How to Make Thanksgiving Dinner for 6 People for Under $50


Photo: Diana Yen

Times are tight but that doesn’t mean Thanksgiving dinner can’t be a fantastic affair. With these amazing recipes, you can feed a family of six for under $50. Here you’ll find the timeline for when you should do everything that’s part of our budget-friendly menu, as well as a price breakdown of what you need to buy.

Get the recipes for sweet potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce, turkey, and pie here.

Budget Thanksgiving Timeline

Weekend before Thanksgiving: Begin defrosting turkey if frozen. Plan on one day for every 4 pounds of turkey.

Tuesday: Shop the rest of the ingredients.


  • Brine turkey, it will need at least 24 hours.

  • Make pie dough and store wrapped in refrigerator.

  • Whip cream if desired.

  • Make grape-cranberry sauce and cider glaze. Store wrapped in refrigerator.

  • Assemble stuffing ahead of time, place in a casserole dish and store covered in refrigerator until it’s ready to be baked.

  • Assemble sweet potato gratin ahead of time and store covered in refrigerator until it’s ready to be baked.

  • Blanch and shock green beans, store submerged in water in refrigerator until ready to sauté.

  • Make cornbread croutons and crispy shallots. Store covered at room temperature.

Thanksgiving Thursday:

  • Bake stuffing and potato gratin.

  • Finish sautéing green beans.

  • Roast turkey. This can take from two to four hours.

  • Bake pie: this can be placed in oven alongside turkey since it’s at the same temperature. Set aside pie to cool.

  • Make gravy while turkey rests.

  • Warm up dishes before serving: Place stuffing, and sweet potato gratin in oven with the heat off.

  • Top green beans with croutons and shallots before serving.

  • Top pie with whipped cream before serving.

Budget Thanksgiving Cost Breakdown

We based prices on the cost of groceries from Peapod, the online grocery delivery service, priced to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Costs may vary in different parts of the U.S. We also assumed certain items, such as flour, oil, dried spices, butter, nuts, and cocoa powder were available in your pantry. Fresh herbs were shared in dishes whenever possible.


Recipe: Apple Cider & Rosemary Glazed Turkey with Gravy & Cranberry Grape Sauce

1 (12 pound) turkey: $11.88
1 box rosemary: $2.29
1 box sage: $2.29
1 head garlic: $.99
1 apple: $.60
1 onion: $.89
1 cup apple cider: $2.99
3-oz. chicken stock: $2.29

Total: $24.22


Recipe: Grape Cranberry Sauce
1 package (12 ounces) cranberries, fresh or frozen $1.99
1 cup seedless red grapes $.75

Total: $2.74


Recipe: Cornbread Pear Stuffing
1 firm Bosc pear: $1.69
1 cup celery: $1
1 egg: $.30 ($1.79- box of 6)
Store-bought cornbread: $3

Total: $5.99


Recipe: Sweet Potato Gratin with Pecans
2 pounds sweet potatoes: $1.50
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk: $1.59
1 ½ cups (6 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese: $2.99

Total: $6.08


Recipe: Green Beans with Crispy Shallots and Herbed Cornbread Croutons
2 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced into rings: $.85
1 ½ pounds green beans: $2.99

Total: $3.84


Recipe: Pumpkin Pie with Chocolate Crust
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk $1.59
1 15 ounce canned pumpkin puree $3.49
2 large eggs $.60

Total: $5.68


More delicious Thanksgiving recipes:

19 Show-Stopping Thanksgiving Recipes to Impress Your Guests

16 Desserts for Thanksgiving Dinner That Aren’t Pies

19 Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes for a Traditional Holiday