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Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet

thanksgiving cheat sheet
Here are the answers to your most frequently asked (and Googled!) questions when planning and preparing Thanksgiving dinner. MORE+ LESS-



Two Ways to Brine

Wet Brine


  1. In large stockpot, mix 2 gallons cold water and 2 cups coarse kosher salt.
  2. Add turkey; brine should cover the bird. Cover and refrigerate 8-12 hours.
  3. Remove turkey from brine; rinse under cool water, rubbing inside and out to release salt.
  4. Pat dry with paper towels.

Dry Brine


  1. Pat turkey dry with paper towels.
  2. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt inside the cavity.
  3. Generously salt the outside of the turkey (up to 1 cup).
  4. Transfer to baking sheet and loosely cover with foil. Refrigerate for 12-24 hours, removing foil for last 2 hours.
For super-crispy skin, leave uncovered in the fridge for 2 hours to help dry it out before roasting.

Potatoes & Gravy

Perfect Potatoes in 4 Steps

1.  Add 4 pounds potatoes, cut and peeled, to boiling water. Cook 20-25 minutes, until tender. Drain.


2.  Mash potatoes in a mixing bowl.


3.  Add milk (up to 1 cup) in small amounts, beating after each addition.


4.  Add 4 ounces cream cheese, 1 stick butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash until light and fluffy.

The Easiest Way to Peel Potatoes


Foolproof Turkey Gravy

1.  Pour out turkey drippings, reserving 1/4 cup and the brown bits in the pan.


2.  Sprinkle in 1/4 cup flour and cook on medium heat.


3.  Stir constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbling.


4.  Pour in 2 cups broth and heat to simmering, stirring constantly. Let bubble for 1 minute.


5.  Stir in browning sauce, if desired, and flavor with salt and pepper.


Fix a Gravy In Trouble


Place a slice of fresh bread on top of the fat for a few seconds to absorb it; remove bread before it breaks into pieces. 


Pour into food processor and process until smooth, or press gravy through a strainer; return to saucepan and heat. 

Too thin? 

Dissolve 1 tablespoon flour in 2 tablespoon water; stir into gravy with fork or wire whisk. Boil and stir 1 minute. 

Too pale? 

Stir in browning sauce, soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce in color (start with 1 teaspoon).

Too salty? 

Add a raw peeled potato, cut into eighths; cook and stir 5 to 10 minutes, then remove potato pieces.

Stuffing & Sides

Classic Cranberry Sauce

1.  Rinse 12 ounces (about 3 1/2 cups) cranberries.


2.  Bring 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water to a boil.


3.  Add cranberries and boil for 5 minutes.


4.  Stir until cranberries start to pop. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.


You can use fresh or frozen cranberries interchangeably in our classic recipe; if you’re using frozen, just be sure they aren’t in a syrup.

Crowd-Favorite Stuffing

Bread Stuffing

Pies & Desserts

DIY Pumpkin Pie Spice

pumpkin pie spice ingredients

  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cloves

How To Cut Bars Into Triangles

How-to-Cut- Bars-into-Triangles

The Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
Betty’s got every Thanksgiving recipe you could ever need – and then some!