Even Thanksgiving pros have trouble juggling oven space on Thanksgiving day. Between four side dishes, two pies and a 20-pound turkey — all of which need to cook at different temperatures — things can get a bit crowded, to say the least. Here are some practical tips to help you maximize the space you have for a delicious Thanksgiving feast.
Plan and work ahead
Stay organized when planning your menu, and only take on what you and your kitchen can truly handle. One effective way to plan is by making a chart like our culinary expert Natasha Gandhi-Rue does every year, detailing where and when dishes will be prepared (and at what temperature). You’ll realize quickly if you’re setting yourself up for serious oven traffic.
Take advantage of your built-in down time. The turkey needs to rest for about half an hour before carving; why not reheat casseroles and stuffing during that time? Stick your pies in the oven as everyone sits down to eat.
For appetizers, consider cold dishes or snacks that can be served at room temperature. That way guests will have something to eat while you finish cooking — no oven or stove top space required. Try one of these options:
- White Bean Dip with Pita: Consider crackers or raw vegetables if you don’t want to warm the pita.
- Crostini with Tapenade: These may be served at room temperature, so you can toast the bread a day ahead and assemble before serving.
- Gravlax with Mustard-Dill Sauce: This elegant appetizer can be completely assembled the morning of your feast, so it’s ready to go.
Put appliances to work
With your oven working overtime, bring out your other cookware. Your slow cooker is perfect for heating mashed potatoes or stuffing, and a toaster oven can be used for breads, crostini and even pies. Don’t have the appliances you need? Ask your guests to borrow theirs, and pick them up a couple of days ahead to get organized.
What are your secrets for maximizing oven space over the holidays?