding


  1. Peach cobbler
  2. Apple crisp
  3. Berry cobbler
  4. Pear crisp
  5. Mixed fruit crisp

Ice Cream

  1. Vanilla ice cream
  2. Pumpkin ice cream
  3. Caramel ice cream
  4. Chocolate ice cream
  5. Coffee ice cream

The History of Thanksgiving Food Traditions

It’s fascinating to delve into the history of Thanksgiving food traditions, isn’t it? You’d be surprised to learn how significant colonial food influences and indigenous contribution were in shaping what we now know as the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Ponder over the humble corn, for instance. It was a staple crop for Indigenous people, who taught colonists how to grow and use it in various dishes. Similarly, seafood like clams and lobsters graced early feasts, reflecting New England’s coastal bounty.

You must also appreciate the role of wild game. Venison was a common choice among colonial settlers before turkey took center stage. As you savor your Thanksgiving dinner, remember these rich historical roots that lend depth to every bite.

Now let’s turn our attention to the star attraction – exploring the role of turkey in Thanksgiving celebrations.

The Role of Turkey in Thanksgiving Celebrations

You’ve probably noticed that turkey takes center stage at most holiday meals, especially during celebrations in November. It’s not just about the tradition; the turkey’s nutritional value plays a significant role too. Rich in protein and low in fat, it’s perfect for health-conscious foodies.

Turkey preparation methods vary worldwide:

  • Roasting is the traditional American method.
  • In France, they prefer to braise their turkeys.
  • Turkey tacos are popular in Mexico for a spicy twist.
  • In China, turkey can be stir-fried or steamed.
  • The British often pair their roast turkey with cranberry sauce.

Each method enhances different flavors and textures – from succulent roasts to fiery tacos. So next time you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving feast, don’t forget to appreciate the versatility and nourishment of this festive bird!

The Importance of Sides: From Stuffing to Cranberry Sauce

While the turkey’s undoubtedly a showstopper, don’t overlook the importance of side dishes. From stuffing to cranberry sauce, they’re just as essential in creating that perfect holiday meal balance.

Your Sides Variety can range from roasted Brussels sprouts with their caramelized edges and tender interiors to sweet potato casserole crowned with a crunchy pecan topping. The tangy cranberry sauce acts as the perfect foil for your rich and hearty dishes.

And let’s not forget about the Perfect Gravy. It’s more than just an accompaniment; it brings everything together by adding depth of flavor and lusciousness to your meal.

Remember, every side dish has its own role to play, contributing different textures and flavors that make your Thanksgiving table complete.

The Sweet Delight of Pumpkin Pie: A Thanksgiving Staple

Don’t underestimate the sweet delight of pumpkin pie, a staple that rounds off any holiday meal on a high note. This traditional dessert isn’t just about its delightful taste and firm texture; it’s also about the health benefits of pumpkin.

In exploring pumpkin pie variations, you’ll discover:

  • The classic recipe with cinnamon and nutmeg
  • A twist with added bourbon or maple syrup
  • Vegan options replacing eggs and dairy
  • Gluten-free versions using almond flour crust
  • Pies topped with pecan crumbles for extra crunch

Each variation brings something unique to your table.

Unique Regional Thanksgiving Dishes

Across America, regional dishes add a unique twist to holiday feasts, and they’re often as heartwarming as they are flavorful.

The Pacific Northwest’s bounty of seafood has fostered a tradition of incorporating Dungeness crab or salmon into Thanksgiving meals. You’ll find these regional seafood dishes brimming with fresh flavors that capture the essence of the coastline.

On the other hand, in Southwestern regions, Indigenous Thanksgiving recipes exhibit an amalgamation of native ingredients like corn, beans, and squash – often referred to as ‘The Three Sisters’. These dishes not only provide a diverse palette of tastes but also pay homage to centuries-old traditions.

As you dive into these culinary explorations, don’t forget there’s an array of vegetarian and vegan alternatives for Thanksgiving waiting to tantalize your taste buds.

Vegetarian and Vegan Alternatives for Thanksgiving

There’s a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes that’ll beautifully complement any holiday feast. You’re not limited to salads or simple side dishes; you can enjoy hearty, flavorful main courses too.

