Talking Turkey — This Year’s Thanksgiving Dinner Prices

A holiday mean with family in background | Image by Shutterstock

The price of a traditional Thanksgiving meal might cause sticker shock to some consumers this holiday season, considering inflation has sent food prices to historic levels.

With fewer than two weeks to prepare, shoppers might wonder how to budget for the signature holiday feast: turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, cranberries, green beans, rolls, and pies.

Shoppers this year should expect to pay an average price of $64.05 for a 10-person Thanksgiving dinner in the United States, up from the $53.31 recorded in 2021, according to the German-based market research company Statista.

Statista has tracked the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal as far back as 1990 when the price was only $28.85, roughly 122% cheaper than the $64.05 it costs today. This is supported by the American Farm Bureau’s annual Thanksgiving dinner survey, which includes a year-over-year comparison of most food items in a classic Thanksgiving meal.

Classic Thanksgiving Dinner costs in 2022 per American Farm Bureau Federation are as follows:

  • Turkey, 16 pounds — $28.64, up $4.97.
  • Cubed stuffing. 14 ounces, cost $3.88, up $1.59.
  • Sweet potatoes, 3 pounds — $3.96, up $0.40.
  • Green peas, 1 pound — $1.90, up $0.36.
  • Fresh cranberries, 12 ounces — $2.57, down $0.41.
  • Rolls, pack of 12 — $3.73, up $0.68.
  • Veggies (carrots and celery), 1 pound — $0.88, up $0.06.
  • Pumpkin pie mix, 30 ounces — $4.28, up $0.64.
  • Pie shells, pack of two — $3.68, up $0.77.
  • Whipping cream, ½ pint — $2.24, up $0.46.
  • Whole milk, one gallon — $3.84, up $0.54.

Total Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Cost = $64.05, up $10.74 from 2021.

For the purposes of the report, an Updated Thanksgiving Dinner includes all of the ingredients above, along with the following:

  • Ham, 4 pounds — $11.64, up $0.77.
  • Russet potatoes, 5 pounds — $3.64, up $0.68.
  • Green beans, 1 pound — $1.97, up $0.39.

Total Updated Thanksgiving Dinner Cost = $81.30, up $12.58 from 2021.

“There’s really no escaping the higher food prices this holiday season,” said David Ortega, a food economist at Michigan State University.

Haltom City resident Gus Nelson had been closely tracking the news and knew things were going to get crazy ahead of this year’s Thanksgiving when he read about the turkey farms being hit by avian flu.

To avoid the inflated prices charged by grocery stores, Nelson and his wife opted to raise their own Thanksgiving turkey.

“It’s definitely been a learning experience,” said Nelson, adding that “it wasn’t as easy as we thought” and “we’re probably gonna stick to the store shelf next year.”

While raising a turkey in one’s backyard isn’t for everyone, there are other ways to achieve an “affordable” Thanksgiving meal.

Bill Dendy, a certified financial planner, suggests researching the various Thanksgiving deals.

“It seems that different stores are discounting different elements of the thanksgiving dinner,” Dendy said.

Popeyes, for instance, is selling precooked turkeys at select locations for $49.99, up from the $39.99 the Louisiana-based fried chicken joint charged in 2021.

For shoppers who don’t want to fork out for the high price of a turkey this year, Dendy recommends finding an alternative.

“Cornish game hens, they’re tastier, less expensive and everybody gets a little mini turkey on their plate,” said Dendy.

Dendy put the cost savings into perspective by suggesting shoppers “trim back a little bit.”

Shoppers “only have to save 10% to 15% to keep up with inflation to have things cost what they cost in previous years,” explained Dendy.

Customers can find turkeys for comparable prices at the following grocery stores.

  • Walmart and H-E-B are selling turkeys at $0.98 cents a pound and are offering many thanksgiving staples at last year’s prices.
  • H-E-B is also offering a free turkey when you buy one of their hams.
  • Kroger is selling turkeys for $0.99 cents a pound.
  • Kroger is also offering a free turkey if you spend $100 in the store.
  • Aldi has butterball turkeys at $1.07 a pound.

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1 Comment

  1. Sam

    The Whitehouse has a big turkey you can have for free !


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