What is the PDF planning guide?
Hosting Thanksgiving can be a daunting task. Between the endless sides and desserts (not to mention the turkey), knowing when to cook and when to reheat can be a little intimidating. We’re here to take the pressure out of planning so you have more time to relax with friends and family.
Whether you’re hosting for the first time, joining a Friendsgiving, or just trying something new, our digital planning guides are step-by-step companions to our Thanksgiving Curated Menus, working together to help you pull off a memorable feast.
Guides include a comprehensive timeline (starting with the day before), so you can take the guesswork out of managing your schedule. Plus, we’ve included our Test Kitchen’s tips for storing, reheating, and serving!
What’s the soonest I can start preparing for my feast?
The secret to a successful Thanksgiving feast? Prep ahead! We suggest getting a head start the day before—check out your Curated Menu’s Planning Guide for an easy-to-follow timeline, starting with the day before.
If you’ve waited until the day of Thanksgiving to get started (we get it, things happen), set an early alarm to get your pie in the oven before starting anything else.
How long does it take to make each Curated Menu?
The amount of time it takes to prepare your Thanksgiving meal will depend on when you start. We suggest preparing some dishes the day before (check out the Planning Guide for a complete step-by-step timeline) so you don’t fall behind schedule.
For the Just the Extras menu, it should take about 1 hour and 15 minutes the day before and about 1 hour on the day of. (Note: Since we doubled up the sides, you may need to extend cook times to account for more food.)
Of course, you'll need to tack on the cook time for your main roast, but our Planning Guides will remind you. For the Full Feast menu, the day before will take about 2 hours and the day of will take about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Why am I receiving two recipes cards for the Side recipes in “just the extras” curated menu?
Our Just the Extras box is meant to feed a crowd (think 4–6 people). We’ve doubled up the Sides so there’s enough to pass around the table. All you need to add is the main course—whether that’s a turkey, ham, or plant-based option, is up to you!
The Thanksgiving Planning Guide includes tweaks for streamlining your Sides to account for the extra ingredients and cook times.
In the “Full Feast” Curated Menu, am I receiving a full turkey?
Roasting a whole turkey takes up precious time and oven space, so this year we’ve opted to skip the whole bird in favor of juicy turkey breasts. They take considerably less time to cook (so you don’t have to wake up at the break of dawn), but most importantly, our recipe for rosemary and orange-infused turkey comes out tender and moist every time.
Slice it up for that just-carved look and no one will know the difference. Plus, this recipe features our elevated twists on classic sides: creamy mashed potatoes, garlicky roasted broccolini, and savory-sweet cranberry compote.
What cooking essentials or ingredients do I need in my kitchen?
Once you’ve selected your Thanksgiving Curated Menu, there are just a few more steps to mastering your feast. Check that your pantry is stocked with the basics: at least 3 eggs, olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper. Then, make sure you’re prepared to slice, dice, sauté, and roast with these essential cooking tools:
- A chef’s knife and cutting board (the key to successful meal prep)
- Baking sheets
- A set of small, medium, and large pots with lids
- A set of small, medium, and large pans (including a high-sided pan)
- Your favorite ovenproof dishes (perfect for reheating and bringing straight to the Thanksgiving table)
- Plastic wrap and aluminum foil
For The Full Feast menu, we suggest whipping out that potato masher to achieve super-smooth potatoes, but it’s not required.