Inexpensive Recipes for Thanksgiving

High prices at the grocery store mean it’s time to be strategic about your Thanksgiving feast.

Thanksgiving dinner is one of the most elaborate and delicious meals you might eat all year. But this year, a traditional Thanksgiving feast is going to be harder on your wallet than it has been in the past.

The price of consumer goods has been climbing for months. Basics like milk and meat are more expensive, causing ordinary people to have to dig deeper into their pockets for items that used to be affordable. 

And because of low supply and high demand, items we’re used to having easy access to – like butter, which is important in so many recipes – won’t necessarily be on the shelves.

All of that means Thanksgiving dinner this year could look different from years past. If you used to have both a honey-baked ham and a turkey on the Thanksgiving table, this year you might just have the turkey. 

However, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor or the tradition of eating a delicious Thanksgiving dinner together because of high prices. With the right tools, you can adapt your menu and pull off a fantastic Thanksgiving feast with these simple, affordable recipes. 

But First, Plan Ahead

Close up of roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots
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Early-bird discounts on your Thanksgiving bird are out there. You just have to find them! Take advantage of local grocery store sales by planning your Thanksgiving meal well in advance. 

Either scope out the sale (this is the time of year to pay attention to those weekly ads you receive in the mail!) and make sure you’re at the store to pick up your turkey when it’s time, or pre-order it. Don’t let your turkey fall by the wayside! Also, remember that buying a whole turkey, rather than a turkey breast, is the better value.

If you plan in advance the side dishes you’re going to serve, you can keep an eye out for sales so that you get the best deals on ingredients. And consider buying non-perishable items, like brown sugar, butter, and vegetable oil, early.

Read More: How to Win at No-Spend November

Stuffing

Personally, I don’t like stuffing, but this Thanksgiving classic is an inexpensive staple. Make it with breadcrumbs or cornbread and ingredients that you’re already using for other dishes, such as celery, broth, and onions.

Get the recipe here: Classic Herb Stuffing

Potato Recipes

Potatoes are one of the most versatile and affordable foods around. They’ll also keep for a long time, meaning that once you’ve run out of your Thanksgiving leftovers, that bag of potatoes is still there, waiting to be turned into more meals. Here are just a few ideas of what you can do with potatoes.

Mashed Potatoes

Creamy and filling, mashed potatoes are always a hit, especially with little ones! This inexpensive, simple staple should definitely be on your Thanksgiving table.

Get the recipe here: Mashed Potatoes

Baked Potatoes

baked potatoes with cheese and bacon bits
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On the other hand, the crispy, tasty skin of the potato is a can’t-miss for many. Warm baked potatoes could be a great addition to your Thanksgiving feast!

Get the recipe here: Perfect Baked Potato

French Fries

While French fries aren’t necessarily a traditional Thanksgiving food, if you’re hosting little ones over the holidays, they’ll enjoy this finger food. Plus, French fries go great with leftover turkey!

Get the recipe here: Perfect French Fries

Cheesy Potato Casserole

One of the reasons I love Thanksgiving so much is that it’s the one time of year that I get to eat my aunt’s cheesy potato casserole. Because it requires potatoes and cheese but not a whole lot more, it’s very affordable to make. Shredded potatoes or scalloped potatoes are both great options for this delicious dish!

Get the recipes here: Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes or Cheesy Grated Potato Casserole

Easy Roasted Potatoes

Some of these recipes are more labor-intensive than others; for example, the cheesy potato casserole requires a fair bit of preparation. But with this easy roasted potato recipe, you’ll have a delicious, inexpensive side dish in no time.

Get the recipe here: Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes

Sweet Potato Casserole

A sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows is a Thanksgiving classic in my book. You can always opt for a healthier application of sweet potatoes, like sweet potato fries, a baked sweet potato, or even mashed sweet potatoes. But the marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole is a holiday delight.

Sweet potatoes aren’t a cheap ingredient, so make sure you keep an eye out for sales if you decide to make this dish! Some recipes suggest adding candied nuts to the topping, but that’s another expense you can go without – and the casserole will still be delicious!

