Fast-Food Fans Told Mashed What They'd Most Want To Eat On Thanksgiving - Exclusive Survey

Turkey has long been the headlining act in Thanksgiving spreads; many feel it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it. Even the numbers support the decision to serve this time-honored bird on the big day. Statista, for example, shows that the turkey was the most popular Thanksgiving dish in 2020, earning an 83% approval rate. Interestingly, a YouGov survey yielded the exact same results. Clearly, when it comes to Thanksgiving dining, the turkey reigns supreme. 

Sure, most revelers will sit down to eat turkey on Thanksgiving with its usual cast of co-stars: mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. But that doesn't mean that some won't diverge from this time-honored tradition. Yes, there are people who have grown weary of the turkey requirement and, instead, opt for a completely different main dish. A survey conducted by Omaha Steaks showed that in 2018, 65% of Americans sought an alternative to the bird (via the New York Post). According to the roughly 2,000 respondents, ham was the most winning turkey substitute, with 60% craving it. Chicken placed second, earning 41% of the thumbs-ups, and roast beef came in third with 37%. 

Some diners, however, will forgo the muss and fuss of a home-cooked feast completely and, instead, go the fast-food route. With an eclectic selection of dishes to choose from, their number-one pick might surprise you. 

Fried Chicken is the preferred Thanksgiving fast food

When Mashed asked 622 people which type of fast food they would most want to eat for Thanksgiving, an interesting reply came out on top. Fried chicken was the number-one choice, with 36.82% saying they'd like to stick with poultry. (Apparently, the best turkey replacement is its more diminutive relation.) The runner-up was pizza with 18.17%, while donuts and coffee placed third with 17.04%. Burritos took fourth (16.72%) and burgers placed last with a mere 11.25% of votes. 

These fast-food chicken fans aren't alone in their desire to swap out a turkey for the smaller bird, either. GQ points out that chicken's petite size allows it to cook more evenly than turkey, adding that you can even fit two chickens in your oven. The Central Trend strives to capitalize on this "multiple bird" idea, saying that you can have chickens prepared differently to appease the masses, offering one that's spicy, one that's fried, and one that's plain. Plus, as Grill Simply notes, the chicken is cheaper, especially when Thanksgiving turkey prices keep climbing. That's an important consideration in a time when the cost of pretty much everything is going up.

If you've grown weary of turkey (or you secretly hate it and haven't felt able to reveal your true feelings until now), you have other options. And yes, one of them is a bucket of crispy, mouth-watering fried chicken.