The Most Hated Thanksgiving Dishes of All Time

Thanksgiving is the most wonderful holiday for foodies (and everyone who likes to eat). And forget about feeling guilty, because some classic Turkey Day dishes have surprising health benefits. But not everyone is lucky enough to see freshly whipped potatoes or perfectly roasted veggies when they sit down for dinner. Some popular side dishes, both past and present, are actually pretty repulsive.

Everyone’s tastes vary, of course. But there are a few Thanksgiving dishes that are so wildly unpopular, no one is sure how they ever made it to so many holiday tables.

Before you cook, ask

Turkey Stuffing Veggies and Potatos
Make sure you know what your guests prefer. |

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, you might feel a little nervous about feeding your loved ones things they will actually enjoy. When in doubt, ask about dietary restrictions and favorite foods. Not everyone has to eat every dish, but if you’re aware of what people like, you’ll make sure to have something for everyone.

And if you’re considering serving something on this list, you’ll definitely want to poll your dinner guests. These are some of the most hated Thanksgiving dishes of all time.

Next: Who decided this would be called a “salad?”

Jell-O Salad

Green Gelatin with a yellow background
No one wants this at Thanksgiving. |

The general consensus among Thanksgiving diners is that their dinner shouldn’t wiggle. Allow Jell-o Salad to earn its rightful place in the past and skip it this year.

Next: If you serve this on Thanksgiving, make it from scratch.

Canned cranberry sauce

Do everyone a favor, and make this yourself. |

You may remember canned cranberry sauce fondly from your youth, but today, it’s one of the most unpopular dishes at the Thanksgiving table. We can’t imagine how a jelly-like substance that retains the shape of its can would be anything but popular.

Next: Don’t boil, roast! 

Boiled brussels sprouts (or boiled anything)

Uncooked brussels
Uncooked brussels sprouts |

Brussels sprouts once earned their title as America’s most hated vegetable, but that’s mainly because people used to boil them. These days, they’re often expertly roasted, and they’re delicious. If you serve them on Thanksgiving, just don’t boil them, or anything else for that matter.

Next: This casserole is a classic, but a lot of people hate it.

Green bean casserole

This vegetable dish isn’t as healthy as you think it is. |

You may think you’re being “healthy” by dishing up some green bean casserole, but the truth is, every ingredient comes from a can. Skip this traditional but detested dish and serve some fresh veggies instead.

Next: No matter how you feel about oysters, this sounds unappealing.

Oyster stuffing

No one wants oysters in their stuffing. |

You might love oysters, and you might love stuffing. But the general consensus is that steaming hot oysters have no place near a Thanksgiving turkey.

Next: Not everything deserves to be a “pudding.”

Corn pudding

Creamy corn with cream and grated parmesan
This dish has an odd texture. |

It’s tough to pull off the perfect texture of corn pudding. And even if you do, not many people will want to eat it.

Next: Don’t try to make this sweet root veggie any sweeter.

Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows

Sweet potatoe Souffle
Sweet potatoes don’t need more sugar. |

Sweet potatoes are a popular Thanksgiving side dish, but don’t turn them into a gooey marshmallow-filled casserole. When it comes to dinner, there is such a thing as too much sweetness.

Next: This pie just isn’t a popular pick.

Pecan pie

Go for pumpkin pie instead. |

Not only do most people prefer pumpkin or apple pie, but at 500 calories a slice, pecan pie is a post-dinner disaster.

Next: Pick a different day to serve this dish.

Macaroni and cheese

Casserole dish
Skip this heavy dish. |

Make no mistake about it, Americans love mac & cheese. But many people think it’s too heavy for the Thanksgiving table. And considering one serving has up to 1,000 calories, they’re probably right.

Next: This “salad” is just plain weird.

Ambrosia salad

No one wants this super sweet dessert. | Wikimedia Commons

Much like Jell-o, we may as well ban Cool Whip dishes from the Turkey Day table. Ambrosia salad consists of canned fruits, maraschino cherries, and whipped cream, none of which belong on a Thanksgiving dinner plate.

Next: Let’s get real: These are just fillers.

Dinner rolls

There are too many other options. |

Dinner rolls do taste good, but they’re not always a popular pick amongst Thanksgiving diners. Between the stuffing and the mashed potatoes (and other starches), they tend to get overshadowed.

Next: We don’t know how this dish became a Thanksgiving tradition, but we’re ready to put an end to it. 

Creamed pearl onions

Does anyone really like this? |

Maybe you grew up eating this old school dish, and maybe your family makes it now to keep the tradition alive. But surely there’s another way to conjure up a sense of nostalgia.

Next: This is one meal where you’re allowed to skip this classic side dish.


Skip the salads at Thanksgiving. | Philly077/iStock/Getty Images

Classic dinner salads are fine … for any other day of the year. But the general consensus seems to be that no one wants to eat dinner salad on Thanksgiving. Serve another veggie dish or just stick to the unhealthy sides and enjoy them.

Next: We’re baffled that this actually made the list.


The side dishes overshadow the turkey. | iStock/Getty Images

No one is asking you to skip the traditional turkey on Thanksgiving day. In fact, you’ll still find many of Americans who love it. But when people are polled about their least favorite Thanksgiving dishes, many of them do admit that they skip the turkey and stick to the side dishes.

Go ahead and cook that turkey — just make sure you have plenty of other tasty things for your guests to eat.

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