A State-by-State Guide to the Most Popular Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Thanksgiving's menu lineup has been the same for decades with turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing taking center stage. While turkey is undoubtedly the table's main showstopper, side dishes have proven to be a close second with some almost stealing the show themselves (who can pass up mashed potatoes?). While most people eat a similar variation of food on Thanksgiving between the turkey and pie, a new study from Zippa has reported that the side dishes people look forward to indulging in vary depending on where they live. From Alaska to New York, tables are filled with everything from mouthwatering hash brown casseroles and rich, buttery crescent rolls to lightened up side salads and creamy corn.
Whether you've got a palate for stuffing or you lean more towards mac and cheese, these state-by-state picks will inspire you to get cookin'. No matter where you're celebrating Thanksgiving this year, check out what the folks in the states around you are craving, and get ready for this year's side dish to be the new star of the show.
Alabama residents have been searching for the best dressing recipe in preparation for the big meal, and this. is. it. This homemade dressing is full of flavor and allows you to experiment with as much or as little seasonings as you want. Also, if you're wondering how dressing and stuffing differ, it has to do with the way they are cooked. This delicious recipe is cooked in a separate dish while stuffing is stuffed into the turkey to cook. The more you know!
Get the recipe: dressing
Alaska: Hash Brown Casserole
Forget the turkey! If you have a hash brown casserole that's as creamy, cheesy, and crunchy as this recipe, you'll forgo the main dish all together. We suggest adding extra Corn Flakes to really give it a kick.
Get the recipe: hash brown casserole
Arizona: Green Bean Casserole
No holiday meal is complete without a green bean casserole. It goes perfect with mashed potatoes and turkey, and it will keep you warm and cozy on a cool evening. A classic green bean casserole is so easy to whip up, but there are all kinds of tweaks you can make to jazz it up if you so choose.
Get the recipe: green bean casserole
Arkansas: White Gravy
This white gravy is modeled after Dairy Queen's very own recipe, so you already know it's about to be good. Depending on what kind of flavoring you want, you can substitute out the butter for a different base like bacon grease, fried chicken drippings, sausage grease, shortening, vegetable oil, or a combination of oils. The options are endless.
Get the recipe: white gravy
California: Mashed Potatoes
Californians are always down to try new healthy trends, making this Whole30 mashed potato recipe the one they need. Not only do the potatoes turn out creamy and rich, but they're made with cashew milk instead of regular milk and ghee instead of butter, which cuts out some of the calories.
Get the recipe: Whole30 mashed potatoes
Colorado: Mashed Potatoes
Take your mashed potatoes to the next level when you add a dollop of sour cream to your recipe. Every bite is creamy, buttery, and loaded with flavor. Top them off with chives for best results.
Get the recipe: mashed potatoes with sour cream
Connecticut: Mashed Potatoes
Don't overcomplicate mashed potatoes — cream, butter, and salt are really all you need to impress even your pickiest relatives this holiday season. Trust us, this pared-down recipe will result in simple, delicious mashed potatoes that are more than worthy of your Thanksgiving table.
Get the recipe: 3-ingredient mashed potatoes
Delaware: Mac and Cheese
Asiago, sharp cheddar, Monterey jack, and gouda work together to make this cheesy recipe one to remember. And the best part is, the noodles cook directly in the sauce which means one less step for you. What could be better?
Get the recipe: crock pot mac and cheese
Florida: Sweet Potato Casserole
Enjoy a sweet potato casserole sans refined sugars, gluten, and dairy when you whip up this delicious side dish. Topped with caramelized pecans and filled with creamy mashed potatoes, every bite will make your taste buds swoon with delight.
Get the recipe: paleo sweet potato casserole
Georgia: Mac and Cheese
Crispy, crunchy, and bursting with cheese, this recipe will make your mouth water before it's even out of the oven. Thyme breadcrumbs make an irresistible topping while four different kinds of cheeses work side-by-side to make each bite better than the last.
