The Classic Thanksgiving Foods, Ranked by an Expert

According to this journalist’s ~very objective~ culinary authority

10. Stuffing

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Yeah, that’s right. Stuffing is trash, and I’m going to make a sweeping generalization about the entire dish. Who actually likes stuffing? Is there not enough bread already on your plate in the form of dinner rolls? And don’t even get me started about the stuffing inside the turkey itself. Blasphemy. I’m grateful that there are more than enough other great Thanksgiving dishes to fill up my plate before I get to this inferior side dish. 

9. Green Beans

I don’t have as much animosity toward green beans as I do stuff. I, myself, have enjoyed my fair share of helpings of green beans. The problem with this vegetable is the very possible circumstance when the chef forgoes seasoning, creating one of the blandest dishes ever. That being said, a well-made batch of these puppies can be a great and relatively healthier side dish to any Thanksgiving meal.

8. Ham

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Yes, I know not everyone does ham for Thanksgiving, which is absolutely fine. But many people do. And while I got no beef with ham, pun intended, I think the fact that so many families seem to disagree on it is why it deserves lowly status on this list. While there are all sorts of great ham recipes, glazes, and sauces for a meal, I have a hard time finding a way that it fits in with the overall Thanksgiving flavor palate. 

7. Turkey

It’s the main course of the whole meal. The centerpiece of the serving table. The theme of the night. As a dish, it’s definitely the most picturesque of all of them; however — and unfortunately — whether you roast it or fry it, the turkey will always look better than it tastes. While usually dry on its own, turkey pairs deliciously with the other dishes, making it the culinary icon of Thanksgiving.

6. Dinner Rolls

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Who doesn’t love a good Thanksgiving sandwich? I mean, that’s what I use these bad boys for. The rolls (or in my family’s case, croissants) are a key pillar of the Thanksgiving meal. Providing a much better version of bread than that ~nasty~ stuffing, a good roll can turn a dry turkey and mediocre sides into a dank sandwich. And that versatility is enough to earn this spot. 

5. Gravy

Yes, gravy is its own dish. Why? Because like the rolls, a solid gravy can save the other dishes. Dry turkey? Gravy time. Bland mashed potatoes? Smother that ish. Gotta take down some terrible stuffing to please your Uncle Jeff? Gravy, baby! Plus, it’s served in its own boat — how cool is that?

4. Mac and Cheese

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Pasta covered in delicious melted cheese and who knows what other wonderful mixes — what’s not to love? While it seems we all have different opinions on what kind of pasta should be used for this dish, we can all agree it’s hard to turn down a few extra helpings of some mac.

3. Sweet Potato Casserole

If you have read any of my other pieces, you’ll probably already know that I’m from the South where we LOVE our sweet potatoes. That wonderful tasting starchy veg that not only has a great number of nutrients, but a solid chef can turn this dish into a side sweeter than some desserts. Throw in a little brown sugar, some marshmallows, or whatever else that whatever recipe you’re using calls for. The bottom line is it’s hard to beat this side.

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2. Pie

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So, I don’t want to get too many hateful comments under this article, so I’m just going to refer to all pie in general. I know each Thanksgiving dinner has their pie of choice, but since my mother makes multiple pies for the famous meal, I respectfully refuse to differentiate. Be it a classic pumpkin, a zesty key lime, or even a wonderful chocolate pie, there’s a reason almost everyone eating tries to save room for dessert.

1. Mashed Potatoes

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THE SUPERIOR DISH. Mashed potatoes are objectively the best dish in the entire meal. A nice and creamy bowl of mash with some butter, salt, pepper, ~gravy~ and whatever else your Thanksgiving cook uses. While your arteries might tighten up after your three helpings, you’ll still know deep down it was worth it. 


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