Your Complete Thanksgiving Dinner Cooking, Serving and Cleaning Schedule

Thanksgiving dinner is a dance. Thanks to the family and the National Dog Show, which is just a drinking game sponsored by Purina, we usually do this dance when we’re distracted. The key to the success of this particular dance is having a written schedule. A plan gives you freedom because even if you’re upset, you can just glance at the timeline to get back on track. I don’t need to memorize anything, so I really enjoy my company. Aside from a written attack plan, there are several other strategies you should use to make sure Turkey Day goes smoothly.

Reduce size and delegate

Before we dive headlong into the actual preparation, here are some tips you will thank me for later:

  • Make two smaller pans from the sides instead of one large one . If you can put the pans side by side, you get four sides in the oven at once, not two, and smaller pans will warm up faster. Serve the first wave while the second wave is in the oven. Disposable pan halves are perfect for this, and if you buy lids, they fold up in your refrigerator.
  • Outsource meals to guests that don’t require a stove or oven, such as snacks, alcohol, dessert, or salad. Your plan will be disrupted if someone shows up in your kitchen or hands you a frying pan to reheat.
  • Fill your damn bird because it’s adorable and means the first wave of filling will pop out when the bird does it. You will have a spare piece of minced meat in the second wave of parties.
  • Instead of buying frozen poultry, order raw or thawed poultry and pick them up as late as possible.
  • Print your recipes in antique style. It’s easier to flip through multiple sheets than to flip online between recipes.

Divide to Win

Start by putting together your menu and dividing it into what needs to be done for Thanksgiving and what can be done ahead. Some things, like cranberry sauce and pie, are even better after a full day. Don’t be a hero in your preparation plan, focus on the environment.

Our menu

Day: TurkeyApplicationsPotatoesSaladGravesVegetables

Cooking ahead: cranberry filling, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, pies

I’m making some radical assumptions here, but you most likely have a job and a life and all , so you probably would rather isolate the nonsense on Thanksgiving, you know, Thanksgiving. This day, however, is a whole staging and you’ll need to get some things done early or your Turkey Day will turn into this bad sitcom where everyone yells at each other, the lawn is on fire and you all end up eating pizza. Don’t worry, I’ve laid it out for you.

Thanksgiving weekend

  • Clean the refrigerator. Rearrange the shelves so that there are as many of them as possible.
  • Check out the staple foods – flour, sugar, spices, garlic, butter, butter.
  • Make a shopping list. Add more oil because it’s obvious.
  • Wash dirty kitchen towels.

Thanksgiving Monday

  • Score. Markets are going to be crap after today.
  • If you need to defrost a turkey, pick it up today.
  • Wash and dry the serving utensils. Use stickers to mark what they are for.

The day before thanksgiving

Take a thawed / raw turkey early in the day if you haven’t already, and process it first to avoid cross-contamination. Pull out the giblets and the neck, and the brine / salt / add it before placing it in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can store the bird in the refrigerator with an odorless trash bag if you can keep the temperature around 40 degrees. You can also put the turkey in a brine bag and put the bag in a trash bag full of ice. Once this is done, wash the countertops and sink.

Review your recipes for the day. Does anything today require room temperature items like butter or eggs? Take them away. Then preheat the sweet potato oven. Rinse the cranberries and place on hotplate # 1. Make a pot of mince stock on hotplate # 2.

Make everything you need for toppings, pies, and casseroles. Chop the sweet potatoes and place them in the oven to bake. Chop up all the garlic you need for everything. Chop all vegetables and put whatever you’ve cooked in bowls or plates, or add lemon water (for fruits or vegetables that might oxidize). If these are items you won’t be using until Thursday, drop them in Tupperware and label them so you can see everything in the fridge at a glance.

You still have two burners open, and we’re going to use them to fry anything that needs frying. Prepare the filling in frying pan # 1. In a second skillet, start cooking whatever needs to be sautéed for casseroles or other sides.

Finish the filling and leave it unrolled on the dining table until it’s cool enough to cover and place in the refrigerator. Check your cranberries. Finish off the rest of the casseroles and let cool, then put them in the refrigerator.

Remove the cranberries from the stove, cool and store. Now prepare any pie crusts, wrap them up and put them in the refrigerator so they can rest.

Remove the sweet potatoes and complete the dish, let cool and cool. Your oven is now ready to make pies, so remove the crusts, make pies and bake them.

Use cookie sheets as needed to create extra shelves in the refrigerator, using jars or jars as risers. You can also remove your bottom grocery drawers to get another shelf. This place is perfect for chilling beers on Thanksgiving.

Prepare any applications in advance – remember that tomorrow you will not have an oven.

