The 5 Worst Pioneer Woman Recipes to Bring to Thanksgiving

There are few things that give TLO more delight than ragging on The Pioneer Woman. My personal biggest complaint with her is that most of her recipes that I’ve attempted just turned out mediocre at best. I consider myself an able home cook, but I just can’t make her food taste good.

The most egregious was when I attempted Ree’s cornbread recipe, that probably had a huge lead-up about how “The Marlboro Man (my hubby) just hates food that isn’t raw steak, so I had to convince him to try my great-grand-mema’s recipes, and he LOVED IT!” The cornbread sucked, and after all the bad food blogger cornbread recipes that I’ve tried, these days I just resort to the boxed Jiffy stuff.

Anyways, since this is the season for potlucks between work, family, and friends, and we’re all obligated to bring home-cooked food everywhere, I thought I’d embark on the proud TLO contributor tradition of scrolling through the Pioneer Woman archive and – as opposed to being positive –finding her worst Thanksgiving recipes…

Oven-Roasted Asparagus

Look, I realllllllly love asparagus. It’s one of the tastiest and most hearty vegetables with the simplest of preparation. But there are two major problems with bringing this to the Turkey Day Table. The first is that most people don’t know how to cook it, and if it’s been sitting out too long, the stalks get soggy and soft and gross. Secondly, asparagus isn’t even in season this time of year. Sure, you can find it at the store, but it’s not seasonal until early spring and summer. This would be like cooking pot roast for the 4th of July.

Pumpkin Ravioli

The very first episode of 30 Rock, when we met the character Tracy Jordan, he ate at a restaurant with Liz Lemon where he was about to be served pumpkin ravioli, and was rightly infumed. Pumpkin is bullshit in everything but pie, and especially in something like ravioli. You wanna bite into that pillowy pasta and get a burst of savory ingredients, not a bunch of sweet gourd.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

This is actually one of my favorite Thanksgiving foods ever. One of my friends got the recipe from his mom and he makes it every year and it’s the biggest hit on the table. I even drafted in on Free Queso’s fantasy Thanksgiving league. In fact, you should totally make this recipe, I’m only calling bullshit because Pioneer Woman appears to use fresh broccoli instead of the frozen bagged stuff. Call me pretentious, but this dish demands processed food to keep it as pure as possible.

Edna Mae’s Escalloped Cabbage

This one kinda falls into the asparagus category, where most people don’t know how to cook it properly, and it tends to just be stinky and soggy. And even though I’ve advocated for Velveeta in the above recipe, Cheez Whiz is a bridge way too fuckin far for me to cross.

Pumpkin Smoothie

I don’t care how good this is, if you show up to an American Thanksgiving party with a bunch of smoothies, it’s like you don’t even understand the holiday at all.

As much as we bash Pioneer Woman, I truly want to find some of her recipes that are enjoyable. If you’ve got any suggestions, let me know in the comments, particularly if they are for pies or veggie side dishes, because that’s what I’ve signed up for on my Friendsgiving!

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20 Responses


  1. I have two Chinese girlfriends and our thing is to go out and eat Asian food. I fell in love with these green beans years ago and started making them last year. My family voted out the old style of gloppy green bean casserole and voted these in! Honestly, most of the meal (if traditional) is pretty easy and these come together at the last few minutes.
    https://www.chinasichuanfood.com/szechuan-green-beans/


    1. The fact you have 2 Chinese girlfriends has not gone I unnoticed.


      1. One from column A, one from column B.


  2. When in doubt… MORE BUTTER !!!


  3. Really depends on when you eat. If your Thanksgiving meal is at noon taste is important. Everyone’s sober. But if it’s supper then the later it is the less taste comes into play. After Mom has had a couple bottles of cab the turkey is probably overcooked and Aunt Susie has finished the fourth Jack and Coke her green bean casserole is probably drier than week old bread. Plus all the remaining adults are sloshed and the teens are stoned and the little ones have already filled up on Little Debbies from the kitchen cupboards. That’s why we eat at midnight. We found out the hard way they serve a wicked Thanksgiving meal at county then.


  4. I don’t get why there’s a tossed salad in the mix with our family. I figure out of the 2,500 calories overflowing my plate must have some nutrients among the butter and sugar. Who needs a healthy salad?


  5. Jiffy corn bread is hard to beat. My wife adds some canned corn and some jalapenos. Delicious!

    The very best way to eat asparagus is seasoned and grilled, either outdoors or on a stovetop grill. I can’t speak to how well it would hold up after sitting around for a while.


  6. Her Mac n cheese recipe is really good


  7. Her braised short ribs are quite tasty, as is her pecan pie recipe.


  8. To each their own! I love the Pioneer Woman’s recipes!


  9. Really love her cream of tomato soup. She uses canned tomatoes which are usually canned at their peak.


  10. One addendum to the pumpkin comment… it’s bullshit in everything but pie *and bread.* Pumpkin bread is one of the most amazing baked goods ever invented. Everything else pumpkin is barf-worthy, especially ravioli and smoothies. Ugh what kind of monster even come up with that?


  11. Allow me to fix your cornbread problem. Heat an oven to 400F and warm an 8″ cast iron skillet on med-low stovetop.
    1 cup masa harina corn flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoon baking power
    1 tablespoon white sugar
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    mix all of these together then add…
    2 large eggs
    1 and 1/3 cups milk
    mix everything together well and let sit for a few minutes; optional add-ins: chopped thin peppers like a few habaneros, 1/2 cup or so shredded cheddar cheese.
    When the oven and skillet and warm, melt 2 teaspoons butter in the skillet and coat all sides, add batter mixture to skillet and place in oven, bake for about 24 minutes, done; fluffy cornbread that tastes like fresh corn tortillas and maybe some spicy peppers too 🙂


    1. Thanks. I may try this. It sounds gluten free, a necessity for she who must be obeyed. And anything cooked in a cast iron skillet is great. Try cooking steak this way. Sear it with lots of butter, then throw it in the oven which is set at around 400 for as long as you want to get it to your preferred doneness.


  12. Her Whiskey Maple Cream Sauce to drizzle over pie is out of this world!


  13. I am from Michigan and we do white bread dressing. Way better than that mushy cornbread dressing.


  14. Her pumpkin cream pie is easy and very good. A nice spin on the traditional pumpkin pie.


  15. I dont really eat anything of hers, because… well just because. But for some odd reason, I decided ro pick up some of her peach whiskey barbeque sauce tonight, because i was just in the mood for grilled chicken thighs. It was really good! Id imagine it could be used on several other things, although I’d have to think a bit.


  16. My in-laws raved about the PW cowboy quiche I made for Christmas brunch. Quiche is a pie, right?


  17. I live in Oklahoma and have been to her restaurants. Nothing great (been multiple times). All the food is bland and salty, no real seasoning. Haven’t used any of her recipes after poor restaurant experiences.

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