The Most Popular Thanksgiving Side Dish In Your State, According to Campbell’s
In the age-old battle of stuffing vs. mashed potatoes, a new champion has come out on top.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we’re already starting to mentally plan our menus. For some people (myself included) the best part of Turkey Day is actually anything but the turkey. Actually, new polls show that that’s the case for the majority of Americans.
Campbell’s just released the 2023 edition of its “States of the Sides,” a report on the country’s favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, and according to its polling, more than two-thirds (67%) of Americans prefer side dishes to the main event. What’s more, in the age-old battle of stuffing vs. mashed potatoes, there was a surprise dethroning, with a new champion on top of the list of America’s favorite side dishes. Read on to learn more and find out which side reigns supreme in your state.
The Most Popular Thanksgiving Side Dishes in the U.S.
At the bottom of the list is a dish that will surprise probably no one: salads. But on a day of decadence and carbo-loading like Thanksgiving, there are some people who appreciate a nod to the vegetal side of things. Salads as a category took top spot in Virginia and tied for top in Illinois. Although there’s no telling if those polled were referring to this kind of (green) salad or this kind of (dessert) salad.
Make the Recipe: Roasted Fall Vegetable Salad
Buttery, plush, and endlessly delicious, breads took the second to last spot on the list of side dishes in America. Whether we’re talking Parker House rolls, dinner rolls, or the good old-fashioned crescent roll (made from scratch or not—we won’t tell), for those in Colorado and Florida, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without bread on the table. But for the rest of America, breads were beat out by several other crowd-favorite carbs on the list.
Make the Recipe: Sweet Dinner Rolls
6. Root Vegetable Dishes
Though it covers a broad category of dishes, root vegetable sides have fans from coast to coast. Root vegetables reign supreme in New York, California, and Arizona, and are tied for first in Connecticut, Georgia, and Florida. We’re talking turnips, parsnips, carrots, beets, yucca, celery root, and more (note: potatoes and sweet potatoes are in their own categories). Whether roasted, glazed, or puréed, these vegetables add a pop of color to what can be a very brown and beige-hued meal.
Make the Recipe: Maple-Roasted Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto
5. Green Bean Casserole
Coming into the fifth spot is a nostalgic side whose glory days are perhaps in the past: green bean casserole. The top side in Washington state and tied for top in Connecticut, the retro holdout is still a matter of tradition for many people. And, made with as few as 4 ingredients, it’s also one of the easiest side dishes to make on the big day.
Make the Recipe: Vintage Fresh Green Bean Casserole
4. Sweet Potatoes/Yams
Yams and sweet potatoes (yes, they’re different) kick off the top half of the list, and despite widespread love for the terrific tubers, they are only tied for top spot in one state: Alabama. On Turkey Day, the root vegetable sparks a bit of controversy—to marshmallow or not to marshmallow—so much so, that on many Thanksgiving spreads there are two versions of the dish, one with and one without. One thing is for sure: it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for many American families without sweet potatoes (or yams) on the table.
Make the Recipe: Candied Yams
3. Mac & Cheese
Coming in at number three on the list is macaroni and cheese. Mac and cheese was a new entry to the top five this year, having been ranked by 27% of Americans as their favorite side dish. Look—any day is a good day to make macaroni and cheese, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Whether you opt for baked, slow-cooked, extra decadent, or easy as heck, there are no wrong answers when it comes to which mac and cheese should be on your Thanksgiving table. It should come as no surprise that this cheese pasta dish runs the South; it was the first pick in Louisiana, South Carolina, Missouri (and Delaware and Maryland), and tied for top in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Make the Recipe: Mom’s Favorite Baked Mac and Cheese
Now for the top two. Falling from the top spot from last year, stuffing (or dressing) still remains an extremely popular side in Americans’ hearts—and stomachs—on Turkey Day. Stuffing is where you get to put your own spin on the classics. Whether it’s in the bird or not, with meat or without, or made with cornbread, white bread, croutons, or no bread at all, stuffing is the choose-your-own-adventure of side dishes.
Stuffing brought home the proverbial bacon (or more aptly, sausage) in 10 states—Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Vermont—and tied for first in 2 more: Oklahoma and Mississippi.
Make the Recipe: Old Fashioned Stuffing
1. Mashed Potatoes
And the winner is…mashed potatoes! Rising from second place in 2022, mashed potatoes take the crown for America’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish. Creamy, rich, and comforting, they’re the perfect accompaniment to turkey and gravy, so it makes sense that mashed potatoes came out on top.
Make the Recipe: Slow Cooked Mashed Potatoes
A Breakdown of the Most Popular Sides in Each State
As you can see on the map, mashed potatoes hold the overwhelming majority, followed by stuffing. Potatoes take first prize in 22 states: Idaho, Indiana, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. They also tied for first in two more states: Illinois and Oklahoma. It would appear we live in the United States of Mashed Potatoes.