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It’s the best meal of the year, but that doesn’t mean that every dish is an all-star. In fact, we’d be happy to banish a few from our holiday table for good (if only Grandma would let us). Here, the definitive list of traditional Thanksgiving foods ranked. 

RELATED: Here’s How to Make an Entire Thanksgiving Dinner in Less Than 2 Hours (It’s Possible)

thanksgiving foods ranked bowl of jello salad
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16. Jell-O salad

It clashes with everything else on the table, it’s lumpy, it’s gelatinous and people only take it to be polite. Why, Thanksgiving gods, why?

RELATED: The Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

thanksgiving foods ranked variety of boiled vegetables
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15. Plain vegetables

Honestly, if all you’re going to do is boil 'em, don’t even bother. Come on, you can do better than that.

thanksgiving foods ranked green bean casserole
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14. Green bean casserole

Take away the fried onions and all you’re left with is a soupy, sad mess. Do yourself a favor and whip up one of these tasty green bean recipes instead.

thanksgiving foods ranked cranberry sauce
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13. Cranberry sauce

Sure, this bright red concoction looks festive, but if it’s sooo delicious, then why isn’t it on your table any other time of the year? Case closed.

thanksgiving foods ranked basket of dinner rolls
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12. Dinner rolls

There’s nothing wrong with dinner rolls per se, it’s just that filling up on them as soon as you sit down means that you won’t have room for the real stars of the show.

thanksgiving foods ranked carving a turkey

11. Turkey

Yeah, yeah, it’s not Thanksgiving without a turkey. But let’s get real—the bird just gets in the way of the good stuff (i.e., sides).

thanksgiving foods ranked cornbread on chopping board
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10. Corn Bread

So here’s the thing—when done right (with fresh corn and honey butter), corn bread is a thing of beauty. But nine times out of ten, it’s just a crumbly, dry mess. Next.  

thanksgiving foods ranked butternut squash soup bowls
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9. Butternut squash soup

Any other day of the year, we would be all over this warming bowl of goodness. But when every dish takes up precious real estate (on the table and in your stomach), this one’s sort of meh.

thanksgiving foods ranked sweet potatoes
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8. Sweet potatoes

Huzzah for desserts disguised as vegetables.

RELATED: 23 Sweet Potato Recipes You Need in Your Life


thanksgiving foods ranked brussels sprouts with pancetta

7. Brussels sprouts

If only because they make us feel virtuous. (They’re green! They’re vegetables!) Just don’t forget the pancetta.

thanksgiving foods ranked one pot mac and cheese

6. Mac and Cheese

Not everyone has this as a Thanksgiving staple, and we feel sorry for those people.


thanksgiving foods ranked pumpkin pies

5. Pie

Pumpkin, sweet potato, pecan or apple—there isn’t a Thanksgiving pie that we don’t want to stuff our face in.

thanksgiving foods ranked mashed potatoes
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4. Mashed potatoes

“I hate mashed potatoes,” said no one ever.

thanksgiving foods ranked gravy boat
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3. Gravy

The true hero of Thanksgiving—it moistens dry meat, turns mashed potatoes into volcanoes and is the secret ingredient to the best next-day leftover sandwich. If we could swim in it, we would. 

RELATED: Make-Ahead Vegetarian Gravy

thanksgiving foods ranked red wine toast1
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2. Wine

Because Great Aunt Mildred.

thanksgiving foods ranked stuffing

1. Stuffing

Come on, was this ever really a question?

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