Savory Food Director and longtime Thanksgiving host, Sherry Rujikarn, has answers for all your tough turkey questions to keep the big day running smoothly. With surefire recipes, a little planning, and simple make-ahead prep, you can enjoy a delicious, stress-free holiday feast the Savory way.
Q: I’m overwhelmed. How can I begin to plan for Thanksgiving?
A: One week before Thanksgiving, write a shopping list and a detailed 2–3 day schedule, including anything that can be made ahead.
Thanksgiving Day divide your schedule in 15–30 minute increments, working backward from when you want to serve the meal. Use the cook times on recipes to determine which order to cook dishes and when you can multitask (for example, while the turkey roasts, a sauce can simmer on the stovetop).
Remember to add a little extra time for greeting guests or anything unexpected, especially if this is your first time hosting Thanksgiving.
Q: I don’t want to cook all day. Whan can I do ahead of time?
A: 2 days ahead:
Make desserts and cranberry sauce.
Toast bread cubes for stuffing. Store them in a resealable bag at room temperature.
Make your gravy, minus the roasted turkey drippings.
1 day ahead:
Peel and cut up root veggies and trim Brussels sprouts.
Chop all your onions, carrots, and celery at once and divvy up into bags. Be sure to double bag onions since they have a strong smell.
Sauté veggies and aromatics for stuffing and refrigerate in a resealable bag.
Blanch fresh green beans, wrap in paper towels, and refrigerate in a resealable bag
Q: I only have one oven. How do I get everything to the table hot?
A: Reheat the other dishes while the turkey rests, about 20–30 minutes before the meal.
Reheat oven-safe dishes like casserole and stuffing at 375F.
Be sure to use all the space on your oven racks (Sherry can usually fit 4 casserole dishes).
Use the microwave for reheating anything that’s not crispy, like gravy, rice or grain dishes, or steamed or boiled vegetables.
Sauteed vegetables can be reheated on the stovetop.
Place mashed potatoes in a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface. Set the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water to keep warm for up to 2 hours before serving.