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How to Make Thanksgiving Dinner

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Your holiday meal just got a lot easier.

Consider this your all-in-one guide to making a delicious, stress-free dinner on the big day. Everything you need to know is right here—simple recipes for all the classics (think juicy roast turkey with pan gravy, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce), plus a cook’s toolbox, a handy timeline, and plenty of tips so you can pull it off like a pro.

Menu Timeline

You can work through most of Wednesday and still get dinner on the table by Thursday evening. Shop on your way home, and then follow this easy timeline.

One day ahead:

  • Season the turkey and make the cranberry sauce; refrigerate. Cut the bread cubes for the stuffing and let them dry overnight.

Six hours ahead:

  • Toast the bread cubes and cook the onions and celery for the stuffing.

Three hours ahead:

  • Begin roasting the turkey.

Two hours ahead:

  • Make the mashed potatoes and keep them warm; let the cranberry sauce come to room temperature.

One hour ahead:

  • Finish and bake the stuffing.

Thirty minutes ahead:

  • Let the turkey rest; make the gravy.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 5 lb. medium russet (Idaho) potatoes
  • 4 medium celery stalks
  • 2 large carrots
  • 4 medium celery stalks
  • 2 medium-large yellow onions
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest

Meat, Eggs & Dairy:

  • One 12-lb. all-natural turkey
  • Unsalted butter
  • 2-1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 large eggs

Other Groceries:

  • One 12-oz. bag fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • 1 lb. crusty Italian or French bread
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth

Pantry Staples:

  • 3-1/2 – 4-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/8 oz. (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt


  • Medium and large bowls
  • 1-quart liquid measuring cup
  • Chef’s knife
  • Medium saucepan
  • Sieve
  • Large flameproof roasting pan
  • V-rack
  • Kitchen twine
  • Baster
  • Instant-read thermometer
  • Carving board
  • Wooden spoon or heatproof spatula
  • Whisk
  • Large rimmed baking sheet
  • 12-inch skillet
  • 3-quart baking dish
  • 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan with lid
  • 8-quart pot with lid
  • Skewer or toothpick
  • Food mill, ricer, or stand mixer with paddle attachment

The Menu


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