  • Take the Tofurkey taste test. This plant-based alternative replicates the experience of eating turkey without using any animal products. It’s often seasoned with herbs and spices to create a savory flavor profile.
  • Try out different vegan gravy recipes. They’re usually made from vegetable broth, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and various spices.
  • Stuffed bell peppers are an excellent choice. Fill them with grains like quinoa or couscous and add your favorite veggies.
  • Vegan lasagna is another satisfying option. Use tofu instead of cheese and pack in plenty of vegetables.
  • Finally, consider a lentil loaf as a protein-rich main dish.

Each of these options provides delicious flavors while keeping your meal cruelty-free.

The Art of Pairing Wine With Thanksgiving Dinner

After exploring a mouth-watering array of vegetarian and vegan alternatives, let’s now dive into the art of pairing wine with your Thanksgiving dinner. The significance of wine selection shouldn’t be underestimated – it can elevate your meal from good to memorable. Finding the perfect match depends on striking a balance between the robust flavors of your dishes and the notes present in your chosen bottle.

Thanksgiving DishWine Pairing
Roasted TurkeyPinot Noir
Creamy Mashed PotatoesChardonnay
Cranberry SauceZinfandel
Pumpkin PieLate Harvest Riesling

Each pairing is crafted to complement both elements: the rich, often savory, bold flavors in traditional dishes meet their match in wines that are equally assertive yet distinct. So this Thanksgiving, don’t just eat well – drink well too!

How to Accommodate Dietary Restrictions at Thanksgiving

You’re likely to encounter guests with dietary restrictions, and it’s crucial that you’re prepared to accommodate them so everyone can enjoy the holiday feast. Crafting a menu that caters to varied preferences doesn’t have to be daunting.

  • Diet friendly Gravies: Opt for gluten-free thickeners like cornstarch or arrowroot. A vegetable-based broth will cater to vegetarians as well.
  • Allergy conscious Desserts: Try coconut milk for dairy-free pumpkin pie, and almond flour in your apple crumble for a gluten-free option.
  • Vegan stuffing: Swap out chicken broth with vegetable stock and use a plant-based butter substitute.
  • Gluten-Free Bread: There are many satisfactory pre-made options available now.
  • Nut-Free Dishes: Be mindful of hidden nuts in dressings or casseroles.

With a bit of planning, you’ll ensure all your guests relish their meal guilt-free.

Exploring Non-traditional Thanksgiving Foods

Shaking up the standard holiday menu, we’ll explore some non-traditional dishes that can add a unique twist to the festive spread. You might consider incorporating Global Thanksgiving Dishes, with flavors borrowed from international cuisines.

How about a Moroccan-style roasted turkey seasoned with exotic spices? Or perhaps Korean-inspired kimchi mashed potatoes for an unexpected kick?

Then there are Unusual Dessert Choices. Break away from your typical pumpkin pie and venture into foreign territories like Italian Panettone or Mexican Churros dipped in chocolate sauce. It’s all about broadening your flavor horizons and embracing culinary diversity.

These eclectic dish suggestions not only make your table more inclusive but also inject novelty into traditional celebrations. Stay tuned as we delve into the influence of cultural fusion on thanksgiving menus next.

The Influence of Cultural Fusion on Thanksgiving Menus

You’ve probably noticed how the culinary world is being redefined by cultural fusion, turning traditional menus on their heads. It’s not just about mixing and matching dishes from different cuisines; it’s a true testament to the global melting pot we’re living in, showcasing delightful examples of cultural fusion.

Yet, as intriguing as this evolution may seem, there’s a spirited debate brewing between fusion and tradition – which begs the question: How is this impacting our beloved Thanksgiving menu?

Cultural Fusion Examples

Consider how cultural fusion has impacted your favorite Thanksgiving dishes, like incorporating ingredients or cooking techniques from various cultures into traditional recipes. Fusion cuisine evolution is more than a culinary fad; it’s a testament to multicultural food influences and our ever-expanding global palate.

Here are some examples of how Thanksgiving foods have been fused with international flavors:

  • Miso-roasted Brussels sprouts: A Japanese twist on the classic side dish.
  • Chorizo cornbread stuffing: Spanish sausage adds a punch to this comfort food.
  • Tandoori turkey: Indian spices give the bird an unexpected heat.
  • Sweet potato latkes: A Jewish tradition meets Southern cuisine.
  • Cranberry salsa: Classic cranberry sauce gets a Mexican makeover.

