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How to Cook an Entire Thanksgiving Dinner in Just 3 Hours

The ultimate guide to a quick Thanksgiving dinner.

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Roasted Turkey Thanksgiving Tradition Celebration

Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t always go as planned. Maybe winter weather has you stuck at home. Or maybe your would-have-been host ended up in a bind. Or maybe you had a late start planning—no judgment! Regardless of the situation, we’ll show how to make an entire Thanksgiving dinner in just three hours. We have a full menu (including pie!) and step-by-step instructions for how to cook each dish.

Our best Thanksgiving recipes ready in 30 minutes (or less!).

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Man buying food products in the supermarket shoppingShutterstock / Lizardflms

This Thanksgiving dinner is designed to serve eight, but some recipes yield more servings (yay, leftovers!). In this collection, we’ll show you how to make:

It’s unlikely that you have all of the necessary ingredients on hand, so it’s essential that you make a trip to the store before you begin. (These stores are closed on Thanksgiving Day.) Be sure to compile a shopping list to make it easy to snatch up all of the ingredients you need, and check off any items you already have. Always double-check your list, too—these are the things people forget on Thanksgiving. Read these 10 shopping tips your grocery store won’t tell you before you go.

Pro tip: Organization is essential for speedy holiday dinner prep. Lay out all of the ingredients in advance and gather any utensils and cookware you’ll need.

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Making cranberry sauceTaste of Home

Step 1: Start the Cranberry Sauce 

Let’s get started. First, get a head start on your bakes by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Then, in a large saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, water and dry red wine for your Red Wine Cranberry Sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium.

Task Time: 5 minutes 

Total Time: 5 minutes

Struggling? Get the secrets to making homemade cranberry sauce.

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pumpkin pie recipe concept - woman whisking in cinnamon and spices for batter shot from pov viewShutterstock / Joshua Resnick

Step 2: Prepare Your Pie 

While the cranberries are cooking, it’s time to prepare the Easy Pumpkin Pie. Beat eggs, pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, maple flavoring and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour into a pre-made pie crust and cover the edges loosely with foil. Pop the pie into the preheated oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.

Editor’s tip: As you’re preparing the pie filling, make sure to give the cranberries a stir every so often. You don’t want them to burn!

Task Time: 10 minutes 

Total Time: 15 minutes

This is how to bake the best-ever pumpkin pie.

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Cranberry sauce cookingTaste of Home

Step 3: Finish the Cranberries

Once most of the berries have popped, transfer the mixture to a bowl. Let cool on the counter for a few minutes.

Pro tip: If you happen to have any leftovers—extra cranberry sauce takes these recipes over the top.

Task Time: 5 minutes 

Total Time: 20 minutes

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Stainless steel saucepan on gas stove burner in the kitchenShutterstock / FotoCuisinette

Step 4: Start Making the Wild Rice

Prepare the wild rice according to package directions. Most brands will take about 45 minutes to cook. Remember that timer you set? Now’s the time to reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Your pie will need to bake for another 45 minutes or so.

Task Time: 5 minutes 

Total Time: 25 minutes

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Cooking dinner, chopped vegetables onions, garlic, celery Shutterstock / Lapina Maria

Step 5: Prep Ingredients for Stuffing, Potatoes and Green Beans 

For the Apple Cranberry Stuffing, chop the onion, celery and apples. To prep the Roasted Green Beans with Lemon & Walnuts, trim the beans, slice the shallots, crush the garlic and zest the lemon. For the Gruyere Mashed Potatoes, peel and cube potatoes, mince the chives. Set all of the prepped ingredients aside.

Here are yummy recipes to make with leftover stuffing.

Task Time: 25 minutes 

Total Time: 50 minutes

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Turkey Uncooked Brined and Seasoned with Spices in Roasting PanShutterstock / JPL Designs

Step 6: Prep the Turkey

Good news, y’all! It’s turkey time. For our Herbed Turkey Breast, remove the breast from its packaging. Juice the lemon and chop the green onions. Then, in a small saucepan, combine butter, lemon juice, soy sauce, green onions, sage, thyme, marjoram and pepper. Bring to a boil. Remove mixture from heat. Place the turkey in a shallow roasting pan, then drizzle with butter mixture.

Task Time: 10 minutes 

Total Time: 1 hour

Have a little more time on your hands? Here’s how to cook a turkey the old-fashioned way.

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Closeup of a woman taking a fresh baked pumpkin pie from the ovenShutterstock / Steve Cukrov

Step 7: Remove the Pie and Wild Rice

Check the pie for doneness (a knife inserted into the center should come out clean), then remove from the oven. Place on a wire rack to cool. Remove the wild rice from heat and set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Task Time: 5 minutes 

Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

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Cook putting raw chicken with vegetables to the oven.Shutterstock / Valeria Aksakova

Step 8:  Start Cooking the Turkey

Place the turkey, uncovered, into the oven. Set a timer. You’ll bake it for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees.

