There’s a Turkey Shortage—Here’s What to Know to Save Your Holiday Feast

Because of various factors, fewer holiday birds are available in grocery stores than usual. Not to worry—you can still have a tasty Thanksgiving meal this year.

roast turkey on platter with oranges and bowl of cranberry sauce
Photo: Andy Lyons

Traditional Thanksgiving tables in the United States serve up classic roast turkeys—46 million turkeys annually, in fact—each November. This year, however, might be a bit trickier, as the forecast for turkey availability during the holiday season is looking a little slim: We may be looking at a turkey shortage. Because of the low supply, turkey prices may cause some sticker shock. We've got the details on the turkey shortage, along with some tips and ideas for making sure you and your loved ones still have the best meal of the year.

Why Is There a Turkey Shortage?

In the past several months, the USDA reported an avian flu outbreak. Nearly 50 million birds (including turkeys and chickens) have been infected and died on farms across 43 states. Yes, that's nearly the amount of turkeys consumed on a single Thanksgiving. Since fewer commercial turkeys will be available this year, this is going to result in a price hike. As of right now, the price per pound of turkey (8 to 16 pounds) is $1.99, which is up from $1.15 last year.

How to Still Get a Turkey This Year

Just because there’s a turkey shortage doesn't mean you won't be able to find a turkey to roast for your family dinner. The avian flu mostly affected larger birds, so if you usually get a 15-plus–pounder, you may run into a few hurdles. You can instead opt for a smaller turkey that should be available at grocery stores—at the higher price point, but still available—and try to supplement the lighter bird with another option (more ideas below). You could also cook two turkeys if you really want to make sure everyone gets a slice. If you spot the perfect turkey now, go ahead and buy it, then keep it frozen until it's time for the feast.

Turkey Delivery

Not interested in going store to store looking for turkeys? You can reserve one online now to ensure you'll have a turkey for Thanksgiving. Here are some options to consider:

  • ButcherBox: There's no subscription required to purchase the Turkey Box, which includes a 14- to 18-pound free-range, all-natural turkey for $85. Orders should be placed by Nov. 13 to receive in time for the holiday.
  • Goldbelly: If you've ever wanted to serve a smoked turkey, BBQ turkey, or deep-fried turkey on Thanksgiving, this online marketplace has several varieties to choose from.
  • Omaha Steaks: The online butcher is offering a ready-to-cook turkey that comes with a cooking bag and signature brown sugar-honey baste for $100.
  • Perdue Farms: There are currently frozen birds up to 20 pounds available, with prices ranging from $94 to $115 with free shipping.
  • Williams Sonoma: The kitchenware retailer's gourmet food section sells 10- to 12-pound turkeys for $120.

Turkey Alternatives for Thanksgiving

Whether you can find the perfect bird for this year's feast or not, this is an opportunity to explore options beyond turkey. Of course, you can keep the poultry theme and go for a roast chicken or duck. To spice things up a bit more, try one of these alternatives for turkey this year:

On a day spent with family and friends, you really can't go wrong with any menu Thanksgiving. Once your big feast is done, don't let any of those leftovers go to waste. Our Test Kitchen has some fabulous ideas for leftover turkey, as well as all the sides.

Was this page helpful?
Better Homes & Gardens is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources—including peer-reviewed studies—to support the facts in our articles. Read about our editorial policies and standards to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy.
  1. "2022 Confirmations of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Commercial and Backyard Flocks." Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  2. "USDA National Retail Report - Turkey." U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Related Articles