20 Most-Asked Thanksgiving Questions, Answered in 20 Words Or Less

Everything you need to know about cooking Thanksgiving dinner—from the turkey to the pie, fixings, sides and more.

By Alejandra Ramos from alwaysorderdessert.com from Reader's Digest Magazine | November 2012

What’s the all-time best Thanksgiving tip?

Roast the turkey upside down. It’ll protect the breast from overcooking, and juices will seep down and keep it moist.

I don’t own a roasting rack. Do you have any DIY alternatives I can use instead?

Scrunch foil into a three-foot snake, then coil it into a ring. Or use clean, empty tuna cans.


What should I serve vegetarians?

No tofurkey, please! Make a butternut squash lasagna, and all your guests will sneak some, vegetarian or not.

What’s the best way to reheat cold turkey?

Tastiest is in the gravy. Slice turkey and simmer in a skillet with gravy and some broth or water.

What size turkey should I buy?

Calculate one pound per adult. If you have a small oven or lots of guests, roast two smaller turkeys.


How do I defrost a turkey—fast?

Submerge the turkey (still in the packaging) breast side down in cold water. Change the water every hour.

What happens if I start to carve the turkey and it’s still raw?

Discreetly take it to the kitchen, cut into pieces, and spread it on a baking sheet to finish roasting.

What’s an easy dish I can make with little time and even less skill?

Chop up a bunch of vegetables, toss in olive oil and salt, and roast for 30 minutes in a 400°F oven.

How do I keep pumpkin pie from cracking?

Bake just until the filling is barely set in the center but firm on the edges.

How do I keep my piecrust from getting soggy?

Brush the bottom crust with beaten egg white, or partially bake it before pouring in your filling.

What’s the difference between “stuffing” and “dressing”?

Technically, dressing is stuffing that’s cooked outside the turkey, but it’s really just cultural/regional semantics.

How do you fix dry stuffing?

Pour on some stock, cover with foil, and pop it in the oven.

What’s an easy, basic gravy?

Sauté 1/4 cup of turkey fat or butter and 1/4 cup flour. Pour in 4 cups hot broth. Whisk until gravy-fied. Season.


How do I fix lumpy gravy?

Pour it into a blender and process. Or pass through a fine sieve.

How do I rescue my watery cranberry sauce?

Let it reduce longer on the stove; it will thicken as it cools. Also, “loose” cranberry sauce isn’t necessarily bad.

Can I bring my famous dish as a carry-on?

Cakes, pies, and “solids” can generally go through security. Booze, gravy, cranberry sauce, and other “liquids” need to be checked.

Dinner’s ready, but the guests are late. How do I keep the food hot?

Cover and keep in a 200°F oven for up to 30 minutes; baste with chicken broth if it gets dry.

Are any of the traditional Thanksgiving eats good candidates for the slow cooker? I’d love to be able to free up time and oven space.

Absolutely! Mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, candied yams, cranberry sauce, and green bean casserole all work well in the slow cooker.

My sister follows a gluten-free diet, and I planned desserts for her but totally forgot about the gravy. How do I thicken gluten-free gravy?

Use cornstarch or arrowroot powder.

What happens if I have a major last-minute cooking disaster?

Chuck it, and don’t mention it. Nobody will know. Unless it’s the turkey. In that case, confess; pour more wine.

Become more interesting every week!

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