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Author Mike Pawlik
Mike Pawlik
Updated on Nov 24th, 2023
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

How to Order Thanksgiving Meals in 2023: Full Guide

Ordering a Thanksgiving meal is a great solution to reduce stress and save time. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. In this article, I’ll guide you through the process of ordering a Thanksgiving meal, from understanding traditions to making final preparations.

First, it's important to understand the traditions of Thanksgiving and what typically goes into a Thanksgiving meal. This will help you decide on your menu and ensure that you are ordering all the necessary components. Once you have decided on your menu, you can begin the process of placing your order.

Overall, my favorite Thanksgiving meal delivery service this year is Factor. This year, it offers a super convenient Thanksgiving Feast for Two box that requires no cooking at all. But I’ve found a range of options to cater to every level of home chef, so read on for more.

Just Want to Order? Here Are My 3 Favorite Thanksgiving Meal Deliveries

  1. Factor – Best prepared Thanksgiving meals
  2. HelloFresh – Best Thanksgiving boxes
  3. Green Chef – Best Gourmet Thanksgiving meals

Jump for more details on my top Thanksgiving meal boxes 2023

Understanding Thanksgiving Meal Traditions

Thanksgiving meals typically consist of several components: a roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. However, there are many variations of the Thanksgiving meal, and each family has its own traditions.

One of the most important traditions of the Thanksgiving meal is the turkey. It is the centerpiece of the meal and is often accompanied by stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce. 

Turkey is a symbol of abundance and has been a part of the Thanksgiving meal since the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Today, many families also include ham, roast beef, or other meats as part of their Thanksgiving meal.

Another important tradition of the Thanksgiving meal is the stuffing. This is a mixture of bread, vegetables, and herbs that is cooked inside the turkey. It is a delicious accompaniment to the turkey and is often flavored with sage, thyme, and other herbs. Some families also include nuts, dried fruit, or sausage in their stuffing.

Mashed potatoes are also a staple of the Thanksgiving meal. They are often served with gravy and are a comforting and delicious side dish. Some families also include sweet potatoes or yams as part of their Thanksgiving meal. These can be baked, mashed, or served in a casserole with marshmallows.

Cranberry sauce is another important part of the Thanksgiving meal. It is made from fresh or canned cranberries and is often sweetened with sugar or honey. Some families also include other fruits, such as oranges or apples, in their cranberry sauce.

Lastly, pumpkin pie is the traditional dessert of the Thanksgiving meal. It is a creamy and delicious pie made from pumpkin, eggs, sugar, and spices. Some families also include other pies, such as apple or pecan, as part of their Thanksgiving meal.

Understanding the traditions of the Thanksgiving meal can help you plan your own meal and create your own family traditions. Whether you stick to the traditional meal or create your own variations, the most important thing is to come together with loved ones and give thanks for the blessings of the year.

Deciding on Your Menu

With a little planning and consideration, you can create a delicious and satisfying feast for you and your loved ones this Thanksgiving.

Choosing the Main Course

The main course is the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving meal. Traditional options include turkey, ham, or roast beef. If you're looking for something different, consider a vegetarian or vegan option like stuffed acorn squash or lentil loaf.

When selecting your main course, consider the size of your party and any dietary restrictions. If you have a smaller group, a turkey breast or ham might be a better option than a whole turkey. And if you have guests with dietary restrictions, be sure to choose a main course that accommodates their needs.

Selecting Sides

Thanksgiving sides are just as important as the main course. Traditional options include mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and cranberry sauce. But don't be afraid to mix it up with non-traditional sides like roasted root vegetables or sweet potato casserole.

When selecting your sides, consider the flavors and textures that will complement your main course. And don't forget to take your guests' dietary restrictions into account. Offer gluten-free or vegetarian options to ensure everyone can enjoy the meal.

Picking Desserts

No Thanksgiving meal is complete without a delicious dessert. Traditional options include pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pecan pie. But if you're looking for something different, consider a fall-inspired cake or tart.

When selecting your dessert, consider the flavors and textures that will complement your meal. And don't forget to take your guests' dietary restrictions into account. Offer gluten-free or vegan options to ensure everyone can indulge in a sweet treat.

Placing Your Order

When it comes to ordering your Thanksgiving meal, there are 2 main options: in-store and online. Here's what you need to know about both.

