Thanksgiving food ranking: is turkey the king?


Photo courtesy of The Spruce Eats

There is a number of different foods commonly eaten on Thanksgiving, including turkey, mashed potatoes, and corn.

By Tafa Nukator, Advertising & Subscriptions Manager

Vibrant leaves litter the streets, and the halls of WCHS are packed with students sporting sweaters and jeans. The time has come, once again, to celebrate Thanksgiving. Families across the country are looking forward to spending time together, watching football, and most importantly, eating good food. While everyone has their preferences, it must be acknowledged that not all Thanksgiving dishes are created equal. This list provides a ranking of some of the most popular Thanksgiving foods from worst to best. 

Green Bean Casserole 

The texture alone pushes this dish into last place: a mushy mixture of mushroom soup and green beans, baked and topped with fried onions. This disastrous blend of controversial ingredients is served by many but enjoyed by few. Even those who don’t mind it must concede that this side dish is mediocre at best. If the goal is to get greens onto Thanksgiving plates, there are better options than this.


Considering the peak season for corn is from May to September, the idea of serving it in late November is perplexing, to say the least. Putting aside the fact that Thanksgiving comes at an unfavorable time for corn, to call it a dish would be generous. For most, serving corn means boiling it and perhaps even slathering it in butter. Although it may be difficult to find someone with a vendetta against corn, there is no real argument for it being the best Thanksgiving food. 


Commonly referred to as “Turkey Day”, Thanksgiving is the one holiday where a table without a turkey prompts eyebrow-raises. Despite this, few people can honestly say that out of the numerous options on the table, the turkey is what they look forward to the most. In actuality, it is merely a decoration: a centerpiece that nods to tradition and subsequently ignored. While it isn’t terrible, a dry bird simply cannot compare to the mouth-watering side dishes and desserts that make the holiday worth celebrating. 


Dinner rolls are undoubtedly the most neutral food to appear on this list. There is no real case to be made for or against them. Most people will take one when given the option, but nobody would think to call butter on bread a culinary sensation. Rolls are a nice appetizer and dinner staple, but ultimately, they are nothing special.


Stuffing is surprisingly appetizing for a dish that consists mainly of mashed bread and celery. The bread provides a nice vessel for the various herbs and spices included, making it flavorful while preventing it from becoming overwhelming. However, the texture of slightly soggy bread is somewhat off putting, and the random distribution of crunchy vegetables makes for an uncomfortable eating experience. Despite its shortcomings, stuffing is extremely popular, and is a solid Thanksgiving dish overall. 

Mac and Cheese 

Mac and cheese is one of the few Thanksgiving foods that are enjoyable year-round. Regardless of the occasion, this cheesy and delicious dish will be met with excitement. Furthermore, mac and cheese provides a comfortable option for the picky eaters at the table. Pasta topped with a delectable blend of cheeses and seasoned to perfection is rarely a disappointment. Mac and cheese is a Thanksgiving staple for many, and it is clear why. 

Mashed Potatoes

The competition is certainly fierce, but at the end of the day, mashed potatoes earn their title as the best food on the Thanksgiving table. Warm and fluffy, mashed potatoes embody the spirit of the holiday, being reminiscent of autumn as a whole. A creamy blend of potatoes, butter and garlic, this dish is nothing short of fantastic. Similar to mac and cheese, this is a food that can be enjoyed at any time. Additionally, it can be paired with nearly anything else on the Thanksgiving menu and manage to complement them brilliantly. One of the best things about mashed potatoes, though, is the fact that it is customizable. From chives to cheese, toppings of any kind can be added to this dish with ease. Thanksgiving provides a variety of delicious dishes, but they are incomparable to the masterpiece that is mashed potatoes. 

The endless list of choices can make it difficult to pick a favorite. The most important part, though, is that there is something for everybody to enjoy. Whether you’re partial to stuffing or mac and cheese, everyone can agree that the amazing food is what makes Thanksgiving truly great.