National Survey Uncovers America’s Must-Have Ingredients for the Ultimate Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich


Pumpkin Pie, Brussel Sprouts and Mac ‘n Cheese Join

Turkey and Gravy on Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwiches



CHICAGO (Nov. 6, 2023) — Pumpkin pie, turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole are some of the time-honored tastes people look forward to every Thanksgiving Day, but they also top the list of day-after sandwich items, according to a new survey.


A recent nationwide survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Alpha Baking Co., Inc., the bakers behind S. Rosen’s bread, buns, and rolls, among over 2,000 U.S. adults set out to uncover America’s favorite Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. Ingredients and results ranged from traditional to transformative.


According to the survey, an overwhelming majority of Americans, 94%, dine on a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, with key findings including:

  • White bread (20%) was the bread winner for sandwich bases, with whole

wheat and Hawaiian bread varieties following closely behind (15% each)

  • Among those who make leftover Thanksgiving sandwiches, savory staples gravy (42%), ham (41%), and stuffing (39%) came in hot behind turkey (81%) as the most popular items that belong on a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich.
  • Pumpkin pie-filled sandwiches made an impressive showing with 11% of those who make leftover Thanksgiving sandwiches calling it out as a “must have” ingredient.
  • Casserole crazed? Americans love adding hot dish leftovers into their post-turkey day sandwiches, with Mac and Cheese (21%) Green Bean Casserole (14%) Corn and Corn Casserole (10%) Broccoli Casserole (9%) reported by survey participants.



When it comes to crafting the quintessential Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, more than half who use bread on their Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, 54%, say their bread selection is because it's their favorite for all sandwiches.


“What the survey makes clear is that, while Americans may prefer myriad different ingredients on their Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches, we can all agree that a great bread is essential to any day-after-Thanksgiving sandwich. As our founder liked to say, great sandwiches start with great bread; that’s something we believe so strongly here that we put it on all of our bread bags,” said Tim Lotesto, Vice President of Retail Sales at Alpha Baking Co., Inc.


“In honor of America's preferences, we’ve curated five Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich serving suggestions with some of the must-have ingredients called out in the survey, including gravy, cranberry, mac n’ cheese, sweet potatoes, and even pumpkin pie,” added Lotesto. For a full list, visit


Sandwich Survey’s Traditional v. Non-Traditional Leftover Ingredients


Following turkey with 81% choosing it as belonging in Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches, Americans said the following belongs

on theirs:

●        Gravy (42%)

●        Ham (41%),

●        Stuffing (39%)

●        Mashed potatoes (30%)

●        Cranberry sauce (29%)

●        Mac ‘n cheese (21%)

●        Sweet potatoes (15%)

●        Green bean casserole (14%)

●        Pumpkin pie (11%)

●        Corn and corn casserole (10%)

●        Broccoli casserole (9%)

●        Carrots (8%)

●        Brussel sprouts (6%)

●        Squash (5%)

●        Something else (7%)





Generational Divides Over Non-Leftover, Must-Have Ingredients


According to the survey, nearly half, (47%) of Thanksgiving leftover sandwich makers include non-leftover ingredients in their culinary creations. Mayonnaise topped the list, with 47% saying they add it to theirs. However, mayo is used by this group of Baby Boomers (ages 65+) almost twice as much as Gen Z and Millennials combined (age 18-44) (63% vs. 35%).


Not surprisingly, cheese (34%) and tomato (22%), perennial sandwich staples, take the second and third spots for non-traditional ingredients. While bacon emerges as a popular non-leftover ingredient, 20% need it on their Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches. Gen Z and Millennials prefer it nearly twice that of Boomers.


Chips also made the list as a desirable non-leftover ingredient, with 15% incorporating the salty snack into their sandwiches. Notably, the younger generation (18-34) professes a deep love for crispy chips, enjoying them nearly three times as much as those aged 65+.



About Alpha Baking    

Chicago-based Alpha Baking Co., Inc. provides premium baked goods to restaurants, food service outlets, retailers, and consumers under the S. Rosen’s, Mary Ann Baking, and Natural Ovens brands. Alpha Baking Co., Inc. employs more than 1,800 people at its six production plants. For more information, visit  or




Survey Method:

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Alpha Baking Co., Inc. from October 3-5, 2023 among 2,083 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,963 make leftover Thanksgiving sandwiches. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval.  For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.7 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Alpha Baking Co., Inc.