how to prepare thanksgiving dinner ahead of time

Holiday Guide: How to Prepare for Thanksgiving Like a Pro

Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While we doubt he was wondering how to prepare Thanksgiving dinner, the sentiment holds true for a Thanksgiving Day host. To save you all the last-minute chaos, the experts at Oak Valley Appliance prepared a comprehensive guide for how to prepare for Thanksgiving.

How to Prepare for Thanksgiving Without the Stress and Worry

You may be thinking that it’s impossible not to stress about hosting Thanksgiving. But if you know how to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time, we believe you’ll be ahead of the game. That’s why our holiday guide starts one month in advance so you have plenty of time before the big day.

And don’t forget about your oven at this 30-day point. If you plan on using the self-clean oven feature before Thanksgiving, we recommend doing it now. That way if any malfunctions occur, we can help with a range and oven repair to get you Thanksgiving-ready again.

One Month Before Thanksgiving

How to prepare for Thanksgiving starts 30 days ahead of time. At this point it’s all about formulating a thanksgiving meal planner by establishing your guest list and menu:

  • Finalize the guest list: confirm your RSVPs and if they would like to contribute a dish.
  • Plan your menu: include traditional dishes, your easy favorites, and a few new options.
  • Draft shopping lists: write up one list of non-perishables and another for fresh ingredients.
  • If you’re not using a frozen turkey, put in an order for a fresh one at the grocery store.
how to prepare for thanksgiving
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One Week Before

If you’re wondering when to buy Thanksgiving groceries, let the shopping begin! Stock the kitchen with your non-perishable items. You can also start preparing some freezable items:

  • Prepare soups, casseroles, and pie and cookie dough, freezing for later use.
  • If you’re using a frozen turkey, we recommend defrosting it in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that it takes 24 hours per 4-5lbs of turkey with this method.

Two Days Before Thanksgiving

Our guide for how to prepare for Thanksgiving kicks it up a notch 48 hours before the big day. Shop for fresh ingredients and beverages and prep as many ingredients as you can:

  • Defrost frozen items.
  • Chop vegetables, measure spices, toast nuts, cut bread for stuffing.

One Day Before Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving cooking schedule is now underway. We suggest cooking or baking anything that can be made ahead of time to save time tomorrow:

  • Bake desserts.
  • Cook any side dishes that can be reheated tomorrow.
  • Assemble stuffing.
  • Clean and cut fresh vegetables.
  • Set the dinner table.

thanksgiving cooking schedule

Thanksgiving Day

Our guide for how to prepare for Thanksgiving has the finish line in sight! Follow these last Thanksgiving dinner tips to roast your turkey and get everything to the table for that first delicious bite:

  • Chill beverages in the morning.
  • Pre-cook vegetables.
  • Start roasting turkey at least 4 hours before dinner (longer if your turkey is over 15lbs).
  • Assemble your appetizers 1-2 hours before guests arrive.
  • Allow turkey to rest for 30mins to 1hr before serving. Reheat side dishes, bake stuffing and finish cooking vegetables during this time.
  • While you carve the turkey have guests fill water glasses and bring hot dishes to the table.

We hope our holiday guide for how to prepare for Thanksgiving allows time for what’s most important: spending time with friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Oak Valley Appliance!

David lange

David Lange

In 1982 David went to work for his mom as a service technician and has been servicing appliances ever since. He is the owner of Oak Valley Appliance, an appliance repair company in Tehachapi, CA, with local techs also serving Lancaster, Ridgecrest, and surrounding areas.