25 Regional Thanksgiving Specialties from 25 Regional Thanksgiving Specialties

25 Regional Thanksgiving Specialties

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25 Regional Thanksgiving Specialties

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25 Regional Thanksgiving Specialties

While our turkeys remain the most emblematic image of the Thanksgiving table — thank you Norman Rockwell — the rest of the dishes on the table vary from region to region, and in some cases are even city-specific. In Baltimore, for example, sauerkraut is served as a nod to the large number of German descendants living there.

In Utah, Jell-O salad remains a hit, while the rest of the country takes little to no notice, and in the South, especially Texas, crumbled hard-boiled egg is often added to brown gravy for a unique flavor and texture.

While Southerners may be surprised to learn that not everyone eats pecan pie on Thanksgiving and most of us have never even heard of Frog Eye Salad, the collective dishes served on Thanksgiving from each region represent everyone’s unique American experience through food. To celebrate Thanksgiving and our diverse food traditions, we have rounded up 25 regional Thanksgiving specialties you should try this holiday.

Thanksgiving Cranberry Recipes

Cranberry Variations

From relish to sauce, subtle differences appear in our choice of cranberry accompaniment for our turkey.

Cranberry Relish — Northeast

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Cranberry Relish — Northeast

Cranberry relish is a specialty of the Northeastern United States. This cranberry twist differs from a can of Ocean Spray because of the inclusion of fresh cranberries and orange peel.
For the Cranberry Relish recipe, click here.

Cranberry Sauce — West

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Cranberry Sauce — West

The Western United States loves a smooth, gelatinous cranberry sauce with their Thanksgiving turkey. Simple with the perfect balance of sweet and tart, it complements a roasted bird well.

For the Fresh Cranberry Sauce recipe, click here.

Cranberry Sauce with Chipotle Peppers — Southwest

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Cranberry Sauce with Chipotle Peppers — Southwest

A Southwestern Thanksgiving includes lots of heat. Many regional dishes from the Southwest incorporate flavors from neighboring Mexico, which is why it is no surprise that the Southwest opts for a spicier take on a traditional cranberry sauce with the inclusion of chipotle peppers.

For the Cranberry Sauce with Chipotle Peppers recipe, click here.

Gravy

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Thanksgiving Gravy Recipes

Gravy is the savior of dry turkeys across America, but each region brings its own interpretation of the stuff to the table. 

Cream Gravy — South

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Cream Gravy — South

Southerners love rich, creamy foods, so it is not uncommon to find the same cream gravy that accompanies the classic chicken fried steak served alongside the Thanksgiving goods.

For the Cream Gravy recipe, click here.

Mushroom Gravy — Northwest

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Mushroom Gravy — Northwest

While giblet gravy and cream gravy rule in the rest of the country, mushroom gravy is the popular accompaniment for Turkey in the Northwest. The access to fresh, flavorful mushrooms means people in this region are privy to this smooth, rich vegetarian take on classic gravy.

For the Mushroom Gravy recipe, click here.

Thanksgiving Stuffing/Dressing Recipes

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Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipes

Whether you stuff your bird or serve dressing alongside, this delicious side dish arrives on the table with its own regional accent.

Cornbread Stuffing — South

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Cornbread Stuffing — South

The South is basically the cornbread capital of the U.S. so it is hardly a surprise they use this sweet, crumbly bread for Thanksgiving stuffing. You will find it served on the side or stuffed inside the turkey, but either way it adds just a hint of sweetness to the otherwise savory dish.

For the Classic Cornbread Stuffing recipe, click here.

Oyster Stuffing — New England

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Oyster Stuffing — New England

The tradition of seafood at Thanksgiving dates back to the Pilgrims and New England is known for its ocean delicacies. Serve oyster stuffing this year and keep the seafood tradition alive.

For the Herbed Oyster Stuffing recipe, click here.

Sausage Stuffing — Northeast

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Sausage Stuffing — Northeast

Popular in parts of the country with a large Italian population, especially the Northeast, sausage stuffing has a strong flavor of fennel seed.

For the Herbed Sausage Stuffing recipe, click here.

Wild Rice Stuffing— Northern Midwest

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Wild Rice Stuffing — Northern Midwest

The Northwest, West, and parts of the Midwest tend to showcase wild rice instead of bread based stuffing. Also, the inclusion of fresh chestnuts found in those areas is commonly added to the mix.

For the Wild Rice, Olive, Chestnut Stuffing recipe, click here.

Vegetable Sides and Salads

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Thanksgiving Vegetable Sides and Salads Recipes

No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without an overwhelming number of side dishes to scoop onto your plate, which is why we are highlighting several of our favorite regional specialties from sweet potatoes to green bean casseroles and more.

