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. Thank you! For the Mac and cheese that you assemble morning of – do you refrigerate until it goes in the oven? And with the mashed potatoes if you put them in a crockpot to rewarm from the fridge, do you add anything so they don’t get gummy? As you can tell I’m making basically everything on this menu.

    1. i would just leave it on the counter for a few hours before making.

      and mashed potatoes in the crock pot, you should be good to go. Sometimes i add a little extra cream or stock to loosen it up if need be

  2. Hello from Chicago! Can you make a shopping list for this menu? My daughters and I plan to make it all. We have a 30 day stay at home advisory starting Nov. 16th, so this gives us plenty to do. Everything sounds delish!

  3. For the cheeseboard – where do you get candied walnuts & spiced cashews? Do you make them or are they are Trader Joe’s?

  4. Thank you for this! I recently found you on Instagram and I’m in love with you since them hahaha

    I’m from Brazil and I’m living in Australia at the moment and neither Brazil nor Australia does Thanksgiving. But I have a friend from America here and she’s missing her family and I thought making a Friendsgiving will cheer her up! I’ll try to make some of your recipes! They look so amazing!!

  5. My question about kitchen torch, I find that it doesn’t do the trick all that well. Could you recommend
    a good one. I have been on the fence about buying one a small blow torch. Before you freak out I am
    capable of using but not sure if it is food safe. Thanks

  6. Hi Gaby,

    I’m putting together my grocery list. I am making your green beans and roast turkey. The turkey calls for lemon zest and 2 lemons, the green beans also call for lemon zest. Could I be frugal and buy 2 lemons and get the zest from each one and set it aside or is the lemon zest on the lemon needed for in the turkey cavity?

  7. Hi Gaby,
    I am super excited to follow your Thanksgiving guide! I wanted to ask you, is it ok to make the top crust for the apple crisp dessert the day before and refrigerate it. Thank you!!

    1. yes but don’t slice the apples until the day of! they will brown!! but crisp topping can def be prepped ahead

  8. What is your philosophy about leaving food at room temp while preparing the rest of a meal. Lots of Thanksgiving & general entertaining guides I see online suggest prepping lots of dishes, veggies, appetizers etc. in the am – long before they’ll be served. I’m always conscious of keeping things out for only 2 hours. Is this too hyper? Only applicable to dairy? Meat? Help…

    1. dairy and meat – I won’t leave out for more than 2-3 hours. Vegetables – fair game to leave out for much longer

  9. First timer as far as cooking thanksgiving dinner…eeek! I just bought a 6 pound turkey breast(not frozen) and I’m wondering if I should leave it in the fridge until Thursday or freeze it and then thaw it out

  10. This schedule is seriously a life-saver, thank you! What are your thoughts on par-baking/roasting the carrots the day before?

    1. Did you roast the carrots the day before? How did they come out? How did you re-heat them on Thanksgiving?? I made these carrots last year and LOVED them! I’m hoping to save a little oven space/time and wondering if I could make these ahead without sacrificing flavor…

  11. Hey Gaby! I remember you saying your man did thanksgiving recommendations for wine…. can you point me to them. Thank you!

  12. Thank you for this! If I’m making a butternut squash risotto, do I make it earlier in the day and reheat before serving or make it before and sit down to eat immediately? I know you said something about par-boiling it but I can’t remember what that means oops.

  13. Your recipes are amazing! You mentioned a while back a couple of meat thermometers that you liked…I meant to right them down! Could you let me know your recommendations again. Thanks!

  14. Hi! Can I make the brussel sprouts the day before and reheat? Also, would you suggest sautee them in a cast iron skillet or non-stick?

  15. Tuesday 12:30p. It is going to be a Gaby Thanksgiving here. I have made the dry brine and. plan to cook the turkey beginning about 9:00 on Thursday. When should I brine the bird? Wednesday morning? Tuesday night?

    I love everything you do!

  16. The guide, the recipes, THE TURKEY! They were all a hit tonight!! And the guide made it a stress-free day (until I realized I left the turkey butter at home and had to fight with an ancient blender to make a second batch)!! On our menu- the brined turkey, marscapone potatoes, garlicy spicy green beans, charred carrots with basil mint sauce, and zesty cranberry sauce. Aaannnnndddd it was my 1st turkey to ever cook- Gaby made it so easy and delicious!

  17. Love your cooking style and all your recipes are a hit. Just a ? I’m making a 20 lb prime rib for dinner tonight. I’ll have to cut it in half as some like very rare some like med. thoughts ? Help!

  18. I cook and carve my Turkey the day before and cover it with a bit of stock and the skin then foil. Carving the Turkey is time consuming and messy. Also I cook a large Turkey so there’s room in my oven to cook anything else while roasting Turkey. I also make my gravy the day before.

  19. Wow wow wow!!! Awesome job with the recipes, timeline and suggestions! You have made everything very easy follow. Thanks for all your hard work!

  20. Can you make the stuffing and Mac and cheese the day before? If yes, do You cook it all the way through and then reheat on Thursday or assemble it refrigerate and cook on Thursday?

    1. stuffing – you could do the day before and par bake. finish baking day of. Mac and cheese – technically yes but it wont be as creamy and gooey

  21. does the cornbread/sausage stuffing hold up well to be prepped in advance? Even early morning prep would be great. thanks!

  22. Gaby…
    Your Prep/Schedule is brilliant!!! A hostess’ lifeline. Every year I struggle with the task of planning and how much time to allow for each task. The struggle is very real! And you include relax time. I’m so impressed!!!
    Thank you.

  23. love everything – can’t wait to get started – so here is my question
    My 21 lb turkey is frozen, do i take out on Saturday and brine on Tuesday for roasting on Thursday???? Please advise. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. once you carve and place it on a serving platter, drizzle some extra stock on top and then wrap tight and refridgerate. Day of… reheat in a low heat oven until warm (Add extra stock to keep it moist) and douse with gravy to serve.

  24. If you make the compound butter ahead a couple days ahead, do you just store in fridge and then take out Thursday morning and let it come to room temp to soften?

  25. This menu looks amazing and well thought out! The timeline is especially appreciated. How many people is the full menu estimated to serve?

  26. This guide was such a life saver last year, we are using again this year. I wasn’t sure if you have wine pairing recommendations for serving the meal? Thank you!

  27. Thank you SO much for putting this together it is pure gold and I use it to a T! What is the best way to reheat the creamed kale on Thursday? Does it have to be in the oven? Thanks for all the help you give us ❤️❤️❤️

  28. Gaby,
    This guide is soooooo awesome! Thank you!
    I’m a mom of 4 and have been pretty much cooking Thanksgiving for 30+ years!
    Now one of my twins is hosting in Austin Tx and I am contributing 3 of your recipes-Fall Farmers market salad, chipotle mashed sweet potatoes and roasted butternut squash! I have made Ina’s mashed squash recipe in the past but your recipe is front and center this holiday!
    Have a wonderful holiday with your family!

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