Thanksgiving Turkey: Easy Prep, Easy Serve

Thanksgiving on a Budget

Let’s talk turkey.

I need a show of hands.  Growing up, I thought the only people who placed a beautifully roasted bird on their table were the Huxtables.  Seriously.  Do real families do that?!  Do you?  (I couldn’t find the clip of the actual bird, but here’s a look at Theo’s practice round.)

Perhaps it’s because I’ve never attended a Thanksgiving dinner with fewer than 20 people, and the norm is more like 30-50, but we have never placed a bird on the table.

Here’s how my family does the turkey, and I know we’re not the only ones!

We bake and carve it ahead of time.


There you have it.  That’s it!

Brine it, stuff it, roast it, deep-fry it… whatever suits your holiday fancy (we just pat with butter and sprinkle salt and pepper – cover with foil and bake on a low temperature until done).  Just do it before Thanksgiving. After it’s cooked and cooled, go ahead and carve the bird.


Place the meat in a pan.  Put a few pats of butter on it and a drizzle of turkey broth.  Stick it in the fridge for a day or two.  Warm in the oven (or an electric roaster) before serving on Thanksgiving Day.

Cooking the turkey ahead of time is a super simple concept with far-reaching benefits.

  • No waiting on the “late” bird when everyone is starving.
  • Delicious, moist, flavorful meat because it’s been distributing and soaking up juices for a while.
  • No staring at a bird carcass during your lovely meal.
  • No carcass mess or fuss on Thanksgiving day.
  • The juices can be cooled, fat skimmed, and gravy made up… all ahead of time!  Put the gravy in a crockpot to warm before the meal.
  • Your oven can be used for other dishes on the big day.
  • So easy to serve.  If you serve from the table, just put the meat on a lovely platter with a big, fancy fork.
  • Did I mention that your dinner won’t have to wait on the bird?!
  • Shred some of the dark meat to use in your stuffing.  Yum!  (Provided, of course, that you don’t do your stuffing in the actual bird.  I’ve never done that.)
  • No stressing about timing everything just right, because the turkey is already done.
  • No last minute panic when the turkey doesn’t come out right.  You’ll know days in advance if adjustments need to be made.
  • If you eat your Thanksgiving meal at noon, you don’t have to put a bird in the oven at 4 a.m.

I totally respect (and admire your beautiful pictures) those of you who have a decked-out Thanksgiving table, complete with a beautifully roasted bird.  If that’s your tradition and it works for you, by all means, go for it!

As for the rest of you, nix the holiday stress and cook your bird early!

Now, for that show of hands, how do you do your bird?

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  1. my family does this too! it’s a great way to reduce stress around “the bird” on Thanksgiving day!

    • @SnoWhite, Hmmm, you are right it is easier baked and carved ahead of time. And stress free is good! We deep fry our turkey on Thanksgiving morning, and carve up it when it cooled. Normally we eat buffet style because of the crowd, but this year I wanted to scale down and have an old fashioned sit down meal. With the bird on a platter center stage.

  2. Thanks for the tip! My grandmother always makes the turkey for my big family’s dinner (always between 20-30 people). Since we just moved across the country and won’t be spending Thanksgiving with the big group, the turkey (and everything else) is going to be my job for the first time ever. I’m not nervous about the rolls or dessert since I’ve always done those for the potluck, but the big dishes have my knees shaking.

    • Karen Nelson says:


      That is one of the best things I have ever done…cook the turkey ahead of time.

      We only have the turkey breast. Sometimes depending on the crowd we have two.
      I cooke them in the crockpot…it is so juicy…no more dried out turkey…
      After it is cooked it is sliced and put back into the crockpot…heat on low…adding some of the broth. The slices are lifted to a plate before serving time….
      No turkey pan to clean….and because we serve buffet style…I treat myself to disposable pans for those casseroles!

  3. WOW!! I love this idea!! I would never have thought to make the turkey a day ahead and reheat it! Luckily, we spend Thanksgiving with our best friends – who are cooking the turkey as my husband and I did it one year and can’t bring ourselves to do it again. However, I will be making the ham for our dinner together. I may just use your wonderful idea for the ham this year! Thanks!!

