The 19 Most Important Thanksgiving Foods, Ranked

Thanksgiving is the best. But what's the best thing on the table, aside from all your family's weirdness?

The turkey's in the oven. Uncle Boomer's already two bottles of wine deep and ranting about the economy. Thanksgiving is the best. But what's the best thing on the table, aside from all your family's weirdness? We're glad you asked.

19. Roasted Squash

OK, so you want the table to look like a beautiful cornucopia. That's all fine and well, but that doesn't mean you have to eating roasted squash. Just use these gourds for decorative purposes.

18. Roasted Carrots

Extra points if they're sugar glazed, but even if they're dipped in chocolate, these are wastes of valuable stomach space. It's a ruse to make you think you're eating healthfully.

17. Green Bean Casserole

People talk about how much they love this cauldron of beans, fried onions, and Campbell's Cream of Mushroom, but then they only take a spoonful. It's heavy, it's soggy, and it's taking up too much space on your plate even if it is just a tiny scoop. There's a reason you only see this once a year.

16. Cranberry Sauce

It's always there, sitting on the table, usually still shaped like a can, ribbed perimeter and all. If it's not there, somebody will freak out. That same person won't touch it.

sweet potatoes with marshmallows

15. Sweet Potatoes

Part dessert, part side, fully something I will eat. There are marshmallows, so they win.

14. Corn

It's here because you can't celebrate Thanksgiving without a little maize. And also because it is good visual evidence that you are beginning to digest your gigantic meal.

13. Brussels Sprouts

If you have to eat a veggie -- and we don't because we're adults now, Mommm-uh! -- you could do a hell of a lot worse than these little cabbage balls you can totally lob into your uncle's mouth. Roast them until they're crispy with bacon, parmesan, and a balsamic glaze for extra deliciousness.

12. Turducken

Turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken would be at the top of this, and most any list, if anybody actually knew how to make it. Until somebody successfully coordinates a fertile three-way between all three birds, it will remain on the periphery.

11. Crescent Rolls

Seriously, the one day a year that everyone brings their A-game, and you pop a Pillsbury can? Get with it, man… and also please pass the delicious crescent rolls.

10. Honey-baked Ham

Somebody at your table decided that 30lbs of poultry just wasn't enough meat. That person should be sitting at the head of the table.

9. Apple Pie

Nothing's more American. Except, you know, Thanksgiving. And baseball.

8. Pecan Pie

So sugary and buttery, it might just make your teeth fall out. But that's OK, because then you can just eat more mashed potatoes.

7. Butter Rolls

Rolls aren't just a delicious side. They're a vessel. They carry gravy. They make amazing impromptu sliders. And when they're nice and stale, they're perfect projectiles.

6. Pumpkin Pie

It's the one time of year when you're definitely getting it, so make sure to take the biggest piece you can. Use all the whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon to top it off.

5. Stuffing

Whether somebody half-assed it with Stove Top or jammed it in the bird, stuffing's like soaking bread in turkey juice overnight. And if somebody was smart enough to put sausage and dried cranberries up in there, you can make a meal of it. It's savory bread pudding -- what's not to love?

4. Mashed Potatoes

The greatest plate-filler in the world also allows you to become an amateur sculptor during meal time. Look out, it's a gravy volcano! Or just push it through your teeth like a Play-Doh machine. Your mom loves when you do that.

3. Turkey

Could turkey be #1 if the host didn't drink too much while cooking and forget about it? Probably. But between the skin, the dark meat, the white meat, and the nap you get when you're done, this sucker could be drier than modern-day Robert Downey, Jr. and still be amazing.

2. Gravy

Fact, gravy is the sauce of life. It moistens turkeys. It turns potatoes from salty starch-blobs to the best side in the world. It makes an open-face sandwich the food of the gods. You can dunk your bread in it. You can drink it though a straw. Just make sure there's enough at the table for you to wash in it later.

Wild Turkey
Andy Kryza

1. Bourbon

You have to deal with your idiot relatives. You have to pretend to like roasted squash. You have to talk politics with your uncle who shows up once a year. You had better believe that bourbon is the most important and delicious thing at that table.

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Andy Kryza is a senior editor on Thrillist’s Food/Drink team, and is contemplating making a Manhattan with Wild Turkey and gravy for dessert. Follow him to other meat-based mixology via @apkryza.