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Thanksgiving: The Final Countdown


Whether you’ve been planning the feast for weeks or have been roped into hosting at the last minute, the final 24 hours of preparation are crucial towards a successful (and relaxed!) Thanksgiving meal. If you’re stumped by cooking techniques or simply staring at a pile of ingredients, Cooking Channel is here to simplify your final countdown. We’ve got last-minute turkey tips (brining blues? carving questions?), recipes for sensational side dishes, and of course, the perfect pies to round out your dessert buffet.

It Begins With the Brine
Infusing your bird with moisture and varied flavors is as simple as soaking it for 6 to 10 hours in a brine. Get Alton Brown’s simple brine recipe and watch his video on how to brine. (Don’t have some of the spices Alton uses? No problem — the salted, sugared water will make a huge difference.)

Top Turkey Recipes
Take your turkey to the next level with brines that incorporate fragrant herbs or by topping it with cured meats.
Bay and Lemon Brined Turkey 
Tyler’s Maple-Roasted Turkey with Smoked Bacon
Nigella’s Spiced and Super-Juicy Roast Turkey
Aida’s Apple and Sage Turkey

Visit our turkey central to get more great tips and recipes, including a step-by-step guide on how to carve the turkey and more videos demonstrating turkey cooking techniques.

White country bread, celery, mushroom and sage goodness.

Stuff(ing) Yourself Silly
Whether you’re stuffing the bird or serving dressing on the side, these crouton-based casseroles are many people’s favorite part of the holiday meal. Ours range from classic to chock-full of meats and herbs.
Sage Dressing
Three Meat Stuffing
Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing
More Stuffing Recipes

Good Gravy
Follow our step-by-step guide on how to make gravy. In a hurry? Try Aida’s 20-minute ‘no recipe’ gravy recipe.

Small Bites to Start
Devils on Horseback
Giada’s Stuffed Mushrooms
Grilled Cheese Crostini
Bacon-Wrapped Scallops
Plus 40 More Appetizer Recipes

This ruby red cranberry sauce tastes as good as it looks.

Crave-Worthy Cranberry Sauce
Redder than Red Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry Citrus Dressing
Cranberry, Apple and Ginger Chutney

Savory Fall Soups
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Caribbean Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup
Pumpkin Soup
More Soup Recipes

Crowd-Pleasing Mashed Potatoes
Tyler’s Chive and Garlic Mash
Truffled Cheese Mash
Southwest Mashed Potatoes
More Mashed Potato Recipes

Sweet potatoes? Our secret weakness. This recipe has us whipped!

And Sweet Potatoes, Too
Indian Spiced Sweet Potatoes
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Bananas and Honey
Roger Mooking’s Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potatoes
More Sweet Potato Recipes

Great Green Bean Dishes
Green Bean Casserole with Whole Onion Rings
Green Beans with Mushrooms and Shallots
Tyler’s Green Bean Casserole

Our Best Breads
Buttermilk Biscuits
Alton’s Sweet Corn Bread Pudding
Kelsey’s Rapid Rolls
More Quick Breads

We covet these jewel roasted vegetables.

Vibrant Veggies
Jewel Roasted Vegetables
Yams with Toasted Spice Rub
Roasted Mushroom, Potato and Spinach Casserole
Giada’s Mixed Roasted Veggies
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

Still stumped? Check out our 50 Best Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin pie rules the Thanksgiving dessert buffet.

And of course, don’t forget to save room (and time!) for dessert. First, you’ll need to prepare crusts for those pies (already done this? skip ahead!).
Watch our video on how to make pie dough or browse this helpful step-by-step gallery that illustrates the process. Then, learn how to roll and crimp the pie dough, too.

Now, Pick Your Pies
Pumpkin-Ginger Pie with Marshmallow Topping
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Chuck’s Maple Pecan Pie
Black Bottom Pie
Maple-Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie
Pies, Pies and More Pies!

Or, Try a Tart
Double Chocolate Malted Tart
Walnut Tart
David Rocco’s Pear and Ricotta Tart
Jamie Oliver’s Tarte Tatin
More Tart Recipes

A simply irresistible sweet potato cheesecake caps off the meal.

More Desserts Ideas
Emeril’s Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Pecan Pie Pops
Pumpkin Mousse
Apple Crisp
Mini Chocolate Bundt Cakes
And Even More Thanksgiving Sweets!

And if you’re still seeking Thanksgiving recipes, advice or last-minute inspiration, check out our Thanksgiving hub for all sorts of tips, ideas and drool-worthy food photos.

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Comments (2723)

  1. Rob posted 11/24/2011

    I put a 12 lb. turkey in a brining bag late last night and came down with the flu right afterwards. I won't be eating turkey today, but will a brined turkey keep a day or two if I remove the brine but keep it refrigerated? Thanks!

  2. Olivia posted 11/15/2012

    I moved to sweden but I still celebrate Thanksgiving. The ingredients we use for the TG food are not very easy to find here, but my mom sends me what I need every year. You recipes are amazing!

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