Canada’s Favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes and Desserts by Province
Roast turkey is the anchor of every Thanksgiving dinner party, but what are Canada’s favorite side dishes and desserts? After all, these dishes are where the chef can best display their creativity, making Thanksgiving a truly special dinning occasion.
We turned to Google Trends to find out what the most popular side dishes and desserts are in every Canadian province. To do that, we analyzed the popularity of staple Canadian Thanksgiving dishes based on the number of searches that were done last year around Thanksgiving (the 5-day period from October 8th through October 12th 2020).
Around Thanksgiving, literally hundreds of thousands of Canadians turn to Google to search their favorite pumpkin pie recipe, the most delicious gravy or the best Brussels sprout recipe. The sheer volume of these searches provides a good representation of the local’s top favorite dishes.
Since no traditional Thanksgiving dinner goes without turkey, almost the same can be said for stuffing. There is really no match for stuffing when it comes to side dish popularity, but because it sort off comes together with the turkey, we took the controversial decision to exclude it from our analysis.
Canada’s Most Popular Side Dishes
Mashed potatoes are one of the most popular side dishes in pretty much all the provinces and the most popular in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nunavut.
Brussels sprouts – roasted or with ham – are the top favorite in British Columbia, Alberta, and Yukon, while scalloped potatoes are the top favorite side dish in Newfoundland and Labrador. Butternut squash – roast or soup – is the top favorite side dish in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.
What about favorite sauces?
Sauces count as side dishes as well, but we chose to report on them separately. Thanksgiving without gravy or cranberry sauce is almost unthinkable, but if you had to choose between the two, which would you pick?
Google Trends tells us how Canadians would answer that question: Gravy wins the popularity contest in almost all provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador, where cranberry sauce is the king.
Favorite Thanksgiving Dessert: East-West Divide
Nothing says Thanksgiving more than a slice of pumpkin pie. Well, maybe. If you are in Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador, apple pie is the king of Thanksgiving desserts. And there are two more exceptions to the rule: New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, where apple crisp is the most popular Thanksgiving dessert.
Chef’s Pencil analyzed Google Trends data to identify the most popular thanksgiving dishes in Canada. We analyzed the data around Thanksgiving last year, focusing on the five days when the typical Thanksgiving food frenzy is highest. Specifically, we reported on Google Trends data from October 8th through October 12th; recipe search activity remains high one day after Thanksgiving so we included that in our analysis.
We looked at Google Trends data for over a couple dozen popular Thanksgiving dishes and report on those with the highest scores.
Google Trends categorizes many search terms into topics, which may include multiple similar search terms (for example, apple pie will include searches performed both in English and French, and include variations such as ‘best apple pie recipe’). All dishes included in our report were labeled by Google Trends as topics, except for scalloped potatoes.
For Brussels sprouts, we included in our report the entire catalog of Brussels sprouts-related searches. The most popular dishes in this category were roasted Brussels sprouts and Brussels sprouts with ham. We used the same approach for butternut squash, where the top favorite dishes from the category were butternut squash soup and roasted butternut squash.
As reported in the introduction, besides turkey, stuffing is the most searched for food item, but we chose not to include it in our report.