Every Thanksgiving, the same food debates tend to arise. Is the turkey the main event or are the side dishes? Are mashed potatoes better than stuffing?
It turns out that where you stand on these classic American arguments may be tied to where you live. Campbell Soup Co. commissioned a survey to determine the top Thanksgiving side dishes in each state and released the findings in its first “State of the Sides” report.
According to the report, stuffing was the preferred side in 27 states, while mashed potatoes won in 22. Respondents in Massachusetts were split evenly between those two. Stuffing was the top choice overall in the U.S., followed by mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and mac ‘n’ cheese.
“This season, we leaned into the fun, timeless debate around whether Americans prefer turkey or sides on their holiday table,” Gary Mazur, vice president of marketing for soup and broth at Campbell Soup, told HuffPost. “While Americans may still be torn on whether stuffing or mashed potatoes are the No. 1 side, through our consumer data we found that a majority of the population agrees that sides are the best part of a holiday menu.”
The survey consisted of 5,000 Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving, evenly distributed by state, and was conducted from Aug. 19 to 30. According to the report, 66% of people polled prefer side dishes to the main turkey entree, and half said they’d be content with only sides on their plate. Additionally, 52% said they’re looking to buy a smaller turkey this year to save money, and 90% plan to serve the same number or more of side dishes.
Campbell’s isn’t the only food brand that looked into Americans’ Thanksgiving dish preferences this year. Instacart also published its fourth annual “Turkey Day Exposé.”
Included in the online grocery platform’s report is a state-by-state breakdown of where people stand on five side dish categories: cranberries, potatoes, seasonal vegetables, squash and bread rolls.
“Canned cranberries are the No. 1 Thanksgiving item sold via Instacart and are more popular than fresh cranberries when looking at each state’s preference, which is something I wouldn’t have guessed,” Laurentia Romaniuk, a trends expert at Instacart, told HuffPost. “It’s clear that canned cranberries have become a true Thanksgiving delicacy.”
Instacart’s online survey reached 2,041 adults from Oct. 25 to 27. Other interesting findings include the clear preference for butternut squash in the Northeast and Midwest versus yellow squash in the rest of the country. Twelve states favored crescent rolls over Hawaiian rolls.
Keep scrolling for more side dish rivalry maps, and read the full report on Instacart’s website for additional Thanksgiving analysis and the methodology.