Five Thanksgiving Side Dishes Under $5 for a Last-Minute Grocery—They’re Quick and Simple to Cook, Too

Thanksgiving might take a bite out of the wallet, but it’s possible to make last-minute turkey cut-outs for less than $5 a side.

The US Sun team shared their favorite quick and easy recipes, enough to feed a family of eight.

This holiday season, six The Sun US employees decided to try a Thanksgiving side dish for the $5 challenge to prove that Thanksgiving doesn't have to break the bank.

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This holiday season, six The Sun US employees decided to try a Thanksgiving side dish for the $5 challenge to prove that Thanksgiving doesn’t have to break the bank.

Inflation has seeped into every aspect of spending.

Food is no exception.

Shoppers are entering the holiday season seeing higher grocery prices than a year ago to buy staples:

  • Eggs = 43 percent
  • Butter = 33.6 percent
  • Bread = 14.8 percent
  • Milk = 14.5 percent

If you’re looking for ways to save, it’s all about using basics you may already have around the house, along with specialty items that will create all the Thanksgiving sensations.

The cheapest store for Thanksgiving turkeys this week, and it's not Aldi or Walmart
Your Thanksgiving meal can take a bite out of your wallet

Here’s what’s on the menu:

1. Brussels Sprouts – $4.49

Ingredients:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • cooking oil (or equivalent)
  • Garlic
  • Pepper

This traditional dish will add color to your Thanksgiving feast.

Brussels sprouts will vary in price depending on where you buy them.

For this garnish, she bought a bag of sprouts at the New York City supermarket, Gristedes, for $3.99 and a clove of garlic for 50 cents.

I sautéed them in oil and seasoned them with pepper, both of which I had on hand.

You can also add Parmesan cheese or chili flakes if you like.

You can certainly make this dish for less, as you can find cheaper Brussel sprouts at Target for $2.99 ​​or even Walmart for $2.98.

Aldi’s price varies by store, and Trader Joe’s is $3.99.

In all shops a clove of garlic is around 50c or less.

Full of brussels – This simple and healthy dish adds a touch of greenery to a Thanksgiving feast

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Full of brussels – This simple and healthy dish adds a touch of greenery to a Thanksgiving feastCredit: Paul Vale

2. Sweet Potato Casserole – $4.32

Ingredients:

  • two large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Two tablespoons of butter
  • 1-1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • Salt and pepper

This sweet and savory dish cost less than $5 and was easy to make.

I visited my local Bravo supermarket where I picked up the main ingredients: sweet potatoes and mini marshmallows.

Bravo had great deals and I was able to bag the fries for just 49 cents a pound.

That made it cheaper than rivals Aldi ($0.55 per pound), Walmart ($0.59 per pound), Target ($0.99 per pound) and Trader Joe’s ($1.66 per pound).

The 10-ounce package of mini squirt-filled marshmallows was slightly more expensive at $2.09, meaning it was more expensive than Aldi ($0.89), Walmart ($1.48), Target ($1.89), but still cheaper than Trader Joe’s for $2.99.

Overall, Bravo was a respectable third in price behind Aldi and Walmart, but cheaper than Target and TJ’s.

The rest of the dish used pantry staples that can be found in most homes.

In an hour, you can have a delicious and hearty side dish that will easily feed a family of eight or more, even if they insist on repeat meals.

Serves six to eight people.

Bubble bubble – An American classic, golden marshmallows top a hearty helping of sweet potato casserole

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Bubble bubble – An American classic, golden marshmallows top a hearty helping of sweet potato casseroleCredit: Hannah Parry

3. Cornbread – $3.62

Ingredients:

  • Two packages of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • Four ounces of sour cream
  • two eggs
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • Butter

For this super quick and easy side dish, I headed over to Walmart, where I bought each package of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix for just $0.52.

There were other types of cornbread mix available, but Jiffy was the cheapest and the kind my grandmother used, so why spoil a good thing?

I also bought a small (eight ounce) jar of sour cream and opted for the Walmart brand, which was $1.16.

Finally, I bought a small box of six eggs, which was my most expensive item at $1.35.

We use sour cream instead of milk as it makes the cornbread creamier and less watery than the recipe on the box.

I probably had enough money left over to buy a stick of butter that I used at the end of the recipe, but I already had some in my fridge.

I also already had two 8×8 cake pans and the oil to drizzle them.

