With many families having smaller Thanksgiving gatherings this year, more people will be buying turkeys to make for their own family (possibly for the first time ever!). Fortunately, many stores have great Thanksgiving turkey sales in November, so you’ll be able to make an affordable Thanksgiving meal.
Turkeys are usually so cheap around Thanksgiving that if you have some freezer space and a little extra money in your budget, you may want to purchase an extra to freeze and cook in a few months.
If you are only feeding a few people and/or don’t want a bunch of leftovers, consider buying a turkey breast instead. They are small and easy to cook (no need to removed the giblets and other “parts” before you cook. They are more expensive than a whole turkey, but may be worth it for ease of cooking and to have all white meat if that’s what you prefer.
Many grocers will have sales on turkeys as a loss-leader item in the hopes that once you’re in the store you’ll make other purchases. You will likely be able to find a suitable bird for less than $1 per pound, or even free with certain purchases. Here are some other tips from Living on the Cheap on how to maximize your savings while shopping for Thanksgiving dinner.
Turkey Tips for Thanksgiving
I’m not expert, but if you aren’t either, maybe this will help. And if you are an expert – leave us the GOOD tips in the comments!
How big of a turkey do you need?
The rule of thumb is 1 pound per guest, or 1.5 pounds per guest if you want leftovers. For a turkey breast, you’ll need less since purchase weight doesn’t include the carcass.
Fresh or Frozen?
The best turkey sales are for frozen birds. Fresh turkeys are more expensive, but if you don’t have a couple of days to thaw a frozen turkey, you’re going to need to pay more for the fresh option. So basically, if you are reading this after Tuesday, November 24 – you probably need to buy a fresh turkey…
Thawing a frozen turkey
It typically takes one day in the fridge for every 4 pounds, so if you have a 20 pound turkey, it’ll take 5 days to thaw. You should always thaw your turkey IN THE FRIDGE. Place it on a tray, breast side up in the fridge for 1 day per 4 pounds. We highly recommend giving yourself an extra day of thaw time so that your bird isn’t still frozen on T-Day.
Prepare for roasting
Before you do anything (after thawing) – check to see whether your bird has a neck and gravy packet shoved down inside. Yes – it’s gross, but you have to stick your hand down into the raw turkey carcass. You can outsource this to anyone in your house if it sounds gross. You don’t want to cook your turkey and discover the plastic pouch of giblets and such was left in the turkey. Use these to make gravy, or throw away. No judgment here. Read below for the rest of the prep and steps to cook your turkey
Ready to roast?
I’ll let the experts handle these instructions. From Butterball:
How to Roast Fresh or Frozen Whole Turkeys
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Drain juices and pat dry with clean paper towels.
- Place turkey breast side up on a flat rack in a shallow roasting pan 2 to 2½ inches deep.
Roasting Tip: If you don’t have a roasting rack, crunch aluminum foil into a coil or use vegetables like carrots to keep your turkey off the bottom of the pan.
- Turn the wings back to hold the neck skin in place. (Tucking the wings will help stabilize the turkey in the pan and when carving)
- Brush or spray skin lightly with vegetable or cooking oil for best appearance.
- Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer deep into the lower part of the thigh without touching the bone. When the thigh is up to temperature, and if the turkey is stuffed, move the thermometer to the center of the stuffing (if stuffed)
- Place your turkey in the oven.
- When the turkey is about ⅔ done, loosely cover the breast with a piece of foil to prevent overcooking.
- Your turkey is done when the temperature with a meat thermometer is 180° F in thigh and 170° F in breast or stuffing.
- Lift turkey onto platter, and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
You’ll also find other tips and how-to’s (like stuffing and carving your bird) on Butterball’s website.
Best Thanksgiving Turkey Sales
We’ve gathered a list of places for the best Thanksgiving turkey sales so you can save some of your budget for Christmas! When possible, we added options for turkey breast or turkey breast roasts in case you are cooking for less than 5 people and don’t want to bother with a whole turkey. There are even a few cook-in-bag and frozen to oven options.
If you know of a great sale on Thanksgiving Turkeys, leave a comment!
Free Thanksgiving Meal from Walmart using Ibotta
Download the Ibotta app or add the extension to your browser. You will get cash back when you purchase the following at Walmart. Make sure you read the instructions on how to purchase and redeem! You will need to purchase the items, and you’ll get the money back in your Ibotta account.
The meal serves 5, and should come to right around $20.
- Butterball turkey breast roast (eligible for $9.98 cash back). You can use this to get $9.98 off a larger Butterball turkey.
