Thanksgiving dinner is a difficult meal to prepare, but there’s no need to stress! If you plan well, you’ll easily be able to serve a feast without feeling overwhelmed. 

The secret? Don't try to tackle all the cooking at the last minute. Instead, complete tasks over the course of a few days. Based on years of cooking, catering and hosting plenty of holiday dinners, I’ve developed a comprehensive Thanksgiving Checklist to help you GSD! 

4-Day Thanksgiving Checklist


  • Start shopping for pantry and dairy items such as spices, turkey stock, butter and heavy cream. 
  • Pick up your turkey, so you have plenty of time to defrost it, if necessary.


  • Shop for vegetables, wine and appetizer ingredients.


  • Clean and prep all your vegetables. (If you’re not prepping veggie dishes in advance, keep them wrapped in damp paper towels in a Ziploc bag. Place peeled potatoes, yams and turnips in a bowl or a pot filled with water.)
  • Boil and mash potatoes. Add a little extra cream and butter, and they’ll be ready to reheat right before dinner.   
  • Prepare all of your desserts. Better yet, pick them up from your favorite bakery!
  • Make the stuffing, adding a little extra chicken stock. On Thursday, simply bake until the top is nice and crispy. 
  • Set the table and the bar. 
  • Take out all of your serving dishes. Then, label them with sticky notes, indicating what goes on each one. When your guests arrive, they’ll be able to help you get dinner on the table faster. (This is my mom’s favorite holiday trick!)
  • Brine your turkey… if you dare. 

Game Day

  • Get your turkey in the oven. Baste, baste, baste!
  • Assemble appetizer platters for serving. 
  • Make or finish your sweet potatoes and veggie dishes. Remember to reheat anything you prepared in advance. 
  • Once the turkey is out of the oven, get started on that amazing gravy with turkey drippings, giblets and Wondra Flour.
  • Have a cocktail—your deserve it!

Feeling frazzled? Leave the cooking to me. Deb Miley Dishes is offering customized Holiday Menus, so you can enjoy a traditional or indulgent meal without all the work. Click here to review Sample Holiday Menus and to contact me. Plus, receive a free wine pairing with your order.