Don’t own a meat thermometer? We recommend this one.

Task Time: 5 minutes 

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

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Homemade StuffingTaste of Home

Step 9: Prepare Stuffing

Gather your prepped ingredients and grease a 13×9 baking dish. Then, in a 6-quart stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and celery, cooking and stirring for 4-5 minutes or until tender. Add stuffing cubes, apples, rice, cranberries, parsley flakes, salt, poultry seasoning and pepper. Slowly add chicken broth until you reach desired moistness. Transfer the stuffing mixture to your prepared pan, cover with foil and pop in the oven alongside your turkey.

Editor’s Tip: This stuffing recipe is supposed to cook at 350 degrees, but since it’s sharing the oven with the turkey, it will need to bake a little longer to make up for the decreased oven temperature.

Task Time: 20 minutes 

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

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Young woman with lovely hands making home-made buttermilk biscuits using fresh ingredientsShutterstock / Jim Bowie

Step 10: Prepare Biscuit Dough

Next, we’ll start the Easy Peasy Biscuits. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, flaxseed and salt. Add the coconut oil and cut it in with a pastry blender. You’re looking for the mixture to resemble coarse crumbs. Add milk and stir the mixture until it’s just moistened.

Editor’s Tip: Turkey basting time! Use a baster to dress the turkey in its own juices.

Task Time: 10 minutes 

Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Save even more time by buying a can of biscuits. This is our best-loved brand.

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Raw dough for biscuitsShutterstock / Elzbieta Sekowska

Step 11: Finish Biscuit Dough

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, approximately 8-10 times. Pat or roll the dough into a ½-inch thick rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter, then once again pat or roll the dough into a ½-inch thick rectangle. Use a knife of pizza cutter to divide the dough into 24 biscuits. Each piece should about 2-1/2 inches square. Place the biscuits 1-1/2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet, set aside.

Task Time: 15 minutes 

Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

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Closeup of potatoes cut in pieces in waterShutterstock / liubomir

Step 12: Start Preparing the Potatoes

Place potatoes in a 6-quart stockpot. Add water to cover, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Remove the foil from the stuffing.

Task Time: 5 minutes 

Total Time: 2 hours

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green beans with oil bottleShutterstock / Valerio Pardi

Step 13: Prepare Green Beans

While the potatoes are cooking, combine the green beans, shallots and garlic. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to two 15x10x1 baking pans coated with cooking spray or oil. Set aside.

Editor’s Tip: Turkey basting time! Don’t forget to baste that bird.

Task Time: 10 minutes 

Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

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Portion of homemade Mashed Potatoes on wooden background Shutterstock / HandmadePictures

Step 14: Finish the Potatoes

When fork tender, drain the potatoes. Mash with sour cream, milk and garlic. Place in a slow cooker on the warm setting so they stay hot until you’re ready to serve.

Editor’s Tip: If you don’t have a slow cooker, cover the potatoes with aluminum foil and place in a warm part of your kitchen. You may need to warm them up for a minute or two in the microwave before serving.

Task Time: 10 minutes 

Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes

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Table setting, close upShutterstock / Africa Studio

Step 15: Remove Stuffing and Set the Table

Check to see that stuffing is done. It should be lightly browned on the top. Remove from oven, cover with foil and set aside. Use this break in cooking to set the table—or, y’know—take that well-deserved break.

Task Time: 15 minutes 

Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes

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Closeup of chef's hands checking temperature of grilled turkey in commercial kitchenShutterstock / ESB Professional

Step 16: Remove the Turkey and Bake Biscuits and Beans

Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the turkey. It should read 165 degrees. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees and place the prepared biscuits and green beans inside.

Task Time: 5 minutes 

Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes

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Creamy Turkey GravyTaste of Home

Step 17: Make Gravy

You’re almost to the finish line. For the Creamy Turkey Gravy, carefully remove 2 tablespoons of drippings from the turkey pan. Combine with cornstarch, salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Gradually whisk in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Let cook until thickened—about two minutes.

Editor’s Tip: As you’re making the gravy, keep an eye on the biscuits. They’re done when they reach a light, golden brown color.

Task Time: 15 minutes 

Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes

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Herbed Turkey BreastTaste of Home

Step 18: Add Finishing Touches

Stir cheese, chives, green onions, garlic salt and pepper into the mashed potatoes. Add lemon zest and walnuts to green beans. Remove cranberry sauce from the fridge. Carve the turkey. Enjoy!

Task Time: 5 minutes 

Total Time: 3 hours

Katie Bandurski
As Senior Shopping Editor, Katie connects Taste of Home readers with the best gifts, deals and home products on the market. An avid foodie and a holiday enthusiast, Katie is an expert at cultivating meaningful moments. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and watching Christmas movies.