Whether you’re hosting your first Thanksgiving or your fiftieth, the big meal is always a unique test of quantity, timing, taste and entertainment skills. Luckily, that’s just the type of expertise Good Housekeeping has been honing for the past 100+ years.
This guide pulls together top tricks and insider secrets from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen pros with years of experience, as we map out the ultimate Thanksgiving prep countdown and share some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes.
Before You Begin
- Finalize your guest list. Send out invitations and get an official headcount.
- Check in with your guests. Ask about allergies and dietary preferences: Is anyone gluten-free? Vegan? Allergic to nuts? Be sure to coordinate and make sure you can offer them a few safe options (unless they prefer to bring their own food).
- Figure out how much food you need. Once you have a better estimate of many people you are planning to feed, you can better gauge how much you need to cook. Start with our guide for how much turkey you need per person, and then plan the rest of your menu. (Our example menu serves 8 people.)
- Accept help! Offering to host Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to do everything. When someone asks how they can help, assign them a dish, suggest a bottle of wine they can bring or even put them in charge of left-over containers.
Snacks, Drinks + Appetizers
Mains + Sides
This menu includes just a few ideas. When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, there are so many side dishes, appetizers and turkey recipes to choose from — and many of us celebrate the holiday with cherished family recipes as well! Everyone has their own traditions and priorities of must-serve dishes, so feel free to use this as a jumping off point.