Here's What America Actually Cooks on Thanksgiving
America's top 20 Thanksgiving dishes.
Here at Allrecipes, we really see interest in Thanksgiving dinner ramping up in the weeks leading up to the holiday. As the calendar turns to November, it's fun to watch Green Bean Casserole come out of its summer hibernation and shoot straight to number 1, with a million views. When you take a peek at the top recipes, you see the usual suspects climbing to the top of the list.
Even so, in the weeks before Thanksgiving, you're still seeing other tried-and-true fall favorites. Recipes like old-fashioned pancakes, easy meatloaf, meaty lasagna -- they're all ranking in the top 20. A few weeks out, people are browsing around, comparing and contrasting Thanksgiving recipes, piecing together their fantasy feast, as they also go about preparing typical meals for the family.
But the final week before Thanksgiving? That's go time. No more comparing pecan pie recipes, it's time to lock down the Thanksgiving menu. The pancakes and lasagna exit the top 20. (But don't worry, they'll be back the following week.) And that's when we see what America has finally decided to really make for Thanksgiving dinner.
And so, what did America choose last year? Here they are, the top 20 Thanksgiving recipes. We'll roll down the list in order, starting with the most viewed recipe:
A crunchy, cheesy variation on traditional green bean casserole, it's topped with French fried onions and Cheddar cheese. "Great recipe," raves Autumn Marie "I brought it to our Thanksgiving feast and everyone was raving how delicious it was! The Cheddar cheese really adds a nice twist. I will definitely be making this an annual dish for our Thanksgiving dinner!"
"A beautiful golden turkey that tastes as good as it looks," says Tammy Webb Adamo. "This is by far the BEST turkey I have ever had -- even more moist than a fried turkey. The first time, I substituted sparkling cider for the champagne. The 2nd time I used the champagne. It was very moist and delicious, but next time I use the cider. It added an extra layer of flavor."
Here's a delicious mashed sweet potato casserole with a crunchy pecan topping. A&R's Mommy gives it 5 stars and offers a tip: "I think the trick is to gradually add the sugar a bit at a time and taste-taste-taste! I'd imagine that how sweet the dish is will vary depending of how you prepare the sweet potatoes. I roasted mine and only needed half the sugar. I think if you boiled them, you might need to add more."
Baricat rated it 5 stars: "Spectacular celebration of the clean, tart flavor of cranberries. Making it at least 24 hours in advance gives the orange flavor proper time to mellow and meld into the cranberries. The thickness is easily tailored to your tastes. Allow it to cook 3-5 minutes more for a thicker preparation. We did not find it to be overly sweet. A+ for the simple preparation, and gloriously fresh, uncomplicated flavor."
Maybe you were expecting a pumpkin pie? Not so fast. With this super-easy top-rated recipe, sweet potatoes are mashed together with butter, sugar, milk, and eggs, then seasoned with nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. Some folks, including KKCOBB, used evaporated milk instead of regular milk. "I am a true Southerner, and this is a true Sweet Potato Pie," says KKCOBB. "YUMMY! Perfect texture. Just don't overcook it."
6. Turkey Brine
All you need to brine your bird is a gallon of veggie broth, some savory herbs, and a big food-safe bucket. SHERI GAILEY gives it 5 stars and offers this tip: "Be sure to use a bucket and not a pot or other container," she says. "The bird must be upright in order for the brine to fill up around the bird and in the cavity."
"This really is a perfect pumpkin pie," says LTCS. "I like to be able to taste the spices in my pumpkin pie so I 'toast' the spices a bit in a dry frying pan to release the oils. You have to measure a bit more for the spices as some get left behind in the frying pan. For the topping, I add 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to 2 cups of Cool Whip. It is quite nice."
8. Candied Yams
Here's a quick and easy way to make a Thanksgiving favorite that calls for just a handful of ingredients. "Absolutely delicious," says Rachel Boller. "I took the advice of other reviewers and added cinnamon along with the brown sugar and also used freshed yams. The marshmallows got nice and browned and crispy, tasting like the toasted marshmallows you get over a camp fire. The combination of the marshmallows with the yams was so amazing. The whole thing just melts in your mouth!"
If you're from the South, you know that Mac and Cheese is a must for Thanksgiving. "The keys to this recipe are to make the roux very slowly so that it does not get lumpy," says SunnyCook, who gives it 5 stars. "And don't worry about how liquid the sauce seems -- it firms up nicely in the oven. This was a very easy recipe to make!"
Sage creates a wonderful aroma and flavor in this corn bread dressing. "A super hit," raves Tartla. "It was superb! So easy and so simple to just follow this excellent recipe as written. The texture was just perfect and heavenly. Salt, pepper, and sage. Those are the only seasonings necessary. Can't rave about this enough.
"This was my first-ever apple pie," says . "It was really easy (thanks to an apple peeler-corer-slicer), and pouring the sugar mixture over the top gave it a beautiful, sparkly brown lattice top. Yummy!"
"A simple, perfect roast turkey just like grandma used to make," says Syd. "Seasoned with salt and pepper, and basted with turkey stock, the flavors of the turkey really stand out. Stuff with your favorite dressing."
13. Pecan Pie
"This was a really great pecan pie," says MidwestMom. "In fact, I no longer make any other recipe. This is a request from all who have tried it. It is not as syrupy and sweet as traditional pecan pie. I also put the pecans through the food processor, so I have them very fine. It makes a crunchy pecan top to a wonderful pie. YUM!"
This delicious, flaky pie crust makes a single crust pie, but can be scaled to meet any of your pie-baking needs. "WOW!" raves elaina r j. "This was great! I made an apple pie with this, and I could have just eaten the crust. It was very easy to work with. Just keep the dough cold. Easy easy easy."
"This is an awesome Cajun recipe," says Tim and Meredith. "Deep-frying makes the turkey crispy on the outside and super juicy on the inside (even the white meat). It also leaves the heat outside! You can deep-fry the turkey in either peanut or vegetable oil, your choice. We use a 26 quart aluminum pot with a drain basket."
"This truly is the most delicious stuff," says LETSGGGO. "A bit like a cross between corn souffle and a slightly sweet corn pudding! Try it, you'll love the ease of preparation and especially the taste."
So easy. Simply mash cooked sweet potatoes and combine with brown sugar, OJ, and ground cinnamon. If you like, add some chopped pecans to the mix. Top the casserole with sweet miniature marshmallows and bake until puffed and golden brown. "This is such yummy sweet potato casserole," says Michigan Mommy. "I doubt I'll try another recipe again, this one was perfect! A little tip: If you stir in a cup of mini marshmallows before putting this in the baking dish and stir them around a little you have marshmallow surprises throughout the casserole and not just on top."
"Oh so yummy!" says JenniferandRichmond Harris. "I LOVE a sweet version of candied yams and this was PERFECT! A nice dark glaze on the yams tastes like a dessert instead of a side dish for dinner."
Cooked pumpkin is mashed with evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and spices in this delectably rustic Thanksgiving classic. "Great recipe," says Myra Oppy. "Super easy to make and tasty! I did double the spices, used fresh pumpkin, and added pumkin spice."
Nothing fancy here, just a solid Turkey-roasting procedure that results in a moist, tender bird with a beautiful magazine-cover look. "The biggest myth in all of American cookery is that a juicy, perfectly cooked turkey is difficult for the novice cook to achieve," says Chef John. "Even if this is your first time, don't play scared, this will work!"
Check out our collection of Thanksgiving Recipes.