6 Thanksgiving Questions You're Probably Wondering Right Now

November 23, 2016

As we prepare to enter the final 24-hour sprint before the turkey hits the table, the Hotline is jumping with Thanksgiving questions. Our editorial team, along with a band of rotating experts, is on-call to solve, or at least Bandaid, problems—and please, put in your two-sense, too!

But not all of the most popular questions are new: Turns out, people have the same Thanksgiving conundrums, year in and year out. Here are the Hotline questions—many from years' past—that we've noticed the most people searching for (and, as a cheat sheet, the consensus on the answers, too).

I forgot my pumpkin pie out on the counter last night. Is it still safe to eat?

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Survey says... Yes! Well, Kristen Miglore poined out that "the FDA doesn't recommend leaving custard pies out for more than 2 hours, so starting over would be the safest route." And most other Hotliners said it would be just fine and julianne114, who asked the question three years ago, said, "Well, we went ahead and ate it! Thanks, guys. It was still delicious and nobody felt ill at all."

(But seriously: We're not endorsing taking food safety risks. If your pie truly seems suspect, scrap it. No one has to know it ever existed. And, if you're still unsure, Cathy Barrow, food preserving expert and author of Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving will be manning the Hotline tomorrow, from 7 A.M. to 8 A.M.).

How long do you cook a 22-pound turkey (not including the hour before, to bring it to room temp, and the 30-minute rest after cooking)?

Survey says... At 350° F, 20 minutes per pound if defrosted (so 440 minutes, or 7 hours 20 minutes), and 10 to 15 minutes if the bird is fresh (so 330 minutes, or 5 hours 30 minutes). During the last hour of cooking, though, check the turkey with a thermometer rather than relying on time.

More: Our essential numbers guide to cooking your bird.

Can I make pumpkin pie ahead of time? Like, three days?

Survey says... You can make pumpkin pie ahead of time, but with three days in the fridge, the filling might be a bit denser (and the crust a bit soggier) than you'd like. Instead, make the components ahead of time. Blind-bake the crust, then put it in the freezer. Make the filling and put it in the fridge. The night before (or the day of) Thanksgiving, pour the custard into the pie shell and bake, then let cool to room temperature.

About how many sweet potatoes would make 1 cup, mashed?

Survey says... Between 2 and 3. A small sweet potato will yield about 1 cup mashed, while a medium to large fellow can lean closer to 2.

More: So how many potatoes need per person? Our definitive guide, here.

What types of plastic bags are food safe and big enough for turkey brining?

Survey says... Use this handy resource to choose a food-grade plastic bag, oven bag, or specifically-designed turkey brining bag. (Others prefer to invest the $10 in a food-safe plastic bucket.)

What's the most reliable way to make a fruit pie in advance?

Survey says... This King Arthur Flour article makes a convincing case for freezing fully-assembled (but raw!) apple pies, then thawing them in the fridge overnight before baking. You can also make the pie dough well in advance: Either freeze it rolled out and snuggled up in its pie tin, rolled out and sandwiched between sheets of parchment or wax paper, or in a disc (for the latter two options, you'll need to take into account thawing time (for the disc, it'll need several hours in the fridge, or fewer at room temperature, to return to a pliable state).

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