Gravy too lumpy? Too many potatoes to peel? Not enough stove-top space? We’ve got clever hacks and tricks to solve all those common Thanksgiving dilemmas to help you enjoy a stress-free holiday dinner.
Not Sure How to Cook Everything in Time?
Hack: Break Out the Instant Pot
If you’re searching for a hands-free way to prep your Thanksgiving meal this year, look no further than these scrumptious Instant Pot dishes that will leave your guests satisfied. Ensure your most time-consuming dish is your easiest by opting for the one-pot version.
Get the recipes for 15 Instant Pot Dishes Your Thanksgiving Menu Needs
Mashed Potatoes Not Fluffy Enough?
Hack: Add Baking Powder
If those mashed potatoes aren’t coming out as light and fluffy as you’d hoped, add a pinch of baking powder to the spuds — it reacts with the heat of the potatoes to form tiny air pockets that will add that extra-special fluffiness. To further kick mashed potatoes up to the next level, try adding ingredients such as bacon or caramelized onions for an extra jolt of flavour.
Find more brilliant Cooking Tips to Make Perfect Mashed Potatoes Every Time
Short on Oven Space?
Hack: Slow-Roast the Turkey Overnight
In order to free up time, get the turkey into the oven the day before Thanksgiving and slow-roast it while you sleep. In fact, you can start roasting as far ahead as 48 hours (depending on size), at a low temp of 170F°. There’s less than 15 minutes of labour involved in the entire process, promising a tender, juicy bird at the finish line.
Get the recipes for 30 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes, From Turkey to Stuffing
Not Sure How Much Stuffing to Make?
Hack: Bake Stuffing in Muffin Tins
Nobody wants to run out of stuffing during Thanksgiving dinner, and a clever way to ensure there’s enough for everyone is to bake extra stuffing in a muffin tin. Not only will there be plenty for everyone, but your guests – especially kids – will go crazy for individual stuffin’ muffins.
Don't Feel Like Baking 5 Pumpkin Pies?
Hack: Opt for the Stress-Free Sheet Pan Version
Given the wealth of pumpkin-flavoured desserts this time of year, it can be stressful when contemplating how to perfect your own spiced treat, not to mention feed a crowd! Make it a one-pan dish with this easy-as-pie recipe.
Watch how to make our scrumptious Pumpkin Pie in a Sheet Pan
Hack: Wrap the Turkey in Bacon
One tried-and-true method to ensuring moist turkey breasts is to soak a cheesecloth in melted butter and lay it over the breasts while cooking. An even more effective (and perhaps even tastier) alternative is to wrap the breasts in bacon, lattice-style, which offers the added bonus of infusing the delicious taste of bacon into the turkey.
For more, check out these Turkey Cooking Tips to Roast the Perfect Bird
Too Many Potatoes to Clean?
Hack: Wash Potatoes in the Dishwasher
It probably didn’t occur to you to use the dishwasher for anything other than washing dishes, but give this a try: place potatoes on the top rack of the dishwasher and run them through a rinse cycle (sans detergent, of course) and you’ll have squeaky-clean spuds without all that scrubbing — which can be considerable when cooking for a crowd.
Get the recipes for 95 Perfect Potato Side Dishes
Lumpy Gravy Problems
Hack: Whip It In a Blender
There’s no better way to transform your guests Thanksgiving glee to mild disgust when they witness big, clotted lumps come pouring out of the gravy boat. To prevent that from happening, give it a quick whip in a blender or food processor and then return to the saucepan for reheating until it’s ready to serve.
Keeping Gravy Warm
Hack: Store It In Your Humble Thermos
Here’s a great way to keep gravy warm and smooth until it’s ready to serve: store it in a Thermos or insulated coffee carafe. Simply warm a Thermos container with warm water and ladle in as much gravy as it will hold; not only will this keep gravy warm, but it will also prevent it from coagulating.
Running Out of Fridge Space?
Hack: Coolers for Extra Refrigeration
With all those dishes on the go — to say nothing of the beer and wine that needs cooling — Thanksgiving will jam-pack even the largest refrigerator. With that in mind, bring those summertime coolers out of storage and into the kitchen so they can do double duty in the fall.
Too Many Guests?
Hack: Get a Second Turkey, Not a Bigger One
If you find yourself preparing to feed a small army at Thanksgiving dinner, you’re probably looking for the biggest turkey you can find. Instead, a much easier option is to simply get a second turkey. Larger turkeys tend to cook less evenly and take a lot longer; this way, you can cook two smaller birds to perfection side by side, or even cook one of them a day ahead, freeing you of the hassle of dealing with a brontosaurus-sized bird.
Short on Counter Space?
Hack: Tape Recipes to Inside of Cabinet Doors
Thanksgiving is a time when we honour our loved ones by using family-heirloom recipes for, say, Aunt Shirley’s famous stuffing or Grandma’s pumpkin pie. Keep your kitchen counters free from scraps of paper, cookbooks, iPads etc while maintaining easy access to those recipes by printing out the ones you need and taping them to the inside of a cabinet door.
Try one of these No-Bake Thanksgiving Desserts You’ll Devour