7 Lifesaving Thanksgiving Meal Kits

From a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving to the perfect leftovers box

Thanksgiving is around the corner which means it's officially Time to Celebrate. All month long we're bringing you recipes, tips, tricks and stories that are equal parts memorable and delicious.

Even if you love to cook, hosting Thanksgiving dinner is daunting, with half of your time spent at the grocery store and the other half in line at the butcher for that special bird. Meal kits take much of the worry and work out of the equation by allowing you to order your bird and sides to be delivered to your door. Then you just have to follow the recipes—it's practically foolproof.

From a kit designed by ultimate host Martha Stewart herself to one that's New York Times-approved, here are seven kits to help you get through the holiday.   

If You Want to Channel Martha

Domestic queen Stewart is partnering with the meal kit crew at Marley Spoon. The Thanksgiving-in-a-box runs $179 for a complete meal, including a 12-to-14 pound free-range turkey, ingredients for a dried cherry and herb stuffing, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts with pomegranate seeds and a cider vinaigrette, and a brown-butter apple pie. There's also an option to purchase a box without a turkey for $119.

Pros: If you've always longed for a Martha-worthy Thanksgiving meal, this is your chance. The box also comes with a holiday planning booklet and tips for decorating your table.

Cons: If you have strong feelings about green beans or cranberry sauce, you'll have to deal with the lines at the supermarket like everyone else.

If You Need a Little Something on the Side

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Delicata Squash with Currants and Fried Shallots | Photo: Courtesy of Sun Basket

Healthy meal kit company Sun Basket leaves the turkey to you and focuses its box on everyone's favorite part of the meal: the sides. The options: a kale and leek gratin with Gruyère, roast Brussels sprouts and delicata squash topped with currants and fried shallots, and an apple sourdough stuffing with Italian sausage that can be tucked inside your bird or made into a casserole dish.

Pros: Sprouts and delicata squash will add something a bit healthy to the typically decadent holiday table.

Cons: You'll need to source your turkey elsewhere. Also, Sun Basket is a year-round subscription, so you'll need to temporarily sign up.

If You Trust Only the Times

Photo: Courtesy of NYT Cooking

The New York Times has been sharing Thanksgiving recipes with readers for decades, and this year, the paper has pulled from its bank of recipes and teamed up with Chef'd for a meal kit. Each item is ordered individually, so cooks can choose whether they need just a turkey and stuffing or an entire feast, which includes sprouts, mashed potatoes, kale salad, creamed corn, cranberry sauce and pies. A full meal clocks in around $20 to $24 a person.

Pros: The site provides options for small and large groups, so there's something for every party.

Cons: The sides are very traditional, so if you're looking for something a bit different to shake things up, you'll need to handle that separately. 

If You Prefer a Taste of the City

Butternut Squash and Sage Mac & Cheese | Photo: Sally Kung

For New Yorkers who don't want to spend a day running around the city looking for the best ingredients from small producers, mise en place, or mepNYC, will do the legwork instead. For Thanksgiving, the team will send already-prepped ingredients for dishes like Brussels sprouts with maple-glazed Peter Luger bacon and cranberries, and stuffing with chicken-apple sausage made with challah from Hot Bread Kitchen.

Pros: You'll be giving thanks for local producers, plus all ingredients arrive premeasured and prepped—no chopping and dicing required.

Cons: mise en place is available only in New York City. And you'll need to get your turkey and dessert elsewhere.

If You're Hosting a Small Gathering

Year-round meal kit Blue Apron has worked a sort of miniaturized Thanksgiving meal into its offerings for the week of the holiday. That meal includes turkey breast with mashed sweet potatoes, kale and cranberry sauce, that runs about $10 a person.

Pros: A solid choice if you're hosting an intimate dinner, don't have time to cook or want to have a second Thanksgiving meal.

Cons: If you promised family or friends a holiday feast, turkey breast simply won't do. Also, you need to be a member to place this order.

If You Think Outside of the Box

Plated, another year-round meal kit service, is getting a bit wild this holiday season. In addition to turkey legs with mashed sweet potatoes and sprouts, and acorn squash with corn bread and sausage stuffing, the company is also offering the fixings for a Thanksgiving burger with a caramelized onion aioli and butternut squash. Meals through the subscription run around $10 per person.  

Pros: That burger will help extend the Thanksgiving vibes through the weekend.

Cons: Since the turkey option includes only legs, this probably isn't the best fit for those hosting a big party.

If You Care About Leftovers

Let's be honest, the best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. After everyone has gone home, you can finally eat a sandwich in the kitchen alone, perhaps even in the dark. It's a sacred moment. The deli men at Zingerman's in Michigan understand this impulse and have designed a meal kit accordingly for the day after Thanksgiving. The $125 kit comes with a loaf of rye; their signature cheddar; Emmentaler Swiss; a jar of cranberry mustard; and pint containers of coleslaw, Russian dressing and potato salad. And because these chaps really understand you, they've thrown in brownie bites for dessert.

Pros: These are simply obvious.

Cons: Are you kidding? It's perfect.