Thanksgiving Prep Checklist

by & filed under Portraiture.

Busy folks hosting or heading out for Thanksgiving need all the help they can get to prepare for a big (or even small) gathering of family and friends.  Here’s a checklist for getting things lined up so you can spend at least some of your turkey day in pjs. I’ve also created a list of great local places to source the dishes you don’t want to make so you can focus on the ones you do!

Thanksgiving Dinner Prep Checklist

Two Weeks Ahead

  • Make a guest list.
  • Clean out + organize fridge and freezer
  • Make menu and grocery list
  • Purchase turkey legs + make broth and gravy ahead, freeze
  • Prepare casseroles (sweet potatoes, stuffing, etc.) and freeze 

Three Days Ahead

  • Shop for meat and fresh ingredients
  • Begin thawing turkey in refrigerator (use a pan under turkey to catch drips)
  • Make pies and desserts

1 Day Ahead

  • Move frozen casseroles and gravy to fridge to thaw
  • Set table
  • Set buffet area with serving utensils, platters and trivets

Thanksgiving Day

  • Empty dishwasher and take out trash
  • Take casseroles out of fridge to come to room temp
  • Time turkey to be done 1 hour before dinner
  • Remove turkey from oven when done and wrap in foil to keep warm (this is called ‘resting” and gives time for the turkey juices to redistribute)
  • Heat casseroles while turkey rests
  • Take desserts out of fridge to come to room temp and start coffeepot


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