Dec 14

Supermarket comparison: The Best Budget Christmas Dinner

Reading Time: 8 minutes

A tasty Christmas dinner is essential to any holiday celebration. For many, if there’s not a good meal on the table, Christmas is ruined. Don’t despair though, every year MoneyMagpie scour far and wide for some of the tastiest and cheapest Christmas dinner options the supermarkets are putting out this year in order to ensure that your festive feast will be one to remember.

Like last year, we reached out to many of the best high street supermarkets for their budget Christmas dinner offerings. We heard back from the lovely people at Iceland, ALDI, ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s who provided us with some of their value Christmas nosh to taste-test and that’s exactly what we did.

As a result, we’re now an authority on terrific turkeys and brilliant brussel sprouts, so read on for our full guide to the best budget supermarket Christmas dinners.

We mainly judged the core Christmas essentials:

  • Roast potoatoes
  • Vegetables
  • The turkey
  • And of course the Christmas pudding!

However, we also be looked at extras the supermarkets have to offer, such as salmon starters and Christmas pud alternatives.


We used quite a lot of ready to go dishes, such as ready-made roast potatoes, as we know it can take a lot of the pressure off.


But of course you could save even more money by going for fresh vegetables and doing it yourself. Look for deals in the supermarkets, or even local markets or sellers.

Cost of cooking

Also, always thinking of cost, we found the average price for the energy taken to cook up one of these massive meals to be around 60p. Make sure to look at this article on how to get yourself the best deals on your energy bills.

Last year, Sainsbury’s were the crowned the grand winners of the contest… so can they do it again?

And now, onto the judging! (prices from 2012)



Frozen food supermarket specialists Iceland have claimed that they can provide the cheapest Christmas dinner available on the high street this year. They may have one of the most cost-friendly options, but is it the tastiest?Budget Christmas Dinner

Here’s a rundown of the Christmas delicacies Iceland provided us with for a family of four:

  • Basted turkey breast joint, 900g (serves 4-6) – £6
  • Frozen roast potatoes, 907g – £1
  • Frozen Yorkshire puddings, 16 – £1
  • Sprouts and chestnuts, 750g – £1.50
  • Frozen roasting vegetable selection, 700g – £1.50
  • Christmas trimmings selection (8 bacon wrapped sausages, 8 cocktail sausages, 8 pork, sage & onion stuffing balls) – £3

Overall cost of Christmas dinner essentials: £13.50(Though no Christmas pudding!)

Iceland turkey – 8/10

First of all, we were impressed how big the turkey breast joint was and how it could easily serve 4-6 people. The meat was also surprisingly succulent and the sage and onion stuffing had a really nice flavour to it. This sort of joint is a good idea if you have a smallish gathering and you can’t face the prospect of turkey for the fortnight after!

Iceland roast potatoes – 5/10

The potatoes refused to brown and harden in the oven, which meant that they were disappointingly soft as a result.

Iceland Yorkshire puddings – 7/10

There weren’t many Yorkshires in the pack, but boy were they big. They weren’t outstanding, however, they definitely did the job of filling us up.

Iceland veg – 5/10

The carrot, cauliflower and broccoli mix tasted decidedly average, although the carrot remained irritatingly hard, even after the allotted cooking time. The sprouts and red cabbage had a good flavour to them, however.

Iceland Xmas pudding – N/A


Sainsbury’s was next on our list of dinners, could their offering be the best out there?Budget Christmas Dinner

Here’s what we taste-tested:

  • Smoked salmon trimmings – 90p
  • Sainsbury’s soft white cheese 300g – £1.20
  • Sainsbury’s cocktail blinis 135g – £1.79

The Christmas Dinner Essentials:

