What Is the Cost of Your 2021 Thanksgiving Dinner

2021 Thanksgiving Dinner Cost

2021 Thanksgiving Dinner Cost

Photo Credit – National Turkey Federation

Could Be the Most Expensive Turkey Dinner Ever

Every year I like to share with you the expected cost of your Thanksgiving dinner based on numbers from the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual survey. It’s not out yet but I wanted to get a jump on it so I’m going to offer up some details from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics. As soon as the AFBF numbers are available, I’ll post them.

Inflation Is Driving Thanksgiving Dinner Costs Up

2020 brought us the lowest cost since 2010 but 2021 is heading up in the opposite direction and may just be the most expensive Thanksgiving ever. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the consumer price index for a basket of typically foods served on Turkey day is up 5.4% from last year.

What’s leading the cost rise? Turkey, meat, fish and eggs are the main culprits. The USBL statistics are seeing prices for those items up 10.5%. That’s going to take a bite out of your wallet.

What’s Causing This Inflation?

A few reasons but one of the biggest is turkey production is down this year thus driving up prices. For most families, the turkey is the most expensive item in the basket. And with supply down, demand normal, prices are going up. How much?

According to the Department of Agriculture, turkeys  weighing between 8 pounds and 16 pounds will cost 25 cents per pound more this year. Birds weighing in at 16 pounds to 24 pounds will cost you 21 cents more this year.

The other issue is the lingering effects of Covid and what it has done to the supply chain of all goods, not just items for Thanksgiving. Not only are food items going to be more expensive, some may just be hard to find because they are in limited supply. 

So What Can You Do To Minimize the Effects of Inflation and Supply Chain Problems?

  1. Start your shopping early. Start now! Just because prices are already up, it’s more likely they can go even higher as we get closer to Thanksgiving. More importantly, some items like fresh or canned cranberries may not be available the closer we get to the big day. 
  2. Share some of the costs with family and friends. There’s no reason you need to food the entire bill if you are inviting friends and family. Ask Aunt Jen to bring the Brussels Sprouts and brother Glenn to bring some dessert pies. Not only will it take some pressure off you with preparing the feast, it will bring down your total costs of the meal.
  3. Don’t cook as much this year. In our house, we always cook way to much so we can give friends and family doggie bags filled with leftovers so they can make turkey sandwiches with stuffing and cranberry sauce over the weekend while watching football. So maybe this year you cut back a little.
  4. Get your paper goods now. We are huge Costco fans so we’ll pick up as many items as we can like paper towels and fizzy water now while supply lasts. 
  5. If you order your turkey from a Farmer’s market or your local supermarket, get your order in as soon as possible.
  6. And don’t forget those fun items like turkey candles, Thanksgiving napkins and placemats or even some fun salt and pepper shakers.
  7. And don’t forget the wine. If you do serve wine with your Thanksgiving meal, why not pick up something special like a nice Pinot Noir now before the shelves are empty.
  8. Look for deals especially now. Check your local papers to see what sales they are running now. We are not big coupon cutters but this year I may start picking up flyers at the local markets to see if I can find some deals on items we’ll need for our meal. 
    Thanksgiving Dinner Costs

    Photo Credit – National Turkey Federation

Show Me The Costs

I’ll post the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual survey as soon as it comes out but here are some numbers from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics showing the increase in prices from September 2020 to September 2021.

Meats, poultry, fish & eggs   Up 10.5%
Salad dressing   Up 7.2%
Seasonings & spices   Up 4.2%
Bakery products   Up 3.2%
Fruits & vegetables   Up 3%
Condiments & sauces   Up 1.6%
Dairy products   Up 0.6%

What Does the American Farm Bureau Federation Say?

Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner 2021

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2021 annual survey, prices are up this year and by a lot. According to their survey, prices are up overall 14% from last year. Below is a breakdown from 2020 to 2021.

How do they come up with these prices? They are the average costs found by a group of 230 volunteers in 38 states who went around and checked prices in various grocery stores.

Here is a comparison chart between last year and this year.

Item 2020 Price 2021 Price Difference
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs. $3.44 $3.56 +.12
Whipping cream, ½ pint $1.74 $1.78 +.04
Milk, 1 gallon whole $3.08 $3.30 +.22
Pumpkin pie mix, 30 oz. $3.39 $3.64 +.25
1-pound veggie tray (carrots and celery) $.73 $.82 +.09
Green peas, 1 lb. $1.46 $1.54 +.08
Cubed stuffing, 14 oz. $2.81 $2.29 -.52
16-pound turkey $19.39 $23.99 +4.60
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz. $2.69 $2.98 +.29
Pie shells (2) $2.42 $2.91 +.49
Rolls, 12 $2.66 $3.05 +.39
Misc. ingredients $3.09 $3.45 +.36
TOTAL – Classic Dinner $46.90 53.31 +6.41
Ham, 4 lbs. $9.16 $10.87 +1.71
Russet potatoes, 5 lbs. $2.55 $2.96 +.41
Green beans $1.50 $1.58 +.08
TOTAL – Classic + 3 Items $60.11
68.72 +8.61


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