Smart Thanksgiving Prep

Tips for how to make a special meal!

Happy November! We're all about Thanksgiving for the next few weeks, and while you may think it's too early to start planning, there are plenty of things of you can prep now to help you get ahead and make the big day less stressful. For more recipes, stories, and videos, check out our site's comprehensive Thanksgiving Page!

Pie dough freezes incredibly well, so there's no need to wait until the last minute to make it. Just make sure it's wrapped tightly to protect it from freezer burn.

Photo by @jojoromancer
feedfeed Pie Crust
makes 3 double crust pies, or 6 single crust pies
7 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups butter, cubed
1 cup ice cold water
1 cup ice cold vodka (straight from freezer works best)

To make the dough, set the cubed butter in the freezer for at least one hour before making the dough. When butter is frozen, add 4 cups of flour, sugar and salt to a food processor. Pulse a few times until well combined. Add butter and process until incorporated and the butter is broken into pea-sized clumps. Add the remaining flour and pulse a few times.

Dump contents of food processor into a large bowl then drizzle water and vodka over the flour mix and fold together gently until the dough starts to come together, adding more ice water by the tablespoon if needed. Gather into a ball, then divide into 6 portions. Form dough into discs and wrap with wax paper or plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe baggie. Set in the freezer until ready to use. Just thaw in the fridge overnight the day before you want to assemble the pie.

Now that you have the crust technique down, check out a few of our favorite holiday pie preparations!

Layers of homemade salted caramel make this pie one that will be requested year after year! For tips on making the decorative crust, check out Judy's snapchat takeover here.

If you wish to use fresh pumpkin, preheat oven to 350˚F and quarter a few pie or sugar pumpkins. Remove seeds, then bake for about 45 minutes, or until for tender. Let cool, then blitz in food processor until smooth. Set the puree in a cheesecloth lined fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, and let sit over night in the fridge to remove any excess water. At this point, puree can be frozen until ready to use.

Looking to start a new tradition this year? Try these riff's on the classics.

Classic apple pie spiced with the warming flavors of chai.
Red Wine Poached Pear Pie by @kitchenhealssoul
Wine + Pie, how can you go wrong?

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Thanksgiving Prep Work

Depending on where you live, you may be lucky enough to still have some fresh herbs in your garden. Preserve them before the first frost by mixing them with olive oil and setting them in the freezer. They will add amazing flavor to soups, casseroles, roasts and vegetable sides throughout the holidays. You could also try this same technique with butter which would be delicious when it's time to make the mashed potatoes!

If you're anything like us, you'll go through chicken stock by the gallon full come thanksgiving. Get ahead and fill your freezer with the good stuff now! This quick and easy stock recipe only simmers for 30 minutes once everything comes to a boil, so it won't take you all day. Freeze in mason jars (leaving a little room for expansion) and just defrost in a pan on the stove as you need it.

We love a classic cornbread stuffing! Make your homemade bread now, let it cool, then cut into cubes and freeze (in a freezer safe bag) until you are ready to prepare your stuffing. Prefer a classic dressing? Start storing any leftover baguette or fresh bread you happen to have in cubes in the freezer to use in your stuffing on Thanksgiving Day.

This takes all of 5 minutes to make once your ingredients are prepped, so why not cross it off the list now? Store in freezer safe jars in the freezer, then let thaw in the fridge two days before Thanksgiving.

These delicious spiced pecans are great to have on hand as a snack, to top salads with or to chop up and add to the top of casseroles. Make a big batch and stash them in the fridge or freezer!

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Stock the Bar!
If you ask us, no holiday is complete without a cocktail (or two!). Now is the time to make holiday inspired simple syrups and infusions!

Don't get us wrong, we agree that good bourbon is best enjoyed straight, but when you're going through mass quantities over the holidays, enhance a less expensive bottle by infusing it with inexpensive ingredients! Use them to make an unforgettable old-fashioned on Thanksgiving day!

A two for one recipe! Prepare this pear shrub now, and it will keep in the fridge for up to two months. Same goes for the rosemary simple syrup. Consider making a few batches of simple syrup to stock your bar with. We like making a few separate batches: one with thyme, one using cinnamon sticks, one with cardamom pods and one with a few vanilla beans for holiday inspired cocktails.

Use these cranberries to garnish holiday cocktails, or to give as a hostess gift! They will keep for months in an airtight jar in the fridge.

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