  • Sainsbury’s British turkey – £5.49 per kilo
  • Sainsbury’s ready-braised red cabbage with Bramley apple & spices (300g) – £2
  • Sainsbury’s Yorkshire puddings x6 (132g) – £0.99
  • Sainsbury’s ready-to-roast potatoes – £2
  • Sainsbury’s ready-to-roast root vegetables (400g) – £1.50
  • Sainsbury’s Butcher’s Choice pork cocktail sausages x20 (283g) – £2.29
  • Sainsbury’s sausage & bacon wraps x12 (210g)- £3
  • Sainsbury’s British button sprouts (1kg)  – £1
  • Sainsbury’s Luxury Fruit & Nut Christmas Pudding 450g (serves 4) – £4

(Alternative to pudding – Millionaire’s Ice-cream bomb By Sainsbury’s 650 ml £4 or £3 from 12 December – 1 January)

Overall cost of Christmas dinner essentials: £24.51

Sainsbury’s turkey – 8/10

This was a good turkey and a decent size for a family.

Sainsbury’s roast potatoes – 8/10

Fewer potatoes than we would have liked, but they did get very nice and crispy meaning that they were some of the tastiest roasts we ate.

Sainsbury’s Yorkshire puddings – 7/10

The Sainsbury’s Yorkshire puds were fairly small, but there were a lot of them to make up for that. They thankfully weren’t too soft either, so they generally tasted like authentic Yorkshires should.

Sainsbury’s veg – 8/10

There were no complaints with Sainsbury’s selection of vegetables; the brussel sprouts were tasty, as were the red cabbage and veg mix.

Sainsbury’s Xmas pudding – 8/10

There was a mix of thoughts on this pud. Some loved it, some weren’t so sure. It’s a question of taste.



With Tesco we were given the everyday value range with more raw ingredients than pre-prepared.Budget Christmas Dinner

  • Tesco smoked salmon appetisers £2

The Christmas Essentials:

  • Tesco Everyday Value fresh turkey (£4 per kilo) – £12
  • Tesco 10 pork cocktail sausages in bacon – £1.59
  • Tesco Everyday Value roasting potatoes 1kg – £1
  • Tesco Everyday Value carrots 1.5kg – 89p
  • Tesco Everyday Value Parsnips 750g -85p
  • Tesco Brussels sprout stalk – £1
  • Tesco Everyday Value gravy granules 200g – 21p
  • Tesco Everyday Value Cranberry sauce 185g – 50p
  • Tesco Everyday Value Christmas pudding with cider 454g -98p

Overall cost of Christmas dinner essentials: £19.02 (this is because of no pre-prepared vegetables)

Tesco turkey – 8/10

This was a perfectly decent turkey. No complaints so long as you cook it properly.

Tesco cocktail sausages – 7/10

These were surprisingly big but tasty!

Tesco roasting potatoes – 7/10

These were pretty good but not as crisp as we would have liked.

Tesco Everyday Value carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprout stalk – 8/10

Good, fresh vegetables. These are ones you have to prepare yourself so any of the supermarkets are good for these.

Tesco Everyday Value gravy granules – 7/10

Made good gravy with the turkey juices.

Tesco Everyday Value cranberry sauce – 7/10

Again, a perfectly acceptable jar of sauce.

Tesco Xmas pudding – 8/10

You can definitely taste the alcohol in this very traditional pud. Dark and spicy. We were quite impressed with it.



ASDA are good at providing great quality at a low price, but how does their Christmas dinner selection shape up against the competition?Budget Christmas Dinner

This is what we compared:

  • Smoked salmon: £0.90
  • Eggs: £0.98
  • Bread sauce: £0.32
  • Cranberry sauce: £0.76
  • Mince pies: £0.75
  • Brandy butter: £1.50
  • Christmas cake: £1.60

The Christmas essentials:

  • Turkey (6.6kg – big enough for at least 8 people): £12.00
  • Sage and onion stuffing mix: £0.15
  • Potatoes (1kg): £0.69
  • Carrots (1kg): £0.80
  • Parsnips (750g): £0.80
  • Sprouts (1kg): 1.00
  • Christmas pudding: £0.98

Overall cost of Christmas dinner essentials: £16.42

ASDA turkey – 8/10

Another tasty turkey and very good value for the size.