Buying Ingredients In-Store – Not As Convenient

If you prefer to order your Thanksgiving meal in person, you'll need to visit the store of your choice during business hours. This can be a great option if you want to see the food options in person and ask any questions you might have.

However, for many people, I’d wager that ordering online from a meal delivery service is a better option.

Ordering Online – The Most Convenient Option

Screengrab of Factor's Thanksgiving Feast for Two page
Factor lets you add a special Thanksgiving Feast to your usual weekly order from its Add-ons Menu

Ordering your Thanksgiving meal online can be a convenient option if you don't have time to visit a store in person. Many meal delivery services offer online ordering for Thanksgiving meals, making it easy to browse options and place your order from the comfort of your own home. I’ve listed my top services below.

To order online, you'll typically need to visit the meal delivery service’s website and navigate to the Thanksgiving meal section. From there, you can browse the available options and add items to your cart. Make sure to double-check your order before submitting it to ensure that you've selected everything you need.

When placing your order online, you'll also need to choose a pickup or delivery time. Make sure to select a time that works well for you and plan ahead to avoid any last-minute rushes.

Overall, whether you choose to order in-store or online, the key is to plan ahead and make sure you have everything you need for a delicious and stress-free Thanksgiving meal.

Scheduling Your Delivery

Once you have chosen a Thanksgiving meal delivery service, it's time to schedule your delivery. Most delivery services will allow you to choose a specific date and time for your delivery. Here are some tips to help you schedule your delivery:

Plan Ahead

Thanksgiving is a busy time of year, so it's important to plan ahead and schedule your delivery as early as possible. Many meal delivery services will allow you to schedule your delivery weeks in advance, so take advantage of this feature and schedule your delivery as soon as you can.

Thanksgiving meals often sell out in advance, or there’s an order deadline (usually around mid-November). Most of the Thanksgiving menus go live at the end of October, so I’d recommend ordering as soon as possible.

Choose a Convenient Delivery Time

When scheduling your delivery, make sure to choose a delivery time that is convenient for you. If you have a busy schedule, consider scheduling your delivery for a time when you know you will be home. Some delivery services may also offer evening or weekend delivery options, so be sure to check if these options are available.

Check for Delivery Fees

Some delivery services may charge a delivery fee, so make sure to check for any fees before scheduling your delivery. Some services may also offer free delivery for orders over a certain amount, so consider ordering extra items to take advantage of this offer.

Be Prepared for Your Delivery

Before your delivery arrives, make sure to have any necessary utensils and serving dishes ready. Most services will list the utensils and pantry essentials you’re expected to have at home. Some meal delivery services also provide prepared meals, so you’ll end up needing fewer utensils and dishes overall.

By following these tips, you can schedule your Thanksgiving meal delivery with ease and ensure a stress-free holiday meal.

Considering Dietary Restrictions

When ordering Thanksgiving meals, it’s important to consider dietary restrictions. Whether you’re hosting the gathering or attending it, it’s essential to ensure that everyone can enjoy the meal. Here are some tips on how to accommodate different dietary needs:


Vegetarians do not eat meat, but they do consume other animal products like milk, eggs, cheese, and butter. Many traditional Thanksgiving dishes are already vegetarian, such as mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and green bean casserole. 

However, make sure to use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth when making these dishes. Consider offering vegetarian options like roasted vegetables, vegetarian stuffing, and meatless gravy. Many meal delivery services make this convenient by sending you all the ingredients you need.


Vegans avoid all animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. To accommodate vegans, consider offering vegetable-based dishes like roasted Brussels sprouts or butternut squash soup. 

You can make a vegan stuffing by using vegetable broth, vegan butter, and omitting any meat or dairy products. Serve vegan gravy made from vegetable broth and cornstarch, and offer a vegan dessert like pumpkin pie made with coconut milk instead of cream.

You can also consider ordering from a dedicated vegan service, like Purple Carrot. This plant-based service made it onto my list of the Best Thanksgiving Delivery Services of 2023


People with gluten intolerance or celiac disease cannot consume gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. To accommodate gluten-free guests, avoid using traditional stuffing made with bread and offer a gluten-free alternative made with rice or cornbread. 

Serve gluten-free gravy made with cornstarch instead of flour and offer gluten-free dessert options like apple crisp made with gluten-free oats or a flourless chocolate cake. 

