The Cheapest Grocery Stores for Thanksgiving [2023 Study]

FinanceBuzz looked up what it would cost to buy a Thanksgiving meal at some of the most popular grocery stores in the country.

thanksgiving dinner turkey
Updated May 13, 2024
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As Thanksgiving approaches, hosts around the country are starting to make shopping plans. Whether you’re preparing your Thanksgiving meal at home or bringing in a catered meal, hosting can be expensive — but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to save.

To help shoppers, our researchers compared prices from major supermarkets across the U.S. to find the most and least affordable Thanksgiving food options. For those who prefer a pre-made meal, we also compiled the costs of a fully catered Thanksgiving meal at each chain to see which stores offered the best takeaway sales this season.

In this article

Key findings

  • For Thanksgiving shoppers cooking everything themselves:
    • Most expensive groceries: Whole Foods ($84.84 for eight people)
    • Least expensive groceries: Wegman's ($32.91 for eight people, including turkey promotion)
  • For Thanksgiving shoppers buying pre-made meals:
    • Most expensive meals: Costco ($24.88 per person)
    • Least expensive meals: Target ($6.25 per person)

How much will your Thanksgiving shopping list cost you at different stores this year?

Using a standard shopping list of 10 Thanksgiving staples, we set out to find how much it would cost to make a dinner for eight people from major grocery chains nationwide.

Most expensive grocery chains for a Thanksgiving meal

The cost of a turkey was the single biggest expense at every grocery store, with pumpkin pie as the second-largest line item. Gravy and vegetable sides, such as green beans and corn, tended to be the most affordable. On average, we found it costs a minimum of $45 to buy enough for an 8-person meal. 

Unsurprisingly, of the retailers we reviewed, Whole Foods was the most expensive option. Our grocery list costs $84.84 (before tax), with the price of a turkey ($29.88 for non-Prime members) accounting for the bulk of that total. The upscale grocery store, which prides itself on organic and healthy foods, has more than 500 locations nationwide in 45 states.

Store Turkey Potatoes

& gravy

Stuffing Vegetables Other sides Pumpkin pie Total
Albertsons $7.08* $5.97 $3.99 $12.32 $9.07 $6.99 $45.42
Aldi $15.24 $2.53 $1.50 $4.21 $6.79 $5.19 $35.46
HEB $11.76* $3.27 $1.42 $7.16 $5.95 $6.05 $35.61
HyVee $23.88 $3.25 $1.98 $9.12 $7.47 $4.99 $50.69
Kroger $8.28 $4.49 $2.98 $7.72 $7.37 $5.49 $36.33
Meijer $7.08* $3.27 $1.98 $8.96 $6.97 $6.49 $34.75
Publix $9.12* $5.61 $3.71 $10.88 $10.44 $10.19 $49.95
Target $11.88 $5.27 $3.39 $10.50 $8.97 $7.99 $48.00
Walmart $11.76 $2.94 $2.58 $5.44 $7.14 $6.42 $36.28
Wegmans $3.48* $5.27 $2.98 $6.72 $7.47 $6.99 $32.91
Whole Foods $29.88* $5.49 $3.49 $20.52 $10.47 $14.99 $84.84

* Include promotional/seasonal pricing for the week of Thanksgiving only. Some prices may vary based on promotional periods.  

For more affordable options, ingredients from Walmart, Aldi, and regional chains like HEB, Meijer, and Wegmans cost between $30 and $40, less than half of the price of a Whole Foods meal. Of note, this is largely due to large promotional discounts these retailers run on turkey during the week leading up to Thanksgiving, so normal prices may be more higher outside of November. 

The most affordable stores for a pre-made Thanksgiving meal

Cooking everything from scratch isn’t for everyone, and as a result, many stores and restaurants offer pre-made meals that can be picked up in advance and easily reheated on the big day.

To help consumers decide which pre-prepared option best suits their needs this Thanksgiving, we compiled details for some of the largest grocery store chains in the country to make comparisons easier.


Of note, these pre-made meals can differ substantially from store to store, both in terms of what you actually get and what they cost. For instance, while Costco’s pre-made option is sure to come with its signature pumpkin pie, Target’s meal doesn’t come with a dessert option.

Overall, these stores offer the least expensive pre-made Thanksgiving meals in 2023.

1. Target

  • Total cost: $25
  • How many people it feeds: 4
  • Cost per person: $6.25
  • What is included: A 10-16 pound turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans, and cream of mushroom soup.

2. Walmart

  • Total cost: $47.88
  • How many people it feeds: 6-8
  • Cost per person: $6.84
  • What is included: A smoked turkey breast, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, and gravy.

3. Meijer

  • Total cost: $59.99
  • How many people it feeds: 6-8
  • Cost per person: $8.57
  • What is included: A 10-12 pound Butterball turkey, homestyle stuffing, roasted turkey gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry relish, and a dozen King’s Hawaiian dinner rolls.

4. Publix

  • Total cost: $69.99
  • How many people it feeds: 8
  • Cost per person: $8.75
  • What is included: A 10-12 pound turkey, 2.5 pounds of Publix Deli old-fashioned cornbread dressing, 2.5 pounds of Publix Deli homestyle yukon gold mashed potatoes, 16 ounces of Publix Deli cranberry orange relish, 28 ounces of Publix Deli marshmallow delight, and 32 ounces of Publix Deli homestyle gravy.