ASDA roast potatoes – 7/10

Surprisingly good given that they came out of a packet.

ASDA Yorkshire puddings – 5/10

The Smart Price Yorkshire puddings are the cheapest option by far at a lowly 39p for 12. Sadly this shows in their quality; they’re slightly rubbery in texture and – while perfectly edible – they fail to hit the heights of the others.

ASDA veg – 7/10

These were decent and tasty enough.

ASDA Xmas pudding – 9/10

A scrumptious pud, this Christmas dessert will have you coming back for more even after you’ve managed to scoff your own body weight in turkey.



ALDI weighs in with their Xmas meal offerings; can they match their rivals?

Here’s what they came up with:

  • Almare smoked salmon – £2.79, 200g

The Christmas essentials

  • Oakhurst basted whole British turkey – £9.99, 4.2kg average weight (enough for at least 6 people)
  • Quixo Yorkshire puddings – 85p, 230g
  • Four seasons winter roast vegetable mix – £1.29, 750g
  • Four seasons roasting potatoes – 85p, 1kg
  • Pork cocktail sausages – £1.49, 300g
  • Four seasons button Brussels sprouts – 99p, 1kg
  • Holly Lane connoisseur Christmas pudding – £2.99, 750g

Overall cost of Christmas dinner essentials: £18.45

ALDI turkey – 8/10

A really good turkey. Good flavour and large for the price.

ALDI roast potatoes – 8/10

Good crispy potatoes.

ALDI Yorkshire puddings – 7/10

ALDI’s Yorkshires definitely didn’t disappoint in the taste department, they were very appetising. They were as fluffy and light as you would expect any good Yorkshire pudding to be.

ALDI veg – 7/10

This batch of veg was OK but frozen veg are not as good as fresh.

ALDI Xmas pudding – 8/10

An impressively fruity Christmas pud that looked and tasted like an expensive one.



Morrisons are known for value foods.

Here’s what they came up with:Budget Christmas Dinner

  • M soft white cheese, 300g
  • M 16 cocktail blinis,(160g) £2
  • M Savers smoked salmon trimmings, (120g) 90p
The Christmas essentials
  • Goose fat potatoes,500g – £1
  • Ready to roast winter vegetables, 400g – £1.50
  • Braised red cabbage with apples & cranberries, 325g – £2
  • Fresh standard sprouts, 750g – £1
  • M 6 Yorkshire puddings, 132g – £1
  • Wonderfully fruity Christmas pudding, 454g – £5
  • Morrisons free-range Turkey bronze – £4 per kilo
  • M Butcher’s Style sausage & bacon rolls, £2.39 or 2 for £4
  • M 25 pork cocktail sausages – £1.19
  • Overall cost of Christmas dinner essentials: £19.69

Morrisons turkey – 8/10

A really good turkey. Good flavour and large for the price.

Morrisons roast potatoes – 8/10

Good crispy potatoes.

ALDI Yorkshire puddings – 7/10

These were serviceable and decent puds.

Morrisons veg – 7/10

This batch of veg was decent but frozen veg are not as good as fresh.

Morrisons Xmas pudding – 8/10

An impressively fruity Christmas pud that looked and tasted like an expensive one.


The verdict

On the whole, all the Christmas dinners we tested were much tastier than we originally expected and you can’t really go wrong with any of them. It just goes to show that it is possible to have a fantastic Christmas meal at a low budget price. Any of the supermarkets can provide you with a really decent Christmas dinner for four for around £20 particularly if you cook everything from raw.

However, if we were to recommend one, we’d have to go with Sainsbury’s, who we found to be the best value for money given the taste. A close second were Aldi which also has some really amazing luxury Christmas food at good prices.

Although you’re paying a little more for Sainsbury’s, it’s definitely worth it, especially if you don’t want to do all the work yourself!

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