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Gourmet Made Deliciously Simple

2017 Thanksgiving Menu and Prep Guide for Stress-Free Hosting

Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Don't fret, I have a perfect plan for you. I laid out the menu and prep plan/checklist, so you can enjoy a stress-free hosting.

Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Don’t fret, I have a perfect plan for you. I laid out the menu and prep plan/checklist, so you can enjoy a stress-free hosting.

Whether it’s your first time hosting a Thanksgiving, or you’re a seasoned host, I know you’ll find a gold nugget (or two) in today’s post full of hosting tips, an inspiring menu and a checklist to keep you on track. After all, Thanksgiving is all about relaxing and enjoying your family and friends, and not stressing over menu.

All the glorious Thanksgiving food prepped through the week. Hosting Thanksgiving this year? Don't fret, I have a perfect plan for you. I laid out the menu and prep plan/checklist, so you can enjoy a stress-free hosting.

So let’s get started! Here’s the full menu (click on each item for a complete recipe):

Tip: Before you finalize the menu, ask your guests for any food allergies/intolerance.


Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs


No-Brine Champagne Roast Turkey
Fool-proof Turkey Gravy (make-ahead)


Homemade Dinner Rolls (make-ahead)
5-Ingredient Butternut Squash Soup (make-ahead) or
Warm Quinoa Brussels Sprouts Salad
Instant Pot Sausage Stuffing
Toasted Marshmallow Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes or
Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole (make-ahead)
Orange Cranberry Sauce (make-ahead)


Fall Sangria (make-ahead)
Cranberry Ginger Ale Punch (can be made non-alchoholic)


Pumpkin Mousse Pie
Pear Tarte Tatin
Pecan Pie

Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu with harmonious blend of classics and little twists to give a special flavor to otherwise traditional Thanksgiving food.

And here’s our game plan, broken down into tasks for each day leading up to the big day. You can also download the PDF version to print here.

  • Make a grocery shopping list
  • Buy all the ingredients, including wine and alcohol.
  • If using frozen turkey, place it in the fridge to start thawing. (For exact thawing time chart, check this post out.)
  • Make orange cranberry sauce and refrigerate in airtight container.
  • Make 3 batches of pie dough and refrigerate wrapped each dough in a plastic wrap.
  • Chop celery for stuffing.
  • Make the gravy. (It won’t be super flavorful yet. We’ll add the pan drippings into it when warming up the gravy right before serving, and it’ll be the most flavorful gravy!)

Say dinner is at 4pm.

  • 9:00am – Prepare the turkey.
  • 10:00am – Start roasting the turkey (Tips: Unstuffed 18lb turkey will be ready to be served at around 4pm. If you have smaller turkey, start roasting it a little later.)
  • 10:30am – Bring out the pies. Pear tart tatin needs to be reheated later on.
  • 11:00am – Set the table.
  • 12:30pm – Gather all the salad ingredients on a baking sheet, so it’s ready to be tossed together later.
  • 1:00pm – Make deviled eggs.
  • 1:30pm – Prepare orange cranberry spritzer, but add ginger ale right before serving.
  • 1:45pm – Make Instant Pot sausage stuffing. Keep warm.
  • 2:00pm – Make mashed potatoes, cover and keep warm. Or finish up mashed potato casserole.
  • 2:30pm – Cook quinoa and finish up the salad. Or reheat the butternut squash soup.
  • 3:00pm – Bring out sweet potatoes and bring it to room temperature, about 30 minutes on the counter. Top with marshmallows and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  • 3:15pm – Reheat the dinner rolls and pear tart tatin. (About 15 minutes at 350°F.)
  • 3:30pm – Carve the turkey and arrange on a platter.
  • 3:45pm – Reheat the gravy with pan drippings.
  • 4pm – LET’S EAT!!!!

Again, you can download the PDF version for the menu and checklist right here.

Hope this’s helpful. And if you have any questions let me know, and I’ll do my best to reply asap!

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  1. I made this for a friends giving and it was a hit! Everyone loved it and I had to send this link to a couple people. Will make this my go-to from now on, thanks!!

    Rating: 5
  2. I want to jump in the pictures and pull up a chair to that beautiful table. We do Thanksgiving in Canada in October but I’m going to save this post for Christmas because my husband and I will be hosting. Very well thought out and I love all the make ahead dishes. Happy Thanksgiving to our American neighbours and friends!

  3. Such a beautiful post! Well thought out and well written! Thank you! It helps take away some of my stress for the prep.

    Rating: 5