Thanksgiving: The Final Countdown

By: Lindsay Damast

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Whether you've been planning the feast for weeks or have been roped into hosting at the last minute, the final 24 hours of preparation are crucial towards a successful (and relaxed!) Thanksgiving meal. If you're stumped by cooking techniques or simply staring at a pile of ingredients, Cooking Channel is here to simplify your final countdown. We've got last-minute turkey tips (brining blues? carving questions?), recipes for sensational side dishes, and of course, the perfect pies to round out your dessert buffet.

It Begins With the Brine

Infusing your bird with moisture and varied flavors is as simple as soaking it for 6 to 10 hours in a brine. Get Alton Brown's simple brine recipe and watch his video on how to brine. (Don't have some of the spices Alton uses? No problem — the salted, sugared water will make a huge difference.)

Top Turkey Recipes

Take your turkey to the next level with brines that incorporate fragrant herbs or by topping it with cured meats.

Visit our turkey central to get more great tips and recipes, including a step-by-step guide on how to carve the turkey and more videos demonstrating turkey cooking techniques.

Stuff(ing) Yourself Silly

Whether you're stuffing the bird or serving dressing on the side, these crouton-based casseroles are many people's favorite part of the holiday meal. Ours range from classic to chock-full of meats and herbs.

Good Gravy

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to make gravy. In a hurry? Try Aida's 20-minute 'no recipe' gravy recipe.

Small Bites to Start
Crave-Worthy Cranberry Sauce
Savory Fall Soups
Crowd-Pleasing Mashed Potatoes
Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey; Tyler Florence

Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey; Tyler Florence

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

And Sweet Potatoes, Too
Great Green Bean Dishes
Our Best Breads
Vibrant Veggies

Still stumped? Check out our 50 Best Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

And of course, don't forget to save room (and time!) for dessert. First, you'll need to prepare crusts for those pies (already done this? skip ahead!).

Watch our video on how to make pie dough or browse this helpful step-by-step gallery that illustrates the process. Then, learn how to roll and crimp the pie dough, too.

Now, Pick Your Pies
Pies, Pies and More Pies!
Or, Try a Tart
More Desserts Ideas

And if you're still seeking Thanksgiving recipes, advice or last-minute inspiration, check out our Thanksgiving hub for all sorts of tips, ideas and drool-worthy food photos.

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So Much Pretty Food Here