  4. A couple of years ago, I accidently left my turkey out of my freezer (had removed it to dig for something). I stumbled upon it a couple of days later, pretty much thawed. I decided to cook it right then (it was still frozen in the middle I discovered, so we were good to go) and it made for such a relaxed thanksgiving. I just had to do a few side dishes and we were done.

  5. Growing up, I didn’t know that people actually brought a whole turkey to the table except on TV. Grandma J’s numbers pretty well match yours (30-50) and she ALWAYS makes most everything early. Makes me miss my grandpa – he’d been smelling everything for days so by 11:30, he had his plate in hand and was starting the line. Good memories. :>)

  6. This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing

  7. We are vegetarians, but we make a tofu turkey that looks birdlike with stuffing in the middle. Or other times we make a casserole with stuffing and vege-turkey pieces. So that’s how we do our un-bird. 🙂

  8. This is an awesome idea and the first I heard about it was in a Good Housekeeping article recently! I never would have thought of doing it that way!

  9. We cut it right before we eat…and no, I don’t think it’s ever actually made it to the table, but everyone sees in on the counter top. Does that count? 🙂

    • @Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, It counts in my house!

      I always make the turkey that day, by a method that gives crisp skin (the method itself is ever-changing). I show off the bird, then take it back to the kitchen to carve. I can make a presentation-ready bird but I can’t manage presentation-ready carving! I use my hands, I make a mess, I get bits everywhere.

      Then I lay it out nicely and show it off again.

  10. OH!! I LOVE you!! I have been looking and looking for some validation that I will be okay cooking my turkey ahead of time! How long and at what temperature do you heat it in an electric roaster?
    thanks so much!

    • @Alicia, My mom has the electric roaster, so I’m not sure on temps. I would say the equivalent of about a 300° oven and just keep an eye on it. Will depend on how much meat you have in there. Plan on a couple of hours, and lower the temp once it warms up. Don’t forget the turkey broth to keep it moist. 🙂

      • Pat Carden says:

        @Amy, I am using an electric roaster this year to cook my turkey. I have always roasted it in the oven so I am a little hesitant to do it in the electric roaster. Any comments would be appreciated.

        • Had to check with my mom on this one. She says the roaster will cook the turkey faster than the oven, but everything else should be the same. Hope that helps!

  11. I cheat…

    I buy a turkey breast, pop it into the crock pot, and call it Thanksgiving! It is just so easy and soooo good and keeps me from having to deal with all that yucky bird stuff.


  12. Great post, Amy! I admit that I’ve never even thought of cooking our turkey early – but with all those benefits ~

    Thanks for sharing this great idea!

  13. OldNuffToKnoBtr says:

    My dad was a meat cutter and we never had the whole bird on the table. He always carved it in the kiten.

    I too have roasted the turkey a day ahead and it is so much easier. I highly recommend it to anyone.

  14. When we had Thanksgiving at home (my parents) we always had the bird on the table. My dad would carve it, then it went on a beautiful platter, and put in the center of the table. When my dad passed we starting doing Thanksgiving with my mom’s family in Iowa. I remember the first few years of doing that my mom was SO mad because they cooked the turkey days before and there was no “bird” on the table. To me, it just wasn’t Thanksgiving.

    But–now, after doing it this way for a while, I can see why it’s done that way. I’ve come to realize it’s Thanksgiving–no matter how you serve the food. However, I still prefer the whole bird.

  15. I haven’t cooked a turkey myself yet; my mom and mother-in-law both still take care of that. 😉

    However, growing up, we never put the bird on the table either. My mom would put it in the oven Thanksgiving morning and my dad would carve it in the afternoon, an hour or two before the family all arrived. Of course I was always close by to sneak bites of the delectable bird as my dad put it on platters (white meat on one, dark on another). Somebody has to taste test, right???

    Then we’d just warm it up in the oven, covered with foil, right before we sat down to dinner. And it was always juicy and delicious!

  16. I’ve always stuck the bird out on the table and we carve it right there. My Dad did it that way and I just continued his tradition. I’ve never screwed up a turkey, but I could see how that would be problematic!

