Most People Prefer Smoked Turkey, Plus Other Thanksgiving Trends to Know

Learn what the most popular stuffing is, how people like their turkey, when to get groceries, and more Thanksgiving trends based on Google and Instacart data.

thanksgiving dinner overhead view with turkey and sides

bhofack2 / Getty Images

Thanksgiving is approaching fast. The holiday full of food and family is a national favorite, and as the country is in full planning mode, it’s always fun to know what the favorite (and least favorite) dishes are and how they differ from traditional foods served at your table. With help from Google search trends leading up to Thanksgiving on November 24, here are some insights into which stuffings are going alongside the bird, how we’re planning on cooking the turkey, and the competition for the top pie to round out the meal. Data on shopping trends ahead of Thanksgiving will also be handy when making your grocery and bakery trips in the next week.

graphics of Thanksgiving data

Google Trends

The Most-Searched Thanksgiving Stuffings

 You can’t do turkey on Thanksgiving without the signature side: stuffing. There are endless recipes and possibilities here—corn bread stuffing, old-fashioned bread stuffing, meaty stuffings, slow cooker stuffing—the list goes on. Per Google’s unique search findings, it’s clear the country enjoys an array of dressings at the feasting table. The most popular stuffing is meat-based stuffings in 17 states, followed by corn bread dressing in 15 states.

graphics of Thanksgiving data

Google Trends

The Most-Searched Turkey Cooking Method

Here’s a shocking stat unveiled in late October ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday: Only five states have roasted turkey in mind. Other common Google searches for cooking methods went to smoked turkey. A juicy, succulent turkey via smoker does sound pretty delicious, so if you’re looking to stray from the classic roast turkey this year, try this smoked turkey with apple stuffing recipe.

graphics of Thanksgiving data

Google Trends

The Top 2 Pies at Thanksgiving

Pretty much all endings to an indulgent Thanksgiving feast include a slice of pie. But which pie do you prefer? America is almost evenly divided between the classic pumpkin pie and apple pie. According to the Google search trends ahead of Thanksgiving, the east coast seems to lean more toward apple pies, while the western side chooses pumpkin.

graphic of shopping data for Thanksgiving


Shopping Trends Ahead of the Big Feast

Trying to figure out when to go to the grocery store to avoid major lines while still getting everything you need in stock can be stressful. According to Instacart’s data, the number of customers ordering groceries via Instacart peaks the day before Thanksgiving with last-minute needs (no surprises here), so do your best to get everything ahead of time. With the help of Google Maps, these are the busiest and least busy times to plan around grabbing the groceries for Thanksgiving.


  • Busiest: Saturday at 10 a.m.
  • Least Busy: Monday at 3 p.m.

Grocery Store

  • Busiest: Sunday at 1 p.m.
  • Least Busy: Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Not into crowds? Utilize the busyness information tool on Google Maps by searching the location’s business page and scrolling down to see how busy it is at the moment, or how busy it tends to be during the week to help you strategize when to go.

If you still haven’t finalized your Thanksgiving menu, feel free to use some of our favorites for the best sides and desserts to serve alongside the turkey. Oh, and don’t forget to thaw the bird in time for cooking!

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