Turkey may be the quintessential Thanksgiving dish, but it’s not the only attraction feasters look forward to on this food coma-inducing holiday. Families nationwide anticipate the annual spread of grandma’s best stuffing or dad’s secret sweet potato recipe. What many Americans don’t realize, though, is these staples can vary drastically by location.
In some regions, families pack extra cream in their potatoes. In others, Thanksgiving sides come with an extra dash (or three) of spice. General Mills tracks Thanksgiving-timed search traffic every year to determine which dishes are most popular in each state. Some findings — such as Colorado’s love for all things cranberry sauce — are hardly a surprise for locals. Colorado-based food blogger Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest offers multiple spins on her state’s favorite dish, including cranberry brie pastry tarts that her readers describe as “almost too pretty to eat.” Equally interesting is Minnesota’s enthusiasm for all things stuffing; this Midwestern state has America’s most stuffing searches per capita, while places like Wyoming and New Hampshire are hyperfocused on their sweet potatoes.
To sprinkle new flair into this year’s holiday spread, we’ve compiled 11 regional Thanksgiving recipes from food bloggers across the country. Some recipes offer small adaptations to popular staples like sweet potatoes, while others turn Thanksgiving on its head with entirely new dishes you’d never think of. No matter the region, all recipes have one thing in common: They’re downright delicious.
Hawaii: Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
Hawaii-based food blogger Jasmine Sanders adds local flair to her Thanksgiving spread with the state’s popular Turkey Day side dish, Hawaiian macaroni salad. This dish is “a perfect balance to a savory main course, like kalua pork or a Thanksgiving turkey,” she told HuffPost.
Get the Hawaiian macaroni salad recipe from More Than You Can Chew.
The Northeast: Chicken Empanadas
While Sanders now spends Thanksgivings in Hawaii, she grew up in New York making Thanksgiving empanadas with her Peruvian grandmother in Brooklyn. “The morning after Thanksgiving we would use leftover turkey in the filling for our empanadas,” she told HuffPost.
Get the chicken empanadas recipe from More Than You Can Chew.
The South: Smoked Gouda Mac And Cheese
Florida food blogger Quin Liburd swears by this rich and gooey Thanksgiving side dish, which makes an appearance on all of her holiday tables.
Get the smoked gouda mac and cheese recipe from Butter Be Ready.
The South: Brown Butter Apple Tart
Amber Wilson, the food blogger behind For the Love of the South, joins her Louisiana roots with her newfound home of Nashville for this sweet, Southern Thanksgiving staple.
Get the brown butter apple tart recipe from For the Love of the South.
The Rocky Mountains: Cranberry Brie Pastry Tart
Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest has a host of cozy Thanksgiving recipes from her home state of Colorado. This recipe dishes out Colorado’s love for cranberries in a beautiful pastry form.
Get the cranberry brie pastry tart recipe from Half Baked Harvest.
The Rocky Mountains: Spiced Pecan Apple Cider Doughnut Cake
The only thing that screams “fall” more than an apple cider doughnut is Gerard’s spiced pecan apple cider doughnut cake. This Thanksgiving dish turns one of Colorado’s favorite fall sweets — apple cider doughnuts — into a holiday dessert.
Get the spiced pecan apple cider doughnut cake recipe from Half Baked Harvest.
West Coast: Delicata Squash Salad
California-based food blogger Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking recommends this fresh and healthy squash for any West Coast Thanksgiving meal.
Get the delicata squash salad recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking.
Idaho: Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Natasha Kravchuk, the brain behind Natasha’s Kitchen, swears by her popular creamy mashed potatoes recipe. This dish, which Kravchuk describes as the “king of all mashed potato recipes,” is a staple for the Idaho-based blogger.
Get the creamy mashed potatoes recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.
California: Sweet Potato Casserole With Butter Pecan Crumble Topping
California-based food blogger Averie Sunshine gets rave reviews on her classic sweet potato casserole that’s equal parts side dish and dessert — with preservative-free pecans recommended.
Get the sweet potato casserole with butter pecan crumble topping recipe from Averie Cooks.
The Midwest: Green Bean Casserole
The Midwest loves its casseroles, and Illinois food blogger Amanda Finks of The Wholesome Dish swears by her three-ingredient green bean casserole. “People from Illinois love this classic recipe of green beans coated in creamy mushroom soup and topped with crunchy fried onions,” she told HuffPost.
Get the green bean casserole recipe from The Wholesome Dish.
The Midwest: Easy Breakfast Casserole
Continuing with the Midwest’s passion for casseroles, Finks also recommends her five-minute easy breakfast casserole. “This simple breakfast casserole is perfect for feeding guests over the holidays,” she told HuffPost.
Get the easy breakfast casserole recipe from The Wholesome Dish.