Ah, Thanksgiving—a time for family, gratitude, and of course, a feast fit for a small army. But let’s be real, hosting this holiday can be a bit of a strain on the wallet. That’s why we’re focusing on cheap Thanksgiving sides that won’t break the bank. Because let’s face it, the turkey might be the star of the show, but it’s the side dishes that really steal the spotlight.
From classic favorites to some new twists, these budget-friendly options are not only delicious but also easy on your pocketbook. So, whether you’re hosting for the first time or are a seasoned pro looking to switch things up, these affordable sides have got you covered.
Table of Contents
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
🥔 Why it’s a good fit: Garlic Mashed Potatoes are the ultimate comfort food and a classic that pairs wonderfully with turkey or any other main dish you’re serving. They’re creamy, garlicky, and oh-so-delicious!
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Potatoes are generally inexpensive, and you probably already have garlic and butter in your pantry. Plus, you can make a big batch without spending much, making it one of the best cheap Thanksgiving sides.
🌽 Why it’s a good fit: Cornbread is a Southern staple that brings a touch of homey warmth to any Thanksgiving table. Its slightly sweet and crumbly texture is a hit with both kids and adults.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Cornmeal, flour, and a few other pantry staples are all you need to whip up this dish. You can even add in some canned corn or jalapeños for extra flavor without much extra cost.
Green Bean Almondine
🌱 Why it’s a good fit: Green Bean Almondine adds a touch of elegance to your Thanksgiving spread. The beans are crisp-tender, and the almonds offer a delightful crunch.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Green beans are often on sale around the holidays, and you can opt to skip the almonds or use fewer if you’re on a tight budget. Either way, this dish screams sophistication without the hefty price tag.
🥕 Why it’s a good fit: Roasted Carrots bring a pop of color and a dose of nutrients to your Thanksgiving table. The natural sweetness of the carrots is enhanced when roasted, making them a hit even with the picky eaters.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Carrots are one of the cheapest vegetables you can find. A little olive oil, salt, and perhaps some herbs you already have, and you’re good to go!
🥬 Why it’s a good fit: Cabbage Slaw offers a crunchy and refreshing contrast to the heavier Thanksgiving dishes. It’s also incredibly versatile, allowing you to add in whatever extra veggies or dressings you like.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Cabbage is super cheap, and you can make a large batch of slaw without spending much. Plus, it’s a great way to use up any leftover veggies you have in the fridge.
Sweet Potato Casserole
🍠 Why it’s a good fit: Sweet Potato Casserole is a Thanksgiving favorite that offers the best of both worlds—sweet and savory. Topped with a crunchy layer of pecans or marshmallows, it’s a dish that’s sure to please.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Sweet potatoes are often cheaper than regular potatoes, especially during the fall season. Plus, you can customize the toppings based on what you have available, making it a versatile and cheap Thanksgiving side.
🍏 Why it’s a good fit: Applesauce is a versatile side that pairs wonderfully with turkey and can even be used in desserts. It’s a hit with kids and can be spiced up with cinnamon for the adults.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Making apple sauce from scratch allows you to use discounted or bruised apples. Plus, it’s a great way to make use of a bumper crop if you have apple trees!
🌿 Why it’s a good fit: Sautéed Spinach is a quick and healthy option that adds a pop of green to your Thanksgiving table. It’s a simple dish that can be jazzed up with garlic, lemon, or even some grated Parmesan.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Frozen spinach is a budget-friendly option, and you probably already have the other ingredients like garlic and olive oil in your pantry.
🍚 Why it’s a good fit: Rice Pilaf is a versatile and universally loved side dish. It’s fluffy, flavorful, and can be customized with whatever veggies or herbs you like.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Rice is one of the most inexpensive pantry staples, and you can add any vegetables you have on hand or even some raisins and nuts for a festive touch without spending much.