- McCormick Gravy pouch ($1.12 cash back)
- Great Value Stuffing Mix (.82 cash back)
- Idahoan Mashed Potatoes ($1.88 cash back)
- Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (.98 cash back)
- Great Value Cranberry Sauce (.98 cash back)
- Great Value Green Beans ($1.34 cash back)
- French’s Crispy Fried Onions ($1.92 cash back)
- Coco-Cola 2-liter bottle ($1.25 cash back)
- Butterball frozen whole turkey – .87/lb. Limit 2.
- Butterball Fresh turkey – 1.39/lb
- Simply Nature Fresh Organic Turkey – $2.99/lb
- Bone-In frozen Turkey Breast – $1.59/lb
- Fully cooked smoked Butterball Turkey, frozen – $1.99
- Honeysuckle White Whole Frozen Turkey and Shady Brooks Farms Frozen Turkey – .69/lb. Limit 2. This is an Aldi Find, so product is limited.
They have a whole suggested Thanksgiving Dinner for under $30 in the ad. Aldi also has deals on your Thanksgiving cooking needs, such as turkey roasting racks and electric turkey fryers.
valid through November 26, with Kroger card
- Kroger Frozen Turkey – FREE when you spend $125, or .37/lb without spending minimum (still a GREAT deal!)
- Butterball Premium Whole Frozen Turkey Limit 1 per Order – $1.29/lb
- Kroger® Tender & Juicy Whole Frozen Young Turkey Limit 1 per Order – $1.59/lb
- Fresh Honeysuckle White Turkeys $1.29 /LB With Card
- Simple Truth Organic™ Whole Free Range Young Frozen Turkey (10-14 lb) – $2.49/lb
- Simple Truth™ Natural Young Frozen Turkey – $1.49/lb
- Fresh Honeysuckle Turkey Breast -$2.99/lb With Card
- Honeysuckle White Frozen Young Turkey Breast (3-8 lb) $2.29/lb Limit 1
- Jennie-O Basted Frozen Turkey Breast – $1.49/lb
- Cook-in-bag Private Selection™ Basted Whole Turkey – $24.99
- Butterball Boneless Turkey Breast Roast with Gravy Packet (no thaw) – $11.99
- Butterball Ready to Roast Everyday Boneless Skinless Turkey Breast Smoked Flavor 3 lb – $15.69
- Jennie-O Oven Ready Homestyle Boneless Turkey Breast with Gravy Packet – 2.75 lb – $9.99
- Fully Cooked Deli Slow Roasted Bone-In Turkey Breast – $7.99 With Card
Prices valid November 15-21
Target Circle offer (free to join in the app!): Save $10 when you spend $50 on food and/or beverages
- Good & Gather™ Premium frozen whole turkey or frozen turkey breast – .79 cent/lb
- Butterball Premium All Natural Frozen Young Turkey – 16-20 lbs – .99 cents/lb
- Archer Farms Cook-in-Bag Homestyle Frozen Turkey – 12lbs – $35.99 (no prep or thawing required)
- Jennie-O Oven Ready Frozen Turkey Breast – 2.83lbs – $12.99 (no prep or thawing required)
- Trader Joe’s All Natural No Antibiotics Ever Brined Fresh Young Turkeys – $1.99 per pound
- Glatt Kosher birds – $2.99 per pound
- Organic Young Turkeys – $3.49 per pound.
Prices valid November 4-24; subject to price differences per location
- Honeysuckle White turkey 68 cents per pound
- Frozen turkey breast $1.68 per pound
- Butterball frozen turkey – 98 cents/lb
- Fresh turkey breast $2.28 per pound.
- Brined Whole Turkeys, $2.99 per lb
- Animal Welfare Certified Whole Foods Market Organic Whole Turkey* $2.99/lb (Prime member deal)
- Animal Welfare Certified Whole Foods Market Whole Turkey* $1.99/lb (Prime member deal)
- Reported deal (not verified by us) Whole Foods brand turkey $1.29 per pound.
If you know the price at stores we haven’t listed, please help out your fellow readers and leave a comment.
Check out our other Thanksgiving-themed articles
- Turkey Trots and Holiday Races
- Restaurants open on Thanksgiving in Columbus (and to-go options)
- Get a Fully Cooked Thanksgiving Meal To Go
- Call Butterball Turkey-Talk Line for prep and cooking help
- Christmas Tree Farms and Lots in Columbus
- Over 60 FREE things to do Thanksgiving weekend with friends and family
- The Best Christmas Lights Displays in Columbus (many start Thanksgiving weekend or before!)
- Your Guide to Christmas and Holidays in Columbus