We Found The Taylor Swift of Thanksgiving Day Sides

Thanksgiving always involves “stuffing.”

We stuff our faces with food, which results in stuffed bellies. And of course, the actual dish of stuffing is one of the many things that goes down the gullet on Turkey Day.

Love it or hate it (we’ll get to that in a minute), stuffing is forever linked to Thanksgiving - word-association style.

The Game Day recently conducted a nationwide survey of roughly 500 adults (18-65) via Prolific and we found that stuffing is the Taylor Swift of Thanksgiving: It’s the most-loved of side dishes (29% of votes) and most overrated Thanksgiving dish in general (20%).

There were respondents from each region of the country. Sixty-three percent of respondents were between the ages of 25-44. Let’s take a closer look at what we found.

Key Takeaways

  • Stuffing is America’s Favorite side and Most Overrated Thanksgiving dish
  • Cranberry Sauce Is Universally Disliked
  • The Midwest and Northeast Prefer Mashed Potatoes Over Stuffing
  • The South Thinks Stuffing Is The Most Overrated Dish More Than Any Region
  • The West Coast Has Love/Hate Relationship With Stuffing

The Game Day Thanksgiving Day Survey Says …

The race to be the most loved Thanksgiving side was top heavy, with stuffing narrowly edging out mashed potatoes.

Homemade macaroni and cheese - a favorite of this writer - came in third at 17.5% of the vote. However, stuffing also has a bit of a Russell Wilson flavor as well, since it came in as the most overrated dish, ahead of cranberry sauce.

In addition to being second to stuffing as the most overrated dish (19.3%), cranberry sauce came in at No. 2 (behind brussels sprouts - 20.1%) as the least favorite Thanksgiving side.

Meanwhile, stuffing may be overrated, but it’s not generally disliked. It came in as just the 5th-least favorite side, drawing 10.5% of the vote.

Interestingly enough, 34% of respondents said they don’t root for any NFL team, so maybe they’re getting spared from the relentless Taylor Swift shots the rest of us have to endure. And lastly, one of the most important questions: What time do you eat Thanksgiving dinner?

The Game Day’s poll found that the most common time is 2:00 pm (15.2% of the vote). The second-most popular time is 4:00 pm (12%).

It’s a Regional Thing on Thanksgiving

The U.S. is extremely diverse, but Thanksgiving is where we find a lot of commonalities. Yet, there are some differences when it comes to side choices, too.

The Midwest (28%) and Northeast (32%) prefer mashed potatoes over stuffing. This could be because those regions have the most people of Irish descent.

Still, it’s not like those regions don’t love stuffing, as well. Only the West Coast enjoys stuffing more (34%) than the Midwest (28%) and the Northeast (32%).

Yet 22% of West Coast poll takers also called stuffing the most overrated Thanksgiving dish.

The South agrees. That part of the country says stuffing (25%) is the most overrated dish more than any other region, while the Northeast skips green bean casserole the most (27%).

Southern respondents (20%) joined their Northeast peers in calling green bean casserole the most overrated side - and this Northeast writer can’t disagree.

Cranberry Sauce is for the Birds

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, cranberry sauce can be slipped under the table for the dog.

I have a few family members who love cranberry sauce. I look at them with a side eye each Thanksgiving. So do the rest of the U.S., apparently.

Cranberry sauce was the second-least favorite side overall and the second-most overrated side.

No one hates cranberry sauce more than people in the South (23.8%), where it narrowly beat out brussels sprouts (23.2%) as the most loathed side.

Cranberry sauce does have a few fans on the West Coast - 16.0% said it was their least favorite side - the lowest figure in our survey.

West Coast residents ranked brussels sprouts (20%) and sweet potato casserole (18%) ahead of cranberry sauce as their least favorite side.

*Photo credit: Larry McCormack / Tennessean-USA TODAY NETWORK


Carl Carchia

Carl is the Commercial Strategist for The Game Day. He has worked in sports journalism for 15 years, spanning stops at PA SportsTicker, NBC Olympics, ESPN, CBS Sports HQ and Group ( A Connecticut native, Carl is an avid sports bettor who never dreamed legal betting would expand at the rate it has. Carl once lost $100 betting the UConn moneyline in the 6 OT classic vs. Syracuse in 2009, a bet he watched go down in flames in person. He no longer lives and dies with the Dallas Cowboys, but hopes he'll see another Super Bowl title before he dies.

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