    We’re having an abnormally small T-giving this year (5 1/2 people–including Midget), so I’m spatchcocking my turkey–just for fun and time’s sake. Since you asked, I’ll put the link up on Twitter of what the technique is. I just feel like trying something new!

    So excited for you to be featured on MSM again!

    • Beth in Dublin, OH says:


      I’m very intrigued after Googling to see what spatchcocking is all about. Imagine cooking a small turkey (like 8-12lbs) in 45 minutes or less, and it turning out moister & more flavorful? I’m in!

      • @Beth in Dublin, OH,

        I cook chickens this way all the time and they come out so much better than regular roasting. I am not making a turkey this year, but I did buy one through a grocery store promotion that I will do it with after the holidays!

  17. When I was little my Dad used to do that and I remember it being a big deal for him to say the blessing then carve the turkey @ the table.

    My husband carves the turkey in the kitchen and puts all the meat on a plate. I usually cook it early in the morning but I might try just making it ahead this year. I would have the turkey & stuffing already made if I did that.

  18. I’ve done it this way for the last several years and it makes for the juiciest turkey ever! Basically I let the cooked, sliced turkey soak in the cooking broth overnight and then warm it in the broth. Plus, the night before Thanksgiving we eat mile high “leftover” turkey sandwiches. Delicious!


  19. We’ve always cut before we eat it, but this is an even better idea. 😀

  20. We do the whole bird day of, but it stays in the kitchen for a meat buffet (we usually roast a turkey, fry a turkey, and do a ham). Then, there’s a platter of meat that’s been carved on table for seconds along with all the side dishes.

  21. I grew up with small family Thanksgivings, usually on 6 – 10 people on average. There was ALWAYS a bird on the table and my dad would do the carving. Here is a little tip to shave off some time if you want to roast your bird on Thanksgiving. Use a Reynolds oven roasting bag. You put the turkey in the bag and seal it then place it in a roasting pan. You do not have to baste your turkey, it comes out extremely moist. The best part of all is it cooks WAY faster. I did this last year and it cooked in half the time.

  22. WOW- I never even though about doing this but I really love the idea! Thanks so much!!

  23. We do ours in a Showtime Rotisserie, which is how my mom started doing hers and it got us hooked. I like to brine it beforehand if I remember to defrost it soon enough (always my big problem with freezing any kind of meat!) My kids used to sit in front of the rotisserie and watch it go around…we called it “Turkeyvision”. The rotisserie ensures that the juices are evenly distributed and it’s always delicious…it’s a great way to go and frees up oven space for side dishes.

    And it’s always carved by me in the kitchen. We eat buffet style at our house on Thanksgiving, so it pretty much stays in the kitchen!

  24. Maybe it’s just because we’re in the South, but for the past…well, at least the past 15 years….we’ve fried our turkeys. They take 3 minutes per pound, are beautifully browned on the outside and extremely juicy on the inside – EVERY time. My husband always carves them up and we serve the bird from the platter, as y’all mentioned.

    The downside to frying (if there is one) is that the carcass isn’t really the best for turkey soup, but we pretty much pick that bird clean! Waste not, want not!

    On the flip side, we get a tasty (sometimes cajun butter flavored) turkey, our oven is available for almost everything else and the men-folk have a great time hanging out together over the fry pot. Just grab some camp chairs, a TV or radio with the football pre-game shows and keep their glasses filled with sweet tea, and you, too, can enjoy the fun in the kitchen (except those moments where you run into the living room to watch the musical numbers on Harold Square!)

    • @Tammy, I’ve eaten a fried turkey once. It was delicious (the part that was done, anyway) but dinner had to wait over an hour… and it still wasn’t done. A rookie mistake by our hosts, I believe. 😉

  25. Haha, well, we kind of like to be non-traditional and *not* eat turkey on Thanksgiving just to be rebellious. 😉 But, any family celebrations always involve turkey and no one ever carves it at the table – in fact, I still wonder if anyone actually gathers around the table and CARVES the turkey and gently places one’s choice selection on their plate while all the side dishes cool off and the turkey-preparer argues with her husband about the correct way to carve.

