Soul foods are an African American culture of hearty homecooked meals that you can point out as dishes with plenty of seasoning and rich with flavor!
Black people have a culture that goes deeper than our African roots. And the food we eat reflects our rich culture, natural rhythm, and jubilee.
Soul food Thanksgiving side dishes embody this. Like a Black folks’ cookout (minus the mosquitos).
Black music, the way we talk, what we eat, and the way we talk about the things we love are all entwined in our food. Often referred to as our swag, seasoning, or flavor.
How do African Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?
Food is vital in Black culture because it brings people around the table and puts a pause on the constant oppression of our people, along with fast-paced living. Replacing it with good times, comfort food, happiness, and laughs, especially during the holidays.
From soul food favorites like Southern fried catfish, chicken with thick mushroom gravy, honey baked ham to sweet potato casserole. All this food at once we call a soul food holiday meal, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s.
Black people have our own swag, flavor, and spin on how we celebrate holidays. And Thanksgiving is one of those holidays with many unspoken rules about our collective food culture.
6 good to know tips for attending a Black Thanksgiving
- Don’t arrive empty-handed. But don’t attempt to bring the dressing, potato salad or baked macaroni and cheese. Someone in the family is already sanctioned with making those integral Black America Thanksgiving side dishes! If you have nothing to bring or don’t cook, just get aluminum foil, which is always helpful for later to-go plates!
- Dressing is what we call Black people’s “stuffing.”
- No pumpkin pie. Always sweet potato.
- Make room on your plate because you can expect 6-10 soul food Thanksgiving sides. And 3-5 Thanksgiving desserts, i.e., sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, or pecan pie. (And no. Candied yams with marshmallows is not a dessert!)
- Try the more than one kind of soul food seasoned turkey (i.e., fried turkey, grilled turkey, BBQ turkey, cider brined turkey, roasted turkey).
- And although you should arrive in time – the Thanksgiving meal will likely not be served on time!
Having a big group at Thanksgiving?
Black people gather, connect, and celebrate with soul food. Food is a way to show how much another person is cared for.
Being able to feed someone is a significant and respected part of Black food culture.
What is a soul food Thanksgiving menu?
A soul food Thanksgiving menu is a dinner with Southern soul food entrées and soul food Thanksgiving side dishes. Black folks’ recipes!
What do you serve on a soul food Thanksgiving menu?
Whether your family’s celebrating with a traditional Thanksgiving feast or hosting a family potluck event.
You’re sure to find the soul food flavors they’re all expecting in this authentic soul food Thanksgiving side dishes list.
Then use this guided soul food Thanksgiving side dishes menu and feel confident about hosting this holiday!
The best soul food Thanksgiving sides
- Black folks cornbread dressing recipe
- Black folks chicken and dressing
- Black folks soul food baked macaroni and cheese
- Black folks soul food collard greens recipe
- Black folks Southern candied yams
- Black folks Southern cabbage recipe
- Black folks creamy mashed potatoes recipe
- Black folks creamed corn pudding casserole
- Black folks homemade cornbread
… and more!
How do you make a Thanksgiving soul food menu?
It’s easy to create your very own soul food Thanksgiving menu by simply following each soul food recipe here. Choose the ones you love and start there!
What are some good soul food Thanksgiving recipes?
What food is served at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner? Traditional soul food Thanksgiving fixings may include:
Black Thanksgiving food
- Black folks Southern turkey recipe
- Cornbread dressing
- Collard greens
- Candied yams
- Creamy mashed potatoes
- Cranberry sauce
- Black folks baked mac and cheese
- …and of course homemade cornbread (pronounced “conebread”)
What will you find in this Thanksgiving collection?
A soul food Thanksgiving menu is a dinner with Southern entrées and Black folks’ recipes and dishes.
From the rooter to the tooter, as old Black folks might say!
This soul food Thanksgiving dinner menu is more than the hog, tho.
From the Thanksgiving Day turkey to the smallest kernel of corn – it’s a collection of the best soul food recipes. A Thanksgiving dinner feast fit for a king!
Still looking for side dish ideas for your Thanksgiving table?
Then start here! With this list of soul food Thanksgiving side dishes.
Forget about dry, bland gravy and tasteless stuffing this Thanksgiving!
Instead, prepare for soulful, flavorful sides that’ll have your family bursting into celebration songs well before the final entrée is served! (Mariah Carey Christmas tunes, anybody?)
Soul food Thanksgiving side dishes
What are the top 10 Thanksgiving side dishes?
Why is your cornbread dressing mushy?
Pro tip: When you’re adding ingredients to the mix and stirring the batter, try not to overwork it, so you don’t break down the cornbread, which could cause the dressing to have a mushy texture.
