The Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu / Prep Schedule

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The big day is in a little over 1 week and we’re all almost prepared with an arsenal of recipes that will get rave reviews from everyone! So, let’s pull everything together for the most epic Thanksgiving Menu and then talk prep and making things ahead of time!

Thanksgiving Menu + Prep Schedule from (@Whatsgabycookin)

Here’s the full Thanksgiving Menu:

Thanksgiving Cheese Board

Herb Roasted Turkey

Homemade Gravy

Zesty Cranberry Sauce

Fall Farmers Market Salad

Wild Mushroom Stuffing

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts

Spicy Garlic Green Beans

Charred Carrots with Herbs

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

Creamed Kale

Apple Crisp

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow Meringue

I mean, is that not the most glorious Thanksgiving menus you’ve ever seen!! Gobble Gobble! Thomas and I are going to have leftovers for DAYS.

Thanksgiving Menu + Prep Schedule from (@Whatsgabycookin)


Here’s my basic schedule / prep plan for my Thanksgiving Menu:


  • Clean out the fridge
  • Stock up on beer and wine
  • Make a grocery list
  • Shop for all the ingredients
  • If you buy a frozen turkey – make sure to put it in the fridge to start thawing out
  • Reorganize fridge with all the ingredients



Thanksgiving Menu + Prep Schedule from (@Whatsgabycookin)Wednesday:


Early Morning / 8am-ish

Before the Feast

Thanksgiving Menu + Prep Schedule from (@Whatsgabycookin)

Have any last minute questions about Thanksgiving, the prep schedule, my Thanksgiving Menu or prep timing…?? Shout them out in the comments below and I’ll respond ASAP!

PS – are you thinking of putting this on your Thanksgiving menu? Check out the full What’s Gaby Cooking menu here along with the master prep schedule to keep things organized and on track!
And if you need more Thanksgiving Ideas check out this roundup of 80+ Thanksgiving Recipes and Ideas

Photography by Matt Armendariz / Styling by Adam Pearson / Prop styling by Stephanie Hanes / Light Fixture by Serena and Lily/  Recipes by What’s Gaby Cooking


  1. Is it possible to make the stuffing in advance and freeze it, or would you not recommend that? Looking to have less to do the day of. Would you suggest making it two days in advance and just leave in fridge and re heat on Thursday?

    1. check out my prep schedule I’m posting in a few hours! That will solve all the timing issues 🙂

  2. This is SO helpful! I have to mention though — NO PIE?! My family would go crazy 😉 I love your list and breakdown of when to prep for each dish. LOVE how helpful that is!

    1. After torching the pumpkin cheesecake marshmallow top… do you leave on counter or refrigerate? You say torching can be done early in the day.

  3. I”m in love with this timeline…it’s exactly what I was looking for – trying to figure out how in the heck I’m going to do everything and still go to work next week! Thank you!

  4. Hi Gaby! When prepping the apple crisp, am i supposed to put topping on already? How do you store it until ready to bake it off? Thanks! It all looks amazing!

    1. depends how far ahead you’re prepping it. If it’s day of like my timetable suggests, you can chop the apples, make the topping and assemble everything. Pop it in the fridge and then bake it off while you sit down.

      If you do the apples and the topping a day early, don’t assemble to right before you bake off

  5. If you cut the bread and leave it out overnight to harden for the mushroom stuffing, do you also need to bake it as the recipe instructs in step 1? Thank you!!

  6. Hi Gaby! Any suggestions on the best way to carve the turkey? My husband isn’t the most patient carver and some meat gets wasted, which drives me crazy!

  7. Gaby-
    I’ve dry brined my turkey. In looking at recipies, I don’t see that you wash any salt off before cooking it. Also, to get the crisp skin, do I not butter the outside and underneath the skin of the bird???
    Thanks for your help love!

    1. Hey Lisa! I dry brined mine for friendsgiving this year – yes, you want to brush off the dry brine! And then if you’re following my recipe you do the herb butter on the outside AND under the skin of the bird

  8. This is the most amazing feast! Question about the cheesecake, do I have to make the meringe ahead? Or can I just do it all the same day and serve? Wondering if it needs to rest or chill before torching

  9. I’m just wondering how many people you fed at this meal and/or how many serving sizes your recipes are.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Thanksgiving was 8-10 people! When we relaunched my site all of the serving sizes disappeared so I’m slowly re-adding them! Usually it’s a 4-6 person serving on a recipe!

