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Thanksgiving Countdown

A Thanksgiving timeline to help keep you organized so you can enjoy dinner with your family this year!

Monday or Tuesday of Thanksgiving Week

The Turkey If you just bought the frozen turkey, defrost it NOW. If you plan on brining your bird, it is time to start that as well,

Defrost Do you have frozen prep items already (you go-getter!) Start defrosting anything else you’ve made ahead and frozen.

Dishes to make prep and make on Monday or Tuesday
Go ahead and make your Cranberry sauce, gravy, and pie crust are good items to tackle on Monday or Tuesday. Chop up vegetables and bread for stuffing, toast nuts, and measure out spices

The Day Before Thanksgiving

Make your desserts Make your pies and desserts.

Vegetables Time to chop, dice, and slice! Take care of as much vegetable prep as you can on Wednesday. (Save the potatoes for Thursday though)

Show me the Dough Start your dinner rolls and bread now and stash in the fridge to proof overnight.

Dishes to make prep and make on Wednesday If you have the time, make your stuffing and other casseroles today.

The Night Before Thanksgiving

Set the table Get everything all set up so you can shift your focus towards cooking the next day.

Set your kitchen Lay out any pots, [pans, cutting boards, and serviceware you may need the following day. (I even label mine with post-its so that if other want to help, they can find what they need easily)

Thanksgiving Morning

Turn on the Traditions! Go ahead listen to Alice’s restaurant (A personal favorite), turn on the parade, watch it’s a wonderful life, take bets on the dog show… whatever it is, get yourself in the mood to have a fabulous day with the people you care about!

Prep your potatoes Peel them and put them in a pot with enough water to cover. They can sit that way at room temperature until you’re ready to cook them.

Bake your bread and any other desserts.
Maintaining an oven schedule is easy when you start with bread and dessert first. Bake them and set aside for later.

Chill your drinks Also check to make sure there’s enough ice in the freezer. (Send the youngest most responsible licensed driver out for more ice).

4 Hours Before Dinner

The Turkey Get it into the oven now and this will give you about three hours of roasting time for a 15-pound turkey (start the turkey earlier if it is larger). Remember that a turkey can rest and stay warm for quite a long time, and a warm bird is easier to carve than a hot one.

Vegetables and mashed potatoes: Blanch or precook any vegetables so they’re ready to be finished at the last minute. Make your mashed potatoes, you can hold them warm in a crock pot or slow cooker.

Prep your stuffing and other casseroles: If you haven’t already done so, prep stuffings and casseroles so they’re ready to go in the oven.

2 Hours Before Dinner

Take the chill off premade foods Take any premade stuffings or other dishes that need to be reheated out of the fridge so they start to come to room temperature.

Plate up appetizers Assuming guests are arriving soon, get those appetizers onto platters so they are ready to go when the first guest arrives.

Make the whipped cream If you’re using whipped cream to top pies or drinks, make a batch now and throw it in the fridge.

1 Hour Before Dinner

The Turkey Your turkey should be done by now, so move it to a serving platter or carving platter and let it rest. If you’re serving it carved, do it about 30 minutes before dinner and cover it with foil to keep warm.

Gravy If you are making gravy from the drippings, do it now. If you have make-ahead gravy, get it into the saucepan.

Reheat Start reheating dishes in the oven.

Finish vegetables Finish sautéing or grilling the vegetables.

Fill water glasses and pitchers Designate someone to fill up water glasses and pitchers.

Clean up the kitchen If you have the luxury of time or a helpful guest, get the sink cleared and the dishwasher running. REmember this is a great task to delegate if someone offers to help!

The final countdown before Thanksgiving Dinner

Heat up gravy Heat up your gravy and transfer it into the gravy boat.

Plate everything up Get some help transferring everything into their designated serving platters and place them on the buffet or dining table.

Heat up pies Place pies in a turned-off but warm oven right before you sit down for dinner and they’ll be the perfect temperature for dessert.

Get ready for tea and coffee Fill tea kettles and coffee pots with water and get everything set up for dessert time.

Empty the dishwasher If your dishwasher is done running, empty it so it’s ready for the post-dinner load!

Take a bow, accept all the compliments, accept all the help cleaning, enjoy your meal! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at The Way Cool Cooking School!