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Iconic Dishes from Columbus to Try on Thanksgiving Dinners

Thanksgiving Dinners in Columbus

Have you ever imagined Columbus in November? The city hums with anticipation as the golden hues of autumn carpet our neighborhoods, and the crisp air fills with the tantalizing aroma of spices and roasted meats. Columbus isn’t just any city when it comes to Thanksgiving; it’s a melting pot of traditions, flavors, and familial bonds. Can you feel it?

The excitement as families across the city prepare for one of the most cherished occasions of the year. Each corner of Columbus paints a vivid picture: children playing in the yard, grandparents sharing tales of Thanksgiving past, and, most importantly, the bustling kitchens where culinary magic happens.

If you’ve ever wondered what makes a Columbus Thanksgiving dinner truly special, you’re in for a delectable journey. Dive in with us as we explore iconic dishes that have graced our tables and won our hearts year after year.

1. Sliced White Meat Turkey

In Columbus, the roasted turkey is one of the highlights of Thanksgiving. Historically, turkeys were one of the native birds considered for the first Thanksgiving feast. While Columbus might not have been the ancient location of that celebration, the city has wholeheartedly embraced this tradition.

Sliced white meat turkey, in particular, is prized for its succulent, tender texture. Key ingredients include the turkey breast, aromatic herbs, and butter to ensure it remains moist during roasting. Best paired with homestyle gravy or cranberry sauce, every bite resonates with centuries of shared celebrations.

2. Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Roasted garlic mashed potatoes are a Columbus favorite, a dish that’s as much about texture as it is about taste. The history of mashed potatoes traces back to the indigenous people of South America, but Columbus has twisted it over the years with roasted garlic, offering a delightful and aromatic depth.

This popular food of Columbus, Ohio, is the epitome of comfort, made using russet potatoes, roasted garlic cloves, butter, and cream. Enjoy it alongside some green beans or drenched in rich gravy, and you’ll understand why it’s been a staple for generations.

3. Spicy Italian Sausage Stuffing

While stuffing may have English roots, Columbus has added its spicy flair, a testament to the city’s diverse culinary influences. The spicy Italian sausage stuffing blends the rustic flavors of breadcrumbs with the zest of Italian sausage.

Ingredients that stand out include crumbled Italian sausage, celery, onions, and a medley of herbs and spices. The spicy notes complement the turkey’s mellow flavors when paired perfectly with the white meat turkey, making every mouthful a dance of textures and tastes.

4. Seasonal Vegetables

With its agricultural history, Columbus has always celebrated the land’s bounty. Seasonal vegetables on the Thanksgiving dinner table are a nod to health and the city’s agricultural roots.

Depending on the time of year, Brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots, and sweet potatoes are often roasted to caramelized perfection with olive oil, salt, and herbs. These veggies can be relished with any main dish, but they hold their own, telling stories of local fertile farmlands and the dedicated hands that work them.

5. Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is indispensable to a Columbus Thanksgiving spread, a tart burst of flavor that brilliantly contrasts with the other savory dishes.

While cranberries are native to North America, families here have been refining their cranberry sauce recipes for generations. Made primarily from fresh cranberries, sugar, and a hint of citrus zest, this sauce balances the plate’s flavors. It’s especially delectable when smeared on a slice of turkey or a dollop of mashed potatoes, tying the entire feast together in a symphony of flavors that speak of tradition, history, and family ties.

Thanksgiving Desserts: Columbus’ Sugared Heritage

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As the golden autumn leaves fall and the air carries a chill in Columbus, there’s another, sweeter transformation that captivates households: the art of crafting the perfect Thanksgiving dessert. Beyond the turkey and mashed potatoes feast, the promise of sugary delights brings a twinkle to everyone’s eyes.

From age-old classics to innovative fusions, the desserts of Columbus not only tantalize the taste buds but also weave tales of traditions, familial bonds, and the city’s rich culinary evolution. Dive with us on this delicious journey that sweetens the essence of gratitude and celebration every Thanksgiving.

1. Pumpkin Pie

The story of Columbus’s Thanksgiving dinner would be incomplete without mentioning the evergreen pumpkin pie. This dessert is drawn Drawing from early American settlers and encapsulates the season’s essence. It’s a warm reminder of the harvest festivals, with pumpkins native to North America.

Key ingredients include creamy pumpkin puree and aromatic spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, all cradled within a flaky pastry crust. The best way to enjoy this pie is with a dollop of whipped cream on top, letting the coolness of the cream contrast with the pie’s rich depth.

2. Buckeyes

A true Columbus gem, Buckeyes aren’t just candy; they’re a sweet emblem of Ohio pride. Resembling the nut from the Ohio state tree, the Buckeye tree, these sweet treats have a historical connection that runs deep in Columbus’ veins. They are the perfect bite-sized delight made primarily from creamy peanut butter and rich chocolate.

Enjoy them straight out of the refrigerator for a slightly firm texture that melts in the mouth, unleashing waves of nostalgic Columbus memories.

3. Apple Crisp

Apples and falls in Columbus are a match made in heaven. The apple crisp celebrates this union, bringing the season’s warmth and abundance.

Historically, apple-based desserts have been popular in America, especially during the harvest season. With key ingredients like tart fresh apples, brown sugar, and a crumbly oat topping, every bite is a testament to autumn’s splendor.

Serve it hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, and you have a dish that’s as comforting as a cozy Columbus evening.

4. Chocolate Chip Cookies

A dessert that knows no boundaries, the chocolate chip cookie has found a special place in Columbus homes during Thanksgiving. Its origins trace back to the 1930s in Massachusetts, but Columbus has embraced it with open arms, making it an integral part of their sweet spread.

The magical combination of butter, sugar, chocolate chips, and vanilla makes them irresistible. Freshly baked and slightly warm, these cookies transport you to a world of sheer indulgence when paired with a cold glass of milk.

5. Pumpkin Cheesecake

Columbus’s culinary brilliance shines through the pumpkin cheesecake, a harmonious fusion of two beloved desserts. Rooted in the city’s penchant for experimenting and innovating, this dessert merges the velvety texture of cheesecakes with the spiced richness of pumpkins.

The key players in this masterpiece are cream cheese, pumpkin puree, spices, and a buttery graham cracker crust. To relish it in all its glory, serve it chilled with a drizzle of caramel sauce, making every bite a symphony of flavors encapsulating Columbus’s Thanksgiving spirit.


As the evening winds down and the last slice of pumpkin pie finds its way to a happy diner, a profound sense of gratitude is in the air. And isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?

Our deep dive into the iconic Columbus dishes showcases not just the rich culinary tapestry of our city but also the love, memories, and bonds that these dishes represent. Whether it’s the spicy kick of Italian sausage stuffing or the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of Buckeyes, each dish carries a story, a tradition, and a piece of Columbus’s soul.

Remember, while the dishes bring flavor, the shared laughter, stories, and togetherness make Thanksgiving truly iconic. So, here’s to heartwarming meals, treasured moments, and the best Thanksgiving dinner in Columbus, Ohio, that stays with you long after the last toast. Cheers!

Author Profile

Sabah Drabu

Co-Founder & CEO

Sabah Drabu is a foodie, engineer, and the Co-founder & CEO of CookinGenie. She created the platform in 2019 to connect local chefs with at-home diners, making hiring personal chefs more accessible. Sabah's idea has evolved into a service people use for parties, vacation rentals, and family gatherings.

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