The Best Recipes for a Southern-Style Thanksgiving Spread

Gather your family and friends around the table for a feast that’s full of comforting, down-home dishes. From deep-fried turkey and corn pudding to red velvet cake and sweet potato pie — these Southern-inspired dishes are sure to please.

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Southern Baked Mac and Cheese

The popularity of macaroni and cheese in the United States is all thanks to James Hemings, the enslaved cook of Thomas Jefferson, who learned the recipe while training in Europe and brought it back to the United States. While there are probably thousands, if not millions, of different ways to make the dish, every Southerner worth their salt can agree on one thing: it must be baked.

Get the Recipe: Southern Baked Mac and Cheese

Collard Greens

Say "collard greens" and countless people will have vivid memories of sinks full of the leafy vegetable ready to be washed and cooked for supper. Many recipes rely on smoked meats for flavor, and this one is no exception with smoked turkey parts providing the traditional taste.

Get the Recipe: Collard Greens

Classic Candied Yams

While many might argue otherwise, yams and sweet potatoes are not the same thing. Yams are a completely different plant, but some growers in the 1930s started to use the term for orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and confusion ensued. Regardless of what they're called, when candied, they are delicious.

Get the Recipe: Classic Candied Yams

Pecan Pie

Pecans have been on this land since before the United States existed. The pie became popular in the 1920s when Karo, the corn syrup manufacturer, began including recipes on its cans of the product. And with pecans being grown in many Southern states and the harvest season in the fall, pecan pie easily became a Southern Thanksgiving staple.

Get the Recipe: Pecan Pie

Deep-Fried Turkey

A whole turkey was allegedly first deep-fried in the 1930s somewhere around Louisiana. It wasn't until the 1980s when word of the bird started to spread across the nation, and now it's popular in many homes.

Get the Recipe: Deep-Fried Turkey

Parker House Rolls

These carb pillows are named after their birthplace, the Boston Parker House Hotel, and were invented in the 1870s. Though they might have originated in Yankee territory, these rolls have been adopted by many in the South.

Get the Recipe: Parker House Rolls

The Best Corn Casserole

Corn casserole is the moist cousin of cornbread where the corn flavor has been amped up by the inclusion of whole and creamed corn. This recipe takes it one stop further with the addition of Cheddar cheese and fresh chives.

Get the Recipe: The Best Corn Casserole

Southern Red Velvet Cake

Traditionally, this cake was a much more muted rust color compared to the bright red versions we see today. That's all thanks to the Texas-based Adams Extract Company who in the 1940s created a version of the recipe that they used to help sell their red food coloring.

Get the Recipe: Southern Red Velvet Cake

Cornbread Dressing

Cornbread dressing is a staple of the Southern Thanksgiving table. It's the evolution of a dish called "kush" that was first cooked by enslaved Africans. This recipe is a fairly simple version flavored with onion and sage.

Get the Recipe: Cornbread Dressing

Deviled Eggs

No Southern spread is truly complete without a tray of deviled eggs. This beloved appetizer is great for sating hungry guests while the rest of the meal is completed.

Get the Recipe: Picnic Deviled Eggs

Baked Ham with Brown Sugar-Honey Glaze

If you're intimidated by baking a ham — don't be. This recipe from Trisha Yearwood couldn't be any easier, and with just a couple ingredients and some time, you'll have something that you'll truly be proud of.

Get the Recipe: Baked Ham with Brown Sugar Honey Glaze

Calley's Sweet Potato Pie

Believe it or not, sweet potato pie can trace its roots to 16th century Europe. Henry VIII of England was even known to be particularly fond of sweet potato tarts. In America, sweet potatoes grow very well in the South, which is why this dessert is so prevalent in the region.

Get the Recipe: Calley's Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Souffle

Sweet potatoes are ubiquitous in the South, and this is just one of the many ways they are enjoyed for a holiday. In this recipe, they are turned into a soft, fluffy souffle and topped with a sweet, crunchy pecan streusel.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Potato Souffle

Homemade Green Bean Casserole

This iconic American recipe was created by Dorcas Reilly in 1955 at the Campbell's test kitchen to make use of the company's canned mushroom soup. This recipe calls for fresh mushrooms instead, but it's hard to replace the canned fried onions for that satisfying crunch.

Get the Recipe: Homemade Green Bean Casserole

Aunt TC's Lemon-Lime Soda Cake

Soft drinks have been used as both a leavener (in lieu of baking soda or powder) and additional sweetener in baked goods since as far back as the 1930s and 1940s. The particular variation using lemon-lime soda reached the masses when it was included in a promotional recipe booklet published in 1953 by the 7-Up company.

Get the Recipe: Aunt TC's Lemon-Lime Soda Cake

Classic Turkey Gravy

When cooked correctly, a turkey shouldn't need gravy. But even when it might not be necessary, it doesn't mean that it still shouldn't be present to add some extra richness and decadence to one's Thanksgiving plate.

Get the Recipe: Classic Turkey Gravy

Creamed Corn

The name of this dish is slightly misleading in that it traditionally doesn't actually contain any cream, as is the case with this recipe. But it does still have a smooth, velvety texture as its moniker implies.

Get the Recipe: Creamed Corn


America’s first biscuits were very different from what we know today. Baking powder and soda, which are responsible for the fluffy texture we know and love, didn't become commercially available until the late 19th century. So if you don't want to deal with yeast for your holiday spread, biscuits are a great bread option.

Get the Recipe: Biscuits

Mini Sweet Potato Pies

These miniature versions are not your grandmother's recipe. The filling is flavored with orange juice and crushed pineapple, goes into a graham cracker crust, and is topped with a pecan pineapple topping — yum!

Get the Recipe: Mini Sweet Potato Pies

Sunny's Cheesy Bacon Cornbread Dressing

For those that want to stray from tradition, Sunny Anderson has a version of cornbread dressing with two of most people's favorite ingredients: bacon and cheese. What more do you need?

Get the Recipe: Sunny's Cheesy Bacon Cornbread Dressing

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