10 Last-Minute Turkey Day Tips

Not everyone can be a Martha Stewart, Food Network-style hostess with the mostess. We just aren’t all Sandra Lee, right? But, if you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, that doesn’t mean it has to be a stressful affair. If you haven’t started planning yet, there are some easy tips and tricks you can use to still pull off a fabulous Turkey Day.


  1. Be Prepared. Pulling off a last-minute feast is a feat. Keep yourself organized by creating a to-do list, organized by timeline, and post it on a cabinet door in your kitchen. Also keep any recipes you’re using in plain sight so you know where to find them.
  2. Shaved Potatoes. Ready to drop your potatoes in boiling water and realize you can’t find your vegetable peeler? Not to worry, you have a few options. If you boil them whole, put them in ice water once they’re done cooking, then use a tea towel to literally wipe the skins off. Or, you can grab an unused razor from your bathroom and use that to remove the skins (before cooked.)
  3. Unconventional Roaster. If you find yourself ready to roast your bird but realize you don’t have a roasting rack, you can improvise one using tin foil. Just take a few feet of aluminum foil and, working with the foil lengthwise, scrunch it into a solid, one-inch-thick rope that can be bent into a spiral or an S shape. Done!
  4. Go Simple for Appetizers. You’re already cooking an entire meal, there’s no need to make elaborate appetizers, too. Put out some cheese, fresh bread, olives and pre-sliced deli meat (think prosciutto or salami) and you have a great cheese platter with little effort.
  5. Same for Desserts. Trying to make pie crust when you’re worried about cooking a turkey isn’t necessary. Buy store-bought pies (no one will notice or care) or ask your guests to bring a dessert.
  6. And for Table Settings. Who says you need fancy napkins and cups? Cut down on your pre-and-post-meal chores by going simple. Wrap your silverware in a paper towel, finished off with a piece of twine or ribbon. You can even go so far as to let your guests use plastic, disposable cups to cut down on dishes. Make it a bit more festive by providing markers and having them write what they’re thankful for on the cups.
  7. Store Bought Isn’t the Enemy. Some things are completely fine to buy from the store. This will definitely help to cut back on the prep time. Who’s going to turn down a Pillsbury biscuit or know that your gravy isn’t homemade?
  8. Make Batch Cocktails. Don’t expect that you’ll have time to mix drinks for folks while you’re finishing up dinner. Have a batch of fall sangria, spiked apple cider or another punch ready to go so all your guests have to do is pour. You can also have beer and wine ready to go, if you want to skip the hard stuff.
  9. Call the Talk-Line. For more than 30 years, the professionally trained turkey experts that make up the Turkey Talk-Line have been answering turkey related questions each holiday season. All you have to do is dial 1-800-BUTTERBALL with any questions you have. Their most common ask? “My turkey is still frozen! What do I do?”
  10. Have Pizza Delivery on Speed dial. If all else fails, pour yourself a beverage and order a large pizza for everyone to share.

Happy Thanksgiving! What are your go-to tips for making sure the big day goes smoothly?

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