Popular Regional Thanksgiving Foods
Check out what people all over the United States are eating on Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is one of the most widely observed holidays in the United States, with over 90% of the population celebrating. It’s a day where it’s socially acceptable to sit around a table, stuff yourself until you’re tired, then partake in healthy consumerism not 12 hours later. It’s the peak American holiday.
While most of us who celebrate Thanksgiving can agree on the aforementioned activities, what can vary greatly table to table is the menu! Every family has their own food traditions, and these tend to align with their home area. For instance, while it’s fairly standard everywhere to serve turkey on Thanksgiving, a family in the Midwest could serve cherry pie as their dessert, but a family in the Southeast may opt to serve pecan pie.
Listed below are some of the basic geographical regions of the U.S., as well as some of the most common Thanksgiving dishes served there. See if your family’s meal is anything like some of your neighbors! And this Thanksgiving, try to make a dish you’ve never had. It may just become your family’s new tradition!
Keep in mind, these are generalizations. Every family has customs and traditions that may differ with the accepted idea of their region.
- Starter/Sides: squash, creamed onions, mussels, corn on the cob, oyster stuffing, cranberry sauce (homemade), and a variety of chowders.
- Main course: stuffed lobster or Virginia ham or smoked turkey.
- Desserts: pumpkin bread, chess pie, cheesecake, grape pie.
- Starters/Sides: macaroni and cheese, cornbread, cranberry sauce (canned), collard greens, different types of casserole, biscuits.
- Main course: roasted or fried turkey and/or baked ham.
- Desserts: sweet potato pie, pecan pie, derby pie, pie, and more pie!
- Starters/Sides: wild rice, corn pudding, green bean casserole, Jell-o salad, deviled eggs, onion dip, sweet potato casserole, casserole, and more casserole.
- Main course: cider-glazed turkey w/ gravy, and/or ham, and/or brisket.
- Desserts: Apple pie, persimmon pudding, cherry pie.
- Starters/Sides: Blue cornbread stuffing, pumpkin empanadas, jalapeño jelly, black bean dip, cranberry salsa, and tamales.
- Main Course: Roasted turkey with ancho-chile sauce and gravy.
- Desserts: Pumpkin flan, apple pie, ancho-chile pumpkin pie.
- Starters/Sides: Wild mushrooms, Jell-o salad, salads of all types (think large bowls of leafy greens and mixed veggies), yams, and a variety of soups.
- Main course: Grilled turkey breasts w/apple cranberry dressing.
- Desserts: Persimmon pudding, cherry pie, and even pumpkin cake.
- Starters/Sides: Green beans + octopus, Okinawa sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes.
- Main Course: Kalua turkey and/or fresh fish (sashimi, poke, or cooked).
- Desserts: Coconut pudding, tarts, or orange bread pudding.
Usually a mixture of traditional dishes and westernized dishes. Just depends on the family and their preference!
- Starters/Sides: Mollusks + kelp salad, green salads, egg salad, fresh cranberry sauce, and soups.
- Main Course: Smoked turkey, octopus burgers, fresh fish (like salmon), goose, walrus stew, or ham.
- Desserts: Agutak (fresh berries mixed with Crisco and sugar), pumpkin pie, and apple pie.
And that’s just a sampling of some of the common regional dishes you can find on Thanksgiving! Let us know what you think if you try any of these dishes.
As for wine pairings, most Thanksgiving meals are delicious with a nice Riesling, Zinfandel, or Pinot Noir! For dessert, you can easily serve the Riesling again. Good luck with picking your menu, and Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Wine Nook.