Last but not least, set your alarm. This is where mathematics comes into play. Find out exactly how long it takes your turkey to cook based on your recipe, add 3 hours and write down that number. Now figure out what time you want the turkey to land on your dining table. Count the number of hours you just recorded and set the alarm for that time. Set one 5 minutes later. (I call this “X hour.”) Alternatively, you can make a copy of this chart, which will do it for you and give you a handy Thursday printout.


It is the Doomsday of Turkey, and you, my friend, are on duty. You have the responsibility, no, the honor to put this bird on the table before your brothers get drunk to eat it. Your time has come. Be brave, be brave, be quick. Basically just GTFO beds. Time to go.

  • X hour : Good morning, sunshine! Remove the stuffed turkey from the fridge / fridge and place on the counter. Get another hour of sleep, take a shower, or write a treatise on the housing bubble.
  • X-hour +1 : Turn the oven on until the turkey is cooked. Place the turkey in a skillet, stuff it, curl and season.
  • X-hour + 2 : Place the turkey in the oven.

Peel the potatoes and bring to a boil on hotplate # 1. Prepare salad and dressing and refrigerate them separately. Complete your applications. If you are going to make the sauce from scratch ( and you must ), now is the time to make the sauce and broth (burners # 2 and # 3). When ready, toss them in bowls or dishes and set aside for later. When the potatoes are done, beat and / or mash them, then cover the skillet, but do not refrigerate.

Keep cleaning / preparing / drinking throughout the day because the only thing you need to remember is the outline and you can set your phone alarm to do so. From now on we will talk about the timing of the dinner.

The final countdown

This last part of the dance can be performed drunk, so that’s great news.

  • Dinner -3 hours : Start checking the turkey; sometimes they finish early. Now is a good time to clean up the kitchen and get your hands on serving dishes, carving tools, dish coasters, and oven mitts. Remove the casseroles, side dishes, and cranberry sauce from the refrigerator and cool to room temperature.
  • Dinner Time -1 hour : One hour before your meal (or when your turkey is ready, which you really can’t control), take out the turkey and immediately rearrange the oven racks all the way to the top and half. Turn on the 350 ℉ oven if not already there.

Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and cover with foil. Transfer all the turkeys to the fat separator and place in the freezer. Place casseroles and side dishes in the oven with denser foods such as potatoes / sweet potatoes on top and vegetables on the bottom.

Place the turkey pan on the stovetop over burners # 1 and # 2 and remove any frosting . Add the dressing and stock, take the divider from the freezer and add the drops from the saucepan. Pour it all into a saucepan and place it back on the low # 1 hotplate with a lid.

Are you cooking vegetables that aren’t in the casserole? It’s time to steam them or fry them on the stove (since they have already been sliced ​​/ cooked since yesterday) on burners # 2-4.

Season the salad. Ask your guests to move the prepared meals to the table.

Transfer the poultry filling to a serving platter. Chop half the turkey and cover the rest with foil. If warmed up, send the side dishes to the table on coasters or towels. Put the second wave of each dish in the oven, set the timer for 30 minutes. Turn off the gravy burner, pour it into the gravy boat, and send any leftover food to the table.

Now you can enjoy your dinner. When the timer goes off, an additional wave of food appears. Your guests can help pull them out and even chop more meat if needed. After these dishes are out of the oven, you can send pies and any other desserts. The ice cream can now come out of the freezer and soften on the counter.

Equipment and cleaning

After dinner, the magic happens – everyone starts collecting dishes and napkins in an attempt to help, and they stack them in your kitchen on shelves like Dr. Seuss that defy logic, gravity, and utility as if they were just getting things to the place. kitchen is hard work. I have found that with a little guidance, you can maximize the help guests are willing to provide by doing as little work as possible on your own. Here’s how:

Prepare vacuum bags, cheap Tupperware cookware, or large Ziploc bags. People will want to help, but they will come to you for instructions, so start by bringing only food items into the kitchen. In the meantime, have one guest collect the plates by scraping any waste into compost or trash, another to collect the silverware in a large saucepan, and a third to collect the laundry that goes straight to the washing machine. Everyone has their own glasses. Ask for 10 minutes to organize before cleaning.

Use these 10 minutes to separate the leftover food into the bags for guests and yourself, so that all food is removed before you start cooking. Place all parts of the turkey carcass in a large pot of water on the stock stove. At this point, let your guests take over. Everything should be simple by then; the food is gone. Anything they don’t know where to put, they can put it on an already clean table for you to put it aside later. A little music is a nice touch, and it’s good to have lots of towels, sponges, and soap so that no one has to look for supplies. In the meantime, take the throne on the couch to drink wine and receive compliments.


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