Complete Plan for Thanksgiving Dinner

Nov 10, 2014 | Add to Cozi, Blog

Whether you’re a first-timer making the Thanksgiving meal, or have some holidays under your belt, you’ll appreciate having a schedule all laid out for you with this helpful timing guide.

Thanksgiving Dinner Countdown and To Do List

  • 2-3 DAYS AHEAD
  • Clean out the refrigerator and make room for all of the food
  • Select and purchase wines
  • Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator if using a frozen turkey
  • Wash china and stemware
  • Polish silver and press linens
  • 1 DAY AHEAD
  • Assemble the stuffing, cover and refrigerate
  • Make cranberry sauce
  • Set the table
  • Purchase flowers for centerpieces
  • Sharpen knives
  • Chill wine
  • Gather serving dishes (preferably microwave-safe): bowl for cranberry sauce, bowl for stuffing, bowl for green beans, bowl for sweet potatoes, platter for turkey, gravy boat, bowl or basket lined with cloth napkin for dinner rolls
  • Brine the turkey and let sit overnight
  • 4 HOURS AHEAD
  • Prep the turkey
  • Wrap rolls in foil
  • Put butter in dish
  • Fill pitcher with water and lemon slices
  • Uncork wine, keep white chilled
  • If making mashed potatoes: Peel potatoes and place in pot of water
  • 45 MINUTES AHEAD
  • Make the mashed potatoes, place in microwave-safe bowl for quick heat-up
  • If making green beans: Prepare and start 30 minutes before dinner
  • WHEN TURKEY IS DONE
  • Let turkey rest 30 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and put stuffing and sweet potatoes in
  • During the last 15 minutes, toss rolls in the oven
  • If making gravy, prepare that now


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