  26. That is perfect carving. We always have trouble carving. I’m not as bad as Cosby. I remember that episode. Thank you for sharing. Doylene

  27. Amy, this is a fantastic post! Such great tips!! 🙂

  28. I cook the turkey the day of. Put it in the oven fairly early (9ish) in the morning and it’s done in plenty of time to eat (not a 20 lb bird though). I DO NOT put the whole bird on the table. I cut it apart in the kitchen and arrange pieces on a platter. I do this mostly because it’s impossible for me to neatly carve a turkey. If I’m going to make a mess. I want to do it in my kitchen without a bunch of onlookers.

    The idea of cooking it a day ahead is a really good one though. I’ll have to give that some contemplation.

  29. Though I cook a Tofurkey for myself :), I cook turkeys throughout the year for my family. They are economical and even if not organic, are said to be better than non-organic chicken. Once thawed, my husband cuts up the turkey like a chicken, I drizzle the skin with olive oil and bake it in a roasting pan. It cooks in no time (compared to a whole bird) and stays very moist. Super easy!

  30. We usually have holiday meals with family, but I am the turkey “cooker”, even if we go to my parents house for the meal. Sometimes I cook the turkey the day before,sometimes the day of, but we always preslice and just cover with foil and reheat. So much easier to do! I rub mine down with olive oil and Tony Chachere’s seasoning, stuff the cavities with apple and onion chunks, and bake it upside down in my covered blue enamel turkey roaster–it may not look “pretty”, but it sure is good!

  31. I cooke my turkeys like yours, down in the raoster, but I put them breast-down so that the breast absorbs more of the juices during cooking.

    I buy several turkeys each year (normally 7, but this year my goal is 10, as I now have a second freezer). At .33-.40 a pound for meat, we like to eat lots of turkey throughout the year! I usually cook 4 before Thanksgiving, dip the meat in the juices in the pan, and freeze it in small amounts to use in any recipes where I would normally use chicken.

    In fact, I’m cooking the first of them today!

  32. Ok, you have me convinced to try it. All I need to know is…when you warm it in the oven, what temp do you use and for how long? Also, I assume you keep it covered to warm it???

    • @Angela, Definitely keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out. You can put it in the oven with your side dishes at about 350°. Just keep an eye on it and either turn the heat down or take it out when it’s warm. I like to get my side dishes cooked and then turn the oven off, keeping everything in there until serving time.

  33. We carve ahead of time, too, and it allows us to also wrap up portions for later (we usually get a really big bird). We also bake a separate plate of stuffing for leftovers. So far, it’s worked well for us 😉

  34. We cooked our first turkey of the season yesterday. I always carve in the kitchen, but in our house, that’s in full view of our kitchen table. I’ve never done my turkey ahead, but maybe we’ll try it this year. Definitely less stress than wondering when the turkey will be cooked through!

  35. Interesting idea. The only problem I see is that you don’t have that wonderful smell in the house on Thanksgiving day:-)

  36. That’s a good idea. I don’t usually have trouble with the turkey getting done later than expected—-it’s usually the opposite! It gets done much sooner than expected and it’s ready but no-one is due to arrive for another hour or so! And doing it ahead would solve the problem of lack of oven space for the side dishes.

  37. Great idea! We’ve got 20 or so on T’day itself, then 82 for the next day. Perfect!!

  38. I’ve always wanted to go to a holiday meal where a beautifully decorated turkey is carved at the table. I just don’t know anyone who does that.
    I’ve been making my turkey in a roaster for the past several years. It turns out great and doesn’t take up oven space.
    This year we’re having an extra large crowd, so I’m planning to make a turkey breast the day before and have that carved and ready to go along with the usual Thanksgiving Day turkey.

