Last Updated on October 20, 2023
The biggest cooking day of the year: It’s almost here. Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving Day, a Friendsgiving, or both, you’re probably looking for ways to ensure it goes smoothly and according to plan. Our secret for that success is planning ahead.
In fact, based on our data, last year more than 70% of Americans felt confident or excited about their Thanksgiving hosting duties, so we’ve got you covered with everything to make your dinner one to remember (for the good reasons!)
Set Your Menu
Setting the menu is one of the most important tasks in preparing for any dinner party or holiday, but especially Thanksgiving. While we love to see new traditions come to the table, sticking to some of the classic dishes can allow for a seamless meal. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite staples to get you started on what your table looks like this year.
- Simple Roast Turkey
- Roasted Carrots with Pesto Breadcrumbs
- Easy Mashed Potatoes
- Bacon Sautéed Green Beans
- Sausage Stuffing
Looking for ways to add some creativity or new traditions to your table? Ask your guests to contribute their favorite side dishes, whether from their family traditions or what they’re specialities are. Even if they aren’t Thanksgiving specific, new dishes always bring fun conversations to the table.
Organize Your Shopping Items
The first thing to do is to go through all of the recipes and write down the needed ingredients. Here’s a grocery list, grouped by category, of ingredients you’ll need to make everything listed above. Volume depends on the size of your list, so that part is up to you.
Our 2023 Thanksgiving Shopping List
Protein (Order Online for Delivery):
- Potatoes (for mashing)
- Carrots (to roast)
- Green Beans (to sauté)
- Yellow onion (for turkey, stuffing)
- Celery (for turkey, stuffing)
- Garlic (for turkey, stuffing)
- Lemons (for turkey)
- Unsalted butter (for turkey)
- Sour cream (for potatoes)
- Eggs (for stuffing)
- Low sodium chicken broth (for turkey, stuffing)
- White wine or rose wine (for turkey)
- Soy sauce (for turkey)
- Pumpkin seeds (for carrots)
- Olive oil (general purpose)
- Kosher salt (general purpose)
- White pepper (for potatoes)
- Black pepper (general purpose)
- Breadcrumbs (for carrots)
Herbs and spices:
- Sage (for turkey, stuffing)
- Bay leaves (for turkey)
- Parsley (for turkey, stuffing)
Tips to Being a Stress-free Host
Here’s the thing about hosting Thanksgiving dinner: It’s a marathon AND a sprint.
And just like running either one of those races, preparation is critical. To keep yourself sane and make space to enjoy the process and the day itself, you need to start early, delegate often, and work off of a detailed timeline.
A few tips for success along the way:
- Keep it Simple. Stick to the tried-and-true recipes. But if you’re looking to roll new flavors into the mix, try a dry run a few weeks before the big day.
- Delegate. If you’re hosting, cover the core menu and let friends and family bring their favorite appetizers and desserts. It takes the pressure off and its way more fun! If you’re less worried about how the main course flows together, invite guests to bring their favorite side dishes.
- Put your family (and friends!) to work. Assign tasks to anyone around. Have kids who are old enough to whisk together pie filling or prep veggies for stuffing? Enlist them. Have someone think about drinks and glasses, creating a playlist, setting the table, etc.
For more tips on planning your timeline leading up to Thanksgiving (and the day of!), check out our full Plan and Timeline for Hosting Thanksgiving.
Our Favorite Ways to Cook Turkey
One of the things we’ve learned over the years is that there is not just one way to cook something amazing. That is truer when it comes to longstanding food traditions, such as roasting a turkey.
Whether you are sticking with the tried and true roasted turkey or up for something different this year, we have a few twists on a simple turkey recipe to try!
- Sage Roasted with Gravy and Orange Cranberry
- How to Spatchcock a Turkey or Any Poultry — A Step by Step Guide
- Easy Apple Cider Brine for Turkey
We always find carving the turkey to be the more stress-inducing part of the meal, so here is a quick refresher if you need the quick reminders on hand.
It’s rare that we’re not left with a hefty container-full of turkey by the end of Thanksgiving. I mean, some of us may even only host Thanksgiving for the benefits of having the leftovers.
We can transform that turkey breast or thigh into an easy, delicious meal. And there are so many directions you can take your leftover turkey: soups, sandwiches, tacos, stir fry – you name it! Here are a few of our favorite ways to use leftover turkey all weekend long.
But, let’s be honest, nothing beats a true leftover Thanksgiving sandwich and we have you covered with our favorite recipe.