The keys to a stress-free Thanksgiving are planning ahead and asking for help. Here are a few tips to get you started:
One day to three weeks before Thanksgiving:
- Shop for those dishes you will make yourself if items can remain fresh.
- Ask your guests to each bring a side dish or beverages.
- Create a seating plan, set the table(s), and decorate your home.
- Make as many dishes in advance as possible, or order side dishes from your favorite restaurant.
- Make easy appetizers guests can snack on (such as fruit and veggie trays or chips and salsa) while they are waiting for dinner to be served.
- Put beverages in the refrigerator to chill.
- While the turkey is roasting, prepare those side dishes you plan to make.
- Make coffee and tea to go with dessert.
- Don’t hesitate to ask a friend or family member to help with the cleanup.
- Split up the leftovers and have containers ready to fill so you can send your guests home with their favorites.
Turkey Thawing Times
WeightIn Fridge: 40° FIn Cold Water*
8 to 12 lbs2 to 2.5 days4 to 6 hrs
12 to 16 lbs2.5 to 4 days6 to 8 hrs
16 to 20 lbs4 to 5 days8 to 10 hrs
20 to 24 lbs5 to 6 days10 to 12 hrs
(*Turkey should be submerged in the water.)
Turkey Cooking Times
Weight / Unstuffed / Stuffed
8 to 12 lbs – 2.75 to 3 hrs / 3 to 3.5 hrs
12 to 14 lbs – 3 to 3.75 hrs / 3.5 to 4 hrs
14 to 18 lbs – 3.75 to 4.25 hrs / 4 to 4.25 hrs
18 to 20 lbs – 4.25 to 4.5 hrs / 4.25 to 4.75 hrs
20 to 24 lbs – 4.5 to 5 hrs / 4.75 to 5.25 hrs
(*Open-Pan Method in 325° F conventional oven on lowest rack)