Simple Truth

Thanksgiving Day Prep Checklist

Thanksgiving doesn’t need to be a stressful, last-minute meal. Preplanning can help take out any of the guesswork or hesitation. To stay organized while you’re planning your feast, create a guide that details tasks to be completed, cooking times, temperatures and any special instructions.

Here are some suggestions to get you started when preparing for your big dinner:

  • Are you serving a frozen or fresh turkey? Both take plenty of time for preparation. Fresh turkeys should be ordered and reserved ahead of time—so order now. With frozen turkeys, it is important to know defrost times, oven temperatures and overall cooking times.
  • Do you know what sides you are serving? See which sides can be cooked ahead of time and later reheated. Pies, cranberry sauce and stuffing become more flavorful over time and can be prepared a day in advance.
  • Bread and rolls can be baked and frozen up to a week in advance.
  • Make a guest checklist. Check with your guests to see if anyone has a special diet or food allergen. Ask for helpful suggestions to accommodate their needs.
  • Can any desserts be precooked or chilled prior to serving?
  • Avoid last-minute crowds by shopping early in the week. Gather the majority of your ingredients, unless you are buying fresh bread or seafood. Those items should be purchased the day of, or at most the day before.
  • Begin defrosting frozen turkeys 4–5 days before the big day.
  • Fully stock your wine, beer and beverage selection. Make sure to have extra ice on hand.
  • Prewash and polish all dishes and utensils. Dry-clean and press any napkins and placemats.

What preparations do you make before Thanksgiving Day arrives?



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