Holidays in Philly

What Pennsylvania eats for Christmas dinner: Holiday food trends around the state

Philly does more goose than any other region, while Altoona’s all about the gravy.


What’s on your table for Christmas dinner? All families who celebrate the holiday have their own traditions, but what’s most likely to be served on Dec. 25 can vary depending on where you live.

We looked at Google Trends data for the week before the holiday to find out which recipes are spiking in searches — and how that changes across Pennsylvania.

For instance, gingerbread is hotter right now in the Johnstown-Altoona region than anywhere else in Pa., while fruitcake is what’s getting Erie-area dwellers excited. Pittsburgh’s into sfogliatelle more than the rest of the state (makes sense, considering its big Italian-American population), while Philly can’t live without pound cake. Is there a big British ex-pat situation around Wilkes Barre and Scranton? That might explain the spike in search for plum pudding. And no surprise that in Amish Country — aka Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, per Google — shoofly pie is what’s hot.


There’s also diversity in main courses. No other area is looking up recipes for roast goose like the intrepid home chefs in Philadelphia, while Harrisburg folks are going less exotic with turkey. Beef rib roasts are keeping the northwest corner of the state warm, but Yinzers below them prefer a holiday ham. Pork roast is more popular near Scranton than anywhere else, it seems. In the middle of the state? No particular meat is trending harder than elsewhere — but the Altoona crowd is all about the gravy.

Billy Penn illustration

Do these maps match up with your traditions? Have a great holiday!

Want some more? Explore other Holidays in Philly stories.

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