These Are the Top 10 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Buys, According to Instacart

Don’t forget these ingredients!


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Chances are you’ve already done the bulk of your Thanksgiving dinner shopping, but there’s also a high probability that you forgot (at least) one key ingredient to your Turkey Day feast. According to the folks at Instacart, forgetting essential ingredients in the days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving is actually very common.

With that in mind, the online shopping platform recently released a plethora of holiday data, including a list of the 10 most forgotten Thanksgiving ingredients. The intel, which was collected via a survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults conducted online by The Harris Poll, proved that when it comes to forgetting ingredients Americans are all over the map, failing to recall everything from popular sides to dessert accoutrements. As it turns out, the number of Instacart customers on the platform in November peaks the day before Thanksgiving, with most orders containing fewer items and last-minute or forgotten ingredients. In other words, neglecting to purchase that can of cranberry sauce or stuffing mix is all too common.

To make sure you don’t forget any Thanksgiving must-haves this year, we’ve included the list of the top 10 items that have their biggest sales day of the year the day before Turkey Day. Keep reading for more details!


Per the Instacart data, cheddar has its biggest day of the year—more than any other item—the day before Thanksgiving. Seeing as how cheddar tends to be a popular choice no matter what time of year it is, the large increase in sales just before turkey time likely means that mac and cheese, rich casseroles, and cheesy mashed potatoes, are all very popular Thanksgiving sides

Cream cheese

This other dairy aisle find took second place, which makes sense considering it can be used in savory or sweet Thanksgiving recipes. While those who prefer savory foods might use some cream cheese in a dip or casserole, people with a sweet tooth could use it in a dessert such as these Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars.

Whipped cream

The frequent pie topper is third on the list of the most forgotten Thanksgiving ingredients. However, forgetting whipped cream doesn’t automatically mean you need to head back to the grocery store or place a delivery order. Feel free to either make a homemade version of the topping yourself, or use a whipped cream substitute.

Buns and rolls

With so much focus on the turkey, stuffing, and more, it’s no surprise that buns and rolls are often forgotten. However, since bread is best when it’s extra fresh, this is a last-minute purchase that actually makes sense.

Canned green beans

Canned green beans make for a great shortcut for a green bean casserole, which is why they are a popular pre-Thanksgiving purchase, and apparently one that’s often forgotten. Since canned goods often have a long shelf life, feel free to keep some of these in your pantry so they’re always on-hand, or buy them before the panicked Thanksgiving shopping period begins.

Butter spreads

Let’s be honest, since just about every Thanksgiving dish requires at least a pat of butter, it’s not a shock that the kitchen staple earned a spot on this list. If you find yourself in need of some last-minute butter for any cooking or baking needs, feel free to store it on the kitchen counter. This will allow the butter to come to room temperature, which means, in most cases, that it will be easier to work with.

Canned corn

This canned good, which makes an excellent standalone side or an addition to a classic cornbread recipe, is often forgotten. However, if you have any frozen corn in the freezer, you can often use that as a substitute for the canned stuff. 

Boxed stuffing

Since stuffing often requires an array of spices and other ingredients, it makes sense that many Thanksgiving hosts would opt to go the boxed route. And apparently, of those who use the boxed stuff, many often forget to buy it. If you need boxed stuffing, or any other time-saving Thanksgiving items, consider heading to Trader Joe’s!

Fruit soda

Fruit soda has its biggest day of the year right before Thanksgiving—perfect for kids and the sober-curious looking for a fun drink.

Heavy whipping cream

Be it in mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, or a dessert, heavy whipping cream is a Thanksgiving must-have. However, if you, like many other shoppers, find yourself without this crucial ingredient, you can always whip up a substitute instead.

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