5 Regional Thanksgiving Menus for a Twist on the Classic

5 Regional Thanksgiving Menus for a Twist on the Classic

If you’re like most people, every Thanksgiving you serve up the same menu: Mom’s pumpkin pie, Aunt Judy’s green bean casserole, your favorite stuffed yams. But why not change things up a bit this year? Here are some of our favorite regional traditions from around the country to make this year’s Thanksgiving a little more special.


1. Deep South Thanksgiving

A Southern Thanksgiving menu might feature a roasted turkey, but why not give deep-frying a try? Aside from being a pretty awesome spectacle, many cooks swear by how juicy it makes the meat.

Serve it up with classic Southern sides like pecan-cornbread dressing, savory corn pudding, and slow-cooked collard greens. Add mac and cheese – our sweet potato version is perfect for the holidays – and don’t forget a bourbon pecan pie for dessert.


2. Giving Thanks in the Midwest

Did you know that in the Midwest, turkey isn’t always the centerpiece of Thanksgiving? Sure, it’s on the table, but many people opt to also serve up a glazed baked ham or locally sourced venison.

Alongside the mains, serve up a fresher version of the classic green bean casserole with all-natural ingredients (no condensed soups laden with preservatives here!) “Hidden roots” mashed potatoes doll up the classic nicely with seasonal parsnips and celery root.

Finish things off with a classic deep-dish apple pie served with frozen custard (a Midwestern favorite) in place of ice cream.


3. Classic New England Thanksgiving

A New England Thanksgiving definitely features a whole lot of local Vermont maple syrup. Stuff a roasted maple-glazed turkey with Boston brown bread stuffing with local apples, chestnut, and sausage, and glaze roasted squash with maple syrup and warm autumn spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Finish things off with a maple sweet potato pie and some homemade whipped cream.


4. A Spiced Southwestern Thanksgiving

A little bit of spice is a welcome treat at a Southwestern Thanksgiving; garlic-ancho chile paste makes the perfect rub for this roast turkey. Serve it with sides featuring local ingredients like chile-spiced sweet potato tamales, hatch green chile cornbread, and rich pumpkin mole.

For dessert, drift outside of the norm with pumpkin flan topped with crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds.


5. A Bright and Earthy West Coast Thanksgiving

Local California mushrooms make a great gravy for this superb roast turkey. Serve it with local pinot noir cranberry sauce and a fresh dandelion green salad with roasted squash and bright pomegranate seeds.

This lighter dessert option – chocolate dipped pears with California almond crunch – is the perfect way to avoid a food coma at the end of this West Coast-inspired Thanksgiving feast.

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Emily Monaco
Emily Monaco

Emily Monaco is an American food and culture writer based in Paris. She loves uncovering the stories behind ingredients and exposing the face of our food system, so that consumers can make educated choices. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Vice Munchies, and Serious Eats.