How to Cook the Turkey Perfectly and Other Thanksgiving Tips

These little secrets will make all the difference on Thanksgiving Day

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Roasting racks can be essential on Thanksgiving Day. Those racks we tend to overlook help to lift meat away from the direct heat of the pan and allow hot air to circulate underneath. The meat will cook more evenly, and the skin will get crispier. If you don’t already have a roasting rack, forget the store and create your own with a few long sheets of aluminum foil crumpled into coils. You’ll be thankful for this DIY roasting rack.

You'll Love These Thanksgiving Tricks and Tips

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Does Thanksgiving really have to be a hard, a long, drawn-out process that leaves little fun for the family cooks? There has to be a better way. In fact, there are better ways to make Thanksgiving just a little bit easier. Slow-cooking the turkey overnight makes the meat tenderer and leaves more space in the oven on the big day. Don’t waste time scrubbing endless potatoes for that heavenly mash; let your dishwasher do that thankless chore.

Bake Stuffing in Muffin Tins

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That large casserole dish holding all that stuffing goodness gets heavy and unwieldy, not to mention the fact that it doesn’t produce enough crispy edges to go around. Increase crispy surface area by baking your favorite stuffing in muffin tins. Perfect portion sizes are a bonus.

Add Baking Powder to Mashed Potatoes

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Mashed potatoes are a popular dish at the Thanksgiving table, but let them be the star. In addition too tons of butter and cream, a little baking powder can make your mashed potatoes the stuff of dreams. The heat from those hot potatoes triggers a chemical reaction with the baking powder, wherein the carbon dioxide produced adds extra fluffiness. Science can be tasty, too.

 

Make a Foil Roasting Rack

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Roasting racks can be essential on Thanksgiving Day. Those racks we tend to overlook help to lift meat away from the direct heat of the pan and allow hot air to circulate underneath. The meat will cook more evenly, and the skin will get crispier. If you don’t already have a roasting rack, forget the store and create your own with a few long sheets of aluminum foil crumpled into coils. You’ll be thankful for this DIY roasting rack.

Cook White and Dark Meat Separately

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Some years, no matter what you do, your turkey just won’t cook evenly. That big bird is awfully hard to get perfect. Either the white meat is too dry and the dark meat is just right, or the white meat is juicy and the dark meat is not nearly done enough. Solve this Thanksgiving problem and cook the two separately. This ensures perfect results for both white and dark meats.

Skip Peeling the Potatoes

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Like scrubbing, peeling the potatoes for those mounds of mashed potatoes is a huge time-suck. Instead of taking the time to peel the spuds, boil your potatoes skin-on. Once they’re cooked, dunk them in ice-cold water. Shocking your potatoes will allow the skin to come right off when rubbed. Shockingly easy, huh?

Cook Your Turkey Overnight

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The oven is always jam-packed on Thanksgiving Day, so do yourself a favor and slow-roast your turkey overnight the night before. Slow-roasting the bird at low temperatures will make the meat tenderer because high temperatures cause meat to dry out! Kill two birds with one stone and have a tastier, less hectic holiday

Cut Lattice Strips with Your Cooling Rack

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Pretty pies are a marvel to look at as well as to eat. Lattice-top pies inspire awe and envy and show off those pie-baking skills. If only it was a little easier. Try cutting your lattice strips for that beautiful apple pie using your cooling rack. This will ensure evenly sized strips and get you one step closer to pie perfection. 

Crimp Your Pie Crust with Various Utensils

Make your pie the apple of everyone’s eye, and now that you have those lattice strips in hand, beautify your pie even further. Nicely crimping the edges adds charm. Use different utensils like spoons or tongs to crimp your crust for an aesthetic touch. A clean string of pearls can also do the trick.

Protect Your Pie Crusts

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No one likes burned pie crusts; they’re a blemish on the perfect Thanksgiving dessert. Protect those crusts and make sure they're a golden brown every time with this handy hack. Cut a large circle in a sheet of aluminum foil, just big enough to expose the middle of your pie. The remaining foil will cover your edges and make sure the crust doesn't over-brown.

Ice Your Turkey Breasts

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Yes, you can cook your dark and white meat separately to guarantee juiciness and healthy doneness, but there’s another way to make your Thanksgiving bird flawless. As odd as it sounds, since you’ll probably spend days thawing your turkey, icing the breasts will help to keep your bird moist. The ice will drop the temperature of the white meat, which will lead to longer cooking times. It’s kind of like giving the dark meat a head start!

Cut Biscuits with a Wine Glass

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Maybe grandma forgot to bring her special metal biscuit cutter to help out with those delicious biscuits. Well, have no fear: a wine glass works just as well, cutting out perfectly sized and beautifully shaped biscuits every time. Push straight down without twisting to make sure the biscuits can rise. Don't forget to dip the glass in flour after every few cuts to keep the dough from sticking!

Wash Potatoes in The Dishwasher

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These starchy staples are an extremely important part of the Thanksgiving meal — buttery mashed potatoes complement turkey and green beans perfectly. Instead of endlessly scrubbing all those essential spuds for your large party, load ‘em into the dishwasher and let it do the work. Just remember to skip the soap.