6 Last Minute Thanksgiving Tips & Favorite Turkey Day Recipes

Did you buy a frozen turkey?

Now's the time to thaw it out!

photo from BHG

There are two ways to thaw out your turkey:

(1) Refrigerator:  for every 5 pounds, you need 24 hours to thaw.  Therefore, a 15 pound turkey will take 3 days.  Put your turkey in a shallow pan to catch any "turkey juice" in your fridge.

(2) Cold Water:  Keep the turkey in the original wrapping and place in sink full of cold water.  Change the water every 30 minutes.  Allow 30 minutes per pound.  Therefore, a 15 pound turkey will take 7.5 hours.  *caution*  If you have a solid surface sink (Corian, Wilsonart, etc.) DO NOT use this method, as it can crack your sink.

If you are hosting dinner this year, I hope you have asked your guests to bring something.  You do not need to do it all!  It's time for someone else to shine or contribute to the meal.  My folks bring veggies, my brother's family makes the stuffing, and my other brother's wife is the queen of desserts.  It also solves the dilemma of trying to bake everything in one oven.

photo from MS Every Day Food

Have a small appetizer ready in case your turkey is running late.  Your guests will appreciate this!  A simple relish plate with cut veggies, olives or other finger foods will do the trick.  

Time saving tips:  I learned this tip from my mother in law.  She makes her mashed potatoes early in the morning (we have the main meal at 1:00 PM) and keeps them warm in a covered crockpot on the warm setting.  If you have the low setting on your crockpot, you may have to stir it every so often to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Make as many side dishes as you can the day before and reheat on Thanksgiving.  Even dinner rolls can be made the night before, if you have room in your fridge.  If you live in a cold climate, you can keep your covered, unbaked rolls in your garage.  Bring them in 20 minutes before baking and pop them in the oven.  As soon as you take your turkey out, pop the rolls in the oven, make your gravy and dinner will be ready in 15 minutes!

these are from Costco!

Table setting:  have you considered paper plates or disposable ware?  After dinner, everyone wants to sit around and chat, and no one wants to do the dishes!  There are many styles to chose from and it's worth every penny.

Most of all, enjoy the time you are sharing with your friends and family!

Favorite Turkey Day Recipes

Happy Baking,


  1. Great Tips Frieda. I sometimes thaw my turkey in ice water in a designated brining/thawing thermal cooler. It saves me freezer room. I do make my pie dough, potatoes and everything else ahead of time in stages. Love the tip about the nice plastic plates.

  2. Bonnie, love the cooler idea! Thanks!

  3. Wonderful tips, I love the potatoes in the crock pot idea!

  4. I guess leaving the turkey on the counter all night long like I've always done isn't the best way, huh? Great ideas; I'll have to use a few this year (I'm *not* in charge of the turkey :-) I saw those gorgeous plastic dishes at Sam's and almost bought them till I realized I'd have to buy two sets at $15 each to accommodate all 40 of us. We generally use paper plates and plastic silverware because we make enough dirty dishes just preparing the dinner!

  5. Tonya, paper plates are the way to go, especially with such a large group! Pair it with a paper tablecloth and you are good to go! :)

  6. Yay! It's almost here! Thanks for the great tips :)


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