  39. Great idea! I always do mine early in the day. I think I would miss the smell of turkey cooking on Thanksgiving

  40. I cooked my first turkey EVER two days ago! I’m getting ready to cook the second one this afternoon. My mother-in-law is in charge of the turkey on T-day, but I’m super excited to be stocking up on “leftovers” since there are never any actual leftovers after the T-day dinner. I can’t believe I’ve never done this before!! I have all kinds of sliced turkey for sandwiches and shredded turkey for soups, enchiladas, casseroles, etc. I love cheap turkey days!! I bought a 19 pounder for less than $5 today!!

    • @Kelleigh, Good for you! I was nervous with my first turkey, but have gotten over it. Helps that I almost always make them just for my family for the same reason you do. I “let” my mom handle the big TDay Turkey. 😉

  41. Great idea!

    How long do you reheat the turkey meat in the oven?

    Thanks 🙂

  42. Bethany Jones says:

    Great idea and I’d love to not have the mess. However – to smell a turkey cooking on a day I couldn’t eat it would be miserable and to spend thanksgiving without smelling it would ruin my day! We eat mid afternoon so I don’t get up too early and I LOVE smelling it cook all day long 🙂

  43. This sounds like a brilliant time saver but what about the crispy skin that many seem to love? I wouldn’t miss it a bit but I know several of my guest would. Do you just toss that out when you carve it and do without it when serving it?

  44. This is a great idea! I work full time and have two kids two and under so I’ve been trying to figure out ways to shave some time off of the dinner this year. This is awesome and will definately make T-day much easier and more enjoyable for me! Thanks so much!!! 🙂

  45. This Thanksgiving my wife is going to have a very non-messy kitchen. She and I along with two of our children, one daughter in law and three granddaughters are doing something new. We are have a “Nashville Thanksgiving”. Thanksgiving dinner on the General Jackson Showboat while crusing on the Cumberland River. Friday night we get to see the “Rockettes” from New York and then Saturday night would not be the same without enjoying a performance of the “Grand Ole Opry” which will be back in its original location the “Ryman Auditorium”.

    Grandma will not have to cook. Nobody will have to clean-up and wash dishes and I “think” I will get to watch some football.

    So, from the Allens of Glasgow, Kentucky comes a hope that Thanksgiving 2009 will be a most enjoyable and happy event.

  46. An added bonus to preparing the turkey early….no fighting over the skin! Mmmmmmm. I’d have it ALL to myself. ~:oD

  47. Great idea – especially for a large crowd! Unfortunately, the only other day I can cook the bird (other than THE day) is this Sunday, and I’m kinda leary about leaving it in the fridge that long. Shoulda taken off more days, huh? We always carve the bird in the kitchen and set a platter out for the crowd. Will definitely keep this in mind for next year!

  48. I’m with you…get it done ahead. Then again, I must be getting lazy in my old age (or can I use 4 small kiddos running around & the exhaustion they cause me as an excuse??) but this year I’m voting for Turkey a la Boston Market. 🙂

  49. For the past several years, I’ve cooked our turkey on our charcoal grill outside. It makes cleanup such a breeze, frees the oven for side dishes, and there’s no basting. The turkey is always moist and delicious. The hardest part is getting it off of the grill! 🙂

  50. I would probably get shot if we cooked the turkey early. Besides day old turkey just does NOT have the same flavor as freshly cooked no matter how you heat it. And it would not be Thanskgiving in the house without the wonderful smell throughout the day of the turkey baking.

    And I guess we have done it one too many times as we have never had to wait for a turkey to finish cooking to eat at the scheduled time. We carve it, put the meat on a platter, and eat buffet style with my family of about 20. Our biggest problem – who’s the lucky one that gets to carve…

  51. Yep, thanks for the confirmation! I cook the turkey the day before too (although I always feel slightly guilty). All of that mess is cleaned up and out of the way, and the broth keeps it moist.

    I very much enjoyed the TV clip!

  52. My daughter is getting married in October 2010 and she wants a Thanksgiving dinner for her reception. So this is how we are doing it too. Her future MIL and I are cooking all the food – crazy I know!! But we are going to cook the turkeys the week before and then just re-heat on the big day.

  53. Growing up our dinner was always late. Sometimes some one else cooked the turkey and brought it to our house. Other times we did. Once we even had to have two turkeys. But it was always cooked on Thanksgiving day. If it wasn’t cooked at home it usually was still warm when arriving and placed directly into the oven.

