If you live by a Trader Joe’s fan, you're definitely familiar with their wide array of frozen, marinated, and heat-and-serve meals and desserts. And if you’re like me, you might be looking to those limited-time items as a way to prepare a smaller meal because you don’t have a monster family gathering like some do.
Here are some scenarios where you might want a quick and easy Thanksgiving-type meal for a small crowd.
- You live many miles away from your family so you only go home for Christmas but still want to celebrate in your own way. This was me in college!
- You work on Thanksgiving and just need something quick to get on the table for the family to enjoy.
- Your family postpones the big meal and gathering until the weekend, but you feel like you’re missing out on Thanksgiving. For the big gathering, head over to our posts all about Thanksgiving Recipes For Kids and Adults.
- You don’t want to spend the money to go out to a place like Cracker Barrel to get a served Thanksgiving dinner. This whole meal costs less than $50 and you'll even have leftovers!
If any of these scenarios are you, then this article about Trader Joe’s new and limited-time buys is for you!
What is a “Limited Time Buy” at Trader Joe’s?
According to Trader Joe’s, Limited Time Buy items are ones that are only available seasonally, or at least until sales prove that they should be available year-round. This business model creates a sense of urgency among customers (me included who bought 7 vanilla bean pastes this fall).
These items are often noted in the Fearless Flyer magazine, available on their website, or in the front of the store. Limited-time items are different than new items, although a new item may become a limited-time buy down the road.
So now, the real reason you’re here, what are the limited-time buys at Trader Joe’s that make the perfect heat-and-serve Thanksgiving dinner for 4? Let me tell you!
Limited-Time Buys From Trader Joe's
This is a comprehensive list of traditional Thanksgiving heat and serve items that will make the ultimate 2023 Thanksgiving dinner for a small crowd! And bonus, it will be ready in an hour and cost you less than $50 dollars.
Brined Bone-In Half Turkey Breast - $9.99
This is the perfect size for a small Thanksgiving! Located in the ready-to-go section (by customer service), you can grab it and pop it quickly in the oven.
Turkey Flavored Gravy - $1.49
No Thanksgiving is complete without gray and this one doesn’t take any work other than just heating it up! Heat and serve for the win!
Cranberry Sauce - $2.99
I’m not normally a fan of canned cranberry sauce, but this one actually tastes like homemade cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries! Sometimes I just eat it on toast.
Harvest Apple Salad Kit - $3.99
This salad kit's flavor just screams fall and the kit comes with everything you need, toppings, dressing, and more! You of course can always add more to it like Brussels sprouts or butternut squash.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes - $2.99
I have to have sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving! These are great on their own since they're already flavored. But they're also delicious topped with marshmallows, graham crackers, or oats.
Four Cheese Scalloped Potatoes - $5.99
This side dish is great because it can be baked and served in the container it’s sold in. This means less work and fewer dishes for you!
Cornbread Stuffing - $5.99
Another heat-and-serve option that can be cooked and served in the container it comes in. I love this for us! For a more labor-intensive version, you can make our Stuffing without Celery.
Par-Baked Organic French Demi Baguettes - $2.49
You will need a sheet pan for this, but using par-baked (meaning partially baked) bread is a great way to get fresh flavor with half the work. And, these only take 10-15 minutes.
Roasted Vegetables with garlic and Herbs - $5.99
Another one! And by that, I mean a dish that is baked and served in the container it’s sold in.
Sparkling Tea - Blanc (new item) - $8.99
This is a new Trader Joe’s item and as someone who loves sparkling cider, I was SO excited to see them offering a similar product! Also, with the rise of non-alcoholic (NA) options, this just feels like the move for this holiday season, regardless of whether you're making a small or large dinner. I should note that this is more expensive than an actual bottle of wine at TJ’s so keep that in mind.
Teeny Tiny Apple Pies - $4.99
While shopping at Trader Joe’s, I was chatting with my mom and she mentioned how great it would be to have mini pies so you could just try a bite of each and not have tons of leftovers. Well, as soon as I turned the corner, Trader Joe’s delivered these apple pies! If you want something larger, you could also make our Bisquick Apple Cobbler.
Petite Bouquet - $3.99 (Optional)
Nothing says festive like a nice little bouquet of flowers. Of course, this is optional but I’m a sucker for setting the scene!
Pre-Tax grand total without flowers: $49.90
With flowers: 53.89