Get the recipe: four cheese baked mac and cheese
Hawaii: Turkey Gravy
Regardless of your family's Thanksgiving traditions, it's safe to say that gravy ranks pretty high on the list of must-make dishes, and finding an easy turkey gravy recipe that tastes creamy and delicious is important for optimal enjoyment. Sure, you might swap out garlic cream mashed potatoes instead of the classic mash, but would Thanksgiving be Thanksgiving without glossy gravy drizzled over the whole lot?
Get the recipe: turkey gravy
Idaho: Green Bean Casserole
Make green bean casseroles the star of the side dish show when you add roasted butternut squash and sliced almonds to the recipe. Not only is it creamy while still being crunchy, but it also has a new fall flavor that's hard to pass up.
Get the recipe: butternut squash green bean casserole
Illinois: Mashed Potatoes
Made with only four ingredients, these healthy garlic mashed cauliflower potatoes are vegan, gluten-free, and low-carb! If you want to make them a bit richer, add a dollop of butter and a dash of salt. Done and done.
Get the recipe: garlic mashed cauliflower potatoes
Indiana: Deviled Eggs
Indiana folks don't have time to waste on Thanksgiving, and this recipe delivers the tastiest, fastest, and easiest deviled eggs of them all. Just throw eggs in an Instant Pot and in less than 30 minutes, you'll have the side dish of your dreams.
Get the recipe: Instant Pot deviled eggs
Corn is all Iowa residents are craving right now, and this recipe is a true winner. Creamy, cheesy, and easy to make, you'll want to save room on your plate for this pudding. With sweet corn, sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar, and more, it pairs perfectly with any Thanksgiving dinner.
Get the recipe: slow-cooker corn pudding
Kansas: Cream Corn
If you're feeling lazy this holiday, let the Crock Pot take over. This creamed corn recipe only requires five minutes of prep, and the results are more than mouthwatering. Add a dash of cilantro on top to make it look like a true masterpiece.
Get the recipe: Crock pot creamed corn
Kentucky: Broccoli Casserole
Complete with a homemade cheese sauce and a buttery cracker topping, what could be better than this hearty broccoli casserole? Every bite offers bold broccoli flavor that pairs effortlessly with the rich cheddar and cream cheese sauce. Yum.
Get the recipe: broccoli casserole
Louisiana: Cornbread Dressing
You'll get the best of both worlds when you make this hearty dressing. Full of sausage, veggies, cornbread, cranberries, and spices, it'll leave you wanting more. And did we mention it's gluten-free?
Get the recipe: cornbread dressing
Maine: Side Salad
Thanksgiving dinner can be heavy, so balance it out with this light side. You'll get juicy grapes, tangy arugula, and a black pepper vinaigrette with every forkful.
Get the recipe: arugula salad with grapes, farro, and black pepper vinaigrette
Maryland: Mac and Cheese
Dress your holiday table to impress when you add this garlicky dish to the mix. Creamy, cheesy, and oh so good, this mac and cheese will make the stovetop stuff a thing of the past.
Get the recipe: Swiss chard and roasted garlic mac and cheese
In recent years, there's been a proliferation of bread stuffing recipes with delusions of grandeur. Sure, stuffing with a dozen or more ingredients (wild rice, dried cherries, Italian sausage, fennel seeds, pine nuts, eggs, cream . . . ) can be delicious, but if you want to revisit an older, simpler style of stuffing to counter both the excess of the Thanksgiving table and the stress of preparing it, this recipe is for you.
Get the recipe: America's Test Kitchen stuffing
Michigan: Green Bean Casserole
Want a gussied-up version of green bean casserole with zero extra work? Try this creamy and crunchy version, which adds indulgent texture and flavor with bacon, half and half, cheddar cheese, and fried onions. It's one-pan recipes like these that will save your Thanksgiving.
Get the recipe: green bean casserole with bacon and fried onions
Minnesota: Mashed Potatoes
If we didn't have you at "goat cheese" and "mashed potatoes," get this: these rich and velvety spuds are made with just a few staple ingredients and can be prepped up to three days ahead of time. Also, it's an Ina Garten recipe. So, enough said.
