Planning Content for Thanksgiving + Top 5 Holidays for Recipe Searches

How Connected Cooks Are Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

“I have all these ingredients, I’m just not sure what to make.”  Or, “I want to make something that will impress my _____.”  How about, “How do I know when it’s done?”  If any of these sound familiar to you, then you understand the struggle of real cooks in America.  Whether you’re a professional trying to take your skills to the next level, or a home cook trying to prepare dinner for loved ones, these questions often come up in the lives of cooks across the country and how these questions are being answered is a revolution that the internet is ready for.

If you’re a food brand that wants to be included in Thanksgiving this year, you want to turn your focus to the web. Through search, social, and video, people are researching recipes and cooking tips in preparation for the holiday…and that’s only going to increase as the day draws near.  According to Google search data, last year, there were twice as many searches for recipes during the week of Thanksgiving than during the average week.  And with technology advancing and people becoming more comfortable with online search, you can expect many cooks to have a smartphone in hand for their Thanksgiving prep this year — 44% of recipe searches came from mobile on Thanksgiving Day last year, and it’s already trending higher.


Did you know, more people look for recipes at Thanksgiving than at any other time of year?

Most recipe searches happen around holidays, especially Thanksgiving.  Recent search data shows that November is when online searches for recipes hit an annual high, and contrary to what you may think, turkey is not the primary focus, its sides and desserts that get the most interest. To take it one step further, in post-Thanksgiving searches, people are also wondering what to do with all those leftovers. Here is some interesting trends data that has influenced our content for the upcoming holidays*:

  • Year over year, searches for dessert recipes are growing 3x faster than searches for turkey recipes in November
  • In the past three years, searches for “leftover recipes” hit an annual high three days after Thanksgiving
  • 25% of all cookie recipe searches happen in December


So, what does that mean for us?  In the coming weeks, you’ll start to see more dessert recipes and “Thanksgiving Leftover Hacks,” that will capitalize on these search trends and bring more eyes to our recipes.  Being a leader in education gives us the unique ability to capture consumer attention and influence their cooking behavior, not only for Thanksgiving, but throughout the whole year.


Top 5 Holidays for Recipe Searches

top 5 holiday recipe searches

Source: Google Data, Averaged Indexed Search Query Volume, United States.


Cooks prep in advance, but most recipes searches happen on the holiday itself

Looking further into search trends online, I found that Thanksgiving cooks start searching for recipes in early September—a whole two months in advance. This is the time when they’re likely deciding on recipes, pinning photos on Pinterest, and making shopping lists of ingredients. And all though searches really take off in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, as people do their shopping and start prepping dishes, searches actually reach their peak on Thanksgiving Day.


Key Takeaways*:

  • Searches for Thanksgiving recipes start around the beginning of September and peak on Thanksgiving Day
  • There are twice as many searches for recipes during the week of Thanksgiving than during the average week
  • Recipe searches peak on Sundays throughout the year


In the broad scope of our content strategy, today’s cooks are using mobile, social, and video search as a primary source for recipe creation.  On Thanksgiving Day, connected cooks will have a spatula in one hand, a smartphone in the other and more people will be using mobile to search for recipes than ever before*.

  • 44% of recipe searches on Thanksgiving Day came from mobile—a 21% increase from the previous year.
  • So for this year, the share of mobile has grown another 19% on top of that.


To be more relevant to consumers this year, we plan on increasing the recipe output, increasing engagement on social media with collaborations and promotions, and creating useful pieces of content that will be accessible on mobile phone through the most popular channels (Google, YouTube, and Pinterest). That is a big strategic focus for us in the years to come.  We’re looking forward to cooking with you!

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