How Americans rank their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes

·3-min read

While stuffing is usually considered the most common Thanksgiving side dish, it surprisingly isn't America's favorite side this year, according to a new poll.

2,005 Americans were asked to settle the debate on the best Turkey Day sides and mashed potatoes were crowned the favorite by nearly half (46%) — just narrowly beating stuffing (43%). 

Meanwhile, sweet potatoes (39%) and cranberry sauce (37%) were among the most popular choices, as well.

And when it comes to after-dinner desserts, apple pie (43%) surprisingly beat pumpkin (42%) for the top spot, with chocolate (34%) securing third place.

The survey, which was carried out by OnePoll on the behalf of The Fresh Market, also found that many Americans will be keeping their eyes peeled for sweet potatoes, as three in 10 consider them to be underrated.

While the turkey will likely be the main attraction on the Thanksgiving dinner table, three in four (74%) agree that a holiday dinner sans turkey and consisting of just side dishes would be just as satisfying.

As roughly two in five (43%) said their family has gone four or more years in between adding variety to their family's Thanksgiving menu, right now might be the perfect time for a refresh.

While partaking in the festivities with loved ones over their favorite Thanksgiving staple foods, Americans expect five side dishes available on the table and 74% plan on eating at least four of them.

Given the fact that 86% said their family has its own recipes for side dishes, it's no wonder that people are excited to chow down on grandma's homemade stuffing (29%), mashed potatoes (26%) and more.

"Americans all agree on celebrating Thanksgiving and that mashed potatoes are the favorite side! Whether it's continuing family traditions or starting new ones with unique sides like mascarpone whipped potatoes with rosemary, oyster stuffing or cranberry relish with walnuts, bringing fresh, flavorful sides to the table, when you gather with family and friends, makes the meal even more delicious," said Kevin Miller, Chief Marketing Officer at The Fresh Market.

If you plan on visiting a loved one for Thanksgiving dinner this year, be sure to bring a dish or two — 71% said showing up to a loved one's dinner celebration empty-handed is a no-no.

Two in three agreed having a wide selection of Thanksgiving sides is more important than the big bird, so bringing a side dish might be a safe bet.

Additionally, 86% said they plan on preparing extra helpings for those highly coveted dishes like mashed potatoes (31%), stuffing (30%) and mac and cheese (27%), as those will likely be the first dishes to be polished off.

And tried-and-true recipes are always appreciated, as respondents listed stuffing (22%) and mac and cheese (20%) as the hardest dishes to make "just right."

"We wait all year to experience the aromas, the laughter and the time with family and friends at Thanksgiving. Gathering again this year also means enjoying all the side dishes that make it extra special—and maybe an extra helping of mashed potatoes," continued Miller.

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