Other Dietary Restrictions

Be sure to ask your guests about their preferences and offer alternative dishes if they have other dietary restrictions, such as nut allergies or lactose intolerance. Consider labeling dishes with common allergens like nuts or dairy to make it easier for guests to identify safe options.

This way, you can ensure that all of your guests can enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal. With a little planning and creativity, you can accommodate a variety of dietary needs and make everyone feel welcome at the table.

Budgeting for Your Meal

Thanksgiving can be an expensive holiday, but with some careful planning and budgeting, you can still enjoy a delicious meal without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you budget for your Thanksgiving meal:

Make a Plan

The first step in budgeting for your Thanksgiving meal is to make a plan. Decide how many people you will be serving and what dishes you will be making. This will help you determine how much food you need to buy and how much it will cost.

Shop Smart

When shopping for your Thanksgiving meal, be sure to shop smart. Look for sales and discounts, and buy in bulk when possible. Consider going with a meal delivery service to help you stick to your budget and save money. 

Meal delivery services make it easier to save money because you don’t have to go out and buy all of the ingredients separately. Some meal delivery services offer special Thanksgiving meals that can be sent to you with everything you need in a single neat box.

Reviewing Your Order

Flatlay of dishes from HelloFresh's Turkey Thanksgiving Box
Some of the dishes from HelloFresh's Turkey Box

It's important to review your order to ensure that everything is correct once you’ve placed it. Here are some things to keep in mind when reviewing your order:

Delivery Date and Time

Make sure that the delivery date and time are correct. You want to make sure everything arrives in advance of Thanksgiving, but not so early that the produce or meat will be past its best. Double-check that the meal will arrive on the day that you want it to and that you will be available to receive it. Some services may offer delivery windows, so make sure that you have selected a time that works for you.

Menu Items

Review the menu items that you have selected to make sure that they are what you want. If you have selected any add-ons or extras, check that they are included in your order. If you have any dietary restrictions or allergies, confirm that you have selected items that are safe for you (and your guests) to eat.


Check the quantity of each item that you have ordered. Make sure that you have ordered enough food to feed your guests, but not so much that you will have a lot of leftovers. Some services may offer portion sizes based on the number of guests you will be serving, so make sure that you have selected the appropriate size.


Review the price of your order to make sure that it is within your budget. Make sure that you have included any taxes, fees, or gratuities in your calculations. If the price seems higher than you expected, double-check to make sure that you have not accidentally added any items to your order.

Delivery Instructions

If you have any special delivery instructions, make sure that they are included in your order. For example, if you live in an apartment complex, make sure that you have provided the correct building and unit number. If you have a gate code or other access instructions, make sure that you have included them in your order.

Making Final Preparations

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, it's time to make the final preparations for your meal. Here are some tips to help you ensure that everything is ready to go on the big day:

  • Confirm your order: If you're ordering a pre-cooked Thanksgiving meal, make sure to confirm your order with the restaurant or store a few days before Thanksgiving. This will give you time to make any necessary changes or adjustments.

  • Set the table: Don't wait until the last minute to set the table. A few days before Thanksgiving, lay out your tablecloth, placemats, and tableware. This will give you time to make sure that you have everything you need and that it looks just the way you want it to.

  • Prepare your serving dishes: Make sure that you have all the serving dishes you need and that they are clean and ready to go. Label each dish with a sticky note or piece of tape so that you know what goes where on the table.

  • Make room in the fridge: If you're picking up a pre-cooked meal or lots of ingredients, make sure that you have enough room in your fridge to store it until Thanksgiving Day. Clear out any unnecessary items to make room.

  • Review your cooking schedule: Take a few minutes to review your cooking schedule and make sure that you have everything you need for each dish. Double-check your recipes and make a list of any last-minute ingredients that you need to pick up.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your Thanksgiving meal goes off without a hitch and that you can enjoy a stress-free holiday with your loved ones.

Top 3 Thanksgiving Meal Delivery Services

Meal delivery services can be a great option if you're looking to take the stress out of Thanksgiving meal planning and preparation. Here are my top 3 Thanksgiving meal delivery services to consider:

1. Factor – Best Prepared Thanksgiving Meals

Factor offers a Thanksgiving Feast for Two box, making your holiday meal simple. This package includes a main dish, sides, and a dessert. No cooking skills are needed, just the desire to enjoy a traditional meal. You can also learn more about the quality of its prepared meals in my tested Factor review.

