Regional Thanksgiving Dishes Across America

Explore the unique dishes each region of the United States makes to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and add them to your recipe book.

Depending on where you are in the United States, your Thanksgiving dinner table may look slightly different. From the deep South to the Midwest to New England, each region of America has been influenced by its environment and multicultural traditions to create some interesting holiday dishes. 

Explore the unique dishes each region of the United States makes to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday and see what you can add to your recipe book.

New England 

Oyster Cornbread Stuffing 

Instead of the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing, many New Englanders opt out of using breadcrumbs and use their local seafood specialty, oysters. This is usually paired with a side of creamed onion. 

Find the recipe here.


Sweetened Cranberry Relish

Unlike the traditional cranberry relish or sauce used at the typical Thanksgiving table, residents in the Northeastern region of the United States make homemade, not canned, sweetened cranberry relish with orange zest.

Find the recipe here

East Coast


Due to the large population of Italian Americans in New York and New Jersey, traditional Italian food is standard before Thanksgiving food is served. Manicotti is a marinara pasta dish that acts as a precursor to Turkey. 

Find the recipe here


Wild Rice Casserole 

As the official state grain of Minnesota, wild rice is a staple in Midwest households. Wild rice casserole is cooked inside the turkey and served as a side dish with mushrooms, pecans, and onions. 

Find the recipe here


Deep Fried Turkey 

Instead of the traditional roasted turkey Thanksgiving meal, many residents in the Southern states deep fry their turkey. In comparison to the roasted turkey’s outer layer, the fried turkey has extra-crispy and very well-seasoned skin. 

Find the recipe here.   


Pumpkin Empanadas

The Southwestern states’ cuisines show the perfect mix of traditional American foods with a twist complimentary of Mexican roots. Pumpkin empanadas are just that – a Thanksgiving twist on a traditional Mex-American dish. 

Find the recipe here

West Coast 

Fresh Citrus and Vegetable Salad 

Aligned with the health-centric nature of most Western states, fresh citrus and vegetable salad is a popular side dish. They believe the more colorful, the better! 

Find the recipe here

Pacific Northwest

Mushroom Gravy 

Mushrooms are a staple in most Northwest households for Thanksgiving and daily meals. Whether in a sauce or sauteed on the side, mushrooms are a meal expectation in the Pacific Northwest.

Find the recipe here

Food Allergy Acknowledgement 

Thanksgiving is a time for celebration – celebrating family, friends, and all you are grateful for. It is vital during this time to remain safe. Whether hosting a dinner party at home, traveling to a family member’s house, or attending a work potluck, food allergy safety should be a top priority for all. Here are tips for maintaining safety: 

  1. Do not assume the dishes are safe. Make sure you ask questions about the dishes that will be served and the ingredients. Better yet, if you are attending a dinner party, inform your host of your allergies in advance. 
  2. Have epinephrine injectors nearby. You can never be too prepared. Some are unaware of the food allergies they have. Some may be so excited that they try every dish and do not think of their allergy until it is too late. Epinephrine injectors are a quick way to take action.

If you or a loved one have an allergic reaction, or any type of medical emergency this holiday season, we’re here for you. Visit Topeka ER & Hospital, your go-to neighborhood ER, open 24/7, 365 days a year—including holidays! We go beyond the standard of convenient, effective, and comfortable emergency room care when it comes to you and your loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Topeka ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.