    When it was time for dinner it was carved by my mother and her sisters in the kitchen and placed on a platter (actually 2 – the adult table and the kids table).

    After getting married to a hunter I made a late dinner for my husband so he could hunt as long as he could on Thanksgiving. I slow cooked it at 170 degrees (and could raise the temp if I needed to) for most of the day. I like having turkey leftovers so it would be an 18 – 20lb bird.

    I’m not sure, but according to my old and trusty Good House Keeping cookbook, the turkey takes less time even when stuffed. And I know its cooked because I use a meat thermometer. And the meat just falls off the bones.

    I would be afraid of drying out the turkey if it was cooked, cooled and reheated whole.

  54. Cook the turkey BEFORE Thanksgiving? Seriously, I have NEVER thought of that. But what an awesome idea!!!

    Hmmm… you could probably steal a sandwich or two before the big day, as well, huh?

  55. What a great idea! I never though about that before. Of course, I will be at work the day before, but I still might try to convect the bird on Wednesday night. I have 22 to feed so that would definitely make things go smoother!

  56. Novice here, first year making a THanksgiving dinner with a two year old and an 8 month old under foot. What a great idea. How long does it take to reheat in the oven and on what tempature? Where do you get turkey broth, I have never seen it?

  57. This is such an awesome idea–why have I never heard of it before?!! I really have never had a problem with timing, but it’s always a pain making room in the oven and having everything hot. I will do it this way this year for sure. I think I’ll take a digital photo of my beautiful bird to print out display beside the serving tray.

  58. Why in the world on Thanksgiving would you NOT bring the beautifully cooked centerpiece turkey to the table to be sliced/served? Why deprive Dad of the chance to show off his carving skills? Why pass up the compliments you’ll receive for producing that beautiful bird?

    Turkey is EASY to cook. VERY EASY, especially considering the huge “wow factor” that you get with it. If your bird is thawed, and if you calculate your cooking time, there’s no problem with it being late.

    If our crowd is large, I do sometimes cook one turkey ahead of time (and slice it ahead of time), but I ALWAYS do the “show bird” the day of Thanksgiving.

    • Perhaps we don’t do a “show bird” because Thanksgiving isn’t about “show” for us. Also, I have no idea on which of the 5 or 6 tables we’d even put a bird. When hosting anywhere from 20-40 people, a buffet line is called for.

      And the compliments… we get them every year. I guess maybe our family is more interested in taste than presentation.

      So glad a show bird works for you, though! Knock yourself out!

  59. PERFECT! I don’t cook the turkey for big day (my mom does), but I am cooking one for our church dinner the Sunday before. They requested the turkey be off the bone to make serving the 32 turkeys easier. I was concerned about getting it cooked, off the bone and to church on time. Now, I’ll be cooking the bird Saturday, it will have time to cool and I’ll slice it off the bone and pop it in the fridge. Come Sunday evening, I’ll warm it up and off we go for a yummy dinner with friends.

    Thanks so much for the tip!!!!

  60. That turkey looks so good.

    I’m with you….I’ve never seen a full turkey at the table. Actually we always had a big Thanksgiving growing up with a ton of people, so there was always a buffet, and you’d just find somewhere to sit. There was no formal sit down type thing like they always have on tv shows.

  61. Genius. We usually have Thanksgiving with my in-laws, who are from another country. They did the bird once … now I do it and everything else. They usually want the carcass, so we’ve just taken everything over there for them. This year, I probably will still cook it Thanksgiving morning (in my roaster with a bag), but will slice it ahead of time and just put the carcass back in the oven bag for them. Then we won’t have to transport a whole bird.

    • @Stewbert, I realized that came out a little weird. The in-laws love celebrating Thanksgiving but the traditional food I grew up with is super important to me, and they buy everything premade. Mine tastes better, which they told me, so that’s why I do the bulk of it.

  62. Can you brine an already cooked but thawed out turkey?

    • I’ve only brined once, but my understanding is that it needs to be done before the turkey is cooked.