Get the recipe: Ina Garten's make-ahead goat cheese baked mashed potatoes
Mississippi: Baked Sweet Potatoes
Give the classic casserole a makeover with this buttery and bourbon-y recipe. Rich bacon pecans are layered on top of hearty potatoes, meaning your taste buds will get the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
Get the recipe: bourbon sweet potato casserole with bacon and pecans
Light, fluffy, and topped with a dreamy honey butter, these rolls pair well with gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and more. Sorry, cornbread, but these will win the side dish game.
Get the recipe: salted honey rolls
Montana: Mashed Potatoes
Cream, fresh herbs, garlic, and crème fraîche work together to make these the best mashed potatoes of all time. Feel free to add as much gravy as you please.
Get the recipe: buttery herbed mashed potatoes
Nebraska: Green Bean Casserole
If you're having a small Thanksgiving gathering this year, this green bean casserole recipe for two has just the right amount of food you need. You can dig into the other courses after you nosh on this casserole without being too full for dessert.
Get the recipe: green bean casserole for two
Nevada: Mashed Potatoes
With nutty Gruyère cheese and sweet caramelized onions, this creamy dish will change the way you see potatoes forever. Top it off with some fancy herbs and watch as it steals the show.
Get the recipe: cheesy mashed potatoes with gruyère and caramelized onions
New Hampshire: Cranberry Sauce
If you need cranberry sauce, and you need it now, this recipe only takes 10 minutes to make. Flavored with fresh orange juice and a dash of sugar, you'll want to whip this up for every meal.
Get the recipe: cranberry sauce
New Jersey: Stuffing
If your family is the type that loves fried food, this recipe is for you. Bite into a warm, crunchy, and oh-so-good stuffing ball, and watch as your mouth waters for more. Don't say we didn't warn you . . .
Get the recipe: deep-fried stuffing
New Mexico: Green Bean Casserole
With just 11 ingredients, this casserole recipe is one to remember. Every forkful offers creamy beans, crunchy flakes, and drool-worthy flavor. Yes, please.
Get the recipe: one-pot green bean casserole
New York: Stuffing
A few hours in the slow cooker brings out unbelievable depth of flavor from rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, and, of course, juicy sausage in this make-ahead stuffing. While it hangs out in the slow cooker and makes your kitchen smell dreamy, you can prepare the rest of your feast in bliss.
Get the recipe: slow-cooker sausage stuffing
North Carolina: Mac and Cheese
Made in just one pot, this baked mac and cheese is what dreams are made of. You'll get bites of creamy noodles along with hearty artichokes that'll keep you coming back for more no matter how full you might be.
Get the recipe: one-pot baked spinach and artichoke mac and cheese
North Dakota: Mashed Potatoes
Normal mashed potatoes are always good, but change things up with these smashed 'taters. They are crispy and smooth at the same time, which is why they will be everyone's favorite dish after just one bite.
Get the recipe: crispy salt and pepper smashed potatoes
Ohio: Green Bean Casserole
With such rich and vibrant flavors, you'll be shocked to know that this recipe is dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free, and paleo friendly! You'll still be getting all your favorite casserole flavors just without the not-so-good-for-you ingredients. Need we say more?
Get the recipe: dairy-free vegan green bean casserole
Half roll, half garlic knot, these bread bites are what your taste buds have been dreaming of. With hints of cheese, garlic, and herbs, you'll want to make these even when it's not Thanksgiving. Add butter for even better results.
Get the recipe: cheesy garlic butterflake rolls
Watch out, Oregon, this recipe is good. Copy the Fixer Upper star's iconic recipe this holiday when you whip us these flaky biscuits. Add honey and butter to make them a grand slam.
Get the recipe: Joanna Gaines's biscuits
Savory, comforting, and craveably carb-heavy, stuffing (or dressing, if you'd prefer) is divine in its many permutations, but none are as flat-out adorable as these stuffing muffins. Not sold on the cute factor? No matter; stuffing muffins are also preportioned, are easier to serve, have more of those delectable crispy edges, and if — and that's a big if — you have leftovers, they're easy to pop in the freezer to keep fresh for days down the line.
