How to Buy Everything You Need for Thanksgiving at Trader Joe’s for Less Than $130

Lindsey Lanquist
How to Buy Everything You Need for Thanksgiving at Trader Joe’s for Less Than $130
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Thanksgiving brings with it an array of logistics to consider. For starters, how many guests are you hosting, and how much food do you need? OK, now what kind of food do you need? Sure, you want to cover all the classics, but you also want to make room for newer, more exciting dishes, too. And you wouldn’t dream of forgetting anyone’s favorite side (even if that means cooking sweet potatoes two different ways). Day of, you want to make sure you have enough room in the oven—and enough time to get everything done. And you don’t want to spend a small fortune in the process. Put simply, hosting Thanksgiving is no simple feat. So being able to stock up on literally everything you need at a single grocery store—say, Trader Joe’s—is an absolute game-changer. But that budget-friendly Trader Joe’s Thanksgiving you’ve been dreaming of is actually well within reach.

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1. The Main Course ($33.33)

First things first: You need a turkey. And Trader Joe’s has several options for you to choose from—brined, organic, kosher, you name it. Prices vary from $1.99/pound to $3.49/pound, depending on how large (and fancy) your bird is. For the sake of this piece, we’ll opt for the “Trader Joe’s All Natural No Antibiotics Ever Brined Fresh Young Turkey.” The turkeys come in two different sizes—12-16 pounds or 18-22 pounds—at $1.99/pound. Most Thanksgivings will be good to go with the smaller option. ($23.88-$31.84)

Of course, no turkey is complete without gravy. Score a 17.6-ounce box of “Trader Joe’s Turkey Gravy” for $1.49. You can also opt for a 16-ounce tub of “Trader Joe’s Kettle-Cooked Turkey Gravy” for $3.99 Either should get the job done. ($1.49-$3.99)

Vegetarians will be delighted to know there’s a meatless option for them, too. With Trader Joe’s “Breaded Turkey-less Stuffed Roast with Gravy,” they can enjoy all the flavor of a turkey-filled entree—with none of the meat. ($12.99)

If you bought the 16-pound brined Turkey ($31.84) and the boxed gravy option ($1.49), you’d spend $33.33.

2. The Second Entree ($17.97)

If you’re throwing a small shindig, you can easily omit this step. But if you have a big family—and if that family likes to eat—it might be worth adding a second entree to your menu. Ham and chicken are fan favorites, but rib roast and pork roast will work just as well.

As far as ham goes, you have a couple options. You can score one of Trader Joe’s “Spiral Sliced Uncured Hams” at $4.99. With quarter hams weighing 4-4.5 pounds and half hams weighing 8-9 pounds, you can expect to spend anywhere from $19.96-$44.91 on one of those. Trader Joe’s also offers a 3-pound “Trader Joe’s Maple Bourbon Flavored Glazed Uncured Ham,” which will run you $17.97 (or $5.99/pound). ($17.97-$44.91)

Chicken is available in a couple sizes. If you want a full, 4-pound bird, you can buy a “Trader Joe’s Organic Brined Whole Chicken” for $13.64 ($3.41/pound). If you want something a little smaller—and a little less classic—you can snag a 28-ounce “Trader Joe’s Whole Cornish Game Hen” for just 3.99. Cornish game hens are the chicken equivalent of personal pizzas. They’re tiny, so you’ll need a few if you want to feed a crowd. But if you’re already offering a few entrees and want a little something extra to throw into the mix, the Cornish game hen has your back. ($3.99-$13.64)

If you’d prefer a rib roast, you can snag “Trader Joe’s Choice Premium Angus Beef Boneless Rib Roast” for $11.99/pound. And if you’d rather a pork roast, you can score “Trader Joe’s Uncured Bacon Wrapped Porchetta Pork Roast” for $6.99/pound—yum. ($6.99-$11.99)

If you bought the glazed ham, you’d spend $17.97.

trader joe's cookbook

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3. Stuffing ($6.98)

Some Thanksgiving sides are negotiable, but stuffing isn’t one of them. No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a hearty serving of carb-y, herb-filled stuffing—naturally, you can score some at Trader Joe’s.