To find this special box, check out Factor’s menu for the week of November 18 to 24 on the website. Click on Weekly Menu at the top and then scroll down to the add-ons section of the menu. Inside the box, you'll find Sliced Turkey Breast, Mashed Potatoes, Mushroom-Green Beans, Butternut-Smoked Gouda Mac 'n' Cheese, and Pumpkin Cheesecake.

The food is completely prepared, and heating is super simple. Heating instructions come with both microwave and oven options. You'll get step-by-step guidance on how to get your meal hot and ready. Factor makes it convenient for you, whether you're comfortable with an oven or a microwave.

If microwaving is your preference, the process is quick. Remove the outer packaging, pierce the plastic film to vent, and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Check and heat in 30-second intervals if needed.

Using your oven is just as simple but requires a bit more time. Set your oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 375°F. Remove all packaging and bake on a sheet for at least 5 minutes.

Factor's Thanksgiving box contains common allergens like milk, eggs, and tree nuts. Also, the meals are produced in a facility that processes all major allergens. Be careful if you or someone you're sharing the meal with has severe allergies.

The Thanksgiving box is a separate order and won't mix with regular Factor meals. You'll receive it independently of any other items you might purchase.

The price tag for one of these special boxes is $49.99. You have the flexibility to order just one box for you and a partner or as many as you want if you have guests coming over. Orders are open until November 16.

2. HelloFresh – Best Thanksgiving Boxes

a screenshot of HelloFresh's roast turkey, part of the turkey box for Thanksgiving
HelloFresh is best for those looking for a complete Thanksgiving box including the meat, sides, and a dessert

HelloFresh does things a bit differently than the other 2 competitors on this list. It offers 2 Thanksgiving boxes that include the main dishes, sides, and a dessert. It’s an easy way to get everything you need in a simple package. If you’d rather build your own Thanksgiving meal, I recommend Home Chef instead. Home Chef lets you pick and choose your sides and dessert.

There are 2 main boxes available: Turkey or Beef Tenderloin. Aside from the main meat, each box comes with identical sides and a dessert. 

The sides include: 

  • Creamy Mashed Potatoes

  • Brioche Stuffing, Classic Gravy

  • Fresh Cranberry Sauce

  • Garlic Green Beans

  • Apple Crisp

The meat selection dictates both the serving size and the pricing. The Turkey option serves 8 to 10 guests and is priced at $199.90. On the other hand, the Beef Tenderloin box caters to 4 to 6 people and costs $161.94. This is mainly because turkey is generally a lot larger than beef tenderloin (and much more affordable).

Overall, you'll spend around 4 hours in the kitchen, but the bulk of that is for your meat of choice. The side dishes and dessert are quicker to prepare, allowing you more time to enjoy with your family and/or friends. Speaking of sides and dessert, HelloFresh offers a ton more options that you’re welcome to learn about in my colleague’s review.

I do want to mention that allergens can present a bit of a challenge. The ingredients contain common allergens such as milk, eggs, soy, and wheat. Also, they come from a facility that processes tree nuts and sesame. You should be mindful of these when serving your guests, especially if they have specific allergies. Check each item on the menu carefully.

Aside from that, you need to place your order by November 16. Deliveries are scheduled between November 14th and 21st, and you have the flexibility to pick your delivery date. If you go with the turkey, remember to allot 4 days for thawing before you start cooking.

3. Green Chef – Best Gourmet Thanksgiving Meals 

a screenshot of green chef's Turkey with Cranberry-Bacon Pan Sauce Thanksgiving special
Green Chef is ideal for those who'd like to feed a smaller gathering with its selection of individual Thanksgiving meals

Green Chef caters to smaller gatherings. If you're planning a more intimate Thanksgiving dinner, Green Chef is the choice for you. While HelloFresh offers meals serving 4 to 10 guests, Green Chef specializes in servings for 2 to 6 people. However, if you need more food, you can always order multiple dishes.

Its Thanksgiving week menu is varied and delectable. Between November 18 and 24, you can explore Green Chef's offerings and select from 3 mouth-watering dishes. These include Turkey with Cranberry-Bacon Pan Sauce, Pistachio-Crusted Sockeye Salmon, and Maple-Soy Sweet Potato “Steaks”.

