We have recipes and a game plan for the easiest Thanksgiving dinner ever

7 Recipes
A platter with roast turkey, plus gravy and a cranberry and tangerine relish.
(Jennifer Chong / For The Times)

How to bring together our simplest recipes for an easy, elegant and sumptuous Thanksgiving meal.


It is the day before Thanksgiving and for whatever reason, you haven’t yet figured out your menu or how you are going to get it made in time to eat at a reasonable hour Thursday. Stop. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. We are here to help. Here are our easiest Thanksgiving recipes and a game plan for cooking everything in just a few hours on the big day. You’ll be looking like you’ve been at this for years — and there will be leftovers for the weekend. If I may offer a tip: Read each recipe thoroughly so you know what to expect (and can see how easy it is).

This Easy Thanksgiving Turkey is the ultimate no-fuss, no-muss way to roast a turkey. You will have your bird in and out of the oven in less than 2 hours, after which it will need a good 30 minutes to rest before carving. The turkey’s needs are a good point of reference for timing the other dishes.

Start early in the morning, with the Spiced Pumpkin Pie. To save time and keep it simple, use a store-bought crust so you need only to assemble the filling while you parbake it. Once the crust is out of the oven, adjust the temperature, pour the prepared pie filling into the crust and slide it into the oven to bake. It can cool and then chill in the refrigerator while you make the rest of the meal.

While the pie is baking — and no less than three hours before you want to eat — remove the turkey from the refrigerator to bring it to room temperature. Set the stock to simmer on the stove for the Turkey Gravy and Basic Bread Stuffing and continue preparing the ingredients for both.

When the pie comes out of the oven, adjust the temperature and put the turkey in.

Meantime, make the Cranberry-Tangerine Relish and set it in the fridge to chill. The stock should be ready so you can assemble the stuffing in its pan and stir together the gravy. Make the Mashed Potatoes and prepare the Roasted Green Beans.


When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and tent it with foil. Adjust the oven temperature and bake the stuffing while the turkey rests. When the stuffing is ready, crank up the oven heat and roast the green beans.

Set the gravy and mashed potatoes to reheat on the stove while you carve the turkey (or delegate this task to a housemate or guest — and have someone set the table while you are busy in the kitchen). Once the turkey is carved, the rest of the meal will be ready as well. All that will be left to do is serve, eat and enjoy.

Easy Thanksgiving turkey

Get a fresh turkey. Thanksgiving morning, put it in a roasting pan. Heat the oven to 450 degrees and put the bird inside. When the turkey reaches 165 degrees, about two hours later, it's done.
Time2 hours
YieldsServes 8 to 10

Basic Bread Stuffing

This is a classic Thanksgiving bread stuffing recipe: chewy, crispy and soft; just moist enough to not be soggy; and rich with flavors of poultry, aromatics and herbs.
Time1 hour 20 minutes
YieldsStuffs 1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey, about 10 to 12 servings

Turkey gravy

TimeActive work time: 20 minutes Total preparation time: 2 hours 15 minutes
YieldsMakes 2 cups gravy

Cranberry-tangerine relish

Tangerines give this relish, a take on the classic combination of cranberry and citrus, a distinctive flavor that's beautifully accentuated with Chinese five-spice powder.
Time10 minutes
YieldsServes 12

Mashed potatoes

Russet potatoes are best for fluffy mashed potatoes. Mix in butter and whole milk, evaporated milk or half-and-half according to taste. Additional heavy cream is optional.
TimeActive work time: 10 minutes Total preparation time: 30 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Roasted green beans

Time30 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Spiced pumpkin pie

Parbake the crust of this spiced pumpkin pie (the custard is laced with ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric and a dose of cayenne), fill it and bake until it's as dark as you can bear without burning it.
Time1 hour 30 minutes
YieldsServes 8 to 10