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14 Fabulous Holiday Meal Ideas for Under $25

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and that means many of us are planning for our big feast! If you’ve been in a grocery store lately, the costs are high enough to make anyone cringe.

But fear not! It is possible to have a special Holiday meal without breaking the bank.

We are sharing 14 festive meals ideas and how to get them for under $25 or even as low as free! 

Keep in mind that with a $25 budget, these meals are meant to feed 8 people or less. 

How can you save on your Holiday meal ingredients?

  • Shop the sales. Around Thanksgiving and Christmas, items like whole turkeys, baking goods, and canned veggies are often marked down in price.
  • Compare prices. Choose 2 of the most affordable stores within the closest proximity to your home. Compare the prices of each item on your holiday meal shopping list at each of the stores. Shop both stores to get items the cheapest.
  • Buy generic/store brands. The generic brand items are almost always the cheapest.

14 Fabulous Holiday Meals Ideas for under $25

From traditional holiday dinners to more non-traditional meals, there is an affordable option for everyone on this list.

1. The traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner

Think you can’t have an amazing turkey dinner for under $25? Think again!

Here are some ways you can lower costs and still enjoy your Thanksgiving turkey and sides. 

Turkey. Go for a small 12 – 14lb turkey. Make sure to get it for the cheapest per pound price in your area.

Stuffing. Make stuffing from leftover bread, hamburger buns, and hot dog buns. Or buy boxed stuffing.

Gravy. Make gravy from the turkey drippings.

Potatoes. Pouches of potatoes and au gratin boxed potatoes will be the most affordable. But if you can find a really great deal on fresh potatoes, go ahead and make mashed potatoes.

Cranberry sauce. Go for canned unless you have the ingredients on hand to make it from scratch.

Vegetables. Canned will most affordable.

Dinner rolls or cornbread. Choose Jiffy cornbread mix or make the dinner rolls from scratch if you have the ingredients!

How can you get a turkey or a turkey dinner for free?

1. Check to see if your local food banks or food pantries are giving out Thanksgiving food boxes or grocery store gift cards.

2. Download the Ibotta app to get a free Thanksgiving turkey and sides.

Here’s how it works.

  • Download Ibotta and create an account.
  • Add the Thanksgiving turkey offers to your grocery store list before you head to the store.
  • Scan each item in store to make sure they are the correct items for the offers. Then purchase.
  • Submit your receipt for 100% cash back.
  • Cash out your money to Paypal, your bank account, or for gift cards.

Get your free turkey dinner.

*Keep in mind that this deal is only for new Ibotta accounts from November 1st – 22nd (while supplies last).

2. Turkey and stuffing roll ups

If a big turkey dinner is too much work and time, these roll ups may be the perfect holiday dinner you’ve been looking for!

With just 4 ingredients, this is an easy, affordable dinner you can definitely do with some sides for under $25. 

Turkey & Stuffing Roll Ups

3. Glazed ham steaks

Boneless hams are expensive – about 3 times the price of  turkey or chicken.

So how do you have a festive ham dinner for under $25? You use ham steaks, of course!

Try this glazed ham steak recipe for a quick, amazing protein with your holiday meal.

Glazed Ham Steaks recipe

4. Roast chicken and vegetables

A whole chicken roasted over vegetables makes a beautiful presentation and delicious meal for any holiday.

The typical vegetables that go with turkey (carrots, potatoes, onion) are very inexpensive and cook right in the pan with the chicken.

Roast Chicken & Vegetables recipe

5. Rotisserie chicken

If you don’t feel like roasting a chicken for your holiday meal, then a rotisserie chicken is the perfect alternative.

I’ve seen rotisserie chickens for well under $10 at most grocery stores and they are so tasty.

Add your family’s favorite side dishes and you are good to go!

6. Roast pork loin

Another super affordable protein that can make any holiday gathering a feast is pork loin!

This holiday stuffed pork loin recipe is sure to impress.

7. Beef stew

There’s nothing like a warming stew to make the holidays feel special.

If you shop the sales and have some ingredients on hand, you should definitely be able to make a beef stew for under $25.

8. Charcuterie board

Charcuterie boards are an easy and versatile meal option. Since you can put so many different foods on a charcuterie board, you can satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

Here are some ideas for what could go on a holiday charcuterie board:

  • Cold cuts such as turkey, ham, and roast beef
  • Variety pack of crackers
  • Different types of sliced or cubed cheese
  • Fresh in-season fruits & vegetables
  • Dried fruit
  • Olives
  • Nuts
  • Breads
  • Holiday desserts like cookies, pie, and truffles

9. Chicken pot pie

Making a chicken pot pie can be very affordable and fun for any holiday! 

Simply use a rotisserie chicken, frozen veggies, and make the pie crust from scratch for the best bang for your buck!

Or you can use refrigerated pie crusts to make it even easier.

We have been using the Pillsbury recipe for many years and it always turns out great.

10. Chili and toppings

Chili is such a warming and comforting dish – and dare I say it – a great option for the holidays?

You can make it with ground turkey, beef, or even plant-based proteins.

Grab some of your favorite affordable toppings, put them out, and you have a chili bar.

11. Shepherd's pie

Shepherd’s pie is a comfort food classic, and perfect for winter Holidays. 

With just beef, veggies, and potatoes, this dish will easily feed a big family for well under $25.

12. Lasagna

This dish is definitely more non-traditional, but such a good family-friendly meal.

13. Soup, salad, and bread

You don’t have to go to Olive Garden to have an amazing, festive meal. 

There are hundreds of recipes out there for holiday soups and salads – perfect for the vegetarians in your family too!

14. Cook your family's favorite foods

When in doubt, cooking your family’s favorite foods is always a great idea for the holidays.

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