‘Friends’ Thanksgiving Episodes, Ranked

Matt LeBlanc, Lisa Kudrow, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, and Jennifer Aniston in 'Friends'
J. Delvalle / ©Warner Brothers / Courtesy: Everett Collection

It’s official: Thanksgiving is the Friends holiday.

The infamous series has cemented itself as a staple of Thanksgiving since its heyday in the ‘90s and early 2000s. The cast (Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer) and crew pulled out all the stops for these festive episodes, magnifying all of the show’s best qualities. Its witty dialogue, endearingly close-knit friendships, and ingenious storylines compose some of the best Thanksgiving content TV has to offer.

With the release of Perry’s memoir Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, never has a Thanksgiving season called for a marathon of Friends more, and we’ve made a definitive ranking of all of the Thanksgiving episodes to guide you. Scroll down to check it out.

David Schwimmer in season 2 Thanksgiving episode of 'Friends'

10. "The One With the List" (Season 2 Episode 8)

This episode actually bears little attribution to the holiday itself. Monica (Cox) lands a freelance gig: She is tasked with marketing a new brand of synthetic chocolate substitute, Mockolate, for the holiday by making Thanksgiving recipes centered on the questionable delicacy. However, this festive storyline is eclipsed by the mania following Ross (Schwimmer) and Rachel’s (Aniston) first kiss. When Ross is confronted with a choice between Rachel and his girlfriend, Julie (Lauren Tom), he handles it in typical, Ross-like fashion: earnestly but clumsily. While we love the epic build up to Ross and Rachel’s relationship, this episode didn’t quite get us in the holiday spirit.


9. "The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs" (Season 7 Episode 8)

When Phoebe (Kudrow) reveals she’s been harboring a puppy in her room for days, Chandler (Perry) is exposed for lying about having a dog allergy and instead having a hatred for all canines. Meanwhile, Rachel invites her work crush to Monica’s apartment for Thanksgiving, and Ross puts his foot in his mouth when he chastises his friends for failing a U.S. states-naming game only to lose the challenge himself. Try to watch this episode without pausing to try to name all 50 states in fewer than six minutes! Although this isn’t one of our all-time favorite Thanksgiving episodes of the series, we love it for featuring Joey’s (LeBlanc) iconic use of the term “moo point,” saying, “it’s like a cow’s opinion. You know, it just doesn’t matter. It’s moo,” and Rachel’s response, “have I been living with him for too long or did that all just make sense?”

Season 4 Thanksgiving episode of 'Friends'

8. "The One With Chandler in a Box" (Season 4 Episode 8)

Tensions run high between Chandler and Joey in the wake of Chandler kissing Joey’s girlfriend, Kathy (Paget Brewster). To show Joey how much their friendship means to him, Chandler spends Thanksgiving dinner in a six-hour timeout, confined to a box. Meanwhile, Monica attempts to go out with Richard’s (Tom Selleck) son, Timothy (Michael Vartan), and Ross rebukes Rachel for returning a necklace he’d gifted her. Although this Thanksgiving episode delivers the comic relief we love about Friends, the heightened conflict coursing through puts a strain on the heartwarming spirit of the season.

David Schwimmer in Season 6 Thanksgiving episode of 'Friends'

7. "The One Where Ross Got High" (Season 6 Episode 9)

Not the only Thanksgiving episode featuring tumultuous waters in Monica and Chandler’s relationship, this dinner sees him discovering that she never told her parents about their relationship. Ross reluctantly confesses that his and Monica’s parents dislike Chandler because he once accused Chandler of being a stoner to cover up for his own weed use when he got caught during college. He is forced to come clean to his parents years later. Although Ross at one point laments to Joey, “it’s Thanksgiving, not truth day,” the rumors exposed in this episode provide much-appreciated comedic relief for our annual Turkey Day.

Season 9 Thanksgiving episode of 'Friends'

6. "The One With Rachel’s Other Sister" (Season 9 Episode 8)

It isn’t until this episode of the ninth season that we meet Rachel’s infamously insufferable sister, Amy (Christina Applegate). It is this particular Greene who stirs the inevitable holiday drama this year, hurling inadvertent insults at everyone and sparking a heated debate about who would get Rachel and Ross’ baby, Emma, if her parents were to pass away. In fact, when Rachel proposes the idea of asking Amy to their Thanksgiving dinner, Ross responds, “you know, I think that’s a great idea. It’ll be like the Pilgrims bringing the Indians syphilis.” However, not even Rachel’s unbearable sister is a match against the unspoken devotion between these friends, and they manage to get through the holiday contention stronger than ever.

Season 1 Thanksgiving episode of 'Friends'

5. "The One Where Underdog Gets Away" (Season 1 Episode 9)

Friends’ first Thanksgiving episode sets the precedent for the gang’s dedication to each other. Despite the fact that each member had plans to part ways for the holiday, they all end up spending it where they always are: around Monica’s kitchen table. Although conflicts arise and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons fly away, this episode is the perfect introduction to a decade of Thanksgiving meals shared between these friends.

Season 3 Thanksgiving episode of 'Friends'

4. "The One with the Football" (Season 3 Episode 9)

Is it just us, or is this some of the best football in the history of Thanksgivings? A friendly game with the six pals quickly escalates when Ross and Monica’s juvenile competition resurfaces and a mysterious Dutch woman creates a rift between Joey and Chandler. Set almost completely at the park where their epic football game took place, this unconventional Thanksgiving episode still delivers all of the beloved antics we love to see.

Season 10 Thanksgiving episode of 'Friends'

3. "The One With the Late Thanksgiving" (Season 10 Episode 8)

In the series’ final Thanksgiving episode, the holiday chaos begins at the very start when two thirds of the group are late. Both pairs banking on the other being on time, Rachel and Phoebe register Emma for a baby pageant contest, while Ross and Joey go to a basketball game. When they finally get there, Monica and Chandler refuse to let them in the door. Their dedication to spending the holiday together is tested more than ever, as evidenced by Rachel exclaiming, “you know what? I don’t want to be with them either. But it’s Thanksgiving, and we should not want to be together together!” As always, they find their way back to each other, offering the perfect conclusion to a decade of the friends’ Thanksgivings, complete with Monica and Chandler’s news that they’re adopting a baby.

Season 8 Thanksgiving episode of 'Friends'

2. "The One with the Rumor" (Season 8 Episode 9)

This iconic episode features not only one of the best storylines of the series, but the first on-screen appearance of Hollywood’s favorite couple at the time, then-married Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. He plays one of Ross’ high school friends from high school who struggles to stifle his hatred for Rachel; he claims she was cruel to him in high school. Meanwhile, Monica challenges Joey to eat a 19-pound turkey — and he does not back down. The secrets exposed throughout this season’s Thanksgiving festivities are so unexpected and hysterical, it makes this episode one of our favorites to return to year after year.

Lisa Kudrow on 'Friends'

1. "The One with All the Thanksgivings" (Season 5 Episode 8)

In this quintessential Friends holiday episode, the gang reminisces on the worst Thanksgivings of their lives (or in Phoebe’s case, all of her reincarnated lives). Throughout the years, we catch glimpses of Joey getting a turkey stuck on his head, Phoebe getting her arm blown off at a war camp in 1862, and the epic Monica and Chandler saga that unfolds when a flashback reveals that she accidentally severed his toe because of an insulting comment he made to her the year before. This is the ultimate Thanksgiving episode because it combines all the best elements of the show: perfect one-liners, endearingly strong connections between the characters, flashbacks to their hilarious teenage years, and one of the most iconic chapters of Chandler and Monica’s relationship, all in the warm, fuzzy bubble of the holiday season.