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If you’re from out of town, Thanksgiving in the South is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. We have our own special traditions and dishes here, and we’d love to get you in the know so you can celebrate Thanksgiving like a true Southerner! Here’s our guide to what’s typically on the menu for Thanksgiving in the South. 

Side Dishes

Side dishes are arguably the most important components of a Southern Thanksgiving. We go all out when it comes to sides. 

  • Cornbread. Unfortunately, you just can’t have a proper Southern Thanksgiving meal without a pan of homemade cornbread on the table. Cornbread is a Southern food staple These -round, but it’s especially important around the holidays. We’re loving this easy recipe from Feast and Farm— it only calls for five ingredients!
  • Dressing. What Northerns call stuffing, we Southerners usually call dressing. One of the most popular ingredients to make dressing with in the South is cornbread, naturally. Our dressing is also usually seasoned with herbs like celery, onion, and sage. Here’s a great Southern-inspired recipe you can draw inspiration from when you’re making dressing to go along with your turkey this Thanksgiving. 
  • Casseroles. Oh, how we love our casseroles here in the South, especially for Thanksgiving. Casseroles are great because they’re so easy to make— even beginners in the kitchen really can’t mess them up. Plus, they’re simply delicious. Here are a few of the most popular casseroles you’ll find on the table at a traditional Southern Thanksgiving: 
  • Homemade Mashed Potatoes. A Southern Thanksgiving spread just isn’t complete without a massive bowl of piping hot, homemade mashed potatoes. Instant mashed potatoes won’t cut it at a Southern Thanksgiving.  What makes simple mashed potatoes Southern, you may ask? Check the amount of butter used in this recipe and get back to us. P.S. Don’t forget to serve homemade gravy with your yummy mashed potatoes! This recipe will point you in the right direction. 
  • Homemade Mac and Cheese. Just like with the mashed potatoes, instant mac and cheese just won’t have the same effect as homemade at a Southern Thanksgiving gettogether. Want to really tap into your Southern roots when you’re making this cheesy side for Thanksgiving? Baked is the way to go! Check out this recipe
  • Collard Greens. These delicious leafy greens tend to make it on Southerners’ plates all year long, but they’re especially popular during the holiday season. The key to making your collard greens truly Southern is cooking them with ham hocks and bacon grease! We’re loving this recipe from Grandbaby Cakes. 

Entrees 

  • Roasted Turkey. Turkey isn’t an exclusively Southern Thanksgiving staple, but it’s still one of the most important parts of a Southern Thanksgiving meal! We suggset closely following this recipe to make the most succulent, buttery, and crispy turkey you’ve ever tasted. 
  • Baked Ham. You’ll often find a few meat options available when you attend a Southern Thanksgiving meal. It’s not uncommon to serve both a toasted turkey and a delicious baked ham at this festive celebration. Stuck on where to start when it comes to baking a ham for Thanksgiving? Check out this recipe for some pointers and guidelines. Remember: Go crazy with the brown sugar to get a nice glaze! 

Desserts

Of course, you can’t forget to round out your Southern Thanksgiving feast with a few sweet treats. Here are some of our favorite classics.

  • Sweet Potato Pie. If you’re ever in doubt when it comes to dessert for Thanksgiving in the South, a homemade sweet potato pie is pretty much a failsafe option. Follow this recipe from Taste of Home and you’ll be all set, whether you’re hosting at your own home or bringing dessert to your family’s celebration. Don’t forget to top your sweet potato pie with a dollop of whipped cream— that’s part of what makes it so charmingly Southern! 
  • Apple Pie. If we’re being honest, you really can’t go wrong with any kind of pie at your next Thanksgiving function in the South. Apple pie is one of the most popular options, and it’s pretty easy to make if you follow a simple recipe like this one. Make sure you serve your apple pie with vanilla ice cream to make it extra Southern and extra sweet!
  • Pecan Pie. We know, we know. Southern Thanksgivings involve a lot of pie, but we wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Pecan pie is a Southern staple that is sure to please at Thanksgiving dinner. You can’t go wrong with this simple recipe from Southern Bite.