Candied Sweet Potatoes — South

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Candied Sweet Potatoes — South

Collard Greens — South

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Collard Greens — South

Many regional Thanksgiving dishes are determined by what is popular and grows in the area, and collard greens are no exception for the South. To make this delicious spicy side of dark greens, slow braise the collard greens with a ham hock in chicken stock, and then sprinkle with pepper sauce.

For the Braised Collard Greens recipe, click here.

Corn on the Cob — New England

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Corn on the Cob — New England

For those in New England, tradition is key, which is why they draw inspiration from the original Thanksgiving dinner by serving a simple dish of corn on the cob. Serve your corn on the cob with a spicy or herbaceous compound butter.

For the Grilled Corn on the Cob recipe, click here.

Corn Pudding — Midwest

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Corn Pudding — Midwest

With the plentiful supply of corn in the Midwest, it is no surprise that Midwesterners chow down on corn just as the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims did, except that Midwesterners cook their corn into a traditional-style pudding.

For the Corn Pudding recipe, click here.

Creamed Onions — New England

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Creamed Onions — New England

Wondering why New England natives serve a bowl of onions alongside their Thanksgiving feast? Well, this is one dish that is meant to be enjoyed solo. The gentle cooking of the pearl onions, their mostly mild flavor, and the creamy sauce that enrobes them makes these onions not only palatable, but enjoyable.

For the Creamed Onions recipe, click here.

Frog Eye Salad — Southwest and West

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Frog Eye Salad — Southwest and West

This comically named fruit salad is a lot like ambrosia, including pineapple, maraschino cherries, marshmallows, and mandarin oranges, but the kicker in the added egg and orzo thrown into the mix. This salad is popular in the Southwest and West where Jell-O salads also still reign supreme.

For the Frog Eye Salad recipe, click here.

Green Bean Casserole — Midwest

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Green Bean Casserole — Midwest

The classic green bean casserole topped with crispy onions and cream of mushroom soup is a staple in the Midwest, and is sure to show up on any respectable Thanksgiving table in the region.

For the Green Bean Casserole Topped with Crispy Onions recipe, click here.

Pumpkin Empanadas — Southwest

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Pumpkin Empanadas — Southwest

You really can’t go wrong with stuffing fresh, fall pumpkin into a crisped pastry shell, which is probably why people in the Southwest are likely to serve pumpkin empanadas at their Thanksgiving feast.

For the Pumpkin Empanadas recipe, click here.

Sauerkraut — Mid-Atlantic

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Sauerkraut — Mid-Atlantic

Popular in areas with large populations of people from German descent, sauerkraut is a classic on Thanksgiving dinners in Baltimore.

For the Slow-Cooker Sauerkraut recipe, click here.

Dessert

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Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

While pumpkin pie is certainly a fixture on the Thanksgiving dessert table, each region of the country has its own delicious sweet to showcase on the holiday.

Cherry Pie — Michigan/Midwest

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Cherry Pie — Michigan/Midwest

The Midwest, especially Michigan, uses the holiday to showcase a local favorite: cherry pie.

For the Fresh Cherry Pie recipe, click here.

Indian Pudding — New England

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Indian Pudding — New England

Indian pudding is similar to hasty pudding, a tradition the Pilgrims brought with them from England, but since wheat flour wasn’t readily available, the settlers subbed in cornmeal creating this distinctly American dish that is still enjoyed today at New England Thanksgiving celebrations.

For the Indian Pudding recipe, click here.

Key Lime Pie — Florida/South

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Key Lime Pie — Florida/South

This southern treat is particularly popular in Florida during Thanksgiving, giving a nod to regional produce and tastes.

For the Key Lime Pie recipe, click here.

Pecan Pie — Georgia/South

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Pecan Pie — South

Southerners are far more likely than the rest of the country to bake pecan pies at Thanksgiving. This rich pie served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is the perfect ending to your decadent Southern-style Thanksgiving meal.

For the Sea Island Pecan Pie recipe, click here.

Persimmon Pudding — California

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Persimmon Pudding — West

Persimmon pudding is similar to British dessert puddings, and according to this map, which shows the most googled foods by state, persimmon pudding is an important dish on the California Thanksgiving table.

For the Persimmon Pudding recipe, click here.

Pumpkin Flan — Southwest

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Pumpkin Flan — Southwest

Mexican and Spanish culinary traditions have inked into Thanksgiving food traditions in the Southwest, replacing classic pumpkin pie with a smooth, seasonal pumpkin flan.

For the Pumpkin Flan with Maple Syrup recipe, click here.

Sweet Potato Pie — South

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Sweet Potato Pie — South

In the South, where sweet potatoes are plentiful, often traditional pumpkin pie is rebooted with sweet potatoes for a slightly sweeter, but no less delicious tasting pie.

For the Sweet Potato Pie recipe, click here.

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25 Regional Thanksgiving Specialties

25 Regional Thanksgiving Specialties