How to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner for Less Than $100
We put together several detailed menus.
Between the grocery shopping, meal prepping, cooking and entertaining, Thanksgiving can be one of the most stressful days of the year. That’s why we’ve pulled together a list of stress-free meal plan options that are perfect for feeding a family of four to six people for $100 or less, with plenty of options for accommodating a larger or smaller group. Whether you're in need of classic Thanksgiving recipes, playful appetizers and desserts or beverage pairings, we've got you covered.
To come up with the total cost of each recipe, we added up the average cost for purchasing the necessary ingredients and added 5% of the total on top for pantry staples such as salt, pepper, oil, sugar and flour. We cost out these recipes to reflect a median cost across the country, but depending on where you live, it’s totally possible that your dinner could cost less or more (just keeping it real).
Mains and Sides
Consider this section full of the classic Thanksgiving dishes (think turkey, potatoes, green beans and Brussels sprouts). We've gathered recipes that cross-utilize ingredients so you can buy certain ingredients in bulk. This saves money and makes shopping a lot easier. Here's another useful shopping tip: ask your grocery store if it offers any deals when you spend a certain amount of money (many supermarkets will give you a free frozen turkey). If your store offers incentives, buy your groceries there in one or two big trips instead of several smaller ones.
Menu 1 ($95)
The fully planned out meal for six people.
Skip the fuss of prepping and cooking an entire turkey and get just the turkey breast. It's perfect for feeding a household of up to 6 people.
There's no need to dirty a bunch of pots and pans or worry about oven space with this clever recipe that fits all your Thanksgiving sides on one sheet pan. All the classics are there: cranberry sauce, biscuits, potatoes and green bean casserole. Note: The biscuits called for in the recipe are no longer available, but you can substitute for regular-sized biscuits.
If you're in need of some stuffing to go with your turkey, Rachael Ray's stuffing in muffin form is a fan-favorite that enhances prepared stuffing mix with plenty of veggies, fresh herbs and sweet apples.
Menu 2 ($72)
The smart, condensed meal for up to four people.
The turkey breast, stuffing, brussels sprouts, marshmallow-stuffed sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce magically cook together on two sheet trays. The recipe is scaled to serve four people and requires way less work than a giant feast.
Parker House Rolls ($10)
Bobby Flay’s recipe for buttery, light-as-air rolls are easy to pull off – and an inexpensive way to round out your meal.
Menu 3 ($99)
Mix-and-match options so you can pick and choose depending on your budget and your favorites. We've rounded up some of our best recipes for the perfect Thanksgiving feast.
The Best Roasted Turkey ($44)
Mashed Sweet Potatoes ($17)
Perfect Mashed Potatoes ($10)
Appetizers and Desserts
What's a Thanksgiving meal without dessert and a little nosh? Expect to spend between an additional $10 to $20 for each item. Think of them as add-ons. Depending on which menu you choose, you might still slide in under $100 – or spend a little more.
Stuffed Mushroom Dip ($22)
Butternut Squash Soup ($12)
Spicy Sausage Balls ($14)
Stuffed Mushrooms ($18)
Pumpkin Cheese Ball ($25)
Classic Pumpkin Pie ($23)
Apple Pie ($13)
Pecan Pie ($20)
We've rounded up the perfect alcoholic pairings to go with your Thanksgiving feast – sure to put you in the celebratory mood!
Classic Gin Gimlet ($3 per cocktail)
We love this cocktail with London Dry Gin, which has an infused herabceousness that will highlight the classic flavors of Thanksgiving – think sage, rosemary, citrus and juniper. This cocktail combines gin with lime juice and a dash of simple syrup. So refreshing, it acts like a palate cleanser.
Old Fashioned ($3 per cocktail)
This beverage typically calls for whiskey as an ingredient, but to up the ante for Thanksgiving, try using Bourbon, an all-American variety of whiskey that’s charred in American oak barrels. The carred barrels give bourbon qintisential vanilla, maple-y aromas that pair beautifully with your savory meal.
Cranberry Champagne Cocktail ($3 per cocktail)
Ask for a dry sparkling wine at your liquor store, but if you can’t find one, the tartness of the cranberries gives this beverage refreshing acidity. Perfect for sipping on while you nibble cheese or eat heavy, buttery dishes.