    • @Jody King, Seconding Amy: brining is done to the raw bird, then you cook it. FYI, the bird doesn’t need to be fully thawed before you brine it.

      You can also dry brine: loosen the skin from the breast and thighs (if you can loosen the skin from the legs then I tip my hat to you!), rub the meat with salt, and let sit in the fridge for 12-24 hours. Use no more than 1 tablespoon of salt per 5 lbs of bird or the drippings will be too salty.

  63. I’ve been reading the comments with much interest. I’ve done the turkey the day before for a long time and then reheat …in fact ever since I hosted 38 relatives and the men were more interested in watching football on TV, so no one to carve turkey. And, we have to eat buffet style. You get the mess out of the way and if you put broth on it before reheating, it’s just as tasty. Also, I do the mashed potatoes before and then bake. I have a certain recipe that I use and you can freeze them and then bake when you need them. (In fact, I’m making some right now for tomorrow. My husband loves them…so yummy!


  65. Why have I never heard of this before now??

    I accidently left my frozen turkey out of the fridge this afternoon, just found it, partially thawed in the kitchen….

    So, I googled ‘cook turkey ahead of time’, and I came across this page.

    After reading all these posts, concerning my ‘error’ in thawing out my turkey prematurely this year, for now on, I will ALWAYS cook my turkey ahead of Thanksgiving, as well as making most of my side dishes ahead of time…. because Thanksgiving day is SO hectic for me!

    Thank you all SO much for all your helpful tips !!!

    THIS Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all of YOU!


  66. I know this is an old post, but WOW, I never though about doing this. I think I’m going to give it a try this year.

  67. I bought a 22 lb. turkey and it has thawed in the fridge. Been a week and my Thanksgiving isn’t until Saturday. I will need to cook the bird today, Wednesday. How long will it keep safely in broth in the fridge after cooked? Should I freeze it in broth after cooking it today and then reheat? I wish I hadn’t been so darned organized this year! LOL

    • I think you better google that one because I am certainly NOT an expert on food safety, and I tend to be pretty lax. 😉 (If it was my turkey, I’d leave it in the fridge…)

  68. I am doing black friday this year. With such an early start time to black friday, I decided to cook my turkey the day before (today). I have no stress right now! For the first time since cooking thanksgiving meals, I feel great that my turkey will be done in time, and that I dont have to find room for my sides! I now know how to keep it moist (which is why I read ALL these posts. We have NEVER had a turkey at the table, always buffet style. Black Friday will be stressfull enough, now I can at least enjoy the family time before! Thanks!

  69. Oh thank you! Here is the division of duties: my parents do turkey and veg (they usually host), my grandmother, who passed away in May does potatoes (I will be taking this over) and my aunt does dessert and bread.But my sister is due to give birth around thanksgiving so I will be hosting and therefore taking over my parents duties as well as all potato dishes for the first time. I was wondering how everything was going to get done. I am solo cooking the turkey the day before

    • Did I mention there are 20 to 30 of us.

    • Yes! Do the bird early and if you have room in your fridge, peel your potatoes early. Cut them up and store them in the fridge covered in water. They won’t brown, and they’ll be ready for cooking/mashing without all the peeling mess!

  70. How long does it take to warm it up before you serve it? It doesn’t dry up?

    • It doesn’t dry at all! In fact, I think it’s more moist than a “fresh” turkey because the juices have time to distribute. If you are concerned about it drying while warming, just pour a little more broth over it. Warming time depends on the size of the bird, but an hour at about 250° should do it.

  71. I have never roasted my turkey ahead of time, but thought it would be a good idea not only for Thanksgiving but for Christmas, that is when our whole family get’s together & I usually have made so much food for the weekend my daughters & daughter-in-law tell me we don’t need another whole meal. But my thought here is if I cook it ahead & just have to heat it up then maybe they would go for it. Thanks for the tips!!


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  7. […] arcticles found around the blogsphere and web! :: Thanksgiving is creeping up, so visit Amy’s The Finer Things in Life to “talk turkey” and read about her plans for a hassel-free Thanksgiving. :: Along the […]

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