Get the recipe: stuffing muffins
Rhode Island: Stuffing
With ingredients like leeks, mushrooms, soy sauce, and sourdough bread, you really can't go wrong with this stuffing.
Get the recipe: simple garlicky vegan sourdough stuffing
South Carolina: Mac and Cheese
What's better than plain brussels sprouts? Brussels sprouts made into mac and cheese. This recipe will impress even the pickiest eaters, so be sure to get a helping for yourself before it's gone.
Get the recipe: brussels sprouts mac and cheese
South Dakota: Crescent Rolls
There's no denying it — crescent rolls are irresistible. Buttery, flaky, and melt-in-your-mouth-good, this recipe will put carb-lovers into a tizzy. Douse them in butter, gravy, cranberry sauce, or even mashed potatoes.
Get the recipe: crescent rolls
Tennessee: Sweet Potato Casserole
Craving something sweet this Thanksgiving? This recipe is for you. Mashed sweet potatoes are flawlessly paired with brown sugar and warm butter and topped with marshmallows. Just bake it until it's brown, and every bite will be a treat for your taste buds.
Get the recipe: sweet potato casserole with marshmallows
Texas: Green Bean Casserole
Try a new kind of green bean casserole when you swap out regular milk for cashew cream. It'll give you new flavors you've never experienced before, while still keeping the traditionally tasty green bean tone. Enjoy!
Get the recipe: dairy-free green bean casserole
knead need to panic — these rolls don't require any hard labor in the kitchen! This no-knead recipe is easy and simple, and leaves you with buttery pull-apart rolls that are sure to get eaten up fast.
Get the recipe: buttermilk pull-apart rolls
Take stuffing to a place it has never been before with this red-hot recipe. Featuring oysters and kimchi, it's exactly what your meal needs if you're ready to break out of the traditional stuffing norm.
Get the recipe: oyster kimchi stuffing
Virginia: Mac and Cheese
Make the main dish a side dish in seconds when you whip up this mac and cheese recipe. It'll have guests begging for more — trust us.
Get the recipe: butternut squash mac and cheese
Washington, DC: Mac and Cheese
Take mac and cheese to a place it has never been before with this hearty recipe. It'll add a kick to the Thanksgiving table and become your new favorite recipe in no time. The smooth, creamy texture comes from sautéed and pureed vegetables, the noodles are made from chickpeas, and the Southwest tang comes from the added taco-seasoned chicken, jalapeños, Ro-Tel tomatoes, and green chiles. There's cheese added in, of course, but most of the "cheesy flavor" comes from nutritional yeast. Dig in!
Get the recipe: loaded mac and cheese
Washington: Mashed Potatoes
If you're trying to cut dairy out of your diet, these mashed potatoes will be your saving grace. They are fluffy and rich and pair well with everything from stuffing to green beans. Top them off with your favorite butter alternative to make them extra rich.
Get the recipe: dairy-free mashed potatoes
West Virginia: Rolls
If you want to make Thanksgiving dinner a breeze, we suggest whipping up these rolls ahead of time. Pair them with butter, jam, gravy, or honey, and enjoy them in between bites of turkey and stuffing.
Get the recipe: make-ahead yeast rolls
Wisconsin: Mashed Potatoes
Eat mashed potatoes that make you feel good when you experiment with this healthy recipe. Complex carbohydrates and vitamins can be found in red potatoes, providing your body with the energy and vitamin C it needs. Top 'em off with some gravy, and you'll be basking in true dinnertime happiness.
Get the recipe: red skin mashed potatoes
Wyoming: Brown Gravy
Classic, creamy, and traditional, you can't go wrong with brown gravy. Make this to complement the turkey, stuffing, rolls, and mashed potatoes, and watch as people dive in for more. With a rich, savory flavor, this gravy will make every bite a delight.
Get the recipe: brown gravy