Turkey Day on a Time Crunch: How to Cook Thanksgiving with All the Fixings in Half the Time

Last minute Thanksgiving dinner? Don’t panic, cooking a complete Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be a multi-day affair

Cooking the breasts and legs separately yields a perfectly cooked turkey in half the time. 

Thanksgiving arrives the fourth Thursday of November every year, and every year it sneaks up on us. This year, don’t cry over lost time or panic about the throng of family, friends, and neighbors that are knocking at your door because The Daily Meal has a plan for a simple Thanksgiving feast with all of the classic fixings that won’t take weeks to prepare.

Click here for the Turkey Day on a Time Crunch: How to Cook Thanksgiving with All the Fixings in Half the Time slideshow.

Instead of making 20 dishes, settle on the core four or five that you need to make this special occasion a Thanksgiving meal, and don’t be afraid of shortcuts. Opting for store-bought pie crust, stuffing, and gravy will allow you more time to mingle with your guests and enjoy the party.

Serving a smaller crowd? Opt for a quick cooking turkey breast or a crispy roast chicken instead of a big bird. If you have a large crowd to feed, but not a lot of time to wait around for your 12-, 13-, 14-pound turkey to roast, break down the turkey before cooking. A butterflied turkey will roast in half the time.

Thanksgiving should be a time of celebration not a prison kitchen sentence for the cook. Follow this time-saving Thanksgiving menu guide for a simple, delicious, and enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner.

Corn Bread

Corn Bread

Photo Modified: Flickr / Alpha / CC BY-SA 4.0

This cornbread only takes eight minutes to bake.

Looking for a simple cornbread recipe that won’t take time away from basting the turkey? Consider this simple recipe from Hungry Mother in Boston your new go-to cornbread. While the turkey is resting, crank up the oven to 500 degrees F and in 8 minutes you will have golden brown, delicious cornbread.

For the Hungry Mother’s Cornbread recipe, click here.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

Photo Modified: Flickr / Mattie Hagedorn / CC BY-SA 4.0

This cranberry sauce is the perfect balance of sweet and sour.

You can hardly call it Thanksgiving dinner without cranberry sauce, and while you might be tempted to pull out the canned version, making your own won’t take much more time. Try this Thanksgiving hero’s guide to the perfect cranberry relish that only takes a mere 10 minutes to prepare. If you are looking for a cranberry sauce recipe that is a little outside the box, look no further than this recipe that incorporates frozen blueberries and cranberries for a sweeter sauce.

For the Blueberry-Cranberry Sauce recipe, click here.


Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.