Budget Recipes for Thanksgiving

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Are you planning for a Thanksgiving feast? Need some fresh inspiration? Here are some of the best budget recipes for Thanksgiving you must try this year.

thanksgiving table set with full dinner plates

Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away. That one meal, while special and festive, can add to a pretty pricy dinner tab.

Too pricy for the month’s budget.

What can you do to fix that? Well, you could skip the meal, let someone else host, or simply find some budget recipes that will still help you celebrate without going into hock.

thanksgiving dinner plate with all the trimmings

Thanksgiving is probably one of my favorite holidays. Fall weather is beautiful, and Thanksgiving food is amazing.

The day is punctuated by food, family, football, and some more food.

I know that everyone thinks that their Thanksgiving recipes are the best. I know I do.

I don’t mess around with experiment recipes on Thanksgiving because we all know what we expect: these traditional budget recipes that everyone likes. They are simple, delicious, and easy on the wallet.

table set with drinks candle and relish tray

Easy Ways to Save on Thanksgiving

While there are many ways to host budget-friendly holiday meals, but here are some of the easiest short cuts to saving money at Thanksgiving:

  1. Shop the sales. You can pick up some great deals for the holiday as well as for the coming months.
  2. Let the prices plan your meals. As hard as it is to forego some traditional favorites, if it’s too expensive, then save it for next year. Plan your meals around ingredients you can source affordably.
  3. Choose budget recipes for Thanksgiving. While it’s tempting to pull out all the stops at the holiday, enough is as good as a feast. Ma Ingalls says so. Choose recipes that are naturally budget-friendly. (Hint: scroll down for some yummy ideas!)
  4. Be mindful of leftovers. Chances are when you prepare a large feast, you make too much. Save those leftovers! While they are great reheated the next day, there are lots of meals that can be made from leftovers

Budget Recipes for Thanksgiving

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This post was originally published in November 2016. It has been updated for clarity and relevance.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Stephanie M. says

    One of the things I like to make are hollowed out oranges stuffed with sweet potatoes that have been cooked, mashed, and have a little orange juice and cinnamon in them for some added sweetness. Then they get topped with mini marshmallows and baked till they are hot.

    Another recipe I like is yellow squash casserole made with saltine cracker crumbs, cheddar cheese, eggs, milk, and sliced cooked yellow squash.

    My favorite pie is the apple crumb pie I make, but I also make pumpkin pie which I love too.

    It depends from year to year what I choose to make depending on how many people are coming. I never have a gigantic crowd; this year will be ten and that’s plenty for me. I used to make so many sides and appetizers that people really had a hard time eating. Last year, I looked at the above picture on this post and just loved the way it looked without a whole lot of other things on the plate so I made exactly what I saw in the picture. I had a small group last year and it didn’t seem necessary to make a huge amount of food. Our plates looked just like in the picture and it was enough for our small group without enough leftovers for a month. This is how I’m doing it again this year; the only difference is I’m also making stuffed mushrooms which is another side I have been making for years. One appetizer and it will be Stromboli. And also soup before the meal – meatball tortellini. I used to make so many appetizers and then the star of the dinner isn’t enjoyed. It took me many years to tame myself into not making enough food for the whole country. Ha Ha

    • I’m so honored that you planned your Thanksgiving based on one of my pictures! Your menu sounds delicious!

      We do stuffed mushrooms on NYE. A tradition and I’ve finally trained a few kids to like them!

      Happy Thanksgiving, friend!

  2. laura says

    My sister always made a stuffed pumpkin, filled with vegetables, nuts and fruits and then drizzled with maple syrup and baked…it was beautiful and aromatic but I never really liked it. She’s due with her first this weekend (!) so she’s not going to be here with us. This year my son’s birthday falls right on thanksgiving so we are building new traditions around that – birthday cake anyone? He’s turning three so balloons are required as well;)

    We will venture to my in laws again this year where 26 of us with gather. My MIL provides the traditional components and then the rest of us bring sides and desserts. My husband requests ham as he’s not a turkey lover, so I am bringing that, roasted squash, blueberry pie, pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheese cake, and then an assortment of pickles and relishes that we preserved. Since I truly can’t stand the feeling of being over full, I usually just nibble in the morning and then enjoy a modest plate to taste it all when dinner is served around 2pm. I tend to not love pie, even when I make it, so dessert isn’t my favorite. If I make a cheesecake that may change though;) I really just enjoy the feeling of a full house with chatter and lots of the cousins running around! Growing up we ALWAYS listened to Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant at noon. I’m not sure all my husband’s relatives appreciate the sentiment of the song but it’s an absolute for me, even if it’s in my own kitchen while prepping my contributions. We also love the leftovers, sometimes even more than the big meal.

  3. Sally says

    Thanksgiving is the one meal that doesn’t change from year to year. Something can be added, but the basics MUST be present: turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, corn pudding, rolls and cranberry sauce. We typically don’t do appetizers or drinks before the meal, but wine may be served with the meal. There’s pie for dessert. The pie can be pumpkin, pecan, apple or sugar cream pie.

    I like the tradition of having the same meal year after year.

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