The cost of Thanksgiving dinner over time


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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Self.

Thanksgiving is one of the nation’s favorite holidays and an event where we usually go above and beyond to treat our loved ones with a special meal. Over time, the cost of Thanksgiving hosting has undoubtedly increased but… by how much?

We were curious about this, so we researched the most popular dishes that people across the country will cook and researched the cost of 3,905 ingredients from the 1960s to find out.

Below, you’ll see how much the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people has changed, as well as which dishes have risen the most in price.

The cost of Thanksgiving dinner

Collective Arcana /

In 1960, the total cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people averaged $ 11.65. Today, the cost of a 10-person feast has increased by over 565%, costing the average host $ 77.52.

In 2020, the cost would have been $ 74.92, meaning the cost of ingredients has increased 3.5% in the past year alone.

Thankfully, the rising meal costs reflected the same increase as the median US household income, which means that to our pockets, the increase doesn’t seem so drastic.


Unhappy man with Thanksgiving turkey
Roman Samborskyi /

For many of us, the turkey is the star of the show, and that is certainly reflected in the prices we pay.

In 1960, a 16-pound turkey cost $ 3.06. Today that price is $ 20.80, an increase of 580%. However, the price of turkey has declined somewhat over the years, peaking in 2015 at $ 23.04. Last year, consumers paid an average of $ 19.39 for a 16-pound turkey, 7.3% less than today.

Mashed potatoes

stockmorrison /

Mashed potatoes are a staple food for more than half of American homes on Thanksgiving, and the price of potatoes has risen even faster than turkeys.

The cost of mashed potatoes has risen sharply by 757% since the 1960s, with the dish now costing $ 6, up from $ 0.70 in 1960. The price of mashed potatoes has peaked in 2019, when 10 servings would cost you $ 6.59.

The recipe is traditionally made with potatoes, butter and half and half. However, since half and half prices weren’t available in the 1960s, our recipe was replaced with milk.

Recipe used: Cooking, Mashed Potatoes

Cranberry sauce

Pixel-Shot /

The homemade cranberry sauce is a highlight for many on the Thanksgiving table, and our recipe called for 1 pound of cranberries, a cup of white sugar, and a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice.

This year, the average cost peaked at an average of $ 2.11. This is an increase of 19.2% since last year and 520% ​​since the 1960s. The cost of added orange juice alone has increased by more than 20% since 2020.

Surprisingly perhaps, the cost of cranberries only increased 377%, from $ 0.09 to $ 0.43, with most of the price increase coming from orange juice, which rose by 627%, from $ 0.22 to $ 1.60.

Recipe used: All Recipes, Cranberry Sauce


Thanksgiving stuffing
Brent Hofacker /

Stuffing is another such dish that crosses state borders and will typically be on dinner tables for over 50% of the United States.

We looked at the cost of ingredients for the traditional stuffing, including bread, eggs, onion, herbs, and a homemade broth substitute.

Of all, the onion has seen the most dramatic price increases, with a jump of 1,700% since 1960. At the other end of the scale, eggs have seen the smallest price increase. , to only 189% over the same period.

Overall, ingredient price increases have caused the cost of a Thanksgiving stuffing dish to increase 428% since 1960, from $ 1.03 to $ 5.44 in 2021.

Recipe used: Averie Cooks, Classic Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing

Sweet potato casserole

Sweet potatoes
KarepaStock /

Although marshmallows are a custom of the sweet potato casserole, they weren’t always as available as they are today, and in fact, they have traditionally been the most expensive part of the dish preparation during the meal. from the use of raw ingredients.

The dish itself is usually made with sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, milk, eggs, mini marshmallows (made with egg white, corn syrup, sugar and vanilla extract) and chopped pecans.

All in all, to feed 10 people in 2021, the cost of making a pot of sweet potatoes from scratch will set you back $ 9.41. This is compared to just $ 1.02 in 1960. However, the cost of making the dish only increased 104% until 1999. From there the price started to climb, increasing 352% over time. over the next 22 years.

Recipe used: Delight, Sweet Potato Marshmallow Casserole

Green bean casserole

Green beans
leonori /

Costing just $ 0.63 in 1960, a casserole side of green beans has since risen 727% to $ 5.21 today.

The traditional recipe is canned green beans, fresh fried onions, cheddar cheese and mushroom soup, but the condensed cream of mushroom can be replaced with a white sauce made from butter, flour and milk.

While in percentage terms the cost of onions is the source of the largest increase, in dollars, cheddar cheese will be the most expensive overall. A cup has gone from $ 0.34 in 1960 to $ 2.74 in 2021.

