Each U.S. State’s Ideal Thanksgiving Plate

Intro graphic for a blog about each U.S. state’s ideal Thanksgiving late.
Intro graphic for a blog about each U.S. state’s ideal Thanksgiving late.

Each U.S. State’s Ideal Thanksgiving Plate

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday. You get to surround yourself with family, friends, and slightly argumentative aunts and uncles. Young lovers and budding relationships will be tested, as plenty of anxious partners will have to meet the parents. It’s a great holiday for visiting loved ones and dressing up to take nice photos. Better yet, if your family is hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, you don’t even have to leave the house!

Thanksgiving has all the ingredients for the perfect get-together, but the best part? You guessed it — the food. Having your loved ones over during the holidays is great and all, but have you ever tried turkey cooked just right? What about perfectly pillowy mashed potatoes? Indeed, some things in life are even better than dunking on your uncle in a heated debate over which team will win the next Super Bowl.

Everyone has their favorite tasty Thanksgiving treats they look forward to each November, and we wanted to find out what they were. For this study, we gathered search data from Google to determine which Thanksgiving staples were at the top of each state’s wish list this holiday season.

The Most Popular Entree in Every U.S. State

Graphic showing the most popular Thanksgiving entree in every U.S. state.

Thanksgiving is the turkey’s time to shine, so it shouldn’t be surprising that our large feathered friend is the country’s most searched entree of the season. November’s prized poultry claimed 23 states in total and was featured in most people’s ideal Thanksgiving plate. Whether you’re searching for how long to cook the turkey, what to season the turkey with, or where to order food when you’ve burned the turkey, chances are you’ll be making a few inquiries about the featured fowl this fall.

Ham claimed second place by winning over 17 states throughout the country. Honey ham is a popular turkey alternative for Americans who prefer a little sweet with their savory. Hosts expecting a high number of guests this year should consider preparing a ham in addition to turkey. Red meat is generally more filling than white meat, like chicken and turkey, because it contains more protein. Pro-tip: save room for dessert by avoiding the spiral-cut honey-glazed temptation this year.

It wouldn’t be fair to avoid talking about the other entrees who won a few states apiece. More meat alternatives mean that families have more options to choose from each year. If you’re trying to cut back on meat altogether, consider sitting down with the families in Delaware who helped Tofurky win their state. Tofurky offers a new spin on a legendary Thanksgiving dish with its plant-based roasts. Prepare it with stuffing and traditional sides to see if your carnivorous friends and family will notice the difference!

Vermont and West Virginia couldn’t decide on the best bird to serve on Thanksgiving, so their solution was to serve all of them at once. Turducken is the Frankenstein-esque bird hybrid that combines turkey, duck, and chicken for maximum fowl flavor. A turducken is a great option for Thanksgiving hosts who want to try something bold this year or for people looking for something weird to bring to Friendsgiving. 

Possibly the most fascinating dish that appeared on our list of most searched-for Thanksgiving meals was tamales. New Mexico and South Dakota elected this traditional Mexican dish that features corn-based dough filled with various types of meat, beans, and cheese as their preferred Thanksgiving entree. Those who are looking to bring their festive feasts to the next level this year should consider preparing turkey tamales.

What Do You Like on Your Thanksgiving Plate?

Graphic showing America’s ideal Thanksgiving plate based on Google Trends data.

Using Google Trends data collected over the past five years, we were able to determine the American dream Thanksgiving plate. If you had to build a plate for a complete stranger, it would be a safe bet to include turkey, ham, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, a sweet potato, and mashed potatoes. Pumpkin pie is the safest choice for dessert. Check out the map below to see how your state’s ideal plate stacks up in comparison. 

Bring on the Sweets!

Graphic showing each state’s favorite Thanksgiving dessert.

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without dessert, of course. The most popular dessert across the country was pumpkin pie. What better way to top off pumpkin season than with a treat filled with a sweet pumpkin custard filling? Pumpkin pie crushed all the other seasonal pies, like apple pie, sweet potato pie, and cherry pie.

Pudding came in close at second place, likely because it dominated the northeastern and southern regions of the country. If you live in the South, you’re no stranger to a delicious banana pudding. The combination of vanilla wafers, bananas, and custard filling has made banana pudding a Southern staple since the early 20th century.

Closing Thoughts

Many Americans look forward to Thanksgiving meals all year long. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to serve lunch or dinner, as long as you’re surrounded by your friends, family, and a pile of great food. Everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving treats and traditions they like to partake in during this comforting time of year. What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving foods and dishes?

Sharing the holidays (and your respective families) with your significant other is a big way to take your relationship to the next level and test if you’re truly ready for an engagement. If your partner passes the parent test, congratulate them with fine jewelry from Shane Co.!


To find out each U.S. state’s Thanksgiving dream plate, we turned to online search interest. We began by searching for the most popular Thanksgiving dishes and desserts using sites like Delish, YouGovAmerica, and Taste of Home. We gathered 64 search terms from these sources, and used search interest from the past five years to determine which Thanksgiving dishes were the most desirable.

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