How to Feed a Family of 4 for Thanksgiving on a Budget of $15

All Things Mandy
by All Things Mandy

Can we make Thanksgiving for $15? Last year, I made Thanksgiving dinner on a budget of $20. This year, I challenged myself to create an even cheaper Thanksgiving meal for only $15. Let’s see if we can make Thanksgiving dinner for $15 for my family of four.


In addition to the ingredients I bought, I will only use salt, pepper, and one stick of butter. Here’s what we got from Walmart for our $15 meal. The total was $14.96 before tax.

Ingredients for the budget Thanksgiving dinner

I got a $4 Carving Board oven-roasted turkey breast for the turkey. It’s deli meat, but it’s a thicker cut. I got two sweet potatoes, a bag of french fried onions, two cans of cream of mushroom, a bag of marshmallows, a can of biscuits, turkey-flavored stuffing mix, turkey gravy mix, buttery homestyle potatoes, and frozen cut green beans. 

Let’s get to making Thanksgiving on a budget!

Prepping the potatoes

1. Prep the potatoes

I washed my sweet potatoes, peeled them, chopped them, and put them into my three-quart saucepan. We get these on the stove first because they take the longest.

Making the green bean casserole

2. Make the green bean casserole

This is a classic Thanksgiving side and so simple to make; it's pretty much getting everything mixed together and in the casserole dish. I sprayed the dish so it doesn’t stick. I could've mixed them in a separate bowl, but why do more dishes? 

I’m putting the green beans and half the bag of french-fried onions into the casserole dish. I’ll use the other half for the top. Then, I’m taking my cream of mushroom soup and adding it right on top here, and adding in some seasonings. I’m only using salt and pepper.

I’m going to give everything a good stir. Once it’s combined, I’m going to put french-fried onions on top.

Next, I’m going to cover it with foil and cook it for 30 minutes at 425 degrees. I’ll take the foil off for the last ten minutes.

Making the turkey casserole

3. Make the turkey casserole

I’m going to make a kind of casserole out of the turkey, using the gravy and stuffing.

First things first, I need to get my gravy going. I have one cup of boiling water in this mug, I'm going to pour the gravy mix in, and give it a stir, so there are no clumps. 

Then, put the gravy to the side and prepare the stuffing mix. For the stuffing mix, I will use half a stick of butter, which I’m melting in the microwave. You can also use chicken broth, chicken stock, or chicken bouillon if you have it. But, I am sticking to my budget, and only using half a stick of butter for this stuffing mix. 

Mixing the stuffing

I’m going to get my stuffing mix into my bowl and add a splash of water to the melted butter to give me a tad bit more liquid, before pouring it into the stuffing mix.

Once you add the melted butter and water, stir the stuffing really well, so each piece is thoroughly coated with the buttery mixture. That will add flavor and help the stuffing crisp up on your casserole. This will be the topping for the turkey casserole.

To assemble the casserole, I sprayed the casserole dish. This turkey breast has about eight slices, so it’s not a ton of turkey meat, but it’s definitely enough for a family of four. 

Pouring the gravy over the top

I’m laying the turkey breast meat around the bottom of the casserole dish and pouring the gravy over the top. It’s already smelling like Thanksgiving up in here. Now, I’m going to add a good pinch of pepper. I’m not going to add salt, because it was in the gravy mix and the butter. 

Spreading out the stuffing mix

I’m spreading the stuffing mix across the top of my casserole, and smoothing it out. I’m going to cover this with foil and cook for 20 minutes at 425 degrees, with foil on top so the stuffing doesn’t get burnt.

For the last ten minutes, I’m going to take the foil off and let the stuffing mix crisp up.

Mashing the sweet potatoes

4. Make the sweet potato casserole

Our sweet potatoes are done and are fork-tender. I’m going to drain them and make them like I would mashed potatoes. First, I am going to melt the other half of my stick of butter into those sweet potatoes and mash them up with my masher, until they are a smooth consistency. 

Adding marshmallows to the sweet potatoes

Next, I’m going to stir marshmallows into my very hot mashed sweet potatoes. I’m not going to be adding in milk, vanilla, or any seasonings. I’m keeping this real and staying strictly to my budget. The marshmallows will melt into the mashed sweet potatoes, sweeten them, and make them creamy.