Recipe used: All Recipes, Green Bean Casserole


Andrey Cherkasov /

Buns are the cheapest piece of Thanksgiving Day, and always have been, but the cost of making buns in 1960 was much closer to the cost of making cranberry sauce and corn than it did. today.

While the cost of side dishes such as cranberry sauce and corn increased by 521% and 297% respectively, the cost of making buns only increased by 213% during the same period, although they all cost around $ 0.30 in 1960. That’s an increase of $ 0.30 for baking 14 to 16 buns, at a cost of $ 0.94 today for the same number of buns. .

The ingredients of a typical recipe are: milk, baking powder, all-purpose flour, butter and egg.

For our research, we looked at the cost of Red Star Platinum Yeast for this recipe; However, baking powder also works as a great substitute.

Recipe used: Sally’s Baking Addiction, soft rolls

Mac & Cheese

macaroni and cheese
Goskova Tatiana /

An absolute fan favorite, mac and cheese has been featured on many Thanksgiving tables for decades.

Because pasta wasn’t always as easy to take out as it is today, our recipe called instead a homemade pasta recipe. Although it takes longer to prepare, pasta is not as expensive as the more expensive part of the dish. Cheese is by far the most expensive part of making macaroni and cheese and is a big contributor to the 537% price increase since 1960, dropping the price of the dish from $ 2.47 to $ 15.74.

Recipe used: The Chunky Chef, Mac & Cheese in the creamy oven

Creamed corn

natu /

The price of corn and cream cheese for making delicious corn cream has increased almost 300% since the 1960s.

If you decide to make this side dish from scratch today, it will cost you $ 1.27 to serve 10 people. The recipe we analyzed uses fresh corn and homemade cream cheese (made from milk and lemon juice).

Recipe used: Just a pinch, my Thanksgiving cream cheese corn


Salad bag
vincent noel /

Salad is one of the most difficult dishes to follow in price simply because what a salad has meant over time has transformed faster than any other dish since the 1960s. That meant historic prices “salad” and what we can put in a salad today was not as readily available, so we had to use a staple of many people’s salads here – the ubiquitous lettuce.

With an increase of over 1,300%, a salad (benchmarked by the price of lettuce) increased the most in value of all Thanksgiving ingredients. A side salad would cost you $ 0.17 in 1960, but today the same dish will cost you $ 2.39 to feed 10. In fact, salad has never been more expensive than it was in 2021. Compared to two years ago (in 2019), the price has almost doubled by $ 1.09.

Recipe used: Bon appétit, vegetable salad of the day

Pumpkin pie

Woman preparing pumpkin pie for the holidays
Lordn /

The second most important dish on the Thanksgiving table (after turkey of course!) Is arguably the pumpkin pie.

Many may choose pumpkin pie as their favorite dish, especially if and when they are serving dinner for 10.

As for the cost, in 1960 the price of making a pumpkin pie would cost you $ 0.75. Today that price rose 193% to $ 2.20, which is actually the slowest appreciation of any dish analyzed.

Due to the cost of pumpkins over time not being readily available, and especially pumpkin puree, our recipe was replaced with the cost of sweet potatoes over the same period.

Recipe used: Simple Recipes, Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

Pecan pie

Pecan pie
JeniFoto /

A competitor to the pumpkin pie, a pecan pie made from scratch has risen in price far more than a pumpkin pie. Besides the obvious pecans, the typical recipe is pie crust (homemade with all-purpose flour and butter), eggs, syrup, brown sugar, and butter. However, honey is a viable alternative to syrup and has been used in our historical price analysis.

The price of these ingredients has increased almost 600% since 1960 and 18.5% since last year alone.

Today the cost of making a pecan pie is $ 6.01. In 1960, the same ingredients cost as little as $ 0.86.

Recipe used: Simple Recipes, Easy Pecan Pie


Work on computer data analysis on a laptop
Gorodenkoff /

We used a YouGov survey to establish the most popular Thanksgiving dishes in the United States and calculated the exact measure of each ingredient needed to cook a traditional meal for ten people. We then analyzed the cost of each ingredient, 3,905 in total, each year from 1960 to 2021 to establish how the price of each ingredient fluctuated over time.

In some cases, the traditional recipe may have changed since 1960, for example due to the wide availability of dried pasta today, which was not as available historically. In these cases, we calculated the cost of substitutes that could be used instead. This includes:

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, sometimes we receive compensation for clicking on links in our stories.


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