Why is mac and cheese served at Thanksgiving?
The same reason why Southern baked mac and cheese is so important to Black culture.
Baked mac and cheese is just one of the many soul food cuisines turned American dishes. And this yummy dish has a really old history.
Known initially as macaroni pie, baked mac and cheese was created by James Hemings, an African American enslaved and trained as a culinary chef in France.
Simply put, baked macaroni and cheese’s cultural past are key ingredients that spice and flavor the African American table like no other.
If you’re only serving regular mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving … Well why?
How long can you actually leave potato salad out?
Don’t ask why. Black potato salad is eaten year round and is definitely one of the essential top 10 Thanksgiving side dishes.
Because potato salad is a moist recipe made with eggs, potato salad should be refrigerated overnight.
However, it can be left out for several hours at room temperature without going bad.
What would a Southern feast be without a little cornbread, y’all?
Soul food Thanksgiving sides
If you’ve never tried making deviled eggs… Why not?
Who says coleslaw doesn’t belong on a Thanksgiving table?
Soul food Thanksgiving cornbread
Soul food Thanksgiving side dishes FAQs
What are the top 5 Thanksgiving side dishes?
- Black folks cornbread dressing
- Soul food collard greens
- Soul food candied yams
- Homemade Southern cornbread
- Black folks baked macaroni and cheese
What are 2 Thanksgiving must-haves?
Technically, one thing. But good enough to be two!
What is the most popular Thanksgiving food?
Hands down – turkey!
What are the 2 most popular main dishes for Thanksgiving?
The two main dishes you’ll find at any Southern soul food Thanksgiving dinner are turkey or ham. And sometimes fried chicken!
What is the turkey wishbone tradition?
This whimsical tradition involves the wishbone in the turkey carcass.
Two people grab a side of the wishbone and break the bone apart while making a wish.
“The wishbone rules are simple: One person grabs each side, pulls, and the person with the bigger half gets a Thanksgiving wish.”
What can you have for Thanksgiving besides turkey?
Who says you can’t enjoy ribs on Thanksgiving?
What can you make with leftover turkey after Thanksgiving?
This recipe combines leftover turkey with delicious Thanksgiving soul food side dishes.
How many sides should you have for Thanksgiving?
You’d only need about 2-3 sides for any other ordinary dinner.
In that case, you can enlist help from your guests with a potluck of side dishes! This way, you end up with 4-6 Thanksgiving side dishes.
What is the least popular Thanksgiving side dish?
It’s gotta be green bean casserole – a bland dish that’s not one of the many flavorful soul food Thanksgiving side dishes.
Pro tip: Don’t show up to a soul food Thanksgiving dinner with green bean casserole. Or anything not on the official soul food Thanksgiving dinner menu, for that matter.
Why you might ask?
The Root explains it best in their Dos and Don’ts to survive a Black Thanksgiving.
The reception of your unknown dish is likely to go like this:
- “DON’T bring something new: Stick with tradition. Thanksgiving is not the time for new shit. Plus, you’re gonna be sad when your pan of gluten-free Australian cornbread is sitting on the counter untouched until your 12-year-old cousin takes a bite and yells: “Grandma! Tell everyone not to eat this cornbread. It must have rotten milk in it or something. It’s nasty!”
How do you season like a Black person?
Soul food recipes rule number one: Always season your meat!
Even if you’re going to use a sauce – first season the meat!
Favorite soul food sauces and seasonings include:
- Mustard seed
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Red chili pepper
- Celery seed
- Curry powder
- Black pepper
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hot sauce
- BBQ sauce
What time do Black people eat Thanksgiving?
These sentiments from The Root in their piece on The Survival Guide to Black Thanksgiving are hilariously spot on:
“Thanksgiving dinner starts promptly at 3 p.m., which means 4:19. But you know that someone is going to call you and tell you to bring some ice, so you should leave early. Plus, if you’re late you will be subjected to second-tier macaroni from a non-sanctioned macaroni-maker.”
What is Black soul food?
Or, as people often ask, what is “real” soul food?
Soul food is closely connected to the cuisine of the Southern United States.
Therefore, it’s often considered synonymous with Southern food.
However, the true definition of soul food does not require Southern roots. Instead, soul food is simply a legacy of African American cooking.
What are popular soul food dishes?
While soul food recipes may be accredited to the Southern US states, it’s a cuisine loved everywhere! Especially these favorite soul food sides:
Black family Thanksgiving food list
- Soul food collard greens
- Soul food candied yams
- Soul food potato salad
- Soul food sweet potato pie
- Soul food baked mac and cheese
What are traditional Black foods?
What do Southern people have for Thanksgiving?
