Thanksgiving sides

Can You Guess The Most Popular Thanksgiving Side Dish in Your State?

Whether you’re hosting in your apartment, visiting friends or family or at a restaurant, chances are there will be a turkey on the table this Thanksgiving

But you can’t have a holiday smorgasbord with just one item. For many renters, turkey is just the palette for a bevy of sides, the paint that is the art of the Thanksgiving plate. Believe it or not, nearly three-quarters of Americans would be happy if Thanksgiving dinner was only sides (and the turkeys would probably agree).

There are nearly endless options of Thanksgiving side dishes and accouterments for the turkey — and they vary by state and region. Among those are gravy and cranberry sauce, tuber dishes like mashed potatoes, yams and sweet potato casserole, vegetable options such as green bean casserole and corn, desserts including apple pie and pumpkin pie and of course stuffing and dressing.

Stuffing or dressing, the king of Thanksgiving sides

Let’s pause for a moment to discuss stuffing vs. dressing since our statistics require it. Essentially, they are the same food with the same ingredients creating the same plate. But the difference is where it is cooked. Traditionally, stuffing is when the carb-rich bread and herb mixture is baked inside the turkey (ergo, stuffed) and dressing is baked outside the turkey (thus, dressed). But generally, both options are called dressing in the Deep South, and stuffing everywhere else (with pockets even calling it filling), regardless of the cooking process.

Stuffing or dressing is the most popular side in 37 of 50 states and Washington, D.C. Indeed, it’s the side that Americans most believe Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without, and it’s served on 85 percent of Thanksgiving tables. Conversely, no state chose cranberry sauce or sweet potatoes/yams as their favorite. No surprise as those are ranked as the top two most overrated Thanksgiving side dishes.

The most popular side in every one of the top 18 most populated states is stuffing or dressing. You have to go all the way down to Missouri to find a dissenter. The favorite Thanksgiving side dish in the Show Me State is green bean casserole. And you have to go all the way down to Utah, the 30th biggest state, to find something other than stuffing and “GBC.” The favored side in the Beehive State? It’s pumpkin pie, served with or after the meal.

Stuffing specifically, in the bird, is the most popular side in every single state in the Northeast and all six states west of the Rockies, save for Alaska (where green bean casserole rules the late November meal). It’s a sweep in the South, as well. Five Southern states prefer stuffing and eight choose “dressing” (essentially the same thing). Whether dressing is being used as a general term or literally being baked inside the turkey is each individual to decide, bless their hearts.

Turkey and side dishes

Other beloved sides around the table

The same is true around the Great Lakes, with stuffing preferred in each lakeside state. Except one. Wisconsin, the lone dissenter among Great Lakes region states, is all in for green bean casserole over stuffing. Adjacent to the Badger State, each of the five Great Plains states agree. The notorious GBC is most popular in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Along with Utah, as mentioned above, four other states — Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming — also select pumpkin pie as the favored side, despite it being a traditional dessert. Pie may seem an odd choice, but there’s something different about pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Nearly 60 percent of all pies consumed on Thanksgiving are of the pumpkin variety. That’s 50,000,000 pumpkin pies.

And then there’s Montana. Up in Big Sky Country, they enjoy their sides on top rather than on the side. The favorite Thanksgiving side dish in Montana is…gravy. That may seem a strange choice, but maybe Montana is onto something. Gravy is the only side that can go atop every other side. On the turkey, mashed potatoes, on the stuffing, on green beans. But probably not on the pie.

Wondering where the mashed potatoes are? Not a single state chose the staple as their fave side. However, the good folks in New Jersey and Connecticut both picked the smashed ‘taters as second-most popular. And sweet potato casserole came in third in both North Carolina and Louisiana.

Each state’s most popular Thanksgiving side dishes

Below is the most popular Thanksgiving side dish in every state, and Washington D.C., based on Google search interest.

  • Alabama: Dressing
  • Alaska: Green bean casserole
  • Arizona: Pumpkin pie
  • Arkansas: Dressing
  • California: Stuffing
  • Colorado: Stuffing
  • Connecticut: Stuffing
  • Delaware: Stuffing
  • DC: Stuffing
  • Florida: Stuffing
  • Georgia: Dressing
  • Hawaii: Stuffing
  • Idaho: Green bean casserole
  • Illinois: Stuffing
  • Indiana: Dressing
  • Iowa: Green bean casserole
  • Kansas: Green bean casserole
  • Kentucky: Dressing
  • Louisiana: Dressing
  • Maine: Stuffing
  • Maryland: Stuffing
  • Massachusetts: Stuffing
  • Michigan: Stuffing
  • Minnesota: Stuffing
  • Mississippi: Dressing
  • Missouri: Green bean casserole
  • Montana: Gravy
  • Nebraska: Green bean casserole
  • Nevada: Stuffing
  • New Hampshire: Stuffing
  • New Jersey: Stuffing
  • New Mexico: Pumpkin pie
  • New York: Stuffing
  • North Carolina: Stuffing
  • North Dakota: Pumpkin pie
  • Ohio: Stuffing
  • Oklahoma: Green bean casserole
  • Oregon: Stuffing
  • Pennsylvania: Stuffing
  • Rhode Island: Stuffing
  • South Carolina: Dressing
  • South Dakota: Green bean casserole
  • Tennessee: Dressing
  • Texas: Dressing
  • Utah: Pumpkin pie
  • Vermont: Stuffing
  • Virginia: Stuffing
  • Washington: Stuffing
  • West Virginia: Stuffing
  • Wisconsin: Green bean casserole
  • Wyoming: Pumpkin pie


The most popular Thanksgiving side dishes were determined by looking at Google search results from November 2021 by each state. We analyzed 15 different Thanksgiving side dishes as selected by our team. The dish with the highest search interest in each state was determined to be that state’s favorite.


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