Topping the sweet potatoes with marshmallows

We are going to assemble our sweet potato casserole in a lightly greased casserole dish. Once I get that sweet potato smoothed around in my casserole dish, I’m going to be covering the top with marshmallows and put this in the oven, uncovered, at 425 degrees for ten minutes.

I want the marshmallows to get creamy, melty, and toasty brown. 

Turkey and stuffing casserole

5. Take the casseroles out of the oven

The three casseroles are out of the oven. This is the turkey and stuffing casserole. It looks and smells amazing.

Green bean casserole

Here’s the green bean casserole. 

Sweet potato and marshmallow casserole

Here are my sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top.

6. Biscuits and mashed potatoes

Now we need to get the biscuits and the mashed potatoes cooked. I will make them according to the package directions. For this budget, I chose these biscuits from Walmart. They cost 80 cents a can. I chose these because, if I chose a cornbread mix, I would’ve needed eggs.

I’ll cook the canned biscuits according to directions, get my potatoes ready and this Thanksgiving meal is ready. 

Thanksgiving on a budget of $15

7. Serve up

This is a big plate of food and smells just like Thanksgiving. It was for $15 and is definitely enough to feed a family of four, possibly six, depending on serving size. 

Thanksgiving on a budget of $15

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s about good food, good time with family, and being grateful and thankful for the blessings we have. From my family to yours, wishing you a happy Thanksgiving.

How do you make Thanksgiving on a budget? Drop a comment, and let us know.   

Join the conversation
3 of 21 comments
  • Deb Mace Deb Mace on Nov 23, 2022

    Today I purchased a 12 lb turkey for $.29 a lb, a 5 lb bag of potatoes for $2.99, a $1.00 can of cranberry sauce and a .50 can of green beans. A 4.00 pie will round out the meal. I make cornbread from scratch for the dressing, so I am not counting that. Gravy is from scratch. That is less than $13.00 and I will feed 7 with leftovers.

    • Tina Tina on Dec 02, 2022

      I did the same, pretty much. Got a 13 lb turkey for $.37/lb, then headed to Lidl for a 10 lb bag of potatoes for $2.99, cans of green beans or corn were 6/$2, stuffing was $.59/box, cranberry sauce was $1.39. I had stuff in the pantry to make pies, left from last year, and also made the gravy from scratch, along with biscuits. We ended up getting 8 meals out of the turkey & fixin's, a HUGE pot of turkey noodle soup and a turkey pot pie out of the leftovers. Froze the pot pie for later and we're STILL working on the soup. If you shop the sales, anyone can do Thanksgiving under $15. I usually buy an extra turkey, to freeze, as there's no other meat THAT cheap, so we eat it year round, but didn't have room in the freezer this year. Happy Holidays, everyone!!!!

  • Clergylady Clergylady on Oct 19, 2023

    I bought a small ham, Bag of brown sugar, a large can of sweet potatoes, small bag of generic marshmallows, a 6 oz bag of pecans,1 can of corn, 2 cans of green beans, and an onion. I used flour, baking powder, salt, oil, and water to make biscuits. Flour and milk made a cream sauce for the green beans and onion chopped and cooked till soft in 2 tablespoons of butter. 1 teaspoon of butter seasoned the heated corn at serving time. I mixed 1/2 of the marshmallows into the almost drained sweet potatoes and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 ounces of pecans. When heated through I topped it with the rest of the marshmallows and an ounce of pecans and lightly browned that in the oven. I’d spent roughly $12 and used less than 1/2 stick of butter, 2 cups and 4 tablespoons of flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 3 cups of liquid- corn liquid, water, and milk to make cream sauce, a bit of oil and water to make biscuits, and there were brown sugar and pecans left over. I later made brown sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla, and pecans into candied pecans for a later desert. The sweetpotatoes with brown sugar, butter, marshmallows, and pecans were enough sweet for the meal. 6 of us ate 2 meals from this.

    Another year when I really had almost nothing to cook with I took a neighbors well cleaned turkey carcass and boiled it to get the bits of meat off of the bones. Carefully removed every bone. Then added 2 potatoes, 1 diced onion, a bit of leftover green beans and corn, a carrot, salt, celery seed, and pepper and made soup. Thickened it with a bit of flour. Made biscuits with flour, salt, water, bacon grease, and baking powder. Baked the biscuits when the soup was about done. Company showed up unexpectedly. It served 5. My family liked it so well I now can a similar soup from leftovers and pantry items. It’s a hit on fishing and camping trips.