December 2, 2015

The Most Popular Holiday Dish by State

Christmas is almost here! And do you know what that means? It’s time to eat and eat and eat some more! Everyone knows that the holidays offer a great excuse for people to slack on their diets, experiment in the kitchen, and eat to their hearts’ content. Of course, the types of food you consume can vary significantly depending on which region of the country you live in. Whether your dish of choice is ho-ho-honey baked ham or people-pleasing pot roast, everyone has their annual go-to holiday meal.

In the spirit of this festive time of year, we looked at the most searched food & recipe terms in every state from November to January to determine what the most popular holiday meals were. We were curious if those who lived in hotter climates would shy away from heavier dishes in favor of lighter fare, or if they were as susceptible as anyone to get in the holiday spirit with warm, rich, comfort foods.


“Prime Rib” was the most popular holiday entrée, in terms of the number of states that had trending search queries for the term. Seven states - Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, and Wyoming - all saw a major uptick in recipe searches for that dish around the holidays.

In what should come as no surprise to anyone who celebrates Christmas, “Turkey” was a major recipe search throughout the US, too. Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, and Hawaii all had “Turkey” as the #1 food-related search term during the holiday months.


Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t include the succulent sides that people cook up, as well, this time of year. The winner? Casseroles! Everyone seems to love these warm, comforting, vegetable dishes around the holidays. Though the states were divided between sweet potato and green bean casserole, 17 of the 50 states had residents searching for casserole recipes in the months leading up to the New Year.

“Green Bean Casserole” was the clear favorite in Alabama, DC, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas and Utah. “Sweet Potato Casserole” took center stage in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.


Then come the desserts! New Yorkers are googling “Gingerbread”; while those in Wisconsin, Vermont, Rhode Island, Ohio, Minnesota, and West Virginia are looking for various Christmas cookie recipes, and South Carolinians love pecan pie.


And the most noteworthy findings of all? Apparently, residents of New Mexico really, really, really like sprouts. They like sprouts so much, they’re googling “Sprout” recipes during the holidays. Another state in a healthier mindset? Massachusetts. Their most-searched recipe was “Cranberry Sauce”. Data was low for North Dakota, but the trending term for holiday season food searches was “pizza”. Fa-la-la-la-la?

Looking at this data, you might argue that these can’t possibly be the most popular local recipes during the holidays because the real favorites wouldn’t need googling. For many of us, family recipes are passed down for generations until they’re ingrained in our minds and we don’t need to reference any written instructions. But these days, we’re all so reliant on technology that it doesn’t seem out of the question to assume that the first place someone would go to confirm cooking instructions for a family favorite is Google. With this in mind, we stand by our findings presented in the graphic above!

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