Cooking time is short and manageable. With Green Chef, you won’t be spending all day in the kitchen. Each of its Thanksgiving dishes requires only about 30 to 35 minutes of preparation, giving you more time to relax with your loved ones. My colleague found out that most of Green Chef’s meals are quick to prepare in their Green Chef review.

Be mindful of the allergens in its dishes. If you or your guests have food allergies, pay close attention. Green Chef dishes might contain common allergens like tree nuts, milk, soy, and fish. Always review the ingredients list for each menu item you're considering.

The minimum order (even for Thanksgiving) is 3 meals for 2 people each week. Yet, if you have a bigger gathering or want more variety, you can go up to 4 meals for 6 people. Feel free to mix and match the Thanksgiving dishes with regular dishes (or dessert!) to your preference.

Green Chef’s starting price is $9.99 per serving for the largest orders. However, remember, if you're ordering smaller quantities, the cost per serving will increase slightly.

Bonus. Home Chef – Best Individual Thanksgiving Items 

a screenshot of home chef's roasted turkey breast
Home Chef is ideal for those who would rather pick and choose their own sides (and dessert!)

Home Chef lets you customize your Thanksgiving order. I like this flexibility because it allows you to select individual dishes based on your needs and preferences. With each dish, you can serve a group ranging from 6 to 10 guests.

The main dish is the Turkey Breast Roast. This centerpiece serves up to 10 guests, ensuring nobody leaves your table hungry.

As for the sides, they’re equally impressive and serve about 6 guests each. You have choices like 

  • Grown-Up Green Bean Casserole

  • White Cheddar and Sage Biscuits with Honey Butter

  • Loaded Mashed Potatoes with Bacon

  • Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Maple Bacon Glaze

  • Sweet Potato Casserole.

All Thanksgiving dishes come with special identification. When you're scrolling through the options, keep an eye out for a Thanksgiving banner and a red Holiday tag. This helps in quickly spotting the festive offerings amidst other dishes.

In terms of allergens, it offers gluten-smart dishes for Thanksgiving. If you or any of your guests are watching their gluten intake, dishes like Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Maple Bacon Glaze, and Turkey Breast Roast are your go-to options.

You should check the dish details for allergens. Some dishes may contain common allergens such as milk, wheat, and sesame. It’s always a good idea to go through the detailed description. Check out my colleague’s Home Chef review for more information about how the company handles allergens.

Dessert options are also available, though they don’t have the same Thanksgiving tag. That’s because Home Chef always offers a large assortment of desserts. To find these options, just look out for the orange Dessert tag to add any sweet items to your Thanksgiving order.

Cooking times vary across dishes. To help you plan, it's good to know that items like the White Cheddar and Sage Biscuits will take around 20 minutes, while the Turkey Breast Roast might need over an hour in the oven.

The minimum you can order is 2 recipes for 2 people, but if you have a larger group, you can order up to 6 recipes for 6 people. Pricing starts at $7.99 per serving for the largest order.


What is the best order to cook Thanksgiving dinner dishes?

Start with the dishes that take the longest to cook, such as the turkey, and work your way down to the dishes that take the least amount of time, such as the rolls. This will ensure that all of your dishes are ready at the same time and that your guests can enjoy a hot meal.

It's also a good idea to use a timer to keep track of cooking times and to avoid overcooking or undercooking your dishes. If you want to have everything laid out for you step-by-step, check out HelloFresh’s Thanksgiving special this year.

Can I order a turkey dinner to be sent to someone?

Yes, you can! Many meal delivery services offer Thanksgiving meals that can be shipped directly to your loved ones. Home Chef, for example, lets you send its turkey breast roast and selection of 5 Thanksgiving sides as a gift. You’ll need to purchase an electronic gift card and send it to your desired person via email.

When should I start planning and buying for Thanksgiving dinner?

It's best to start planning and buying for Thanksgiving dinner at least a week in advance. This will give you enough time to purchase all the necessary ingredients and make any necessary preparations. You can also start preparing dishes that can be made ahead of time, such as cranberry sauce or pie crusts, to save time on the day of the meal.

If you decide to go with a meal delivery service, you should order this as soon as possible – ideally at the start of November.

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