There are few greater joys in life than cooking for your nearest and dearest, and there’s no better time to do this than during the holiday season. With reports suggesting the price of America’s most popular holiday meat—turkey—is on the rise, along with other staple seasonal ingredients, this festive period could be more expensive than ever. This led us to investigate the estimated costs of holiday dinners in 2021 in different cities across the US and countries around the world.
The typical Holiday Dinner varies greatly from one side of the country to the other. So, to begin our analysis, we researched the most popular recipes made during the Holiday season in each US city. Next, we found the cost of each key holiday recipe ingredient, specifically the main protein, vegetable, carbohydrate, side dish, and dessert.
To provide insights into holiday traditions outside the US, we studied typical holiday dinners in countries around the world, and collected ingredient prices in those locations as well.
Click here to see our recent study that reveals the cost of baking a batch of Christmas Cookies in the same locations in the US and around the world.
Below is a table for the 2021 USA Holiday Dinner Index. It includes a list of holiday dinners across the country and two US territories (American Samoa & the U.S. Virgin Islands) that are ranked from least expensive to most expensive in terms of the total cost of 1 holiday dinner. You can sort each factor and scroll from left to right to see the total cost of inviting one extra person for dinner or hosting an eight-person dinner, and the cost-breakdown of each key ingredient in the meal.
This next table crosses borders and includes prices for a typical holiday dinner and key ingredients in cities outside of the US. Dinners here are also ranked from least expensive to most expensive.
The Holiday Dinner Price Index calculates the cost of cooking a typical holiday dinner in 60 cities in the US and 30 countries around the world. The main components of popular local holiday dinners were studied, including the main protein, carbohydrate, vegetable, side dish, and dessert. For the typical holiday dinner, costs were calculated for one person and eight people.
Local names of dishes have been provided, with an English description given alongside where necessary. All prices were collected in the local currency & converted to USD using the average monthly conversion rate of August 2021.
A wide range of sources were used to establish a typical holiday dinner in each location. A full list is available upon request.
Sources: General Mills blog, Spoon University, Treetopia, Zippia.
Within each dish, the main protein, carbohydrate, vegetable, side dish and dessert were recorded. Prices of the most applicable sample for every dish were collected from local online supermarkets.
Sources: Available on request.
The prices and sizes of foreign products were standardized to US metrics, i.e. USD and ounces.
The single serving portion size of each element of the holiday dinner was based on recommended amounts for an average adult. A full list of amounts is available on request.
Source: BBC Good Food.