I'm a Dietitian & These Are My Favorite Budget-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes

Roasted Honeynut Squash with Maple

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reflect on the year that's coming to a close and gather around the table with those we love. But the idea of preparing a big feast might feel particularly stressful this year with inflation and rising food prices. Luckily, it's possible to celebrate in a way that respects your budget without sacrificing the flavors you love, and these recipes are proof. The dishes on this list use minimal ingredients and are easy to make, so you can keep your grocery list short and your prep simple. Consider swapping in a Basic Whole Roasted Chicken for a turkey if you're feeding a smaller group to save even more. And making things like our Slow-Cooker Honey Whole Wheat Bread Rolls or our Buttermilk Biscuits yourself can give you bakery-fresh flavors without the price tag. Dishes like Crispy Smashed Brussels Sprouts and Hasselback Potatoes with Cheese come together for a delicious and festive meal without breaking the bank. For more beginner- and budget-friendly tips and recipes, check out Thrifty.

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Roasted Honeynut Squash

roasted honeynut squash on plate

Honeynut squash looks just like mini butternut squash, but on the inside you'll find an even sweeter, deeper orange flesh. This winter squash has only been available at farmers' markets and in select grocery stores for a few years. If you see it, grab a few to try! This simple roasting method enhances the natural flavor of the squash with butter and spices.

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Crispy Smashed Brussels Sprouts

Crispy Smashed Brussels Sprouts
Jacob Fox

Brussels sprouts get crispy and flavorful in the oven when they're "smashed" and seasoned with Parmesan cheese and everything bagel seasoning.

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Spatchcock Turkey with Sage & Thyme

Spatchcock Turkey with Sage & Thyme

When it comes to cooking a whole turkey quickly and evenly, spatchcocking--removing the entire backbone from the bird and splaying it open--is a great technique. This skin on this spatchcocked turkey gets crispy and browned because nearly all of the skin is exposed. This recipe uses a simple blend of oil, fresh herbs and spices for classic roasted turkey flavor. Look for a small turkey, about 12 pounds, as it fits better in most roasting pans.

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Melting Cabbage

Melting Cabbage

This velvety cabbage in this easy cabbage recipe melts in your mouth and picks up the flavors of caraway, cumin and garlic as it simmers in broth in the oven. Serve it alongside roasted pork, turkey or chicken.

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Basic Whole Roast Chicken

Basic Whole Roast Chicken

This roasted chicken recipe may be the most useful recipe you'll ever find. It's a meal on its own or the start of any recipe that calls for cooked chicken--perfect for meal-prepping lunches or dinners to have throughout the week. It's also a great substitute for turkey on Thanksgiving day, especially if you're celebrating with a smaller group.

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Slow-Cooker Honey Whole-Wheat Rolls

Slow-Cooker Honey Whole-Wheat Rolls
Victor Protasio

The slow cooker yields super-tender, pillowy whole-wheat rolls. If you prefer them crustier, arrange the finished rolls on a baking sheet, brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if desired. Broil, watching carefully, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

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The Best Homemade Cranberry Sauce


This is our go-to recipe for homemade cranberry sauce. It's simple (just five ingredients!), is lightly sweet without being too sugary and has just the right amount of zesty flavor from orange peel. Plus, it's so easy--it goes from stove to table in just 20 minutes!

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Sautéed Leek Mashed Potatoes


In this healthy mashed potato recipe, we flavor the mashed potatoes with leeks lightly sautéed in butter and tangy buttermilk. These mashed potatoes are an amazing side to grilled steak or chicken.

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Hasselback Potatoes with Cheese

hasselback potatoes with cheese

Hasselback potatoes are the perfect side dish for people who love crispy potato-chip-like slices as well as the tender interior of a baked potato. Simple to prepare, these hasselback potatoes look impressive and decadent with melted Cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of paprika on top.

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Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits
Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

These hearty buttermilk biscuits are easy to make. Whole-wheat flour gives them a nutty flavor with a tender texture and crispy edges. Serve with a drizzle of honey.

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Skillet Corn

skillet corn
Photographer: Antonis Achilleos, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely, Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

This skillet corn recipe features plenty of sweet, fresh summer corn. A small amount of aromatics complement the corn but don't overpower it. Parsley adds color and freshness.

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Melting Sweet Potatoes with Maple Butter


As the name implies, these sweet potatoes melt right in your mouth. After browning in a hot oven, thick slices of sweet potato simmer in broth and soak up the flavors of maple syrup and lemon. This simple dish is great alongside roasted chicken or pork and makes a great Thanksgiving side dish.

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3-Ingredient Cranberry-Brie Bites


Baked Brie is a perennially popular appetizer. Here, we complement the Brie with tart cranberry sauce and bake it in pretty individual tartlets using premade pie crust for an ultra-easy crowd-pleasing appetizer.

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Slow-Cooker Garlic Mashed Potatoes


This simple slow-cooker mashed potatoes recipe skips tedious peeling and boiling and helps save precious stovetop space by letting the slow cooker do the work. It's a great timesaving set-it-and-forget-it side dish recipe to round out any hearty meal. Buttermilk makes the mashed potatoes creamy while garlic and shallots add flavor.

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Wilted Kale with Warm Shallot Dressing


Vinegar is the key to making this sautéed kale recipe special. Look for vinegar that's cloudy—it likely still has some of the mother in the bottle and will give you a sweet acidity rather than a harsh bite. Organic apple cider vinegar is usually your best bet. For the most eye-catching version of this side, use different colored varieties of kale.

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Slow-Cooked Sweet and Sour Cabbage


The combination of cloves, cabbage and cider vinegar gives this slow-cooker cabbage recipe its sweet-and-sour flavor. Don't skip the apples—the hit of natural sweetness is worth the time it takes to core and chop them.

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