How To Host The Best Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving is a special evening of friends, family, and fun. So hosting Thanksgiving Dinner takes some planning ahead. We have some great tips to help you host the best Thanksgiving Dinner party without the stress.
This post contains affiliate links that I make a small commission on with no added fee to your purchase.
Don't Be Afraid To Use Store-bought.
If you have something that you just love that you have purchased before, go ahead and use it! You don't even have to tell people it came from the store! When time is limited, this isn't the time to force yourself to make everything from scratch. Go ahead and save time for something else.
In my family, we LOVE the canned cranberry sauce. Even though I make fresh cranberry sauce for our guests, I have a can chilling in the refriderator for leftovers.
Decide On The Menu 2 Weeks Before The Big Day
Trust me, after 20 years of making Thanksgiving for a huge family, there is nothing worse than trying to figure out what you are going to make the day before Thanksgiving and not being able to get all of the ingredients. Decide early and shop early!
Make a list of what you are going to make and use it as a checklist of what needs to get done. And if someone asks what they can do to help, refer back to that list and give them something to do!
Don't Forget To Check Your Dishes And Cookware Before You Need Them
Do you need roasting pans, extra dishes, where is that thermometer? Check to make sure you have everything you need before you need it. Last year I discovered that somehow in our big move, I'd lost the bowl to my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer and I needed to get another one before the holidays. I still have no idea what happened to it, but I was able to order a new one from Kitchenaid and get it on time.
Just Roll With It
Sometimes it just happens, something gets burned or screwed up. We suggest having a few backup plans just in case. Buy an extra bag of rolls, keep a jar of gravy in the pantry just in case, or have a good pizza delivery place in mind. It happens and sometimes you just need to roll with it.
Clean Out The Fridge The Week Before Thanksgiving
Before heading to the grocery store for your ingredients, you need to do a serious purge of all of those condiments and anything that can take up space. You'll need it for dishes that you need to make ahead of time and the leftovers after the big meal.
Be Known For A Dish
My friends and family know that we always have tofurkey for dinner on Thanksgiving and they actually look forward to it. Our Tofurkey recipe has won awards and it's something I'm proud to serve. Discover what your go-to dish will be and perfect it! But serve what you and your family love, and if it's not turkey… who cares!
Think About The Side Dishes
One of the things that is often forgotten in the planning is to make sure you have the right cookware and serving dishes for the sides. I love being able to use versatile cookware that can go from cooking to table and look amazing. Jinen has a beautiful steamer pot that steams food quickly, and then goes right to the table. You can cook your veggies without the heavy oils and fats in the steamer.
Don't Try To Learn A New Skill Today
I admit it openly, I am not a baker. There are things that I'm good at and enjoy, but I am terrible at baking. However, I've made the mistake of trying to ambitiously learn how to something out of my skillset before my guests arrive. And usually, it ends up hidden in the oven or the trash before the guests find out. Stick with what you are sure on, and learn something new another day!
Have Travel Friendly To-Go Dishes
When the meal is over, and it's time to pack it all up. Invite your guests to pack up some leftovers for themselves. We always go to Costco and get those plastic bowls with lids that snap on. Then everyone can feel free to take leftovers and enjoy it later. And it means fewer days of eating butternut squash soup for us!
Make A To-Do List
Besides making a full menu list, you'll need a shopping list. Look at the recipes you are going to use and make sure you have all of the ingredients you need and the decorations for the table.
I also make a list of all of our guests, and their food allergies or preferences. This helps me to plan how much to make and if I need to alter ingredients in some of my recipes. Are you planning on cooking everything in the kitchen, or are you expanding to the outdoors. We love the Solo Stove Grill, that's an authentic convection cooking environment.
Ask Your Guests To Bring Their Favorite dish, drink, or snack.
You don't have to do all of the work. Ask your guests to bring something that they enjoy and enough to share with everyone. This is great for people with special dietary restrictions or people who love to cook and share.
Take It Outside
In 2020, we learned to take almost everything outside so we can socially distance and protect the people we love. This means you can be creative about your space where you have your Thanksgiving dinner too! Think about offering up cozy blankets and a bonfire to heat it up!
This year we added a large patio to our property, and a wood fireplace was a must. We went went with a Solo Stove Yukon. I wanted the wood smell without the smoke. And it is easy to clean and you can move it around
Set the table with thoughtful etiquette
Learn how to set a table, and surprise your guests with how sophisticated you are! (Or pretend to be.) This tutorial covers both casual, formal and modern table settings.
Show your personality in the theme and décor. Don't be afraid to be who you are, because that's who your guests are expecting.