The top 10 Thanksgiving foods, ranked
Published 8:00 am Sunday, November 21, 2021
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. While nothing makes me happier than getting to spend time with family and express gratitude for all of life’s blessings, I look forward all year to that giant, heaping plate overflowing with tasty, holiday goodness.
There is something so pleasant about working up a sweat for hours in the kitchen, cooking and baking and sneaking sips of the holiday punch until dinner is finally served and all that hard work culminates in a feast fit for royalty.
I like to get a little bit of everything when stacking my plate high with Thanksgiving comfort food, but even a lover of all cuisine like myself has a favorite. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that everyone has a favorite Thanksgiving dish — that one food that takes up half of your plate every year. But I also have a personal theory that not all Thanksgiving dishes are created equal, and your favorite dish can say a lot about who you are as a person.
In celebration of another year gone by and the one day a year where calories do not exist, I have taken it upon myself to rank the top 10 most popular Thanksgiving dishes from worst to best. I’ve also included a little note on what your favorite dish says about you.
Hey, don’t be offended. This is just my opinion, and of course, it’s all in good fun. Anyways, here we go!
Woah! I know what you’re thinking: Turkey is number 10 on this list? I have a very controversial opinion about turkey. If my dinner plate was a sinking raft and I had to push one dish off in order to save the rest, turkey would get the boot every time. While I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving dinner without it, I find most turkey to be dry and, frankly, a little bland no matter how much basting and seasoning has been done.
If turkey is your favorite Thanksgiving food, you’re probably the first to fall asleep after dinner, and I bet you snore loudly too!
9. CRANBERRY SAUCE
A lot of people would consider cranberry sauce to be the most controversial Thanksgiving side dish. In some families, this festive food, whether jellied or “relished,” goes untouched throughout dinner. It’s sour. It’s sweet. It’s just confusing enough that it scares away the unadventurous. I actually like this stuff, but it’s not good enough to make it any further on this list.
If your favorite Thanksgiving food is cranberry sauce, you’re the kookiest member of your family and others should fear you.
8. SWEET POTATOES
When seasoned with brown sugar and butter or topped with toasted marshmallows, these fall veggies can be quite delicious. When seasoned incorrectly or cooked poorly, they’re a stringy, mushy mess that looks like baby food. Of the top five worst things I’ve ever eaten, spot number three belongs to a store bought sweet potato patty somebody once tried to feed me for Thanksgiving.
If your favorite Thanksgiving food is a sweet potato, you’re probably a sweetie-pie who loves to give out hugs and smiles. You’re likely a great cook, and I’d wager you insist on being the person who brings the sweet potatoes to dinner to avoid any of the mishaps mentioned above.
7. GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE
Almost every green bean casserole recipe out there calls for a very short list of ingredients — green beans, cream of mushroom soup, french fried onions and, occasionally, a sprinkling of cheese. This is an award-winning combo, but it’s also easy to mess up. Just like McDonald’s french fries, green bean casserole is pretty offputting when reheated (and that can’t do in a world where leftovers are perhaps the greatest part of Thanksgiving). Do yourself a favor and serve the crispy onions on the side of this dish to avoid a mushy topping disaster.
If green bean casserole is your favorite Thanksgiving food, you’re probably the type of person who’s afraid of vegetables unless they come in a casserole.
6. PUMPKIN PIE
Pumpkin pie is a great dish, but there are many pies that it pales in comparison to: pecan pie, apple pie, chocolate chess pie, chicken pot pie. However, pumpkin pie reigns supreme as a sweet, but not too sweet, seasonal treat enjoyed by people all around the country, and that’s why it gets number six on this list.
If pumpkin pie is your favorite Thanksgiving food, you’ve probably never tried sweet potato pie, because if you did, you’d be eating that instead.
Having Thanksgiving dinner without bread rolls is like having a birthday party but forgetting to invite the person whose birthday it is. You can still have fun, but something feels very off. If you’re smart, you’ll use a roll to sop up all of the gravy and other morsels left on your plate at the end of dinner.
If rolls are your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner, you’re probably a small child. I’d bet you’re a picky eater and won’t touch half the foods on this list. Good for you!
On a regular day, it is appropriate to pour melted cheese on top of most any food, but on Thanksgiving, gravy is the preferred topping of many. Put it on your mashed potatoes. Put it on your dressing. Pour it directly in your mouth if you don’t have blood pressure issues. Gravy is a Thanksgiving staple, and it’s been scientifically proven that gravy tastes better poured out of a cute, little gravy boat your grandma only uses twice a year. 
If gravy is your favorite Thanksgiving food, you probably have high blood pressure. Don’t get too angry when watching football on Thanksgiving afternoon.
3. MASHED POTATOES
We’re getting down to the best of the best here. Mashed potatoes are a favorite year-round. The best friend of fried chicken and meatloaf, this mouthwatering mush is great served plain or with special add-ins like bacon or cheddar. It’s far up on this list because without it, Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same.
If mashed potatoes are your favorite Thanksgiving food, you’re likely a dependable person that people rely on, maybe a bit too much.
2. MAC N’ CHEESE
Macaroni and cheese is one of the finest foods to ever grace the dinner plate. If you have any sense at all, you skip the boxed stuff on this special day and serve up an ooey-gooey, melty casserole dish of goodness that is sure to be a hit with all of your lactose-tolerant dinner guests. The best parts of mac n’ cheese are always the slightly-burnt corners and the melty pockets of cheese.
If mac n’ cheese is your favorite Thanksgiving food, it’s probably also your favorite food in general. You don’t like to branch out a lot, but who needs to when you know exactly what it is that you like?
The number one spot on this list goes to a dish like no other. Dressing, particularly of the cornbread variety, takes the crown when it comes to which dish reigns supreme on the Thanksgiving plate. Dressing is not only delicious, but it’s a dish so special that many only eat it for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This stuff is a 10/10 whether homemade or straight from the box, but do yourself a favor and avoid “stuffing,” or dressing that’s been cooked in the bird. Uncooked turkey juice soaked into stuffing mix is an awesome way to get food poisoning.
If dressing is your favorite Thanksgiving food, congratulations, you’re perfect.