A typical Southern Thanksgiving dinner usually includes:
- Southern turkey
- Southern pineapple glazed ham
- Cornbread dressing
- Southern string beans
- Southern mashed potatoes
- Southern buttermilk biscuits
- Southern sweet potato pie
What is a soul food Christmas dinner menu?
A soul food Christmas dinner menu is Southern soul food entrées and Black folks’ recipes and dishes.
Now, close your eyes. Take a deep breath. And imagine yourself sitting down to the perfect Christmas dinner feast.
Tender, juicy, and flavorful meats and side dishes. Oh, so savory and sometimes even sweet!
The scent of a soul food Christmas dinner wafting through the air. An aromatic smell and the essence of Black folks’ food. The kitchen becomes the gift that keeps on giving.
What do Black families eat for Christmas dinner?
Love easy Instant Pot recipes?
Now you can enjoy iconic African American soul food recipes reimagined via Instant Pot.
From a traditional Black folks’ Easter dinner to classic soul food Thanksgiving side dishes.
What do you think of this soul food Thanksgiving menu?
Have you had any of these soul food Thanksgiving side dishes?
Which ones are on your Thanksgiving menu?
Comment below and lemme know.
- 8″ cast-iron skillet
- 8″ baking dish
- Instant Pot Omni Plus oven
Ingredients for the cornbread
- 8 ½ oz cornbread mix Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, 1 box
- ¼ cup sugar granulated (*can be omitted if you don’t prefer cornbread sweet)
- 4 tablespoons butter unsalted
- 3 oz cream cheese whipped cream cheese
- 4 oz heavy whipping cream
Ingredients for the soul food cornbread dressing
- ¼ cup butter unsalted
- 2 tablespoons butter unsalted
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 tablespoon thyme fresh or dried
- 1 tablespoon rosemary fresh or dried
- 1 teaspoon sage ground
- ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
- ½ cup chicken stock or chicken broth (Use vegetable broth to make this dish vegetarian.)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg large
Instructions for the cornbread
- Preheat the conventional oven or Instant Pot Omni Plus oven to bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (although you may not use all of this time for melting the butter).
- Place the 4 tablespoons of butter in an 8-inch skillet and melt in the oven for approximately 5 minutes.
- While the butter is melting, combine the Jiffy cornbread mix, sugar, cream cheese, and heavy cream in a medium-size mixing bowl.
- Pour the melted butter from the skillet into the mixing bowl and mix all the ingredients together.
- Pour the cornbread mixture into the skillet.
- Bake at 350 degrees F. In the conventional oven for 25-30 minutes. Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 23-25 minutes.
- When the baking time has finished, allow the cornbread to cool for approx 10 minutes.
- Cut the bread lengthwise and then across into 1-inch bread cubes and set aside.
Instructions for Black folks cornbread dressing
- Grease an 8″ or similar-sized baking dish and set it aside.
- Remove the lid from the Instant Pot and turn on the sauté setting for 8 minutes.
- With the lid off, melt ¼ cup of butter.
- Add the chopped onion, celery, thyme, rosemary, and sage.
- Stir to coat the vegetables in the herbs and melted butter and then sauté until they soften and slightly brown.
- Add the chicken stock, salt, and pepper to the inner pot's simmer, and stir to combine.
- Remove the herb mixture from heat and set aside.
- Allow the mixture to cool to the touch so that it can be mixed with the egg. (You don’t want the egg to cook from the residual heat and scramble!)
- While the herbs are cooling off, beat the egg with the parsley in a medium-sized bowl.
- Gently fold in the cornbread cubes to coat with the egg.
- Pour in the cooled herb mixture into the egg mixture.
- Transfer the mixture to the pre-greased baking dish.
- Cut the 2 tablespoons of butter into small pats and place them all around on top of the dressing.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. 35 minutes in the conventional oven. In the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and bake until golden, 10-15 more minutes (conventional oven), 10 minutes (Instant Pot Omni Plus oven).
- Serve cornbread dressing warm, and enjoy!
- Optional – serve with gravy on top.
- You can make homemade cornbread from scratch: recipe HERE.
- When you’re adding ingredients to the mix and stirring the batter, try not to overwork it, so you don’t break down the cornbread, which could cause the dressing to have a mushy texture.
- The dressing before it’s baked should be moist but not watery or gummy. If you find that your stuffing is too wet, you can add a few slices of cubed honey wheat bread to soak up the extra liquid.
- You can fix dry stuffing with a few tablespoons of melted butter or chicken stock, or broth. Remember, try not to overwork the stuffing when adding ingredients and mixing. You don’t want to break down the cornbread, which will cause the dressing to then have a mushy texture.