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Cool it on those casseroles: Your guide to what's tasty, what's trash this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving's dishes are iconic, but which ones are actually tasty? That depends on who you ask. – Photo by Pro Church Media / Unsplash

Every year, Americans gather on Thanksgiving in appreciation of their friends, family and — of course — food. Thanksgiving food is a controversial topic: You either love it, or you're stuck eating bread and butter the whole day.

Thanksgiving is known as the most celebrated food holiday in the U.S., so here are the five best and worst Thanksgiving dishes you might be seeing on the dinner table this year.

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce is a classic Thanksgiving dish. But when it’s executed poorly, it’s disgusting. Similar to edible slime, it can be sweet yet tart, wobbly yet stiff. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be eating that terrible jelly on top of my turkey. 


Stuffing should only contain the simplest ingredients: bread, butter, salt and fresh herbs. But when it comes to Thanksgiving stuffing, there are arrays of different recipes using different ingredients. Celery, onion, bread cubes, cheese, meat and poultry seasoning are just some ingredients that are used for stuffing. The whole concept of baking bread with celery and poultry seasoning is repulsive. It’s like mixing broccoli and ice cream: They just simply shouldn’t be together.


The foundation, backbone and gnarled face of all Thanksgiving food, the one and only: oven-roasted turkey. It’s almost always dry or overcooked, leaving it to be smothered in gravy or other sauces to make it the smallest bit endurable. At this point, it should be replaced with chicken. 

Green bean casserole

Broth, flour, cream and breadcrumbs are the main ingredients of this dish. Why isn’t it just called a casserole with the number of add-ins drowning out the actual vegetable? Creamy and carb-filled dishes are a staple at the Thanksgiving table, but not when they're done like this.

Sweet potato casserole

I get the appeal of marshmallows with an already sweet vegetable, but having a sweet dish during dinner is stomach-churning. People already despise sweet potatoes on their own, and manipulating the taste by covering them with marshmallows is outright wrong. If served at all, this dish should be served as a dessert. 

But for every poorly executed Thanksgiving dish, there can also be some amazing ones:

Mashed potatoes

You can’t go wrong with freshly made and whipped mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. They’re buttery and salty, warm and comforting. The dish is classic, safe and always so delicious. Top it with some gravy to make it even better. You won’t regret it.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts can be revolting to some but mouthwatering to others. The classic roasted brussels sprouts with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper are to die for. It’s simple but so flavorful and should be a must on your Thanksgiving menu.

Pumpkin pie

It’s on the dessert table every year, and it’s not leaving anytime soon. Pumpkin pie is hard to stay away from, so you might as well grab a slice. You can have it warm or cold, with whipped cream or plain. Pumpkin is the taste of fall, so embrace it before the season ends. 

Green beans almondine 

The best alternative to the green bean casserole. Although it was originally a French dish, it has become a classic for Thanksgiving. The almonds are a perfect addition to the green beans, making them delicate yet crispy. All you have to do is saute the green beans with some garlic and toast the almonds for a vibrant and fresh dish.

Mac and cheese

Although the dish is more popular in the Southern states, mac and cheese is a perfect addition to the carbs that make up your Thanksgiving spread. It’s creamy and rich in flavor, and the cheese options are endless. You can bake breadcrumbs on top to make it even more delicious. Needless to say, mac and cheese is tasty and adored by virtually all cheese lovers.

Even on a day where thankfulness is at the forefront of everyone's minds, it can be hard to be grateful for a nice, hot meal when it's full of terrible dishes — so be certain to make sure everything comes out tasty!

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