Thanksgiving dinner survival guide



Buying: Figure 1 pound per serving or, for ample leftovers, 1 1/2 pounds.

Thawing: The recommended method is in the refrigerator, allowing 24 hours per 4 to 5 pounds of turkey. In a pinch, put the frozen turkey in a sink of cold water, changing it every 30 minutes, and allow 30 minutes per pound.

Roasting: For an unstuffed bird, estimated roasting time is 15 minutes per pound at 325 degrees. Use an instant thermometer inserted at the innermost part of the thigh (without touching bone) to determine doneness. The meat needs to reach 165 degrees.

On the side

Carrots: A 1-pound bag makes 4 to 5 servings.

Cranberry sauce: A 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries makes about 2 1/4 cups of sauce or 8 to 10 servings; a 16-ounce can has 6 servings.

Gravy: Plan on 1/3 cup per person.

Green beans: Figure on 1 1/2 pounds to serve 6 to 8.

Mashed potatoes: A 5-pound bag makes 10 to 12 servings.

Stuffing: A 14-ounce bag makes 10 to 12 servings.


To minimize the chance of food-borne illness, leftovers should be refrigerated within two hours of serving. They should be eaten or frozen within three to four days.

Holiday help lines

Betty Crocker: The Betty Crocker Test Kitchen pledges to answer online cooking questions within 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at

Butterball Turkey Talk Line: Live help from English- and Spanish-speaking cooking experts from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thanksgiving Day; 800-288-8372.

Crisco Pie Hotline: Live help from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday; 877-367-7438.

Ocean Spray Holiday Helpline: Live help from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thanksgiving Day; 800-662-3263.

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: Year-round food-safety advice from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on workdays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day; 888-674-6854.

Dining out

If all you want to make for Thanksgiving is reservations, check out the list of restaurant specials at

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