how to host a Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner is one of the most ambitious meals around. By sticking to the basics and enlisting friends and family, you can succeed at hosting America’s favorite meal! Check our tips to survive your first Thanksgiving as a host!

Christmas may be right around the corner, but it’s Thanksgiving Day that comes right before it that is a quintessentially American holiday! From the Macy’s parade to the start of the Christmas season, nothing quite captures the holiday spirit like a Thanksgiving dinner. And, while it can be a challenge to put on, there are ways to succeed at hosting for the occasion. Let us offer you some tips for getting started on the holiday season! 

What Are Some Tips for Making Thanksgiving Dinner?

Planning a Thanksgiving menu is a huge deal for those who like to host it for the first time. Here are some ways you can make your dinner go off without a hitch!

  • Enlist Help – Knowing when to ask for help is an important part of making your Thanksgiving dinner menu work. By deciding what needs to be done and what you can delegate, you’ll be able to time things perfectly. People are usually happy to contribute an extra side or pie, so you don’t have to do it all. Share your ideas for enlisting help with other hosts on your favorite family app!
  • Choose Simple over Sophisticated – A good recipe doesn’t have to be complicated. And, this is especially true when it comes to bringing a big holiday meal together! Choose dishes that will be easy to make so one recipe doesn’t overwhelm you.
  • Provide Allergy-Friendly Options – If you’re having more than a few people over, there’s a good chance someone might not be eating meat, dairy, gluten, or nuts. So be sure to ask guests about their dietary preferences, and make sure to provide gluten-free or vegetarian options as needed. And, there are plenty of Thanksgiving recipes that work for any diet!

Thanksgiving dinner turkey squashHow Long Does It Take to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner?

The cook time for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner will vary depending on what you make. However, a lot of work can go into this special meal, and that’s why preparation is everything! If you’re serving soup, it can be made a week in advance and reheated on the stove.

The Thanksgiving turkey is often the most important part of the menu and may need up to 5 days to thaw in a refrigerator. It will take up to 4 hours to cook so it gives you time to work on all your other dishes! Side dishes that are cold can be prepped in advance and put together on Thanksgiving Day. You can make favorites like cranberry sauce the day before.

If you’ve prepped dessert, side dishes and your vegetables, all you’ll need to do is add heat! Share your tips for succeeding at timing with others on FamilyApp!

pumpkin pie turkey themed

Photo Credit: @thepieous

What is Thanksgiving Menu Food?

There are some stars of Thanksgiving food that make it hard to think of the holiday without them. If you’re planning your feast, you’ll come across the following items, just don’t forget about gravy and cranberry sauce!

  •  Turkey or Ham – Turkey is undoubtedly the centerpiece of this popular holiday. Whether you add stuffing or even choose Cornish Game Hens instead, the bird is the word! Of course, for those who aren’t a fan, ham is often the main choice.
  • Stuffing – You can cook this inside your turkey or as one of your Thanksgiving dinner sides. However you do it, it will probably be one of the most popular items on the table! There are also options that can work for all kinds of taste. You can even make quinoa stuffing as a side dish for those who are more health-conscious!
  • Mashed Potatoes – Mashed potatoes and gravy is a staple of almost every holiday dinner! Luckily, you can add a few frills to dress this vegetable up. Garlic sweet potatoes can be a popular addition or even scalloped potatoes for a fancy affair. Share your recipe ideas with others on your favorite family app!
  • Greens – The best way to lighten up turkey and stuffing can be with a side of vegetables. Green beans and Brussels sprouts are both great options for adding veg to your Thanksgiving dinner menu!
  • Apple or Pumpkin Pie – No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without one of the season’s desserts! Fortunately, you can’t go wrong with ending your meal with pumpkin pie or apple pie. For those who want something a bit different, pecan pie is another popular choice!

If you’re planning your first Thanksgiving menu, remember to prep Thanksgiving dinner appetizers ahead and choose no-fuss recipes. With foods as fetching as roasted turkey and pumpkin pie, you can’t go wrong. Do you have any great Thanksgiving recipes to share? Tell us about them in our comments! There as so many inspired dishes from this holiday that you’ll have ideas for years to come.

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Sarah LopezAuthor posts

Sarah Lopez

Just watching Sarah makes us feel tired- she's always on the go, and loves meeting new people or trying new things. She never stops coming up with new delicious meals, but is a pro when it comes to balancing food with fitness. After starting off her day with a high intensity workout, she refuels with an acai bowl or chia seed pudding.

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