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Food52’s Foolproof Thanksgiving Day Menu

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we’re in full-on preparation mode. (Translation: picking out our most flattering stretchy pants and trying out turkey-themed nail art.) And as for the food? We’ve got that covered too. We asked Food52, the genius community-sourced cooking site, for a foolproof menu and tips on getting through dinner without any mishaps. If you find yourself in a bind, ask the Food52 Hotline for help!


Russ Parson’s dry-brined turkey and gingered cranberry fig chutney from Food52.

Preparing a Thanksgiving dinner always seems a little daunting, doesn’t it? There’s the challenge of fitting everything into the oven, getting the timing right so that no dish gets burned, or too cold, before you sit down to eat. And when you’re making so many dishes, the potential for error is kind of high—it’s enough to scare any home cook, at any skill level. 

We’re here to tell you that there’s nothing to fear! The Thanksgiving meal doesn’t have to be stressful—all you need is a game plan, and we have one for you. We’re sharing a tried and tested menu that’s been approved of by the Food52 community. Along with the menu, notes on what you can make ahead and what you should make on the day of your holiday feast. 

Hors d’Oeuvres: 

Crispy Spice-Brined Pecans and Spiced Glogg with Port Wine and Cointreau
Strategy: You can make the pecans up to a week in advance. An hour or two before your party, pour the nuts into serving bowls and set them out. Done! Mix the punch up the morning of your party and reheat it 30 minutes before guests arrive. Ask one of your guests to be in charge of ladling it out.

First Course

Butternut Squash Soup with Sherry

Make up to two days ahead, without adding the milk and cream. Reheat it on the stove, and add the milk and cream just before serving.


Russ Parsons’ Dry-Brined Turkey

You have to start this one ahead of time, so all you have to worry about on the day of is roasting the bird, and making a gravy.


Prune and Apple Stuffing
Strategy: Get the stale bread ready (like, let it sit out and get stale!) and simmer and pit the prunes the day before. Prep the rest of the stuffing the morning of your dinner. Bake it off when you have oven space, and then reheat at 200º F, if needed. You can always sprinkle on a little broth or brandy before reheating if it seems dry.

Gingered Cranberry Fig Chutney and Tuscan Onion Confit
Strategy: Chutney can be made up to four days in advance, and confit can be made up to two days ahead. Let both dishes come to room temperature before serving.

Pommes Dauphinoise
Strategy: Put this together the day before and cook it for 20 minutes. Let cool, and chill in the fridge. Ten to 15 minutes before dinner, reheat and finish cooking the gratin.


Brown Butter and Cheddar Apple Pie
Strategy: This menu and game plan comes from our Holiday iPad app, where we’ve collected all kinds of tips and tricks to help you through the holidays, year-round. The app includes photo and video tutorials, menus (with game plans), resources, and more. Check it out here

If you find yourself in a pinch, ask a question on the Food52 Hotline, and our helpful community of talented home cooks will answer your questions. 

The wonderful folks at Food52 were also kind enough to contribute a recipe to our just-launched Birchbox Home limited edition collection. 

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