Lazy You Will Love These 8 Easy Thanksgiving Dinner Hacks

Spend more time with the fam and less in the kitchen this holiday with these genius tricks.

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is no easy feat. There’s the turkey, sides, dessert, cocktails, and mocktails… You may even offer a light happy hour before the big feast! And then, on top of all that, you’re trying to catch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and football games. It’s a lot.

While hosting Thanksgiving dinner is just one of those things that will get easier with time, there are Thanksgiving dinner hacks that’ll make your turkey day a lot less stressful — and save you from a burnt apple pie or two.

For starters, if you’re making a pie from scratch, use canned ingredients. No one has time to cook and mash their own pumpkin pie filling on Thanksgiving. Whoever says they do is obviously not in charge of preparing the full spread. Sorry, they just aren’t. Never be ashamed of using canned ingredients for any of your recipes, it’ll save you so much time.

Expecting a large crowd? Don’t be afraid to assign side dishes or put people in charge of drinks, ice, or dessert. You can also invite a guest to come over early and help you set the table. This can also be done days in advance.

The point is to use those Thanksgiving dinner hacks to your advantage. After all, the whole point of Thanksgiving is to spend quality time with those you’re grateful for — how are you going to do that if you’re stuck in the kitchen all day? Here are eight more Thanksgiving dinner hacks to help speed your turkey day along.

RELATED: These Are the Cutest Thanksgiving Desserts That Your Guests Will Flip Over

1. Make a cooking schedule

woman looking in fridge

Go into Thanksgiving with a clear mind by mapping out your cooking schedule a few days prior. List out each dish along with its prep time, cook time, and oven temperature (if applicable).

Are there any sides you can make the day before? What dishes can be prepped the night before?

You can color code sides and desserts based on whether they need time in the oven, too. If you don’t space out foods and their cook times strategically, you’ll end up with too many sides and not enough oven space.

Writing out recipes might help you catch any missing ingredients or kitchen tools as well!

2. Prep the turkey the night before

As the main event, turkey can often absorb all the cook’s time and energy on Thanksgiving. Set yourself up for success by prepping and getting the bird situated in a baking dish the night before. Come morning, all you’ll have to do is pop that sucker in the oven!

3. Get all the chopping done 24 hours in advance

woman chopping vegetables in the kitchen

In the moment, washing green beans, peeling potatoes, or chopping onions may not seem like that big of a to-do; but when your family is knocking on the door and you haven’t had time to shower and get ready because you’re buried in vegetable scraps, you’ll think differently.

Most chopped veggies will stay in prime shape up to 24 hours before meal assembly. Just be sure you’re storing them correctly (with no dressings or liquids). It may also be helpful to include dish labels, especially if you have multiple recipes that call for the same veggie.

4. Put someone else in charge of Thanksgiving breakfast

Two big family meals in one day? Good one. Tap your partner, kid, or a relative for breakfast. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant either, bananas and donuts will do! Just as long as you can focus on the task at hand (and with a yummy snack).

5. Don’t peel, but boil your potatoes

Peeling potatoes one by one will take you forever (trust me, I used to be on potato peeler duty as a kid). Instead, trace a circle around the potatoes with a knife (pressing firmly enough that you cut into the skin) and boil them in hot water. The skin will fall right off! Watch this YouTube tutorial for step-by-step instructions.

6. Opt for store-bought rolls and desserts

family having thanksgiving

Again, you’re going to be very limited on oven space. Either make dinner rolls and desserts days before (they’ll last in the freezer!), or pick up a pumpkin pie from the bakery.

As long as there’s a pie on the table, I guarantee no one is going to care whether it’s homemade or from the grocery store down the street.

7. Microwave the gravy

Odds are, you’re going to run out of stovetop space and fast. Save yourself the dirty saucepan and heat up the gravy in the microwave.

8. Use disposable dishware

OK, it’s not really aesthetically pleasing or environmentally friendly, but if you’re hosting a large gathering, disposable dining ware like paper cups and wooden utensils will be a lot easier to clean up. You can even use Thanksgiving-themed paper napkins and plates to stay on theme.

Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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