Here’s What Thanksgiving Meals Look Like Around The Country

By Leah Freeman-Haskin


Have you ever spent Thanksgiving at someone else’s house and been surprised by what was on the menu? Or disappointed by what wasn’t? Depending on your region and culture, Thanksgiving dinner could look very different. Here is a glimpse of what Thanksgiving could be serving up across the country.

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Texas is home to the fried turkey. A notoriously dangerous way of cooking a turkey, Texas is also home to the worst turkey-frying accidents in the country. Deeply flavored turkey tamales are also a Tex Mex staple in many homes as well as cornbread dressing.

The South

You can expect to indulge in sweet potato pie in the south as well as several types of macaroni and cheese, okra, cornbread, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, and let’s not forget the collard greens.

Burcu Atalay Tankut | Getty Images


Kentucky Derby Pie is rooted in horse racing and is made from chocolate and walnuts for a decently-delicious dessert.

New England

Hasty Pudding is a simple dessert made with cornmeal, molasses, brown sugar, spices and a dollop of whipped cream or scoop of ice cream. You may also find creamed onions on a New England table, which consists of pearl onions and heavy cream. And when it comes to cranberry sauce, don’t expect the canned stuff. Homemade cranberry sauce, or relish, has its origins in the Northeast.

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Pecan pie made from nuts, corn syrup, and butter is a southern staple that finds its roots in Georgia. With an abundance of peaches, you may also get your hands on some peach pie.

YinYang | Getty Images


Green bean casserole is a dish made of canned cream of mushroom soup, fried onions, and green beans, and is most popular in the middle of the country. You may also get to try corn pudding in place of cornbread and cherry pie instead of pumpkin pie.

New Mexico and Arizona

In these Southwestern states, you can expect a dash of spice in just about everything you eat. A New Mexico Thanksgiving host will add chile to everything including gravy, stuffing, and turkey. Pumpkin empanadas may also make an appearance.


Did you know that Florida’s state food is key lime pie? The dessert is made from the juice of Key limes (naturalized throughout the Florida Keys), egg yolks, and canned sweetened condensed milk and will most likely make an appearance on the Thanksgiving table.

The Southeast also celebrates its Cajun roots during the national holiday in the form of gumbo, crawfish, deviled eggs, and fried oysters. 

Lauri Patterson | Getty Images

Pacific Northwest

Expect to find an abundance of mushrooms in your Pacific Northwest Thanksgiving meal. Even in the gravy. Mushroom gravy is a staple along with turkey alternatives like venison and other hearty meats.

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Many Hawaiian Thanksgiving traditions are different than what you would see in the contiguous United States. Based on their location and culture, you will find Okinawan sweet potatoes that are purple in color. Don’t be surprised to also see fresh poke or sashimi on the table and a turkey that is smoked kalua-style, a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu, a type of underground oven.

Prasit photo | Getty Images
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