Tasty Thanksgiving 2011 Searches: Deep Fried Turkey, Turducken & Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving recipe searches peak prior to Thanksgiving each year. “Thanksgiving turkey recipes” skyrocketed on Google (950 percent in the past 30 days) and Yahoo (968 percent in the past week). Here’s how Thanksgiving looks from the search engines.

Life’s Short, Eat Dessert First!


Is pumpkin pie losing its edge as the dessert on Thanksgiving? Not likely, though it didn’t make it onto the list of the top Thanksgiving desserts searches this holiday, according to Marin Software, which looked at the most searched desserts in an effort to predict what you can expect post-turkey.

Their list of most searched desserts include apple crisp (32 percent), pineapple upside down cake (13 percent), banana bread (11 percent), peanut butter cookies (10 percent), oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (9 percent), chocolate chip cookies (8 percent), apple pie (7 percent), Snickerdoodles (5 percent), and pumpkin bread (4 percent).

Why is pumpkin pie absent? “We assume that’s because Mom already has that recipe down pat; so, no need to panic,” says Marin’s Matt Lawson.

Pumpkin pies were one of the most searched for recipes on Yahoo, however, and Google searches for “pumpkin pie recipes” increased 140 percent in the past 30 days, according to Google Insights for Search. Of the top 10 overall Thanksgiving recipe searches on Yahoo (which also included main dishes), pumpkin pie was third; apple crisp was sixth; pumpkin bread was seventh; and pumpkin cheesecake was eighth.

“Thanksgiving cupcakes” searches on Yahoo spiked by 179 percent. Yahoo also revealed the top 10 most searched for pies:

  1. Pumpkin pie recipe (searches on Google rose 90 percent in the last 30 days)
  2. Sweet potato pie (searches on Google grew 300 percent in the last 30 days)
  3. Apple pie
  4. Pecan pie recipe (searches on Google increased 300 percent in the last 30 days)
  5. Lemon meringue pie
  6. Mud pie
  7. Peanut butter pie
  8. Cherry pie
  9. Key lime pie
  10. Cream pies

On Google, chocolate pie was a top search, increaing by 100 percent in the past 30 days.

Appetizers, Side Dishes & The Main Course

On Yahoo, searches for “Thanksgiving appetizers” spiked by 404 percent.

Moving onto the main course, how does a deep fried turkey sound? That search shot up by 359 percent, as did “smoked turkey” (up 357 percent).

In addition to deep fried turkey, turducken (a chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey) searches shot up and “healthy Thanksgiving recipe” search variations tripled year-over-year, according to Experian Hitwise.


“Turkey brine” searches were also up 472 percent on Yahoo. Other trending Thanksgiving recipe searches on Yahoo: sweet potato, turkey, butternut squash, stuffing, cornbread dressing, and cornbread.

The top 10 side dishes, according to Yahoo search data:

  1. Stuffing
  2. Green bean casserole
  3. Sweet potatoes/sweet potato casserole
  4. Cranberry sauce
  5. Potato Soup
  6. Mashed potatoes
  7. Scalloped potatoes
  8. Cornbread dressing
  9. Salad
  10. Bread

How to Cook a Turkey & More Top Thanksgiving Questions

“How to cook a turkey” was the most asked Thanksgiving-related how-to question on Yahoo. Other how to queries included how to brine, smoke, deep-fry, carve, season, and grill a turkey. Other top “how” questions revolved around time, such as how long to cook a turkey, keep a turkey frozen, and thaw a turkey.

Some more top questions:

  • How big of a turkey do I need?
  • How much turkey per person?
  • How much turkey for (10, 12, 20) people?
  • What wine goes with turkey?
  • What is the red thing on a turkey?
  • How much does a turkey cost?
  • Where to buy a turkey?
  • Where was the turkey first domesticated?
  • What restaurants are open on Thanksgiving?
  • Where to order Thanksgiving dinner?
  • Where to buy fried turkey
  • Difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

Sites Gaining Thanksgiving Traffic


FoodNetwork.com, AllRecipes.com, and TasteofHome.com were the main beneficiaries of “Thanksgiving recipes” search traffic compared to 2010, according to Experian Hitwise. Meanwhile, paid search paid off for McCormick, Hidden Valley, Betty Crocker, and Kraft Foods, which all saw higher traffic this year from searches for “Thanksgiving recipes.”

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