You can find a 12.4-ounce box of “Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing Mix” for just $3.99. (You’ll want to add a $2.99 box of “Trader Joe’s Turkey Stock” for maximum flavor.) ($6.98)

Those looking for a gluten-free option can score a box of “Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Stuffing Mix” for $5.99. They can also “Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower Stuffing” for just $2.99. ($2.99-$5.99)

If you paired the standard cornbread stuffing mix with a box of Trader Joe’s turkey stock, you’d spend $6.98.

4. Sweet Potatoes ($7.98)

Sweet potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving dish. Whether you like them baked, roasted, or mashed into a marshmallow-covered casserole, sweet potatoes are easy to throw together—and always sure to delight.

Those who want to keep things as traditional (and low-key) as possible can opt for “Trader Joe’s Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Roasted Pecans.” Take five minutes to heat up the $5 dish, and they’ll be ready to go. (If you want to take things to the next level, though, you can sprinkle some “Trader Joe’s Mini Marshmallows” on top of your dish for just $2.99. ($7.98)

Chefs who prefer homemade sides can score a 24-ounce bag of sweet potatoes (“Trader Joe’s Organic Petite Sweet Potato Medley“) for just $4.99. ($4.99)

If you bought the mashed sweet potatoes and the mini marshmallows, you’d spend $7.98.

Trader Joe's college cookbook

Courtesy of Amazon.

5. Cranberry Sauce ($3.49)

No Thanksgiving feast is complete without a little cranberry sauce. While you’re unlikely to find the congealed, canned version at your local Trader Joe’s, you’re sure to stumble upon a couple pre-made cranberry sauces worth serving.

You can score a 12-ounce jar of “Trader Joe’s Cranberry Sauce” for just $1.99, for instance. You can also snag a 16-ounce tub of “Pilgrim Joe’s Fresh Cranberry Sauce” or a 16-ounce tub of “Pilgrim Joe’s Orange Cranberry Relish” for $3.49. ($1.99-$3.49)

Those who prefer to whip up a batch of cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries can also find what they’re looking for. Eight-ounce bags of “Trader Joe’s Fresh Organic Cranberries” are on offer for $2.49. ($2.49)

If you bought the 16-ounce tub of Pilgrim Joe’s cranberry sauce, you’d spend $3.49.

6. Something Green ($9.28)

Look, I’m not saying you have to add a dark, leafy green to your Thanksgiving celebration. But I am saying I’ve always appreciated having a semi-healthy side on hand to cleanse my palate with between courses. You can opt out of this step if you want to, but just know there are a handful of low-key, affordable leafy green options you could easily whip up and serve on the side.

Bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts are my go-to. You can score a hearty bag of “Trader Joe’s Brussels Sprouts” for just $3.79 during the holiday season. And you can snag a $5.49 pack of “Trader Joe’s Uncured Dry Rubbed Sliced Bacon” to cook them with. ($9.28)

If you want to make things even easier on yourself, grab a 14-ounce bag of “Trader Joe’s Organic Green Vegetable Foursome” for $2.99. The frozen veggie medley is already seasoned, so all you have to do is heat it up. ($2.99)

Just as easy is “Trader Joe’s Leafy Greens with Butternut Squash Salad Kit.” The 14-ounce bag sells for $4.49, and it’s already made for you. ($4.49)

If you bought the bag of Brussels sprouts and the pack of bacon, you’d spend $9.28.

Cooking with trader joe's cookbook amazon

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7. Another Side—or Two ($7.48)

There are so many sides worth adding to your menu, but this is where you have to go a little off-book to accommodate your family. Make sure to stock up on everyone’s favorites—including your own.

Some excellent options:

If you bought the green beans and the mashed potatoes, you’d spend $7.48.

8. Rolls, Biscuits, or Cornbread ($2.49)

Some kind of bready side is a necessity on Thanksgiving. I mean, you need something to sop up all that gravy with.

