Thanksgiving Dinner Cooking Timeline Suggestions

We are so glad you bought the delicious Dream Dinners Holiday Turkey because you’re in for a treat! Just a reminder, if you’re planning to serve it on Thanksgiving day, place it and your Family Favorite Sides in the refrigerator to thaw 3-5 days before.

The best way to thaw a frozen turkey is in the unopened wrapper on a tray in the refrigerator. It takes 4 hours per pound to thaw a turkey (24 hours for every 5 pounds). Your Holiday Turkey may weigh between 6-8 pounds. Never thaw a turkey at room temperature. If short on time, you may thaw the turkey in cold water in the original wrapping, cover completely with cold water, making sure the water is changed every 30 minutes to keep the turkey surface cold.

When thawing your Dream Dinner Holiday Sides, separate the individual frozen dishes from one another and place them toward the front of your refrigerator shelf for best air circulation.

A note about cooking instructions:

The recommended cooking time for the turkey could take as long as 4 ½ hours. However, oven temperature calibration varies between models or may be slightly different in older ovens. These factors, as well as variation in the weight of the turkey may result in a shorter or longer cooking time.

To ensure a flawless Thanksgiving Dinner be sure to use a thermometer to check the temperature of your turkey. Check it once about 2 1/2 hours into the cooking time to gauge how quickly it is reaching the desired temperature. Once it reaches an internal minimum temperature of 165°F it is done.

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F
  2. Remove turkey from packaging, place in shallow pan and add 1-cup water.
  3. Loosely cover with foil and cook 2 1/2 hours. Using meat thermometer, check temp. When at 135 degrees, remove foil and cook for an additional 30 min. or until internal temp. reaches 150 degrees. Turkey will continue to cook as it rests for 20 min covered with foil.
  4. Once you remove your turkey, cover in foil to hold the heat and let it rest for 20 minutes (165 degrees) before carving.

Here is a great cooking time line for your entire Dream Dinners Holiday dinner:

  • 3-5 days before: Thaw all items in refrigerator
  • 3 1/2 hrs before: Preheat oven and bake Turkey at 325 degrees (using cooking instructions above)
  • 1 1/2 hr before: Bake biscuits at 325 degrees, not as directed on your cooking instructions, bake until golden brown, may require an additional 10-15 minutes. **Hold
  • 1 hr before: Bake Mashed Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes at 325 degrees, again adding 20-30 minutes to original instructions. **Hold if baked in the oven. Mashed Potatoes also work well on the stove top as recommended on your cooking instructions. 
  • 1 hr before: remove foil from turkey (if at 135 degrees) and continue baking 30 min. See directions above.
  • 45 min before: Bake Stuffing with the turkey at 325 degrees for approx 15 minutes, then remove the turkey for resting time (once it has reached 150 degrees). Leave the stuffing and potatoes in the oven and  turn up the oven to 375 degrees.
  • 30 min before: Bake Green Bean Dish
  • 15 min before: Heat Gravy
  • 10 min before: Slice turkey
  • 5 min before: Place Cranberry Orange relish in serving dish

** To hold, use a large cooler to keep cooked items hot for up to 2 hours. Keep hot foods at a minimum temperature of 140 degrees.

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving Holiday!