Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Girls Night Dinner Party
Girls Night Dinner Party
Breanna Coon / Her Campus
Culture > Entertainment

The One Where Every ‘Friends’ Thanksgiving Episode is Ranked

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

It’s finally that time of year: Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving is not only a time to enjoy a delicious meal with your family and loved ones — it’s also time to binge-watch every Friends episode dedicated to the holiday. As a Friends fanatic, this is something I do year-round; but it’s turned into some sort of self-tradition.

Over the course of 10 seasons, the beloved sitcom has released a Thanksgiving episode almost every season (the exception is season two…you know, “The One with the List”). 

Although they’re all different and unique in their own way, they all center around the idea of gathering around the dining table to enjoy Monica’s top-notch cooking and spending some time with friends.

Let’s be honest — there are always some episodes that you’re just going to like better than others. So, in celebration of these episodes being released in theaters this holiday season, here’s my personal ranking of each Friends Thanksgiving episode from most-best to least-best (because in my eyes, there’s no “worst” when it comes to this show).

“The One Where Ross Got High” (6×09)

This one should just be called “The One with Rachel’s Trifle” (IYKYK). This episode only ranks highest on the list because of the iconic moment where Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) agrees to make a dessert trifle but it only turns out to be a disastrous combination of trifle and Shepherd’s Pie because she followed instructions from two cookbook pages that got stuck together. Of course, Joey (Matt LeBlanc) doesn’t hesitate to eat it and ends up being the only friend who enjoys it.

“The One with All the Thanksgivings” (5×08)


We love a good flashback episode in this house. The gang each tell stories of bad Thanksgivings to cheer up Ross (David Schwimmer), who is freshly divorced and just got evicted. Including stories of Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) losing an arm and Joey getting his head stuck in an uncooked turkey, this episode also gives us the unofficial origin story of Monica (Courtney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry)’s relationship. Flashback to the 80s, when Monica (pre-weight loss) and Rachel (pre-nose job) were still in high school and Ross and Chandler were in college. Back then, Chandler called Monica fat, which hurt her feelings and motivated her to lose the weight. And of course, this episode includes Rachel’s iconic “b*tchin’” line and Chandler telling Monica he loves her for the first time while she has an uncooked turkey on her head.

“The One with the Football” (3×09)


The gang decides to take a break from the kitchen and play a game of football. Competition gets intense between Ross and Monica’s sibling rivalry and Chandler and Joey’s battle to win over Margha, a Dutch woman who decides to watch the game. It’s all for the iconic Geller cup trophy (who can forget that troll doll glued to a 2×4?) and of course, bragging rights.​

“The One Where Underdog Gets Away” (1×09)


This is the episode that started it all. Since it’s the first time the Central Perk Six celebrate together, I feel like it’s a crime to not put this episode at the top of the list. The gang, minus Ross, gets locked out of the iconic lavender apartment when they go to the roof to see the Underdog balloon escaping the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. A true holiday classic.

“The One with the Rumor” (8×09)


This is one of my personal favorite episodes because it guest stars Brad Pitt, who was romantically linked with Jennifer Aniston at the time of filming (can you tell I love history?). In this episode, Monica runs into an old high school friend, Will (Pitt), and invites him to the gang’s Thanksgiving feast. Rachel’s in for a rude awakening as Will and Ross formed the “I Hate Rachel Green Club” in high school and Will finally confronts her. Honestly, I only watch this episode to see Will “flip his hair” and impersonate Rachel.

“The One with the Late Thanksgiving” (10×08)


It makes total sense that the final Thanksgiving episode of the series is fun and lighthearted — which is all the reason this episode isn’t all the way at the bottom of the list. Monica originally didn’t want to make Thanksgiving dinner that year, but when Phoebe says it wasn’t that good the previous year, Monica can’t help but take on the challenge (typical Monica…she loves competition, even if it’s with herself). The rest of the gang decides to split up during the daytime, which results in Ross and Joey going to a hockey game and Rachel and Phoebe entering Rachel’s daughter, Emma, into a baby beauty contest with a prize of $1,000. Chandler stays and helps Monica with meal prep, and the rest of the gang ends up being late for Thanksgiving dinner.

“The One with Chandler in a Box” (4×08)

What do you do when your best friend/roommate kisses your significant other? You probably go apartment hunting…or make them sit in a wooden crate for six hours at Thanksgiving dinner. This is exactly what went down between Joey and Chandler in this episode. Monica also gets some ice in her eye from the freezer during Thanksgiving meal prep, which leads to her making a trip to the ophthalmologist, her ex Richard (Tom Selleck). However, Richard’s son Timothy (Michael Vartan) is in the office instead and Monica invites him to Thanksgiving dinner. They end up kissing at the end of the night to only be grossed out because of Monica’s romantic ties with his father.

“The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs” (7×08)


This episode doesn’t really do much for me personally, but it’s still a good one. Rachel invites her hot assistant, Tag, over for Thanksgiving dinner. He shares that he recently broke up with his girlfriend. Rachel’s basically had a crush on him since he got hired, so she debates whether she should make a move. Phoebe, who is temporarily staying with Chandler and Monica, is dog-sitting and the gang learns that Chandler is terrified of dogs. Ross plays a game in which he has to name all 50 U.S. states that Chandler proposes and doesn’t let himself eat dinner until he names them all. He names 50, but he ended up naming Nevada twice.

“The One with Rachel’s Other Sister” (9×08)


This one only takes the last spot because it’s like watching your parents fight…no one likes to see it. Rachel’s sister Amy (Christina Applegate) joins the gang for Thanksgiving this year after her married boyfriend cancels their plans. This ultimately sparks up a heated debate about who would be Emma (or “Emily,” according to Amy)’s godparents. Ross and Rachel reveal that Emma’s godparents would be Monica and Chandler, and Ross’ parents, which offends Amy. Monica and Chandler use their wedding china for Thanksgiving and Joey runs late to participate in the Macy’s parade with the rest of the Days of Our Lives cast.

I know I’m going to spend some part of my Thanksgiving break watching the Central Perk Six celebrate. After all, I feel like the friends are family.

Samantha Olson is a University of Central Florida alumna who served as senior and deputy editor for HCUCF. She graduated with a bachelor of arts in journalism with a minor in creative writing and a certificate in editing and publishing. When Sam isn't admiring city life and art museums, she's working as Seventeen Magazine's editorial fellow and running Shifter Mag alongside her BFF, Victor.  For daily doses of Sam, follow her on Instagram.
UCF Contributor