How to Win Thanksgiving: Our Essential Tips, Tricks, and Advice

November 20, 2014

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun. 

Today: Don't panic -- here's our complete guide to pulling off Thanksgiving without a hitch.

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Thanksgiving not only kicks off the holiday season, it's the sounding horn for a month-long marathon of cooking, baking, eating, and drinking. Like any extreme sporting event, being prepared for it comes down to two things: focus and endurance.

To coach you through it, we've collected our most helpful tips, tutorials, and advice in one place. From prepping, cooking, and carving a turkey to better side dishes and desserts to avoiding kitchen disasters, we've got you covered. So get out there -- and show Thanksgiving what you've got. 

The Turkey

  • When it comes to a juicy, tender bird, brining is a foolproof technique. You can opt for traditional wet brining, or you can avoid a bit of mess by dry brining instead, like in this genius recipe for The Judy Bird.
  • Spatchcocking is a fancy way to say that you're butterflying your bird -- it also means quicker, more even cooking.
  • If you're the adventurous type (and you think frying makes everything better), then it's time to familiarize yourself with how to deep-fry a turkey.

More: If you can't be bothered with a whole bird, this genius turkey breast recipe -- it's just crazy enough to work.

The Sides


More: It's the most important meal of the day. Here's what to serve for breakfast this holiday season.

Setting the table -- and the mood

Last but not least: Don't panic.

More: If you're in the holiday spirit, stop by our holiday pop-up market in New York City!

52 Days of Thanksgiving
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52 Days of Thanksgiving

Top-notch recipes, expert tips, and all the tools to pull off the year’s most memorable feast.

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Julie Myers

Written by: Julie Myers

Perpetually hungry. Will travel for food.