10 Thanksgiving Dinner Hacks That Will Save You Tons of Time

Thanksgiving is meant for spending time with family and friends. It's the time of the year when you get to express love and gratitude and create priceless memories to cherish as you have a large meal together. It's an excuse to take a break from hectic schedules and go the extra mile to convey your love.

Before you embark on such a massive culinary venture, it's worth trying out some tricks if you're hosting a large Thanksgiving meal. That way, you may relax back and enjoy the holiday as well.

Burnt onions to thicken the gravy

When it comes to sauces and dressings, burned—not caramelized—onions are a kind of hidden weapon. In addition to tasting really, really great, the onion thickens the gravy a bit which is helpful if you haven't made quite enough roux. 

They are incredibly flavorful, with a rich, toasted umami. One full onion makes enough gravy for two to four cups, depending on how seasoned it is. It's an easy process. Before serving, you can burn the onion a few days in advance and then blend it into your gravy.

Make side dishes a day ahead

You can make most of your Thanksgiving meal well in advance. Actually, if you prepare a few side dishes ahead of time, turkey day will be much less stressful.

You'll have even more to be grateful for on Thanksgiving if you just store them in the freezer for up to a month. Cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, mashed potatoes, and stuffing are a few of the foods that may be made ahead of time and frozen.

Slow cooker as mashed potato container

Cold, gluey mashed potatoes are the only thing worse than lumpy ones on Thanksgiving. Well, don't worry we have a solution for you. 

Put some butter on your slow cooker insert, pour in some heavy cream, and add the potatoes to keep them warm even if your hob is full of burners. To keep your potatoes silky and smooth, turn the heat down to low and stir them about every hour.

Brine/marinate turkey in buttermilk

Brining the turkey has been quite popular these days. But do you know you can marinate the meat as well? To tenderize the beef, use an Indian-style marinade that incorporates dairy, such buttermilk, kefir, or plain yogurt. 

Dairy products include phosphates, which are even more effective than salt at retaining the moisture content of meat while also gently softening it. 

Overnight turkey cooking

Before you go to bed, put the turkey in, reduce the heat, and wake up to a perfectly cooked bird that falls off the bone. To achieve a beautifully browned top while doing this, the secret is to briefly increase the heat at the conclusion of the cooking time. 

For the meat to be cooked uniformly, the breast meat should stay moist and not get dry, which is why the chef suggests using this procedure.

Boil and shock the potatoes

Put your potatoes in the skins and boil them first. After they get tender, place them in an ice-filled basin. This 'shocks' the potatoes, and the peel should fall off easily after they have cooled.

This method of boiling and shocking the potatoes is a great way to ensure that the skins come off effortlessly, saving you time and effort in the peeling process. Additionally, this technique helps to retain the natural flavors and nutrients of the potatoes, resulting in a more delicious and nutritious dish. 

Don't roast the whole turkey

Before roasting your turkey, cut it up into pieces, which a butcher may do for you. This allows for storing the turkey in the refrigerator. 

Also, it makes it possible to piece together an entire bird that has been disassembled: You can roast as many drumsticks as needed for your guests, so there's no need to fight over them. 

Aluminum foil as a roasting rack

Keeping your bird above the pan allows heat to flow evenly, which is the purpose of a rack. But who says it needs to be expensive or made of wire?

Instead of using the store-bought kind, make thick ropes out of crumpled foil sheets and coil them over the bottom of the pan. Alternately, go green and set the bird atop a bed of celery, carrots, and onion halves.

Baking soda in mashed potatoes

The secret to the fluffiest mashed potatoes is to use a leavening agent, such as baking soda or powder. To make the potatoes so fluffy, simply mix a small sprinkle of baking powder into the cooked, drained potatoes.

Adding baking soda produces tiny air pockets to form throughout the mash because of how it reacts with the dish's heat and the acid in the milk or cream. These air bubbles result in light and airy bites. 

Serve dinner buffet-style

Place the food on a table or your counters and let people help themselves, so you don't have to spend the initial part of your Thanksgiving meal plating and serving. 

This allows everyone to settle down to eat at about the same time and begin enjoying their food and each other's company.