We polled over 4,000 people across the nation, to answer the question “What is your least favorite Thanksgiving Side Dish?”

Least Popular Thanksgiving Side Dish collage image for Pinterest.

You don’t want to bring the DUD to Thanksgiving

It’s a Thanksgiving tradition in the US to gather family and friends together to eat a feast.  Guests usually contribute a side dish so it’s not so overwhelming (and costly) for the hosts. 

While it’s impossible to please everyone, you never want to be the one to bring the least popular Thanksgiving side dish on this special occasion. You’ll end up bringing home your own leftovers.

So embarrassing.

We polled over 4,000 people to answer the question: 

We asked participants their age and gender, then they selected one side dish (from a list of seven traditional Thanksgiving side dishes) as their least favorite.

A graphic showing seven popular Thanksgiving sides being ranked from least popular to most popular.

Don’t worry, we have you covered on truly delicious recipes for these classic sides:

The Most Interesting Discoveries:

A pie chart showing the results of a survey for least favorite Thanksgiving side dishes.
A pie chart showing the ages for people who took the survey for the least favorite Thanksgiving food.
A pie chart showing the gender for the people that took our survey for the least favorite Thanksgiving side dish.
  • Most people over 60 chose Green Bean Casserole as their most hated side dish.
  • Those under 40 also disliked Green Bean Casserole, but they had equal distaste for Sweet Potato Casserole. These two “retro” or “vintage” recipes were the most disliked on the list. 
  • Surprisingly, only 3.3% of people hated Mashed Potatoes and Gravy– we expected this to be much higher because the gravy quality varies significantly from table to table. 

In fact, according to the New York Times, gravy is second only to the turkey for the most stressful meal element. “For less experienced cooks, the recipe for gravy often includes anxiety.” I have a tried and true Turkey Gravy recipe that is simple enough for any home cook, but will make your meal shine!

*You can take the survey here!

Does Life Experience/Age Influence Taste Buds?

It seems that it does! 

Green Bean Casserole won as the least liked Thanksgiving Side Dish in the poll, and since a large portion of the surveyed audience was over 60 years old, we concluded that there was no love lost between the two.  

Photo Credit: Eating on a Dime

However, survey responders quickly reminded us that we can trace this traditional Thanksgiving side dish back to simpler times.

In fact, they never intended for these Green Bean Casserole and Sweet Potato Casserole to stick around.

“In the 40s and ’50s and ’60s, we didn’t have fresh green beans after the first freeze. All broccoli was frozen into little Birds Eye boxes. Transportation and storage has improved significantly since then.”

“The reason the green bean casserole recipe uses ingredients like canned green beans and mushroom soup is not just because of tradition, but because in the olden days- way back when- fresh vegetables were seasonal and not available.”

Survey participants reminded us that the only way you could get cranberries “way back when” was in a can, and that’s the way they still like it. They feel a sense of nostalgia and are happy to still have Green Bean Casserole and other unpopular sides grace the Thanksgiving table. 

“I guess for me they bring back fond childhood memories. They are the ultimate comfort food for me.”

Let’s give them a break

Maybe we can give these vintage casserole recipes a break since they were likely passed down from people who lived through more difficult times and didn’t have access to fresh food like we do today. 

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for our blessings, and one thing we can be thankful for is that we can buy fresh green beans and cranberries at the grocery store!

Is Your Most Hated Side Dish On Our List?

One survey responder had strong feelings about our survey not including their least favorite side:

“Mine is oyster stuffing… seafood does NOT belong in a Thanksgiving Turkey!!”

We have to agree on that one.

Did we miss another least popular Thanksgiving food or do you have a love for Green Bean Casserole?

Let’s discuss it in the comments! (Feel free to add your favorite recipe for our least popular Thanksgiving sides – maybe you’ll change someone’s mind!)

The Big Take Away

The big takeaway from this survey? Forget the mushroom soup and marshmallows this year, and maybe just offer to bring a pie. 

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. It’s too bad about Green Bean Casserole. It’s one of my favorites but I was the only one eating it!! So I had to switch to a different recipe…

  2. Personally I like green bean casserole more than I like the turkey….I prefer a nice juicy ham….and as far as green bean casserole goes mine is made with french style green beans a can of cream style corn and topped with tater tots and cheese….makes it better for those who don’t like cream of mushroom soup….

  3. I frequently include green beans in my Thanksgiving meal, but perhaps green beans with almonds. It is the cream of mushroom soup and canned French fried onions that I don’t care for….

  4. I agree with the many comments regarding fresh versus canned ingredients. I’ve been making Thanksgiving dinner for over 40 years and I can say everything fresh and scratch made is the best. But that’s a lot of work. I prefer a savory dinner and sweet desserts. And an absolute no to those awful canned onion strings!

  5. My green bean casserole is completely from scratch. Only the french fried onions come from a can. It’s nirvana. We also love mashed potatoes & gravy. I make what I like to eat. 👍😋

  6. I love green bean casserole as long as it is homemade and not made with any canned soup! If it is made that way, I vote with everyone else as it is the worst. I also dislike sweet potatoes with lots of sugary toppings.

    1. I’m with you on gb casserole. Made from scratch. I like sweet potatoes, just made like a baked potato. No marshmallows or extra sugar.

  7. This is so funny to me. Green bean casserole was an easy dish to make. The ONE time my Mom asked me to bring it, I said sure no problem, made it too early and was green bean soup by table time. I had to bring it cooked to her house. Utter fail. Family hasn’t forgotten about it, now 25 yrs later my Mom wants me to make it again this very year. I haven’t made it in a few years. Needless to say I’ll be prepping it at home and cooking it at her house this time.
    My Mom is one of those cooks who doesn’t need a measuring cup or spoon, and everything comes piping hot to the table at once delicious. She has always made it look effortless, but I know it’s from much practice, love and patience. I’m sorry I never paid more attention to her make foods.

    1. Thank you for sharing this delightful and relatable story about your green bean casserole experience! It’s moments like these that make family gatherings so memorable, aren’t they? Wishing you a fantastic Thanksgiving with a successful green bean casserole and lots of joyous moments with your family!

  8. I was surprised to see sweet potato casserole ranked so low. When made with the right recipe (not too sweet) it’s one of my favorites at the Thanksgiving table!