Tips for prepping your Thanksgiving feast in advance

Ever wonder just how many resources go into your annual Thanksgiving meal? Well, the short answer is, a lot. For starters, millions of turkeys. 235 million to be exact, which is the number that the United States produces annually. And a fifth of those turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving Day!

But let’s not forget about the side dishes. Love it or hate it, cranberry sauce is here to stay, so to keep up we produce nearly 750 million pounds of the flavorful berry a year. So now that we’ve got you hungry and in the holiday spirit, peruse through these Thanksgiving recipes that offer an added bonus: you can prepare each one before the big day.

Deep Dish Apple Pie

We’ll start with the last course in honor of how many times we’ve wanted to dive into dessert at the beginning of dinner. Apple pie. As American as it is delicious. This deep dish recipe is described by The Food Network as a “showstopper.” But even better they encourage you to make and assemble the pie at least the day before Thanksgiving, then chill in your fridge until there’s room in the oven to bake and serve.

deep dish apple pie

Smoked Turkey

Now let’s ruffle some feathers with turkey. There’s the traditional way, and then there’s the smoker way. If you’re lucky enough to own a smoker, there’s no better time to put it to great use. This recipe calls for a dry-brine of your bird two days in advance (Don’t Google it just yet; the recipe explains how.) and smoking the day before. Then simply heat and eat. But for after-hours snacking, we think turkey makes great finger food straight out of the fridge.

smoked turkey

Cranberry Sauce

Remember all of those cranberries we mentioned? We think you can do them more justice than merely opening up a can and sliding the cylinder blob onto a plate. Just look at how these cranberries look far more beautiful (and delicious!) Again, you make this days in advance, so the only thing between cranberry sauce and your plate is a slow simmer.

cranberry sauce

Sweet Potato Wedges

Next up, sweet potatoes. Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving goes hand-in-hand with football, but we think this spud makes a great finger food. Everything but cooking this dish can be prepped in advance, so the only thing working hard on Thanksgiving Day will be your oven. These sweet potato wedges are mouthwatering and versatile if you want to try out some dipping sauces.

sweet potato wedges

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

And of course, we couldn’t leave out mashed potatoes. But if you’ve ever tried to pre-make potatoes you know the horrors of trying to get them soft and creamy again. Thankfully, this recipe shares the secrets to getting it right ahead of time. In fact, this recipe actually requires that it chills for a few hours.

mashed potatoes

So we can’t guarantee these tips will take all of the stress out of holiday food prep, but you’ll definitely have more time for family, and most importantly, being thankful.


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