14 Cheap Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Thanksgiving is a big feast, a once-a-year celebration of all that you're thankful for and all that you want to remember. But what you may not want to remember is the hit your wallet takes each November. Indeed, the full Thanksgiving meal can be quite expensive. If you're not splitting the cost with family members or asking guests to bring their sides or desserts, you could be taking a big hit to the budget.
But with these cheap Thanksgiving side dish ideas, you can focus your funds on the main dish, whether that's a juicy turkey or a special occasion casserole. Neither you nor your guests will even know you skimped a few cents off your total with these penny-pinching dishes. Indeed, these 14 budget-friendly Thanksgiving sides are every bit as flavorful and creative as anything that costs dollars more. Click through this list of cheap Thanksgiving sides to find the just-right options for your meal.
Potatoes are a budget-friendly side any time of the year, and at Thanksgiving, you do not have to include a lot of extra ingredients to make it really special. In this cheap Thanksgiving side, you'll rely on a number of ingredients you likely already have on hand for the rest of the meal to provide flavor and texture, such as half-and-half, sour cream, chives, and of course garlic.
Bread and Celery Stuffing
Save the ends of your loaf bread (store them in the freezer), and you can bring this classic Thanksgiving side together for just pennies. You'll just need a handful of Thanksgiving pantry staples like butter, chicken broth, onions, and of course celery to finish this dish.
Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice, Honey, and Pears
While a can of cranberry sauce may be only a buck or two, you can still have the experience of a homemade cranberry sauce for a few dollars more. The most expensive item on this ingredient list is the fresh cranberries, but right before Thanksgiving, many grocery stores discount the ruby red fruits to clear them before the holiday.
Truly Delicious Brussels Sprouts
Save a few dollars on your Brussels sprouts and buy the kind that still need some trimming. Then, turn them into this inexpensive Thanksgiving side salad that's made truly special with thinly-sliced sprouts and a simple dressing of oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. It looks pricey, but it's really one of the least expensive sides you could make.
Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
If your oven is occupied with a turkey or dressing on Thanksgiving, this slow cooker Thanksgiving side will save you oven space — and dollars in your Turkey Day meal budget. With just five ingredients (plus salt and pepper), you can prep this side while you're working and then turn it on around lunch for it to be ready at dinner.
Simple Turkey Gravy
Make-ahead gravy saves you some day-of stress, but it often requires extra ingredients to make up for the lack of fresh turkey drippings. This recipe uses up the fat and liquid your Thanksgiving turkey will produce naturally while it's cooking, and you use staples like flour and broth to make it rich and smooth for the final touch on a fantastic meal.
Awesome and Easy Creamy Corn Casserole
With more than 3,700 ratings, this budget-friendly corn casserole calls on just six ingredients to make a light, fluffy, and cheap Thanksgiving side. If you want to add a bit of heat, some reviewers suggest adding diced pickled jalapeños. Diced sweet bell peppers would work, too. Neither will add too much to your budget.
Baked Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese might seem like a simple, humble food that shouldn't cost too much anyway, but some recipes can quickly become costly with bacon, truffle oil, and other pricey add-ins. This recipe keeps the creamy, comforting side as classic as possible and light on ingredients so it's easy on the wallet.
Simple Sweet Potato Soup
Pumpkin soup might be more traditional for Thanksgiving, but this sweet potato soup is more budget friendly. (It's also a vibrant orange hue, so it's plenty beautiful and festive.) Seasoning is kept simple but tantalizing with ginger and fresh lime juice to liven up the root vegetable purée.
Simple Roasted Butternut Squash
A single butternut squash, which is usually just about two or three dollars, can easily feed four people. If you have a larger Thanksgiving group, just add another squash. Because the other ingredients are simple and inexpensive, this may be the least expensive thing on your Turkey Day buffet. But don't let its frugality fool you. The delicate sweetness of the squash shines with a simple roasting and a bit of seasoning from garlic.
Quick Yeast Rolls
With just one yeast packet, you may be able to bring together these cheap dinner rolls with ingredients you already have on hand in no time. That's likely far cheaper than the frozen or pre-made kinds you'll find in the bread aisle, and these are far more delicious.
Asparagus with Cranberries and Pine Nuts
Asparagus is a fantastic alternative to green beans if you like something green and snappy on your Thanksgiving plate. You can keep things simple and just roast or pan fry the spears, but this version adds a bit of holiday flavor with dried cranberries and pine nuts. If pine nuts are a bit too pricey for your budget, opt for slivered almonds, walnuts, or any crunchy nuts you have in your pantry.
Spinach Salad With Ease
Don't let the simple (and almost entirely green) ingredient list convince you this salad cannot be flavorful enough for your special Thanksgiving meal. The salad dressing — good quality olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper — gets a boost from tangy, salty feta cheese. The spinach base is heartier, healthier than the iceberg type. You can always sprinkle in pantry or fridge ingredients you have on hand, like dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or diced vegetables.
Cast Iron Cornbread
If your family prefers cornbread to yeast rolls, this pan of cornbread is the quintessential recipe. Two secret ingredients make this loads more interesting than anything you can get from a box. You can save some money and skip buying a whole bag of self-rising flour; if you don't have any, make your own with this recipe.