Make Thanksgiving dinner prep easier by knowing when to take a shortcut.
Don’t waste time topping tiny pieces of toast or filling mushroom caps to make appetizers; unless you’re simply mixing some seasonings with Greek yogurt for a speedy dip or cutting up crudité, you’re spending too much time on pre-dinner snacks. Stock up on your favorite frozen appetizers and pre-made dips and toppings that you can use to make appetizers with little to no effort.
Yeast-risen bread requires a fair bit of time and attention. If you’re overwhelmed with things to do on Thanksgiving Day, fake it; you can order dinner rolls from a local bakery in advance or buy frozen dinner rolls from your local grocery store. If you really want to make your own dinner rolls from scratch you can still take a shortcut by making the dough in advance and simply baking it on Thanksgiving Day. Most yeast-risen bread dough can be safely stored for three to four days in the refrigerator.
There’s no reason to spend time rolling and resting pie dough on a busy day like Thanksgiving (or on the days leading up to it). Though any premade pie crust will save you time, frozen pie crusts are your best bet; they come in a disposable pie pan which means you don’t have to worry about fluting the edges or making a decorative border for your pie.
Like pie crust, there’s no reason to roll and fold your own puff pastry when such high-quality substitutes are available. Whether you’re wrapping a wheel of Brie or making a quick batch of cheese straws, use frozen puff pastry.
Cutting, roasting, and puréeing a pumpkin is a lot of work. If you’re making pumpkin pie, use canned pumpkin purée; you’ll be adding spices and other ingredients to the filling so it will still taste great. Save the fresh pumpkin for dishes with fewer ingredients and add-ins.
If you make a variety of seasonal desserts for Thanksgiving day, skip the scratch-made pumpkin cheesecake. You’ll save lots of time by purchasing a store bought version; no graham cracker crust to make, no filling to mix up, and need to dig out your rarely-used spring-form pan and seal it with aluminum foil!
If you’re looking for ways to save time on Thanksgiving day, consider spicing up a stuffing mix (instead of making this side dish from scratch). Buy a good quality stuffing mix (click here to see our favorites), toss in a handful of dried cranberries or roughly chopped apricots, add cook the stuffing according to the package directions. When it’s done you can top it with fresh snipped herbs or crumbles of goat cheese.