Cooking Thanksgiving dinner is one of the most daunting tasks a chef can take on. Not only do you have a turkey that has to be perfectly cooked, but you’re expected to whip up appetizers, side dishes, and desserts while entertaining company and somehow keeping the house clean. Not just clean — festive.
It’s essentially the plot of Mission Impossible, just with stuffing and apple crisp instead of fugitive spies. If the very thought of pulling off Thanksgiving is already give you night terrors, take a breath. These 13 brilliant Thanksgiving tips are going to take all the stress of out the big day.
1. Make the Fluffiest Mashed Potatoes
To get the perfectly whipped taters you’ve been dreaming of for 12 months, make sure you have the right potatoes to work with; russet and Idaho potatoes are the way to go. To keep your potatoes from getting gloppy and gross, steam your potatoes after peeling them. And to become a potato master, check out this brilliant tutorial on how to get the perfect potatoes.
2. Cook Dishes Ahead of Time
For instance, you can prep certain types of pies (like pecan pie) for almost a month before Thanksgiving. Likewise, some casseroles, soups, and hors d’oeuvres can be made weeks ahead of time! When Thanksgiving arrives, you just have to pop them in the oven and serve.
3. Carve the Turkey Perfectly
Don’t get intimidated, all you need is a humble fork and a carving knife to get the perfect cut. Check out this tutorial from Williams-Sonoma to learn how to blow away all of your guests with your amazing carving skills.
4. Nail the Stuffing
If you have a family of stuffing-lovers, prepare to wow them with this amazing recipe! It’s your traditional stuffing in a super cool bundt shape rather than how it’s usually presented, in a boring old bowl. This makes your dish easy to serve, easy to make, and very unique looking.
5. Roast the Turkey Faster
Well, with this brilliant hack, you can actually cook your turkey in half the time you usually do. All you have to do is cut up your turkey BEFORE you put it in the oven. This will reduce your cooking time drastically and get your food on the table as quickly as possible.
6. Make Customized Butter
Our personal favorite? This cranberry cinnamon honey butter recipe, which just screams fall.
7. Invent Your Own Cooking Rack
Spread chopped onions, celery, and carrots across the bottom of your baking dish, using the vegetables to prop your turkey up. This won’t just make sure your entire turkey gets evenly cooked, but the addition of the vegetables will infuse the meat with amazing flavor.
8. Upgrade Your Cranberry Sauce
9. Perfect the Pie Lattice
10. Learn How to Brine
The best way to ensure that you’ll have moist, flavorful turkey is to brine the meat before you put it into the oven. As complicated as that SOUNDS, it’s actually really easy to brine your turkey in a snap! Check out this Williams-Sonoma tutorial to see how it’s done and prepare for the best turkey of your life.
11. Peel Garlic Quickly
12. Grate Butter into Biscuits
To really save time on this minuscule but painful chore, use a cheese grater to grate butter into your food. This will not only go faster for you, but it will help your butter melt into the potatoes or biscuit mix much faster, too.
13. Wash Potatoes in the Dishwasher
Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to keep your Thanksgiving running smoothly? Share them in the comments section below!