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30 Thanksgiving Cooking Hacks You’ll Use for Years to Come

Thanksgiving dinner can be incredibly stressful! From large numbers of guests, juggling safe food preparation, and sorting out the menu, there’s a lot to think about. Here are some helpful hacks that can help your Thanksgiving Dinner be more stress-free, and extra delicious.

Appetizers

1. Sweet Potato Toast Appetizer by Happy Healthy Mama

These bite-sized appetizers can be eaten one-handed. Appetizers should be quick to make, so they don’t take time from anything else.

2. Smoked Salmon Cucumber Appetizer by Simply Home Cooked

Cold appetizers are the best friend of the Thanksgiving chef. These can be whipped up in advance, and they don’t take up any space in the oven.

3. Crispy Crumb-Topped Mac and Cheese Cups by Eat This, Not That

Making mac and cheese in cups both saves time cooking, and makes it easier to serve. Try cooking your stuffing in muffin cups as well.

4. How to Make a Cheese Plate by Life As A Strawberry

A cheese plate is a classic appetizer. Either buy one ready-made, or throw your own together. The guests will be happy snacking, and you can get on in the kitchen. Pair with the easiest appetizer – bowls of fancy chips.

Starter

5. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup by Cookies and Kate

Adding a starter to the menu may seem like extra effort, but it’s actually a time saver. This soup is easy to make in advance, and fills everyone up a bit before the main meal.

6. Thanksgiving Salad by Foxes Love Lemons

Salads are quick and refreshing. Write out recipes and stick them to the cabinets to guide you through the cooking.

Turkey

7. Easy Slow Cooker Turkey Breast by Ahead of Thyme

Slow cookers are a lifesaver for rushed chefs. While the turkey cooks, set out a plan for the day.

8. Simple Deep Fried Turkey by All Recipes

Fried turkey is fun, delicious, only takes an hour, and saves space in the oven. Once you’ve tried it, you may never want to roast again.

9. Easy, No-Fuss, Thanksgiving Turkey by Tastes Better From Scratch

If you’re going to try roasting a whole turkey, this recipe won’t lead you wrong. Ice down the skin on the breast, so it all cooks at the same time.

10. Easy Roasted Turkey Legs by Jo Cooks

For small gatherings, a whole turkey is a waste of time. Roast turkey legs are just as good, and sure to please any small children.

Sides

11. 3 Ingredient Gravy by I Heart Naptime

This 3 ingredient stuffing is so incredibly simple, anyone can throw together. Take it up a notch by adding a quick splash of soy sauce.

12. Make Ahead Cranberry Sauce by Major Hoff Takes a Wife

Cranberry sauce can last a long time in the fridge, so this is a good one to make well in advance.

13. 3 Ingredient Cranberry Sauce by The Seasoned Mom

The star of cranberry sauce is that sweet bite of cranberry. Use a simple recipe, and let the berries speak for themselves.

14. Classic Stuffing by 31 Daily

Save stuffing stress by using large chunks of store bought bread. Lashings of butter make even simple stuffing can feel decadent.

15. Easy Cornbread Stuffing by Lemons for Lulu

Cornbread mixture is at the heart of this stuffing recipe. Don’t be afraid to use store bought shortcuts, so you can enjoy your day.

16. Easy Gravy Recipe by Inspired Taste

For the purist, this homemade gravy recipe is both delicious and easy. For those looking to save time, packet gravy can be improved with a dash of cream and some fresh herbs.

17. Easy Creamy Mashed Potatoes by Café Delites

Don’t waste time peeling your potatoes. Simply boil them, and the skins slip right off.

18. Simple Au Gratin Potatoes by A Taste of Home

Au gratin potatoes taste decadent without much effort. Get your family and friends to help with basic prep.

19. Easy Hasselback Potatoes by Spend With Pennies

Hasselback potatoes don’t need much fuss to taste great. DIY a quick roasting tray using scrunched up tin foil bent into a spiral.

Vegetables

20. Mashed Sweet Potatoes by Two Peas and Their Pods

Microwave sweet potatoes to soften them off, rather than boiling. 

21. Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon by A Family Feast

Bacon gives such a punch of flavor that this Brussels sprouts recipe needs only four ingredients. Make Thanksgiving easier by picking simple ingredients, with big tastes.

22. Last Minute Garlicky Green Beans by My Gorgeous Recipes

Make sure to rest your turkey for at least 30 minutes before serving. While your turkey gets extra juicy, you can whip up some sides, like these green beans.

23. Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables with Pecans and Cranberries by Not Enough Cinnamon

Get as many veggies on the table by roasting up a load of them together. 

24. Stovetop Honey Butter Carrots by Megs Everyday Indulgence

Balance the sides and veggies between the stovetop and the oven, to avoid crowding. These stovetop carrots taste just as good as roasted.

25. Sweet Potato Casserole by Sassy Spoon

Cut and prep your veggies in advance, and keep them fresh in cold water. It saves so much time on the day.

Desserts

26. Slow Cooker Pumpkin Cheesecake by Inquiring Chef

Using the slow cooker is a great way to make things early, and free up space in the oven.

27. Pumpkin Spice Latte Tiramisu by Host the Toast

Tiramisu is delicious and light, and can be made before Thanksgiving. Something else you can do in advance: set the table.

28. Perfect Pumpkin Pie by Once Upon A Chef

Freeze the pie crust, and it holds its shape better when cooking. (Or buy a pre-made crust!)

Drinks

29. Apple Pie Mimosa by Eating Well

Mimosas are one of the easiest cocktails, but they still feel fancy. Use a cooler to keep beers cold and save room in the fridge. No cooler? Hollow out a pumpkin and fill it with ice.

30. Classic Hot Toddy Recipe by Cookies and Kate

Having lots of hot toddy on hand keeps guests happy if dinner is running over time. Put it in the slow cooker, and people can help themselves.

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