You’ve embraced these innovations because they’re delicious, yes, but also because they reflect our shared love of diverse tastes.

Impact on Traditional Menus

It’s fascinating to see how these international influences can drastically alter traditional menus, isn’t it? The evolution of menus is like watching a culinary dance unfold.

For instance, you’ll notice Korean spices adding a kick to conventional roast turkey or Indian curry redefining your grandmother’s stuffing recipe.

Food symbolism plays an integral role in this menu evolution. You might serve spring rolls at Thanksgiving as a nod to Chinese customs celebrating harvest and abundance. Or perhaps, you’ve incorporated Mexican chiles en nogada into your feast, symbolizing the colors of the Mexican flag and patriotism.

These changes are not just about novelty but also about acknowledging our global interconnections through food. It’s a beautiful way of saying that despite our differences, we all share the universal language of cuisine.

Fusion Vs Tradition

While fusion’s exciting and innovative, there’s also something comforting about sticking to traditional recipes. Fusion recipes can be a delightful culinary adventure, blending familiar flavors in unexpected ways. Yet, tradition preservation holds its own charm. You might find yourself torn between these two paths.

  • Fusion allows for creativity and exploration, introducing your palate to new flavor combinations.
  • Tradition offers comfort and nostalgia, reminding you of home-cooked meals from your past.

The best fusion recipes often respect the traditions they draw from. Preserving tradition doesn’t mean shunning innovation—it’s all about balance. Sometimes, the most memorable meals are those that blend the old with the new.

This Thanksgiving, you’re free to embrace both: fusion foods can sit right next to grandma’s classic stuffing on your plate. Next up? Tips for hosting a thanksgiving potluck: embracing everyone’s favorites.

Tips for Hosting a Thanksgiving Potluck: Embracing Everyone’s Favorites

You’ll find that hosting a Thanksgiving potluck is an excellent way to ensure everyone gets to enjoy their favorite holiday dishes. However, remember the importance of potluck etiquette.

For instance, it’s crucial to coordinate the menu beforehand. You wouldn’t want five people bringing mashed potatoes and no one cooking up a turkey.

Dish presentation also matters just as much as its taste. A well-presented dish not only pleases the eye but also enhances the overall dining experience. So invest some time in garnishing your dish attractively or setting it in a beautiful casserole.

Whether you’re preparing a classic roast turkey or experimenting with fusion cuisine, maintain respect for diverse tastes and dietary restrictions. After all, variety is indeed the spice of life at Thanksgiving potlucks!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Way to Store Leftover Thanksgiving Food?

You’ll find freezing techniques and vacuum sealing benefits invaluable for storing leftover Thanksgiving food. Vacuum sealing locks in flavor, while freezing extends shelf life. Remember to portion out servings before sealing and freezing.

How Can I Include International Dishes in My Thanksgiving Spread?

You can include international dishes in your Thanksgiving spread by incorporating global cuisine adaptations. Try fusion Thanksgiving dishes which blend traditional elements with flavors from around the world. It’ll make your feast unique and flavorful.

Can I Prepare Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget?

Absolutely, you can prepare a Thanksgiving dinner on a budget. Opt for budget-friendly decorations and affordable wine selections. Creativity can turn cost-effective ingredients into scrumptious, satisfying dishes. Plan ahead and shop smart!

What Are Some Kid-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes?

You can create fun, kid-friendly Thanksgiving recipes like Candy Corn Turkeys and Marshmallow Pilgrim Hats. They’re not only delicious but also interactive, keeping the kids entertained while you prepare the main meal.

How Can I Use Thanksgiving Leftovers in Creative Ways?

You can transform your Thanksgiving leftovers into creative ‘Leftover Makeovers’. Try upcycling dishes by incorporating them into fresh recipes like turkey pot pie or cranberry pancakes. It’s a fun, delicious way to reduce waste.


So, whether your Thanksgiving table is adorned with a golden turkey, overflowing with eclectic sides, or showcasing unique dishes from various cultures, it’s all about sharing and gratitude.

Don’t forget to accommodate your guests’ dietary needs and consider hosting a potluck to embrace everyone’s favorites.

After all, no matter what’s on the menu, the true star of Thanksgiving is the shared joy and thankfulness around the table.