Thanksgiving wasn’t a major part of my upbringing. My family moved a lot, and a huge chunk of my lineage isn’t American, so we had a lackluster attitude toward the national holiday. That said, I really love Thanksgiving food—namely mashed potatoes and gravy. With the holiday quickly approaching, I’m looking forward to enjoying comfort food while covered in hygge-approved comfort garb.
But that’s just me—everyone has a personal favorite recipe for the holiday, and the Well+Good team is no exception.
See Well+Good’s favorite Thanksgiving dishes.
“Growing up, my mom always made a dish from New Orleans, where my parents grew up: oyster stuffing. It’s basically regular stuffing, but mixed up with oysters and baked to perfection. I admit that it doesn’t necessarily sound that good, but it is haunt-your-dreams amazing. And bonus: Since the brine of the oysters gives the dish so much flavor, it actually hasd a lot less fat and butter and all that. My mom and her sister are gone now, but I have their recipe. And when I make it, it brings me back to that table in my childhood home, every time.”
—Erin Hanafy, executive editor
“My favorite family tradition is making old-fashioned Virginia spoon bread. It’s essentially a butter casserole, and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t add more butter on top after it’s served (piping hot, right out of the oven, of course). But it’s absolutely delicious and probably the most decadent thing I eat all year. It’s the one dish we never have leftovers of!”
—Erin Flynn, assistant branded content editor
“I often bring this kale salad with tahini, and it’s a huge hit. And I’ll make roasted veggies—a big baking dish with Brussels sprouts, red peppers, red onions, blue potatoes, squash, and sometimes beets or other root veggies with tons of rosemary, olive oil, salt, and pepper. It’s a hit, too.”
—Melisse Gelula, co-founder and chief content officer
“It’s likely my New England roots, but it isn’t Thanksgiving without oyster stuffing. It’s briny, savory, and what I start with to build my plate around. I doubt my ancestors in 1700s-era Boston ate it, but it’s been a family tradition for as long as I can remember—and it’s the only thing I acknowledge as being quintessentially Thanksgiving. That and mincemeat pie.
“My favorite food tradition that we don’t actually eat is our centerpiece: Tom the Turkey. You take a pineapple, lay it horizontally, stick in those corn-on-the-cob holders (two on each side to mimic legs), and pin this red felt “neck” that my Nana made, and it looks like a turkey. We’re so serious about Tom that my Nana made each one of her children one so they can carry on the tradition.”
—Kendall Bryant, product manager
“It might sound plain, but my mom makes the best white rice in the world. I’m convinced she sprinkles some kind of magical seasoning on it that only she knows about. Our family tries to keep healthy throughout the year, so come Thanksgiving, the white rice side dish is a special treat and something I’m always looking forward to.”
—Celine Cortes, audience development associate
“My fave side dish is probably canned jellied cranberry sauce. I do not know why I like it so much but it’s just…the best. It’s the perfect accompaniment to all the other sides, serves as something between a real food and a condiment, and really brings that fall flavor home!”
—Molly O’Brien, associate video producer
“My favorite dish is honey-roasted carrots with a sprinkle of brown sugar—literally nothing else at Thanksgiving really appeals to me, but I’ll eat a carrot in any way, shape, or form. This way’s the best: It’s a low-key dessert, but it’s healthy because…vitamin A.”
—Rachel Lapidos, associate editor, beauty
“My mom is from Tennessee and my dad is from Pennsylvania, so growing up there was always a debate: Do we have “northern” bread-based stuffing or “southern” cornbread-based stuffing? One year, they decided to just combine ’em and it was delicious. And now we have that every year, and it’s my favorite dish!”
—Emily Laurence, food and health editor
“My favorite dish on Thanksgiving is the turkey. My mom makes it every year, and does it exactly like my grandmother used to.”
—Mercey Livingston, editorial assistant