Fearless Thanksgiving Guide

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Fearless Thanksgiving GuideWe all know that holiday dinners should be a time to celebrate family, friends and food, but more often than not, it’s a stressful holiday, with anxious hosts more worried about the turkey than about the people around the table.


I talked to various home cooks hosting holiday dinners for the first time. I asked, what do you want to know? Questions poured in, from what turkey to buy to how to make a pie crust. Here are my curated answers from food experts I trust most — a great group of fearless food writers. [Updated November 2016]

27 Holiday Dinner Tips from the Pros

The novice cooks wanted inside baseball-style advice on planning and executing a Thanksgiving meal. I asked my panel of food writers for the strategies that they’ve learned over the years and pulled them together with some of my own. The result? No less than 27 great tips.

Small Roast Turkey with herb butter

Frequently Asked Questions: Turkey

A one-page guide to the best resources online for everything from what kind of bird to buy, how to cook a frozen turkey, the brine vs. non-brine debate and the dangers of deep-frying plus much more.

What to Buy? What to Make?

Just assembling all the stuff for a big holiday dinner can be confusing. With great insight from Jennifer Reese, author of Make the Bread, Buy the Butter, see whether its worth it to go the convenience product route.

How to Put Together a Holiday Menu

Sure, it seems obvious. But if you’ve never done it, or you feel like you’re always overdoing it, take these tips from top food writers.

 Foolproof Recipes

Easy as Pie

Pie maven Kate McDermott from Art of the Pie on the perfect pie crust, plus why no one should feel guilty using canned pumpkin.


Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Fluffy, not lumpy, my Le Cordon Bleu-inspired recipe with a video by Chef John of FoodWishes.com


Cranberry Relish with Orange and Port

If you can open a can of cranberries, you can make my family’s recipe for this classic from scratch. Promise.


 Potato Gratin with Chevre and Pancetta

A different take on potatoes from food writer Jess Thompson


Carrots roasted with Mustard

Surprisingly simple, strikingly tasty. Another winner from Jess Thompson’s new book, Cooking Up Washington



Bread Stuffing with Apples, Bacon and Caramelized Onions

A simple, classic recipe from the celebrated food writer Diane Morgan.

Carrot and Rosemary Soup

An inexpensive, easy way to put the flavor of autumn in a bowl.

Techniques & Tips:

Vegetarian Main Courses and Sides


Questions? Email me.

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" and "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good." All are published by Viking/Penguin.


  1. Thanks so much for including me. Now to go read all the other recipes! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


  1. […] Kathleen Flinn’s “Fearless Thanksgiving Guide” Kathleen is the author of a book I love, “The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry“) came out with a “Fearless Thanksgiving Guide” with lots of recipes and resources. And TWO of my recipes are in it (Cran-Raspberry Sauce and Northwest Inspired Rice Pilaf)! Go check it out, and see what you think. […]

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