Trader Joe’s Holiday Herb Rolls” are a no-fail option, and you can score a 12-pack for $2.49. They’re already baked, but you can heat them up in your oven and slather them in butter. (You can also slide some of that Thanksgiving turkey and ham inside for a makeshift sandwich.) ($2.49)

If you’d prefer something a little more Southern, you can buy a 16-ounce tube of “Trader Joe’s Buttermilk Biscuits” for $2.99. The tube is full of pre-made dough that’ll leave you with eight biscuits. ($2.99)

And those who want to cook something a little more from scratch can grab a box of “Trader Joe’s Cornbread Mix” for $2.69, or “Baker Joe’s Gluten Free Cornbread Mix” for $2.99. ($2.69-$2.99)

If you bought the classic herb rolls, you’d spend $2.49.

Cooking through trader joes

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9. Pumpkin Pie ($5.99)

Dessert is a must on your Thanksgiving menu. And since pumpkin pie is only in season for a few months, you might as well take full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy it.

You can snag a 27-ounce, pre-made “Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie” for $5.99. You could also home-make one using a 2-pack of “Trader Joe’s Frozen Pie Crusts” ($3.99), one of “Trader Joe’s Pie Pumpkins” ($1.99), and a jar of “Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice” ($1.99). ($5.99-$7.97)

Those who don’t find themselves particularly drawn to pumpkins can opt for a fruit cobbler-type dessert, instead. You can score a 27.2-ounce, pre-made “Trader Joe’s Apple Crumble Pie” for $6.99. Or a 16.5-ounce, pre-made, frozen “Trader Joe’s Nantucket Style Cranberry Pie” for $5.99. Or even a 19.4-ounce, pre-made, frozen “Trader Joe’s Raspberry Tarte” for $6.49. ($5.99-$6.99)

If you bought the pre-made pumpkin pie, you’d spend $5.99.

10. Pecan Pie ($6.99)

Dessert: the dish so nice they served it twice. You don’t have to serve a second dessert at your Thanksgiving, but the holiday is all about indulging—so why not treat yourself twice over?

Since your first dessert is fruit- or vegetable-based, you might want to opt for something more classically sweet—like a pecan or fudge pie. It seems like Trader Joe’s doesn’t offer pre-made pecan pies, but you could always throw one together using one of “Trader Joe’s Frozen Pie Crusts” ($3.99/2-pack) and “Trader Joe’s Pecan Pie Filling in a Jar” ($6.99). Or you could score a 15.7-ounce “Trader Joe’s Chocolate Pecan Pie Bar” for $6.99. ($6.99-$10.98)

If you’re not one for nutty desserts, it’s hard to go wrong with chocolate. Trader Joe’s offers a 28-ounce, pre-made, frozen “Trader Joe’s Chocolate Ganache Torte” you can snag for $7.99. You can also try the 18-ounce “Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Ganache Mini Sheet Cake” for $4.49. ($4.49-$7.99)

If you bought the chocolate pecan pie bar, you’d spend $6.99.

11. Drinks ($27.27)

Thanksgiving doesn’t scream “drinks!!” the way some other holidays do, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few seasonal beverages on hand—even if they aren’t alcoholic.

Spiced cider is a no-fail option in the fall and winter. And you can grab a 64-ounce bottle of “Trader Joe’s Spiced Cider” for a mere $3.29. “Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spiced Ginger Brew” is another non-alcoholic beverage that’s decidedly seasonal, and you can score a 750-milliliter bottle for $2.99. (2.99-$3.29)

As far as wine and beer are concerned, you can score a 6-pack of “Howling Gourds Pumpkin Ale” for $6.99. (You might want to buy a couple of those—or supplement the 6-pack with another beer of your choice.) And as always, you can find all kinds of wine at Trader Joe’s Wine Shop for as little as $2.99.

If you bought the spiced cider, two 6-packs of the pumpkin ale, and a $10 bottle of wine, you’d spend $20.28. 


*Prices and availability may vary based on location

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