Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a frenzy of last-minute preparations. Use our planner to stay on track, ease stress and make the meal a success.
Two Weeks Before
- Finalize the menu. When planning, consider any special dietary preferences of your guests.
- Assign any dishes you’d like your guests to bring.
- Check pantry supplies and prepare a shopping list.
- Decide between a fresh or frozen turkey.
- If you’re buying a frozen bird, make room in your freezer.
- Purchase any frozen (turkey, veggies) and non-perishable foods (herbs and spices, dessert ingredients, cornstarch, canned pumpkin).
- Not sure how big of a turkey to purchase? Rule of thumb: 1 pound per person.
- Clean the fridge to make room for prep-ahead dishes.
- Gather serving platters, plates, bowls, glasses, utensils and table linens.
- Place frozen turkey in the fridge to thaw. Allow one day of thaw time for every five pounds of turkey. For example, a 20 pound bird should go into the fridge on Sunday.
- Prepare your cooking schedule.
Two Days Before
- Purchase perishable foods (fresh fruits and veggies, salad greens, dinner rolls).
- If you’re buying a fresh turkey, purchase 1-2 days beforehand. Keep it on a tray or in a pan in the fridge to catch any juice that may drip.
- Purchase fresh flowers for the table.
The Day Before
- Prep any make-ahead side dishes, such as cranberry sauce and casseroles for reheating the following day.
- Prepare the desserts.
- Chill beverages.
4-6 Hours Before
- Preheat oven to 325˚F.
- Season turkey and place in a roasting pan in the oven. Allow 15-18 minutes per pound for the unstuffed bird. Baste the turkey every half hour by drizzling the turkey juices overtop.
- Set the table.
30 Minutes to 1 Hour Before
- Heat the side dishes.
- Once the turkey reaches 165˚F in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast, remove it from the oven. Allow it to rest 20 minutes before carving.
- Make gravy.
- Transfer foods to serving dishes.
- Pour beverages.
Give thanks and enjoy the feast!
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