The Game Plan: Illustrated Guides to Thanksgiving

Planning Thanksgiving is a bit of a balancing act: there's prep work to coordinate, oven space to juggle, and cooking temperatures to align. To make the process easier, we've broken down three of our favorite Thanksgiving menus into step-by-step timetables—what to cook two days ahead, the day before, and how to pace yourself Thursday morning—and asked three illustrators to give them life. Print out our handy visual plans and stick them to the fridge for an easy-to-follow guide to this year's fea

An elegant, impressive-looking Thanksgiving table doesn’t have to be an impossible undertaking. These dishes are all deceptive in their simplicity: Elaborate-looking pommes duchesses are surprisingly easy to pull off, and decadent sides like creamed onion gratin can be mostly prepped in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day, cook the turkey, put the final touches on everything, and spend time with your guests while you nibble on appetizers and enjoy a glass of cool, citrusy punch.

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A Heartland Harvest Thanksgiving Menu Guide
Melissa Showalter

Mary Sue Milliken, chef at Border Grill in Los Angeles, travels each Thanksgiving to her mother-in-law’s Kansas home, where an army of family members helps her cook the fabled yearly feast. Recreate her favorite dishes with this menu, including a crisp-skinned roast turkey with celery root stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes enriched with crème fraîche and butter, quick-pickled shallots satuéed with green beans, a warm and decadent chestnut compote, sweet pear and ginger pie with a hint of spice, and more.

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Southern Classics Thanksgiving Menu Guide
Marnie Galloway

This Thanksgiving, treat your family to a traditional Southern-style Thanksgiving with all the fixings. Prime their appetites with a tart pickle platter and deviled eggs, then show off your low country hospitality with all the classic sides: spicy collards, buttery mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and more, all perfect for surrounding a cornbread-dressed turkey. Finish the meal on an extra sweet note with a bourbon-laced pecan pie, and don’t forget to keep the sweet tea and whiskey cocktails flowing.

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See 12 complete Thanksgiving menus »