Turkey Costs 17% More This Thanksgiving Than Last Year

Inflation is making Thanksgiving staples a lot pricier this year

A family gathers for Thanksgiving as two women set the table.
Photo:

The Good Brigade / Getty Images

You might want to make some room at the table for inflation this Thanksgiving—because it is making your festive fall favorites a lot more expensive. 

Key Takeaways

  • Almost all your Thanksgiving must-haves cost more this year than last year.
  • Cranberries are the only holiday staple that fell in price.
  • Save on Thanksgiving groceries by planning your meal now.

As inflation continues to drive grocery bills higher, holiday staples turkey and potatoes are up to 17% more expensive than last year, according to The Balance’s analysis of the latest inflation data from October’s Consumer Price Index (CPI). 

Get ready to pay more for your mashed potatoes—the latest data from the USDA shows that average prices for yellow, russet, and round white and red potatoes are up 15.2% from 2021. Frozen turkey prices are also up. According to the USDA, turkeys will cost about $1.58 per pound on average.

If you planned on skipping the turkey this year, it’s not the only meat that has gotten more expensive. The price of ham is up 9.1% from last year and will cost you about $4.54 per pound, according to the USDA and CPI data. If sweet corn is part of your Thanksgiving menu, that’s pricier, too. It’s up 12.2% from last year, at $0.51 per ear. 

Whether you use pumpkins for pie, decorations, or both, they’re almost 8% more expensive than last year, costing $6.04 each on average for large, individual pumpkins. 

But not all of your Thanksgiving favorites are more expensive. Cranberries cost an average of $2.54 per 12-ounce bag, which means that when they’re adjusted for inflation, cranberries are actually 3.8% less expensive than last year. So you might want to consider loading up on that cranberry sauce or getting creative with other cranberry recipes. 

Other ways to save money on groceries for Thanksgiving include planning your menu in advance so you can take advantage of sales, using coupons, buying store brands, or downsizing your Thanksgiving meal where you can. You can also consider having everyone bring a dish to Thanksgiving dinner so you’re not the only one paying for all the food. 

Rising prices can be especially challenging for those faced with food insecurity. More than 25 million Americans report they "sometimes" or "often" don’t get enough to eat, according to the Census Bureau, and food banks report growing numbers of visitors this year. If you need help, you may be able to get it from local food banks. You can check out Feeding America’s website to learn more and find your local food bank or drive-thru pantry. 

Methodology

All food prices are from USDA Market News Retail data and are medians of the weighted average prices from all available reports from 09/02/22 to 11/04/22. 

Year-over-year price percent changes for potatoes, turkey, and ham are from the October 2022 BLS Consumer Price Index. Percent change in prices for sweet corn, pumpkins, and cranberries was derived from the median weighted average prices from 09/02/22 to 11/04/22 compared to the inflation-adjusted median weighted average prices from the same weeks of 2021.

Cranberry prices are per 12 oz bag. Boneless ham, frozen turkey, and potato prices are per pound. Sweet corn price is per ear. The pumpkin price is for marked large individual pumpkins.

Research and analysis by
Adrian Nesta
Adrian Nesta, Research Analyst on the Data Journalism team at Dotdash
Adrian Nesta is a research analyst on the Data Journalism team at Dotdash, the digital publisher that owns and operates The Balance. His work includes data collection, cleaning, analysis, and visualization for stories in the data journalism portfolio across every vertical at Dotdash.
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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Census Bureau. “Week 49 Household Pulse Survey: September 14 – September 26.” See "Table 3. Recent Food Insufficiency for Households."

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