20 Traditional Southern Thanksgiving Recipes We Can't Get Enough Of

20 Traditional Southern Thanksgiving Recipes We Can't Get Enough Of
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20 Traditional Southern Thanksgiving Recipes We Can't Get Enough Of

America is a beautifully large and diverse country, which means even our cultural traditions that are nationwide, like Thanksgiving, can have a lot of variation from region to region -- and even state to state. The Thanksgiving celebrations of the Southwest will have different elements to those in the Midwest, which are slightly different than those in the Northeast. Yes, across the nation, we enjoy turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, but that doesn't mean there aren't some regional differences in flavoring. And there are several side dishes you just don't see in some regions that are as classic as all get-out in others. For instance, in the Northeast, Parker House rolls rule the roost, whereas in the South, if there aren't some amazing, fluffy biscuits set out on the table, it's barely even a dinner -- much less one fit for a holiday. 


And the South has some dishes that people in other areas have never even heard of. Try explaining the classic Southern dish pineapple casserole to someone from the Pacific Northwest -- we guarantee it won't be easy. These recipes are some of our favorite, most traditional Southern delicacies that are a common treat on the Thanksgiving table. For anyone who is hosting a Thanksgiving for the first time, a lot of these are as easy as they are wonderful. 

But recipes aren't the only thing a first-time Thanksgiving host needs. Get a preview of what the day holds when you take over hosting duties. And be fully prepared with a checklist of what a first-time host will need. When it's time for roasting the turkey, make sure to avoid common turkey mistakes. Once we've done our homework, we know it will all be OK, and that nothing can go wrong on Thanksgiving.

  • Cornbread Dressing

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    Cornbread Dressing

    This classic cornbread dressing recipe is about as Southern and Southern cooking gets. It's a great way to use up leftover cornbread, and we love the thriftiness of that combined with the amazing nostalgia of this dish.

  • Sausage Cornbread Stuffing

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    Sausage Cornbread Stuffing
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    A variation that involves a little sausage, because who doesn't want that? This sausage cornbread stuffing is a popular one on the Thanksgiving table, and absolutely delicious when the leftovers become a hash with eggs the next day.  

  • Red Pepper Jelly

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    Red Pepper Jelly
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    If there's an appetizer more Southern than red pepper jelly, we don't know what it is. Traditionally, it's served with a block of cream cheese and a variety of crackers: Take the cracker, spread with cream cheese, top with pepper jelly, and enjoy. For some reason, this dish is more than the sum of its parts. 

  • Honey Buttermilk Biscuits

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    Honey Buttermilk Biscuits
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    Biscuits are a traditional Southern treat, but these honey buttermilk biscuits are both extra Southern and an extra treat. Softly layered and fluffy, they're perfect for being covered in butter and jam, or for sopping up all that delicious extra gravy. 

  • Southern Baked Macaroni & Cheese

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    Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
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    This Southern baked macaroni and cheese is full of amazing flavor. The secret behind what makes this mac and cheese recipe stand out from the pack: smoked cheddar cheese, which adds a lot of depth of flavor. (Also, Velveeta, which makes it incredibly creamy). 

  • Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie

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    Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie
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    We love a traditional Southern pecan pie, but this Kentucky bourbon pecan pie really kicks it up a notch in terms of flavor. And don't worry, the alcohol in the bourbon bakes out completely, leaving only the flavor -- making it perfectly safe for the kids to eat.

  • Granny’s Classic Southern Pecan Pie

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    Granny’s Classic Southern Pecan Pie
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    When it comes to pecan pies, some don't want anyone's recipe but a grandma's. Some things just need to be the classics, right? This Granny’s classic Southern pecan pie is about as old-school as it gets. It's delicious, crowd-pleasing, and easy to put together, too. 

  • Collard Greens

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    Collard Greens
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    For any Southern holiday, but especially Thanksgiving, we're thrilled to see some true Southern collard greens appear on the table. This recipe for Southern collard greens with ham hocks is slow cooked, which means they only take 15 minutes of prep, but do need to be on the stove for four hours. 

  • Baked Ham With Brown Sugar Glaze

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    Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Glaze
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    While a Thanksgiving turkey is traditional in the South, it's also common to serve a baked ham with brown sugar glaze. It's also a smart option for larger groups if one turkey won't be enough for everyone who is coming to dinner.

  • Southern Mashed Potatoes Recipe

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    Southern Mashed Potatoes Recipe
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    This Southern mashed potatoes recipe is so incredibly creamy, rich, and indulgent, it's really perfect for a holiday. As the author of the recipe puts it, "If you’re at all familiar with Paula Deen, you already know everything is better with butter.  Well… our mashed potatoes recipe is no different."

  • Southern Sweet Potato Casserole With Pecans

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    Southern Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
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    We love how delicious this Southern sweet potato casserole with pecans is, and the fact that it only takes 15 minutes of prep total. Sweet potatoes are a classic Southern ingredient, as are pecans, and when we combine them, we're just getting the best tastes of the South. 

  • Brown Sugar Butter Glazed Carrots

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    Brown Sugar Butter Glazed Carrots
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    This traditional recipe for brown sugar butter glazed carrots is so tasty, we're not sure if we're eating candy or vegetables. They cook quickly and easily, and are just as delicious the next day, too.

  • Savannah Seafood Stuffing

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    Savannah Seafood Stuffing
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    This Savannah seafood stuffing is packed with the flavors of Savannah, Georgia, including plenty of crab and shrimp. It takes advantage of some really great premade ingredients, like a cornbread stuffing mix and cream of mushroom soup, making this dish easy for a beginner cook to make.

  • Sausage & Rice Dressing

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    Sausage and Rice Dressing
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    We love a good cornbread dressing, but a sausage and rice dressing is a great option, too -- and for larger Thanksgiving gatherings, it can be nice to have multiple dressing options. If there's already a vegetarian cornbread dressing, for instance, this could be an excellent choice for the meat-lovers. 

  • Southern Homemade Sweet Potato Pie

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    Southern Homemade Sweet Potato Pie
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    In plenty of homes up North, a squash pie is a classic, but down South, Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without a Southern homemade sweet potato pie. It's similar in style to a pumpkin pie, but using one of the best ingredients of the region. 

  • Pineapple Casserole

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    Pineapple Casserole
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    It may seem strange to folks from other regions, but pineapple casserole is a true Southern holiday specialty. It can work as either a side dish or a dessert, but this mixture of cheddar cheese, pineapple, and butter crackers is incredibly tasty.

  • Homemade Southern Biscuits

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    Homemade Southern Biscuits
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    These homemade Southern biscuits are incredibly flaky, buttery, and finely layered. They're genuinely magical, and while they're not difficult to make, they do involve a few extra steps -- but we promise they're worth the effort. 

  • Cranberry Jell-O Salad

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    Cranberry Jello Salad
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    This cranberry Jell-O salad is a classic side dish on many Southern tables. It's so old-school, but we think it's a fun variation on a regular cranberry sauce, and definitely is a more traditionally Southern play on the classic dish. 

  • Ultimate Green Bean Casserole

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    Ultimate Green Bean Casserole
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    Is it really Thanksgiving if there's no green bean casserole on the table? We don't think so, and we love this "ultimate" green bean casserole. It's made of all the traditional components we love: cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans, and fried onions.

  • Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole

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    Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
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    A true comfort food item that's delicious all winter long, but is especially beloved on Thanksgiving, this cheesy hash brown casserole is easy enough for those new to cooking to put together, while being an incredibly tasty fan-favorite.

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