Plan Thanksgiving like a pro
Prep now and thank us later.
Putting together a big meal is all about strategy, especially when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. If you're not sure where to begin, that's okay! We’ll show you how to tackle this holiday one day at a time.
Two to four weeks prior to Thanksgiving
- Secure your kitchen essentials: Make sure you have the proper kitchen essentials needed to prep your dinner. Your must-have list should include a turkey baster, fat separator, roasting pan, poultry thermometer, roasting rack, and a carving set and carving board.
- Create your grocery list: Create a list of all ingredients you’ll need for the dishes you’re preparing. Our tip — separate your list into non-perishable items and perishable items. Purchase your non-perishables ahead of time. Use the Shopping List feature in our app to keep everything organized and to see what deals and coupons you can take advantage of.
- Shop for non-perishables and bar items: Buy your canned goods and dry ingredients (like chicken stock, butter, stuffing mix, nuts, baking ingredients) turkey brine kit and paper products. Additionally, stock up on your beverage essentials like water, soda, beer and wine.
- Order or reserve your turkey: Secure your turkey by reserving it ahead of time at the meat counter at your local Tom Thumb. If, however, you're opting for a frozen turkey, pick it up as soon as you have room in your freezer.
One week prior to Thanksgiving
- Prepare items ahead-of-time: Things like soups, cookies or pastry dough can be made ahead of time and stored in your freezer.
- Plan your cooking schedule: Create a schedule to set yourself up for success. In addition to freezing things well in advance, other items like desserts, baked breads and cranberry sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance. Make a list of every dish you’ll need to prepare and include cooking times. From there, you can decide when each dish will need to make it to the oven, stove, or microwave. You’ll need to stagger your cooking depending on the time and temperature needed. Build an itinerary for the entire day, from the time you get up to the time you want to put dinner on the table to ensure everything is ready to eat right on time.
2-4 days prior to Thanksgiving
- Shop for perishables: It's time to buy those fresh ingredients like vegetables, turkey, fresh herbs and store-made items like fresh cakes, cookies, and pies. Check the Tom Thumb for U™ app for deals and promotions on your favorite fresh foods.
- Shop for florals: If you’re hosting, pick up a floral arrangement centerpiece. Or, if you’re celebrating at a loved one’s home, grab a bouquet for the host. Our in-store florists can make a recommendation with one of our seasonal bouquets or they can help you build the perfect arrangement.
- Defrost your turkey: If you've opted for a frozen turkey, now is your time to begin defrosting your bird. Tip — allow one day of thawing per 4 pounds of turkey.
- Get baking: If you're also handling the desserts, now is a great time to begin baking. If you're buying from our bakery, buy today for optimal freshness. Our bakery pros are here to help you make the perfect sweet selection for your holiday spread.
1 day prior to Thanksgiving
- Set your table: Set the table in advance so you don't have to worry about it when guests are arriving.
- Prep side dishes: Side dishes like casseroles, mashed potatoes and stuffing can be made a day in advance, refrigerated overnight, and re-heated the next day. Whether you want to save time, or your cooking didn’t quite go to plan, we have delicious pre-made sides you can re-heat in a pinch. Visit your friendly neighborhood Tom Thumb and ask our deli pros about our holiday side dishes.
- Set up your beverage station: Make it easy for guests to help themselves to drinks throughout the day.
- Prep and cook your turkey: It's time to cook your bird! Start by rinsing the turkey and letting it sit at room temperature for one hour prior to cooking.
- Prepare your appetizers: Cook your appetizers. To save time, pick up some delicious pre-made appetizers from our deli or shop our frozen section for quick and easy options.
- Re-heat your sides: Re-heat your prepared side dishes. We recommend re-heating "low and slow", about one hour prior to eating.
- Make the gravy: Cook up your delicious gravy so it is ready to eat alongside your meal.
- Savor it all: Enjoy your delicious meal, and the family and friends around you. Cheers!