Did You Overpay for Thanksgiving Dinner?

2023 marks the second most expensive Thanksgiving dinner in history. But how much it cost depended on what you bought, where you live — and whether your state taxes groceries.

picture of decorated Thanksgiving plate and napkin on table
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The cost of Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people was down about three dollars from last year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). But the average cost for 2023 is still $61.17, which is more expensive than in any pre-pandemic year. 

And your holiday dinner cost was likely higher if you swapped out turkey for ham or cranberry sauce for a veggie tray. That’s because, aside from whipping cream, those items decreased the most in price from last year. 

But what you eat isn’t the only factor determining the cost of Thanksgiving dinner. People in some areas of the United States are expected to pay more this year. Taxes on groceries also play a role in some states. 

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So, how does your Thanksgiving dinner grocery bill stack up to the rest of the country in 2023?

Cost of Thanksgiving: Most affordable Thanksgiving dinner in the U.S.

According to the AFBF, the most affordable 2023 Thanksgiving dinner is in the Midwest averaging $58.66 for 10 guests. The Midwest includes the following states.

  • Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa
  • Kansas, Michigan, and Minnesota
  • Missouri, Nebraska, and North Dakota
  • Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin

The South experiences the second most affordable Thanksgiving dinner for 2023, with an average cost of $59.10 per 10 people ($5.91 per person). The Southern U.S. includes over a dozen states, including Florida and the Carolinas, but dinner costs can vary significantly from one Southern state to another.

Most expensive 2023 Thanksgiving dinner

It might not be surprising to learn that the Northeast, which includes New York and New Jersey, takes the win for the most expensive Thanksgiving dinner. The average Thanksgiving dinner cost in this region is $64.38 for 10 people. That’s more than last year’s record-setting average for the entire U.S.

The Western region, which includes California, comes in at a close second, with an average classic Thanksgiving dinner cost of $63.89. That’s only $0.16 less than the national average for last year.

Is there a tax on food?

Some states still tax groceries, which can make Thanksgiving dinner even more expensive. 

For example, Mississippi taxes groceries at 7%. So, although the average Thanksgiving dinner cost for the Southern region (which includes Mississippi) is $59.10, residents of the state might pay more than $63 to feed their families this Thanksgiving. 

Some states have reduced their grocery tax, but residents aren’t completely off the hook. 

  • For example, while Virginia has eliminated its portion of the grocery tax, a 1% local sales tax still applies. 
  • And the grocery tax in Missouri is 1.225%, but local taxes can exceed 8% in some areas of the state.

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Katelyn Washington
Tax Writer

Katelyn has more than 6 years’ experience working in tax and finance. While she specializes in tax content, Katelyn has also written for digital publications on topics including insurance, retirement and financial planning and has had financial advice commissioned by national print publications. She believes that knowledge is the key to success and enjoys helping others reach their goals by providing content that educates and informs.