Foodie Reviews 10 Thanksgiving Dishes

A foodie ranks ten of the most popular Thanksgiving dishes.


Molly Kitchens

Sophomore Molly Kitchens photographs the Thanksgiving dishes that she will enjoy with her family on Thursday, November 24.

Molly Kitchens, Staff Writer

When November rolls around, many of us might rejoice at the thought of a one-week break that is soon to come. Others, like myself, might anticipate the food coma we will soon be in from all the delicious delicacies served by our beloved relatives during—you guessed it—Thanksgiving.

I must admit that I have never helped make the following dishes that I will be reviewing—don’t let my last name fool you. I’m a horrible cook. However, I have always considered myself to be a picky-eater and enjoy critiquing dishes, even if I have no room to speak on them in the grand scheme of things.

DISCLAIMER: I will be ranking these foods and giving my honest opinion. You’re more than welcome to disagree with me, as I don’t expect these rankings to be accurate to everyone. With that being said, I don’t mean to come off as confident or even wise in my rankings, and this is all just opinion-based. The rankings will grow from 10 to 1, with 10 being the worst and 1 being the best, and I will be evaluating foods for texture, flavor, smell and presentation.


10. Classic Bread Stuffing (Dressing)

Rating: 2/10  /  Approximate Cooking Time: 2-5 hours

By the rating, I think I already know what you’re thinking, and I get it. I understand why stuffing, or dressing, might taste good to some individuals. 

However, I personally find stuffing to be too crumbly or too liquidized, and it just has a bizarre flavor overall—a very bread-y and sort of chicken-y flavor that I don’t fancy very well together. 

I also just find the smell of stuffing to be … interesting. It’s not a bad smell, just a smell that might linger a little too long in the family kitchen.

The overall presentation of stuffing is definitely not the worst, though it might look like scattered bread crumbs with the occasional chunk of chicken or celery here and there. However, stuffing can be decorated to look like something out of a 5-star restaurant, so I personally have no problem with the presentation of stuffing.


9. Cornbread

Rating: 3.5/10  /  Approximate Cooking Time: 20-55 minutes

Perhaps another controversial opinion, but I personally don’t enjoy cornbread very much. As I said with stuffing, I understand why some people might enjoy cornbread. In fact, I come from a family of cornbread-lovers, so I completely understand. 

However, I find cornbread to be often crumby and flaky. Perhaps this isn’t a surprise, but I personally also find cornbread to be drier than a desert with just a hint of butter, which is not a bad addition. I would just make sure to have an ice cold drink the next time I plan on having cornbread.

I really don’t mind the overall smell of cornbread. Fresh out of the oven, the smell of cornbread somewhat resembles its flavor—bready and buttery. After a few days however, cornbread can also have a smell and taste similar to spoiled milk, which is also when most are advised to dispose of their cornbread. 

I find the presentation of cornbread to probably be the best part of the dish. To me, it’s a yellowish bread that might somewhat resemble sponge cake or yellow cake.


8. Green Bean Casserole

Rating: 4/10  /  Approximate Cooking Time: 20-40 minutes

Though it can be a nice addition to the other side dishes, I myself don’t entirely favor green bean casserole.

Having a soft but not soupy texture along with a cheesy and green bean flavor with a touch of French onions, the taste to me is overall mediocre, though I am a fan of French onions, so I will give it that. 

The smell of the dish is not one I was personally disappointed by. It’s scent is almost comparable to green beans with warm bread—not bad! 

The casserole is typically served in a large rectangular dish, and it often looks good. Tragically, I can’t say the same for the taste.


7. Seared Brussel Sprouts 

Rating: 4.5/10  /  Approximate Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes

As a picky-eater, I’ll say it: this is probably one of the worst side dishes I have ever tasted. 

With an odd crunchy, or maybe mushy texture, the taste doesn’t help any, with a flavor almost resembling cabbage. 

Its scent is potent—a hydrogen sulfide gas that just makes me question if I should be eating this dish in the first place. 

I will admit that the presentation of the sprouts is not entirely disappointing. Its greenery and brown edges almost remind me of tasty fruits that I might enjoy.


6. Pecan Pie

Rating: 5/10  /  Approximate Cooking Time: 1-3 hours

I’m sure my opinion regarding this dish will receive some backlash, but I will admit that I am not the greatest pecan fan, and just like stuffing, I completely understand why some people might like this dish.

With a crunchy crust and chewy center, the taste of a pecan pie resembles that of pie-filling and—you guessed it—pecans. I find the taste to border on disappointing, especially with how excited many people get once it comes fresh out of the oven or fridge. I also find it to be dry in some cases.

However, I can confidently say that the warm vanilla aroma of pecan pie is the best part about the dish. 

The presentation of pecan pies is not bad overall, but it’s often just a pie with pecans on top of it. 


5. Candied Yams

Rating 7.2/10  /  Approximate Cooking Time 40-60 minutes

I will admit that I haven’t had a lot of experiences with yams. I don’t often eat them at Thanksgiving dinners, but I have tasted them once, and goodness was that an experience!

With a soft and almost pasty texture, yams offer a distinct sweet flavor, similar to a sweet potato, and have a distinct spice-laced scent. 

Its presentation might include a topping of marshmallows (yay!). Overall, candied yams are not a bad side dish for all the sweet-tooths out there.


4. Classic Thanksgiving Gravy

Rating: 7.9/10  /  Approximate Cooking Time: 10-20 minutes

A staple to Thanksgiving, gravy can offer a unique sauce to dry meats or spicy dishes.

With a thick consistency and a signature flavor, I don’t find gravy to be terrible, though being in the mood for it makes it more enjoyable. 

The scent is that of a spicy sauce or, well, gravy!

The presentation of gravy is typically bland, but I wish there was a topping that could complement it better. 


3. Roasted Turkey

Rating: 8.8/10  /  Approximate Cooking Time: 1-3 hours

Of course, the traditional main dish to Thanksgiving: the turkey. From a picky-eater’s perspective, I actually really enjoy turkey during Thanksgiving.

With a typical soft texture, its flavor is distinct, rich and more intense than chicken or beef. 

Its scent resembles that of other main dishes—wholesome and warm—and its presentation is often exceeding. 


2. Roasted Chicken

Rating: 9/10  /  Approximate Cooking Time 1-2 hours

Though it baffles me how rarely you might see it served at Thanksgiving, roasted chicken often works extraordinarily well among the other dishes. 

Much like turkey, roasted chicken offers a soft texture with a memorable and interesting taste. 

Its scent is often appetizing and its presentation, just like turkey, is beyond expectations. 


1. Pumpkin Pie

Rating: 10/10  /  Approximate Cooking Time 1-2 hours

Surprise, surprise! My favorite Thanksgiving dish is a dessert: pumpkin pie! 

With a soft and perfectly crunchy texture, pumpkin pie is blessed with a distinct flavor that is not too much or too little for the average consumer.

Although it has a typical wholesome scent, pumpkin pie’s presentation is probably its only downside—a basic, generic image of a pie in a crust.