DETROIT – There’s a little somethin’ somethin’ in the air, and I’m not talking about more snowflakes.
No, instead I’m looking indoors -- where many of us will soon be accompanied by loved ones, our mouths watering over delicious smells coming from the kitchen. The winter holidays are a great excuse to spend time with people we care about, and what better way to commemorate that time than with good food?
“Good” means a little something different to everyone. “Traditional” Thanksgiving dishes vary from region to region, where different side dishes are served most often with turkey as the main dish.
And, let’s face it, the side dishes deserve way more attention than the turkey.
We’re breaking down the most popular side dishes in each state. We’re also taking a look at what some of our readers had to say about their favorite, and least favorite, Thanksgiving dishes. Let’s dive in.
Most popular side dish in Michigan
This reveal may feel a bit boring.
Michiganders’ favorite Thanksgiving side dish, according to Zippia, is bread. More specifically, rolls.
Now, I’ll be the first to say that no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without rolls, whether they are crescent, regular, what have you. But for them to come in first place? I was a bit shocked. They’re delicious, no doubt, but don’t really compete with the flavors in other sides like stuffing, casseroles, collard greens, etc.
But I digress. (My aunt used to make the most delicious sweet rolls every Thanksgiving and Christmas, and they really were a treat. I miss those.)
Michigan isn’t the only state to favorite those bready side dishes.
West Virginia, Utah and Florida also identified rolls as their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes in 2021, according to research from Zippia. Nebraska specifically prefers crescent rolls, while biscuits are beloved in North Carolina.
Let’s take a look at the other states and their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes.
Sides dishes by state
While six states, including Michigan, favor rolls, an even larger majority are all about the potatoes on Thanksgiving.
Nine states say they favor mashed potatoes, three states love baked potatoes, and two states are eating sweet potatoes in various ways. Delaware’s favorite is cauliflower mashed potatoes, and Alabama’s favorite is sweet potato casserole (which is a whole different thing, but you get the idea).
Vegetables did make the cut in some states, with a few choosing side salads and green beans as their favorites. Georgia, Maryland and South Carolina prefer collard greens, specifically.
Other top, and far less common, choices for favorite side dishes included stuffing, creamed corn, fruit salad, gravy (as its own side?), macaroni and cheese, hashbrown casserole, stuffed mushrooms and -- for the trendy states -- charcuterie trays.
Check out Zippia’s map of the most popular Thanksgiving side dishes per state below to compare for yourself.
What ClickOnDetroit readers say
We held a brief “this or that” Thanksgiving dinner poll for our ClickOnDetroit readers to find out what your preferred meals look like -- and we got more than 1,050 responses.
Most poll respondents (87%) agreed that turkey should be the main meat dish on Thanksgiving, but 9% (including myself) said that ham should be the star. 3% of people said chicken should be the main dish, while 1% voted for sausage.
When it comes to gravy, the overwhelming majority of people say it should be on the table. 89% of voters are pro-gravy, while 11% voted against it.
The results were more evenly split when asked about cranberry sauce: 54% of respondents said canned cranberry sauce is better, compared to 46% who said fresh cranberry sauce is better.
73% of voters said they’d prefer pumpkin pie when choosing between pumpkin and pecan.
And, for the main event: What is the favorite side dish among ClickOnDetroit readers (or, at least, 1,000 of you)?
Stuffing took first place with 49% of the vote, with mashed potatoes coming in second place with 30% of the vote. Sweet potatoes took third place with 9%, and rolls/biscuits had 2% of the vote. 3% of people said their favorite side dish wasn’t mentioned in the poll, and not a soul voted for corn as their favorite side.
Least liked Thanksgiving foods
ClickOnDetroit readers also recently took a poll about their least favorite Thanksgiving foods. Nearly 2,000 people cast their votes for the least-liked dishes.
These are our readers’ least favorite Thanksgiving dishes:
1. Green bean casserole - 18.2%
2. Cranberry sauce - 13.8%
3. Coleslaw - 12%
4. Carrots - 9.2%
5. Turkey - 5.6%
6. Ham - 5.5%
7. Pumpkin pie, tied with mac and cheese - 5%
8. Stuffing/dressing - 3%
9. Corn, tied with apple pie - 2%
10. Mashed potatoes - 1%
None of these, I like them all - 9%
Turkey cooking safety
If you’re cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving this year, remember not to wash the raw bird.
According to the CDC, 78% of people reported washing or rinsing their turkey before cooking it in 2020. Turkey (and chicken!) and its juice can be contaminated with germs that can make you and your family sick. The juices can spread in the kitchen and contaminate other foods, utensils and countertops.
Have a great Thanksgiving! 🦃
Previously on Data Drop: