Our Best Classic Thanksgiving Casseroles
Southern food is synonymous with comfort food, and there’s nothing more cozy than a warm casserole. Although Southerners serve casseroles all year long, the holiday season is prime casserole time. Casseroles dominate every list of classic Thanksgiving recipes, but we wanted to know which one reigned supreme. With so many amazing traditional Thanksgiving dishes to choose from, we couldn’t begin to pick a favorite ourselves. Instead, we brought the decision straight to our followers via Instagram. In our first 13x9 Casserole Smackdown, we pitted 12 classic Thanksgiving recipes against each other and let our followers vote on their favorites. This was no easy competition—our editors and Test Kitchen pros brought out their best traditional Thanksgiving dishes and made their cases. Regardless of the number of votes, we think every one of these traditional Thanksgiving dishes is worthy of a spot on your holiday sideboard.
1. Southern Cornbread Dressing
Recipe: Southern Cornbread Dressing
Not only did cornbread dressing beat out Oyster Casserole in a direct match, it had the most votes of all of our 13x9 Thanksgiving casseroles. The saying has never been truer: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Cornbread dressing is as classic as it gets, and our readers know that some traditions are truly timeless.
2. Cheesy Broccoli-and-Rice Casserole
Broccoli casserole won against squash casserole in the smackdown and placed second overall, proving that the best way to get your veggies on Thanksgiving is surrounded by rice and covered in cheese. Readers, we happily agree.
3. Three-Cheese Corn Pudding
Recipe: Three-Cheese Corn Pudding
Corn pudding was put up against another supremely Southern dish, Pineapple Casserole, and won in a landslide. Golden on the outside, fluffy on the inside, traditional Corn Pudding is a mainstay on Thanksgiving tables in the South. Filled with three types of cheese and a perfect balance of sweet and savory, this recipe will be a family favorite.
4. Old-School Green Bean Casserole
Recipe: Old-School Green Bean Casserole
It’s no surprise that Old-School Green Bean Casserole made it in the top five. Though we love our newer twists for greens on Thanksgiving, Green Bean Casserole defeated Brussels Sprouts easily. You won’t find cans of “cream-of” on the ingredients list; this recipe is homemade from scratch, which makes it the perfect Thanksgiving tradition to start with your mom or daughter.
5. Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
Recipe: Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
In a surprising win, Savory Sweet Potatoes won out over Hot Potato Salad. Many Southerners prefer their sweet potato casseroles topped with marshmallows and sweet enough to be served as dessert, but this new recipe will have them reconsidering. Since sweet potatoes are, obviously, already sweet, this Parmesan-herb streusel is the perfect complement.
6. Herbed Breadcrumb-Topped Macaroni and Cheese
Even the pickiest eaters will have a pile of macaroni and cheese on their plates at Thanksgiving. This go-to baked version got more votes than our Caramelized Onion Mac and Cheese, proving once again that sometimes it’s better to stay with a tried-and-true classic during the holidays. The best part about this recipe is that it can be prepared a day in advance to save time on Thanksgiving.
7. Cheese Cracker-Topped Squash Casserole
There are plenty of ways to top a casserole in the South, but cheese crackers are especially nostalgic around the holidays. Squash casserole is a Southern favorite year round, but if it’s not part of your Thanksgiving lineup, you should add it now. Getting kids to eat their vegetables has never been easier.
8. Hot Potato Salad
Recipe: Hot Potato Salad
For some, Hot Potato Salad is as nostalgic as Nana’s gelatin mold recipes. For others, Hot Potato Salad is a new concept. Regardless where you fall, you’re sure to love this cheesy recipe from Test Kitchen Director Robby Melvin’s grandmother. If you thought potato salad was best served chilled, this creamy recipe will have you singing a different tune.
9. Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots
Brussels sprouts have stepped into the spotlight, and their best friend is bacon. Although there are countless delicious ways to eat Brussels and bacon, this casserole is perfect for big-batch holiday serving. If your Thanksgiving menu feels outdated, brighten it up with this new recipe.
10. Pineapple Casserole
Recipe: Pineapple Casserole
This six-ingredient casserole couldn’t be easier to make, so it’s a great dish for novice cooks who want to make an impression at Thanksgiving. Although it sounds bizarre, this cheesy casserole is a staple in many Southern homes, especially during the holidays. If you’ve never served it, your family deserves a taste. Our humble Pineapple Casserole just might become your new family go-to.
11. Caramelized Onion Mac and Cheese
Recipe: Caramelized Onion Mac and Cheese
It can be hard to stray from tradition with dishes like macaroni and cheese, but trust us: This recipe is worth it. Caramelized onions up the comfort factor of this baked mac and cheese, and you’ll never go back after trying the combination of Parmesan and white cheddar cheese. This indulgent, grown-up mac and cheese is guaranteed hit.
12. Oyster Casserole
Recipe: Oyster Casserole
Depending where you grew up, you might know this casserole by a different name. Regardless the moniker, Oyster Casserole has a reserved spot at many Southern tables during the holidays. We published our first Oyster Casserole recipe in 1967, and after combing over dozens of variations from past issues, our Test Kitchen came up with this recipe, which we believe showcases the best of each version.