Compared to Aldi, Target and Trader Joe’s, this is how my price compares.

At Aldi, the available cornbread mix was $3.65, the sour cream was $1.89, and the eggs only came in 12 packages, so the dozen was $3.39.

Making Aldi’s cornbread would have cost $8.39 before tax, which is almost triple what I paid at Walmart.

At Target, each box of corn muffin mix would have been $0.55, their sour cream was $1.59, and their eggs were $2.39 a dozen (they also didn’t have a six-egg pack).

The Target cornbread would have cost $4.53 to make, which is mostly due to the extra eggs you’d have to buy to get the two you needed.

Still, Target was under the $5 price.

Finally, at Trader Joe’s, they don’t even have regular cornbread mix.

However, their cornbread filling is $5.99, which already puts us over our $5 limit.

So there you have it: Walmart has the cheapest cornbread to make, and it’s under $5.

Twice as Good – This cornbread recipe is worth two pans, more than enough to feed a family of eight with leftovers.

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Twice as Good – This cornbread recipe is worth two pans, more than enough to feed a family of eight with leftovers.Credit: Amelia Beamer

4. Crescent Rolls – $2.99

Ingredients:

  • A package of Trader Joe’s Organic Crescent Rolls

It never hurts to keep things simple.

For just $2.99, you can experience the warm, fluffy feeling of a freshly baked bagel in less than 15 minutes.

Instead of buying Target’s $3.49 Pillsbury rolls, you can pop these Trader Joe’s alternatives right before you sit down to dinner.

Breaking the cylinder pack may be the hardest part if you’re like me and don’t read the instructions at first.

But the rest of the preparation of the dish is ready for you.

Each slice of dough is already cut into exact triangles, so all you need to do is roll them up.

After rolling out the cut dough, place it on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for 14 minutes.

The sweet smell of baked goods will fill your kitchen right away, making it look like you made those bad boys from scratch.

Once the rolls are lightly browned on top and slightly crisp on the bottom, take them out of the oven.

This sweet and mild side dish will perfectly complement typical savory Thanksgiving dishes.

And for $2.99, they’re a no-brainer.

Walmart’s Great Value Crescent Rolls are a good option, going for just $1.07 for eight, but there’s no guarantee your local store will carry them.

Simple success: You can't go wrong with a ready-to-bake crescent roll dough, but the results are just as flavorful as if they were made from scratch.

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Simple success: You can’t go wrong with a ready-to-bake crescent roll dough, but the results are just as flavorful as if they were made from scratch.Credit: Kaleigh Werner

5. Apple Pie – $3.44

Save room for dessert, as apple pie can be made for less than $5.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • three or four large apples
  • prepared pie crust

The secret is to use basic ingredients that you already have in your pantry.

Items like sugar and flour.

You may already have timeless spices from the last holiday, like cinnamon and nutmeg.

For this sub-$5 dessert, it was all about comparing prices.

We were able to find apples for 99 cents a pound. You’d be surprised how much three or four large apples can make for a pie.

To save time, and most importantly money, we use ready-made pie crust.

After shopping around, we opted for Aldi’s Pie Crust for only $1.99.

It did not lack flavor or consistency as it baked up just as nice as if you had made your crust from scratch.

For perspective, Pillsbury’s ready-to-bake crust is $4.59, Trader Joe’s is $4.49, and Walmart’s Great Value is $2.18.

The full size pie is enough to feed eight people, possibly 10 if you decide for smaller portions.

Golden twist: This dessert is as American as apple pie because that's exactly what it is, and it's delicious too.

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Golden twist: This dessert is as American as apple pie because that’s exactly what it is, and it’s delicious too.Credit: Joy Dumandan

turkey-free options

Keep in mind that not everyone wants to eat turkey.

For meatless eaters, we’ve compiled a few options to make sure there’s something for everyone.

  • Quorn Meatless Roast: $9.49
  • Gardein Turk’y Cutlets: $5.99
  • Tofurky Deli Slices: $4.99

Quorn’s meatless roast is close to “the real deal.”

Meanwhile, the Gardein Turk’y chops registered a higher fat content at 13 grams.

Lastly, the Tofurky deli slices are probably an option if you’re on the go and not up for a sit-down meal.

Meatless options can be a tasty alternative to turkey

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Meatless options can be a tasty alternative to turkeyCredit: Carli Rappaport
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