Thanksgiving

The Most Popular Thanksgiving Dish in Your State

November 24, 2020
Photo by satelliteinternet.com

There’s one side dish that my family’s Thanksgiving table is never complete without. My grandmother’s mashed rutabagas, or “rooties” as we call them, are like Lindsay Lohan at a nightclub circa 2005: always making an appearance. We might fry the turkey or dry-brine it, we might sub Brussels sprouts for green beans, we might even celebrate on Zoom across three different countries. But the one thing that will remain the same (even in 2020!) is the rutabagas.

What is that dish for your family’s Thanksgiving? Mashed potatoes? Green bean casserole?

To get a better sense of what people will eat come turkey time, this data set, collected by the team at Satellite Internet, sheds some light. Their team culled Google Trends to find the most-searched Thanksgiving recipe in every state.

The results run the gamut from sweets to sides to stuffing to sauces. Let’s take a look at the standouts.

Mashed Potatoes

Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Washington

Mashed potatoes are obviously the quarterback of the Thanksgiving table (did I use that sports analogy correctly?) with 14 states claiming them as their most-searched recipe. I mean, what’s not to love? They’re creamy and decadent and can be so, so, so melt-in-your-mouth when made right.

Sweet Potatoes

Mashed: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island
Casserole: Alabama, Alaska (with marshmallows), Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee
Candied Yams: Maryland, Mississippi

These 15 states are going straight for the sweet potato in many forms. The most popular iterations of the orange root vegetable are mashed, casseroled, or candied. If you’re wondering what the difference between a sweet potato and a yam is: They’re actually completely different plant genuses (read more here).

Meats & Gravy

Roast Turkey: Delaware, New Hampshire, Vermont
Honey-Baked Ham: Georgia
Gravy: Indiana, Missouri, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming

Some states honed in on the centerpiece meat, while others sought to master the gravy. We can’t blame them—perfecting the art of the bird is a worthy task. If you’re wondering how to roast a turkey, check out this handy guide. And for ham, we’ve got you covered there too. As for gravy, well, just pick a recipe from these favorites:

Sides ‘n’ Stuff:

Classic Stuffing: Pennsylvania
Green Bean Casserole: Montana
Cornbread Dressing: Louisiana
Cranberry Sauce: Maine

According to this study, green bean casserole took the largest drop from last year’s findings, when it was the most googled recipe. Ouch! Here are some of our favorites:

Now the difference between stuffing and dressing is a whole other debate. Some claim that stuffing is cooked inside the cavity of a bird, while dressing comes together in a separate pan. That makes sense, but mostly it’s a linguistic regional difference.

Sweet Things

Jell-O: Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin
Pecan Pie: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas

Honestly, I’m floored by the popularity of Jell-O for Thanksgiving. I had no idea it was such a beloved option. That being said, as a native Texan, I’m happy to see our state’s favorite pie pulling through!

What will you be making at your Thanksgiving this year? Does it match your state’s favorite?
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Valerio Farris

Written by: Valerio Farris

Former staff writer at Food52. Current anchovy eater.

3 Comments

BakeAllTheThings November 24, 2020
This is pretty fun, but I bet the most-eaten dishes in each state are not the ones that get googled. Some people love their tried-and-true or back-of-the-can recipes for holidays and never stray!
p.s. I'm from Iowa and have never heard of Jell-o at Thanksgiving!
 
middleT November 24, 2020
Agree with you! Never heard of Jell-o at a Michigan Thanksgiving, either
 
Smaug November 25, 2020
These things always produce ridiculous results- "most googled" most often means "most people wondered WTF is that", or sometimes names of dishes that also have restaurants etc. named after them- in this case it seems to be more or less de rigeur side dishes that people who don't cook a lot are going to try to make.