Thanksgiving dinner prep

Whether you’re a first time host or a holiday pro, this guide has you covered. Read on for bonus tips and trips that will help you master Thanksgiving dinner prep with your Blue Apron box.

Preparing Thanksgiving Dinner Ahead of Time

There’s a certain rhythm to keep in mind when preparing a multi-course meal. Some dishes are best straight out of the oven, while others are better prepared in advance. Start recipes with a long cooking time first, and save simple tasks for the end. This step-by-step guide will help you pull off a full Thanksgiving feast with no trouble at all. 

Thanksgiving dinner prep with wine

Two Days Before Thanksgiving:

  • Set yourself up for success on the big day. Read through the instructions for each recipe. Make sure that you have all the equipment that you’ll need along with salt, pepper, and olive oil. 
  • Organize your ingredients by dish. That way, you won’t be left searching through the fridge at a crucial moment. 

The Day Before Thanksgiving

Cooking dishes ahead gives the flavors time to meld, and will help things run smoothly on Thanksgiving day. The gravy, collards, and cranberries may even taste better when prepared in advance. When it’s time to eat, reheat the gravy in the microwave for 90 seconds and then whisk until smooth. Reheat the collards by placing in a pot over medium-high heat, making sure to include any juices. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. The cranberries can be served at room temperature. 

  • You can salt and spice the turkey the day before. This will give the meat more time to draw in flavor. After seasoning, place on a large dish or tray. Store in the bottom of the fridge. 
  • If you’re serving wine, it’s time to set the white wines in the fridge to chill. If your fridge is too packed, don’t worry. Just set the wines in the fridge the next day, there should be room once the turkey is in the oven. 

Meal Prep on Thanksgiving Day

  • Set your serving dishes nearby, but out of the way. This helps avoid scrambling to find them when a dish is finished. 
  • If you’ve worked ahead, tackle the remaining recipes in this order: Start the turkey, bake the cornbread, make the carrots, and then bake the crumble.
  • Turkey not your thing? If you ordered our pork entree, you’ll have a little extra time. Be sure to take the meat out of the fridge one hour before it’s time to roast. Letting it come to room temperature will ensure it cooks evenly.
  • Make the mashed potatoes last. If you still have a few things to finish up, put a lid on the pot so they’ll stay warm. If they need to be reheated, that can be done in the same pot that they were made in—just turn the heat to low and cover the pot, stirring occasionally. 
  • The crumble would be good at room temperature, but if you prefer to serve it warm, cover loosely with foil and reheat in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. 

Don’t waste a drop

After you cook and carve the turkey breast, stir any excess juices into the gravy. This will add even more rich flavor. 

Advice on cooking with Collards from Edouardo Jordan

Edouardo Jordan is the award-winning Chef of JuneBaby, Salare, and Lucinda Grain Bar. He partnered with the Blue Apron Test Kitchen to deliver these Southern-inspired Thanksgiving recipes. For more from our Edouardo Jordan partnership, follow along on blog.blueapron.com.

  • You don’t need a knife to prepare the collards. Get right in there and tear them with your hands. 

A helping hand

  • Don’t feel bad about asking for help! So many of us want to feel like we can do it all, but it can be easier (and more fun!) with a friend.

Dish duty 

  • On the big day, remember to clean as you go. This is always a good idea, but it’s especially helpful for large meals like Thanksgiving dinner. Washing a few dishes while the food is cooking will keep your kitchen calm and organized. 

Tips for turkey

  • Take the turkey breast out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking. Allowing the meat to come to room temperature will yield a juicy and evenly cooked final product.

Looking forward to leftovers? 

  • Everyone talks about the leftover sandwich, but no one talks about the leftover quesadilla. Spread a thin layer of potatoes on a tortilla, top with shredded turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Add grated cheese to hold it all together.

All about persimmons

apple persimmon crumble
  • There are over 2,000 varieties of persimmons, most of which are in season from September to December. Known for their delicate honey-like flavor, persimmons pair well with apples and add a fun twist to our Thanksgiving dessert.

Why crumble?

  • Designed for the lowest possible stress, our Thanksgiving crumble brings the joy of pie without the fuss—that means no rolling out a pie crust in a hot kitchen.