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How Does Thanksgiving Dinner Vary Across The States?

When people think of Thanksgiving dinner, they probably imagine that everyone has the same things. There might be variations for those who don’t eat meat, gluten, etc., but aside from that, everyone has the same stuff, right? Apparently not. It seems that food choices differ – sometimes significantly – throughout the nation when it comes to Thanksgiving.


Turkey and Thanksgiving are often synonymous with one another. However, it’s far from the only meat to take center stage on this special day. In states like Louisiana, the turducken isn’t uncommon. This is a combination of duck, chicken, and turkey, which are stuffed inside each other and served as one. Ham, beef, goose, and even lobster are also utilized by those who don’t rank turkey that highly.


What goes well with meat? Gravy. The type of gravy you can expect on Thanksgiving depends on where you live, though. Some residents of New Mexico enjoy their meal with a red chile gravy, while those in the South are accustomed to turkey gravy with hard-boiled eggs.


What goes into the stuffing and where it’s cooked also varies between states. In The South, people tend to cook it separately rather than inside the meat. They also tend to use cornbread for their stuffing, compared to the sausage stuffing you often find in The East. As for states like New England, oysters aren’t uncommon for this part of the Thanksgiving meal.

Jello salad

Jello salad is one of those things that sounds bizarre on paper yet is fairly popular at Thanksgiving. Utah, in particular, favors this accompaniment at dinner, with people adding a wide range of interesting ingredients to the gelatin. The likes of cottage cheese, celery, walnuts, and pineapple all find their way into this food at Thanksgiving.


Cranberries seem to be a Thanksgiving staple, no matter where you live in the United States. However, the form they take varies between regions. Over in the western states, cranberry sauce is typical, while relish is standard in The Northeast. As for The South and The Midwest, cranberry salad is usually the popular choice.


Corn is another essential Thanksgiving ingredient that sometimes differs in presentation depending on where you live in the U.S. The South tends to have the most variation with this vegetable, from cornbread to corn casserole. Most other states typically offer it simply as corn or on the cob.


What’s a good Thanksgiving meal without dessert? After eating all that food, you still need to leave room for more, whether it be pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie. These desserts are the most common at Thanksgiving, with the latter preferred in The South. However, both dishes are made in a similar fashion and don’t look or taste that different to most people.

No two tables are the same at Thanksgiving. While plenty of people eat similar food, the way they present it can vary quite significantly. As long as everyone enjoys what’s on their plate, though, it doesn’t matter how they take their meat, stuffing, or pie.