A traditional Thanksgiving dinner typically consists of a roasted turkey with stuffing or dressing, turkey gravy, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Various side dishes are on the menu can include green beans or green bean casserole, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and corn or corn pudding. Most people serve cornbread or rolls with the meal.
Thanksgiving menus tend to vary slightly by region. For example, in the South, the Thanksgiving table might include black-eyed peas, hominy, dumplings, or baked macaroni and cheese along with roasted turkey and other side dishes.
While roasting is a popular method for preparing the turkey some cooks choose to smoke, grill or deep fry their Thanksgiving turkeys instead. Some may also choose not to prepare a whole turkey, instead opting to prepare only turkey breasts or turkey legs.
Many of the dishes prepared for traditional Thanksgiving dinner draw their inspiration from the harvest and locally available foods. Because of this, some common ingredients used in preparing Thanksgiving dinner include apples, nuts, squash and pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and other locally harvested foods.
Thanksgiving desserts are usually also based on the fall harvest, with offerings such as pumpkin, apple, sweet potato or pecan pies. Other options include baked pears or apples, apple cake, and cheesecake.