The best frozen turkey dinners have history. Once upon a time, way back in the mid 20th century, Swanson put some sliced turkey, cornbread stuffing, peas, and potatoes into a metal tray, and frozen meals were born. The turkey TV dinner was the king of the frozen aisle, but it’s since been overshadowed by frozen burritos and breakfast bowls and frozen pizzas with cheese all jammed up in their crusts. Still, there’s something to be said for a classic—especially when this time of year rolls around—so we rounded up all the frozen turkey dinners we could get our hands on to find the best. (But please, don’t eat one of these for Thanksgiving dinner! I won’t be able to rest if I think you people are doing that! Check out this solo Thanksgiving guide instead.)
- Hungry Man Roasted Carved White Meat Turkey
This turkey TV dinner is so much better than I thought it would be based on its appearance. It looks…bad. The turkey comes in deli meat-esque slices, and the dark meat slices are the color of bruised flesh. But the gravy is so good! The gravy in most frozen turkey dinners is watery and bland. Hungry Man gravy is thick and tastes like turkey, which helps the otherwise flavorless turkey taste like turkey. The sides could use some help (put more green beans in the mixed vegetables, dammit!), but this is the best frozen turkey dinner if you’re a gravy guy—or if you prefer sliced turkey to the turkey medallions that are in these other meals.
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- Lean Cuisine Protein Kick Roasted Turkey Breast
When I taste tested Lean Cuisine meals, this meal ranked high for a variety of reasons. The turkey medallions have a surprisingly pleasant taste and texture (much better than any of the chicken we tried), the gravy is savory, and the stuffing is clumpy and herby in that delicious Stove Top kind of way. Turns out it’s not just a good low-cal frozen dinner, it’s one of the best frozen turkey dinners, period. My favorite thing about this dinner? The cinnamon apples, which are sweet and crisp and piping hot. You get to eat what’s basically apple pie filling as part of a diet frozen dinner. Hell yeah.
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- Stouffer’s Roast Turkey
No surprise, Stouffer’s makes the best frozen turkey dinner. It has white meat medallions in a nice, thick gravy. The stuffing gets all gelatinous from the gravy–that sounds bad but it tastes good. The mashed potatoes are delicious, too. They taste a touch butterier and more indulgent than the mashed potatoes in the Lean Cuisine turkey dinner. “The turkey’s really moist,” my colleague Jordan Myrick said. “When you want warm soft holiday mush, this is perfect.”
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Best Low Cal
Best of the Best
Other products we tried: Boston Market Turkey Dinner, Banquet Turkey Dinner, Lean Cuisine Glazed Turkey Medallions