  10. Question about making the Mac & Cheese ahead of time – Is it possible to make the pasta and the sauce the day before and mix together the day of? Thank you!

    1. it’s not really suggested – the cheese sauce congeals and the pasta can sometimes stick together. For my friendsgiving this year, I just measured out all the ingredients the day before and then it came together quickly the day of!!

  11. Hi! the Spicy Garlic Green Beans sound delicious for my work pot luck since i want something delicious and on the healthier side. My only problem is that i would have to cook them in the morning before work and we wouldn’t eat them until Noonish, do you have any suggestions on how to keep them warm or reheat them. Thank you so much for all your delicious recipes!

    1. they reheat okay in the microwave! Would be best if you had a small kitchen at work where you could heat them in a skillet for 2-3 minutes to warm them through again!

    1. absolutely! you can make them a day or two ahead of time and reheat in a slow cooker or dutch oven! Might need to add a bit of liquid to loosen them up if they get thick

  12. Hi! Love this 🙂 When do you start reheating the mashed potatoes in a slow cooker? E.g. on low 4 hours before serving…

    1. depends if you’re doing any of the prep! if you follow this schedule you’ll be eating around 4

  13. This is so helpful! I used your recipes last year and it was a huge hit and plan to do the same this year.
    PS I love your jeans…where from?! 🙂

  14. Hi Gaby!
    After making the mac & cheese in the AM, should we refrigerate it until before dinner when we bake it?
    Would you add the crumbs right before baking it or in the AM when you make it?
    Thank you!

  15. do you finish up the green beans and carrots while the turkey is in the oven or do you cook when the turkey is all done? Wondering how to keep warm!

    1. green beans I finish sauteeing right before serving, and the carrots can be re-heated on the stove or in the oven before serving and then toss with the herb sauce!

  16. OMG- Thank you! Even though I’ve hosted Thanksgiving for the past 3 years, your prep schedule and menu ideas help me feel less stressed! First, I know your recipes are amazing and the way you break everything down makes it all so manageable. I hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving. I’m grateful to you for your recipes and inspiration.

  17. Hi Gaby,

    I have following you and using your recipes for months. Thank you for saving me so many times!!!
    I have a situation… I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner at my MIL’s this year (she’s 95 and not able to do it anymore or come to our house) so I am hosting a dozen people (about half the number we usually are). So even though it’s not a huge crowd, we have vegetarians and diabetics (same ones) to account for.

    I am making the Turkey, stuffing/dressing (vegan and not), gravy reg and veg, cranberry sauce and relish in both SF and regular. Same with mashed potatoes and wanted to roast acorn squash. I usually raost in over with butter, salt, pepper and maple syrup (SF). LOVE it but I won’t have access to the oven.
    I need advice on how to cook it before hand and reheat it so it tastes good and is not mushy. I do have a Ninja Foodi and a Crock Pot I can bring.
    How can I make this work???
    Thank you for any Tips and Advice!!!
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!
    Happy Turkey Day!!

    1. wait – what do you need advise on? Which recipe do you need to prep ahead or do you mean you need to do ALL of this ahead of time?

  18. Gaby & team, thank you for putting this together and making is a dream to plan for thanksgiving! What type of wine do you like to drink? Brands or what not.

  19. Hey Gaby! Can you please add to this post when to brine the turkey so everything is in one post pls. Im so confused if I should star to brine on Tuesday or Wednesday! Thank you

  20. Hi Gaby,
    I’m so excited to make the pumpkin cheesecake! It looks like the most delicious, show stopper dessert of all time! I have a couple questions…I’ll be traveling an hour and a half away and I plan to make both cheesecake and meringue the day before(refrigerated of course)
    Does the cheesecake need to be covered in the refrigerator?
    Can I stick both in an ice chest for the drive up?
    If I arrive at 2pm can I put it together, then stick in fridge and take out an hour before dessert?
    Sorry so many questions I just want it to look perfect!! Thank you so much! Happy thanksgiving!

    1. yes – make them both the day ahead.
      you can cover the cheesecake for sure
      you can stick them in an ice chest but I worry about the cheesecake sliding around
      and yes, you can assemble upon arrival and then pop into the fridge before serving

  21. What is the best way to keep Turkey warm and moist after you carve if you want to do ahead like Gaby showed? Does it dry out?

    1. I would carve it, plate it, pour a tiny amount of turkey stock on top and wrap in tin foil… then keep in a 200 degree oven until it’s time to serve.

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