🍞 Why it’s a good fit: Soft, fluffy Dinner Rolls are perfect for soaking up gravy and sauces, making them a must-have at any Thanksgiving feast.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Making dinner rolls from scratch is not only more delicious but also cost-effective. All you need are some basic pantry items like flour, yeast, and butter.
🍒 Why it’s a good fit: Cranberry Sauce is a Thanksgiving must-have that adds a tangy contrast to the rich and savory dishes on the table. Plus, it’s so much better homemade!
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Making cranberry sauce from scratch is surprisingly easy and cost-effective. All you need are cranberries, sugar, and water. You can even add orange zest or cinnamon for extra flavor without extra cost.
Plus, leftover cranberry sauce is super yummy in desserts like this cranberry apple parfait.
🧀 Why it’s a good fit: Mac and Cheese is a kid-friendly favorite that adults secretly love too. It’s creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-comforting—perfect for a family gathering.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Made from pantry staples like pasta, cheese, and milk, this dish is not only delicious but also one of the ultimate cheap Thanksgiving sides. Just cross your fingers that cheese is on sale for the holidays, which it usually is!
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
🌳 Why it’s a good fit: Roasted Brussels Sprouts add a gourmet touch to your Thanksgiving spread. When roasted, they become crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with a nutty, caramelized flavor.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Buying Brussels sprouts on the stalk tends to be cheaper, and you can often find them on sale during the holiday season.
Butternut Squash Soup
🍲 Why it’s a good fit: Butternut Squash Soup serves as a cozy and delicious starter that sets the tone for the feast to come. It’s creamy, slightly sweet, and can be spiced up with a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Squash is often on sale in the fall, and you don’t need many other ingredients to make a flavorful soup. Plus, it’s a great way to feed a crowd without spending a lot.
🥔 Why it’s a good fit: Potato Salad offers a creamy and tangy alternative to the usual hot sides. It’s a versatile dish that can be made in advance, saving you some last-minute stress.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Potatoes are one of the most budget-friendly vegetables, and you probably already have the other ingredients like mayo, mustard, and spices in your pantry.
🍞 Why it’s a good fit: Biscuits are a comforting classic that everyone loves. They’re perfect for sopping up gravy or just enjoying with a pat of butter.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Making biscuits from scratch is not only more delicious but also cost-effective. You’ll need just a few pantry staples like flour, baking powder, and butter.
🥗 Why it’s a good fit: Beet Salad adds a vibrant splash of color to your Thanksgiving table. The earthy sweetness of the beets pairs wonderfully with tangy goat cheese or feta.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Beets are generally inexpensive and can be bought in bulk. Plus, you can use the greens for another dish, making it a zero-waste option.
Corn on the Cob
🌽 Why it’s a good fit: Corn on the Cob is fun to eat and a hit with the kids. It’s a simple yet satisfying side that can be grilled, boiled, or roasted.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Corn is usually cheap, especially when it’s in season. You can also buy it frozen for an even more budget-friendly option.
🥒 Why it’s a good fit: Zucchini Fritters offer a unique and tasty option for your Thanksgiving spread. They’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, making them a crowd-pleaser.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Zucchini is generally inexpensive, and you’ll only need a few other ingredients like flour and eggs, which you probably already have.
🍞 Why it’s a good fit: It’s not Thanksgiving without stuffing! Bread Stuffing is a hearty and flavorful side that complements the turkey and other dishes perfectly.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: This dish is a great way to use up stale bread, and the other ingredients like celery, onions, and spices are pretty inexpensive.
🥣 Why it’s a good fit: Gravy is the finishing touch that brings everything together. It’s perfect for drizzling over turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing.
🛒 Why it’s affordable: Making gravy is incredibly cost-effective as it’s primarily made from turkey drippings and a bit of flour. It’s the epitome of making something out of nothing!
That rounds out our list of cheap Thanksgiving sides that are big on flavor but small on cost! Remember, a memorable Thanksgiving feast doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. With these budget-friendly options, you can serve up a spread that’s as generous as it is delicious.