5. Safeway

  • Total cost: $69.99
  • How many people it feeds: 6-8
  • Cost per person: $10.00
  • What is included: A 10-12 pound turkey, 32 ounces of mashed potatoes, 28 ounces of homestyle stuffing, 24 ounces of homestyle gravy, and 14 ounces of cranberry sauce.

6. Albertsons

  • Total cost: $69.99
  • How many people it feeds: 6
  • Cost per person: $11.67
  • What is included: A 10-12 lb. turkey, 32 ounces of mashed potatoes, 30 ounces of cornbread stuffing, 14 ounces of cranberry sauce, 24 ounces of gravy, and a dozen King’s Hawaiian dinner rolls.

7. Sam’s Club

  • Total cost: $70.00
  • How many people it feeds: 10
  • Cost per person: $7.00
  • What is included: A 10-16 pound turkey, four pounds of mashed potatoes, 18 ounces of turkey gravy, 1.25 pounds of brussels sprouts, 32-count of King’s Hawaiian dinner rolls, and 12-inch pumpkin pie.

8. Kroger

  • Total cost: $80.00
  • How many people it feeds: 6-8
  • Cost per person: $11.43
  • What is included: A 10-12 pound Butterball turkey, a 32-ounce Home Chef sweet potato soufflé, a 28-ounce Home Chef green bean casserole, 32 ounces of Home Chef old fashioned bread stuffing, 48 ounces of Home Chef mashed potatoes, and 13 ounces of turkey gravy.

9. HyVee

  • Total cost: $119.99
  • How many people it feeds: 8
  • Cost per person: $15.00
  • What is included: A 10-12 pound Butterball turkey, two large sides of mashed potatoes, two large sides of your choice, 16 ounces of beef or turkey gravy, and 12 dinner rolls.

10. HEB

  • Total cost: $149.99
  • How many people it feeds: 8
  • Cost per person: $18.75
  • What is included: A turkey and traditional sides like creamy mashed potatoes, savory cornbread stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, turkey gravy, and tangy cranberry sauce.

11. Whole Foods

  • Total cost: $169.99
  • How many people it feeds: 8
  • Cost per person: $21.25
  • What is included: A classic roast turkey with turkey gravy, sea salt and cracked pepper green beans, creamy mashed potatoes, traditional herb stuffing, and cranberry orange sauce.

12. Wegmans

  • Total cost: $179.99
  • How many people it feeds: 10
  • Cost per person: $17.90
  • What is included: An all-natural, slow-roasted 12-14 pound turkey, herb bread stuffing, signature whipped potatoes, green bean casserole with crispy onions, mashed sweet potatoes, homestyle gravy, and cranberry orange relish.

13. Costco

  • Total cost: $199.99
  • How many people it feeds: 8
  • Cost per person: $24.88
  • What is included: Five pounds of turkey breast, two pounds of stuffing, 1.5 pounds of mashed potatoes, eight ounces of turkey gravy, 1.25 pounds of macaroni and cheese, and two eight-inch pies.
    • Of note, Costco's premade meal comes from a third party, not Costco directly. 

How to save this Thanksgiving

  • Earn credit card rewards at checkout. To get the most out of your shopping trip, use one of the best credit cards for buying groceries to earn rewards on your purchases.
  • Use helpful grocery hacks at the store. Groceries are a significant expense for families of all sizes. Getting some insider tips on how to spend less on groceries can help reduce the overall cost of your essentials.
  • Use travel credit cards when visiting family. The days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are a busy time of year for travel. When you book trips, use one of the best travel credit cards to earn rewards for future holidays.

Methodology

All price data for individual grocery items comes directly from each store's official website. Prices were collected from stores in cities where the cost of living is close to the overall average for the United States, according to Numbeo

All price data represents the pre-tax cost for the most affordable brand of each item available. We found how much it would cost to buy enough food to feed eight people. The complete list of items and quantities is as follows:

  • One 12-pound whole frozen turkey
  • One box of instant mashed potatoes
  • Two packets of gravy mix
  • One package of a dozen dinner rolls
  • 12 ounces of stuffing mix
  • Two cans of cranberry sauce
  • Two cans of green beans
  • Two cans of whole-kernel corn
  • Four pounds of sweet potatoes
  • One 8-12 inch pumpkin pie

Prices and menus for pre-made meals come directly from the official website of each store or an official press release. To calculate the price per person for meals with a range of people it can feed, we used the middle number of that range (i.e., if a meal is advertised as feeding six to eight, we calculated its per-person cost for seven people). 

At the time of publication, 2023 meals and pricing were unavailable for Meijer or Sam’s Club, so we used 2022 data. The article will be updated should those stores announce new offers.

Author Details

Josh Koebert

Josh Koebert is an experienced content marketer that loves exploring how personal finance overlaps with topics such as sports, food, pop culture, and more. His work has been featured on sites such as CNN, ESPN, Business Insider, and Lifehacker.