Get the recipe here: Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

Vegetables

a man sauteing veggies in a pan
Adobe Stock

Do you think of roasted carrots, green bean casserole, and Brussels sprouts when you think of Thanksgiving? While veggies aren’t necessarily the star of the show, you definitely need them for a complete Thanksgiving feast!

However, fresh produce can be expensive and can spoil quickly. You’ll need to be strategic about which vegetables you buy, how you store them, and how you prepare them.

Read More: Save When You Switch to an Electric Stove

Glazed Carrots

Fortunately, carrots are very affordable and a fantastic option for a Thanksgiving side. You can roast them along with other veggies for a tasty medley, or you can serve them glazed. It’s inexpensive and healthy!

Get the recipe here: Glazed Carrots

Vegetable Medley

The great thing about a medley is that you can add whatever you want, as long as the flavors go well together, and you’ll have a delicious dish. If you have leftover broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts, squash, zucchini, peppers, or other veggies, throw them all in! Of course, you can add small fingerling potatoes, too, or chop your regular potatoes into chunks. Roast them or sautee them – it’s up to you!


Get the recipes here: Roasted Vegetable Medley or Sauteed Vegetables

Brussels Sprouts

This tiny vegetable is affordable, especially if you shop at Aldi! Some people hate Brussels sprouts, but if you prepare them the right way, you might just change their minds. There are so many different ways to cook Brussels sprouts, but baking them in the oven is the low-stress choice so you can focus on other dishes. 

Get the recipe here: The Best Brussels Sprouts of Your Life

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole with silverware
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Here’s another inexpensive and classic Thanksgiving dish. Canned green beans are very inexpensive, as are cream of mushroom soup and crispy French onions, the only other ingredients you’ll need (besides some milk). It’s tasty, filling, traditional, extremely easy to make, and best of all, affordable. What’s not to love about green bean casserole? 

Get the recipe here: Green Bean Casserole

Cornbread Casserole

If you like corn, you’re going to love this inexpensive casserole recipe. It’s old-fashioned, simple, tasty, and best of all, affordable. While it may not be the healthiest veggie recipe on this list, it’s still a great Thanksgiving option!

Get the recipe here: Creamy Cornbread Casserole

Dinner Rolls

How else are you going to sop up your leftover gravy? Dinner rolls are inexpensive to buy pre-packaged. However, if you already have certain very common ingredients (flour, yeast, sugar, salt, milk, and butter), you can make your own and not even spend money at the store. You’ll need to invest time, but the deliciousness of homemade dinner rolls is worth it! 

Get the recipe here: Classic Dinner Rolls

Cornbread

Cornbread is another classic that’s not all that expensive to make. Buy a box of Jiffy cornbread mix for a low price and leave it at that, or take it to the next level with a few extra ingredients that you might already have at home. 

Get the recipe here: The Ultimate Jiffy Cornbread Recipe

Desserts

That sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows is both a vegetable and a dessert, but it’s certainly not the only affordable Thanksgiving dessert option. If you’re short on time, you can always keep an eye out for sales on pies from the bakery department at your local grocery store. But if you have a bit more time and you can plan ahead, you can make a delicious Thanksgiving dessert as well.

Carrot Cake

carrot cake and cinnamon stick bundle
Shutterstock

Pre-made cake mixes are relatively inexpensive, especially if you already have vegetable oil in your pantry and eggs in your fridge. And carrot cake fits the Thanksgiving menu so well. If you’re not a fan of carrot cake, take a look at coffee cake and cinnamon crumble cakes. Remember, you can skip expensive toppings like special icing and nuts. 

Get the recipe here: Carrot Cake

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Head to Aldi to pick up your ingredients for this tasty Thanksgiving treat. Canned pumpkin is inexpensive, and they look so cute!

Get the recipe here: Mini Pumpkin Pies

Apple Pie

You already know that apples are in season in the fall, which should make this dessert less expensive to whip up. You probably have some of the necessary ingredients for the crust in your pantry already, making this dessert a good budget option. This recipe costs about $6.94 to make, or $.87 a serving.

Get the recipe here: Apple Pie

Read More: How To: Save on Your Thanksgiving Feast

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