Thanksgiving is all about spending time with your family, not about being stuck in the kitchen (or driving to the wholesale club, or waiting in line at the grocery store). These easy Thanksgiving recipes take just 15 minutes to make, giving you time back to be with your people. We’ll raise a glass to that. Or 12 (hey, when you can get 12-packs of wine delivered, you can afford to continue saying ‘cheers’ over your Thanksgiving feast).
15-Minute Glazed Carrots
This is the easiest Thanksgiving side dish. It’s so good, you’ll end up making it year-round. Recipe inspired by Damn Delicious.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 (16-ounce) bag baby carrots
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- Sprinkle of cumin
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add carrots, honey, brown sugar, thyme, and cumin and toss to combine.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
Ok, ok, so your turkey will not be cooked in 15-minutes, but the total prep time for this best turkey recipe is less than 15 minutes. Forget everything you’ve ever dreaded when it comes to turkey and basically just treat it like a giant roast chicken. Need more convincing? It’s one of Pinterest’s most popular turkey recipes from The Kitchn.
- 1 turkey, any size
- 2 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth, water, or other liquid
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted, for basting (optional)
- Prepare the turkey for roasting: Fifteen minutes before roasting, take the turkey out of the fridge. Remove any packaging and the bag of giblets (check in the body cavity and in the neck cavity). Set the turkey breast-side up on the roasting rack and let it sit while the oven preheats. This takes the chill off the meat, which helps the meat cook faster and more evenly. It also gives the skin time to dry out, which promotes browning and crisping. (Note: Your turkey will likely still feel cool to the touch after sitting at room temperature — that’s fine and you can continue on with roasting.)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F: Position an oven rack in the bottom third of your oven and preheat the oven to 450°F. Rub the turkey with some salt and pepper before putting it in the oven. We recommend leaving your turkey un-stuffed and un-trussed, both because it’s easier and because the turkey will cook more evenly.
- Add liquid to the roasting pan: When ready to roast, pour two cups of broth or water into the roasting pan.
- Place the turkey in the oven and turn down the heat: Place the turkey in the oven and turn down the heat to 350°F. We recommend roasting turkeys breast-side up. Some people like starting the turkey breast-side down to shield the breast meat, but the idea of flipping a hot, sputtering turkey is not our idea of a good time. Instead, we prefer to simply shield the breast meat with foil toward the end of cooking if it starts getting too browned.
- Roast the turkey: The rule of thumb for cooking a turkey is 13 minutes per pound. So our 16-pound turkey was estimated to cook in about 3 1/2 hours. However, some factors like brining the bird, cooking with an empty (un-stuffed) cavity, and leaving the legs un-trussed will contribute to much faster cooking. Plan on the 13-minute-per-pound rule, but start checking the temperature of your turkey about halfway through the scheduled cooking time to gauge how fast it’s cooking.
- Baste the turkey every 45 minutes: Every 45 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven, close the oven door (don’t let that heat out!), and baste the turkey all over. To baste, tilt the pan and use a turkey baster or spoon to scoop up the pan liquids and drizzle them on top of the turkey. Basting with pan juices cools the surface of the turkey and slows down cooking, which in turn keeps the breast meat cooking at close to the same rate as the legs and thighs. In the last 45 minutes or so of cooking, you can also baste the turkey with melted butter or oil. This helps crisp up the skin and turn it a beautiful deep golden brown.
- Check the turkey’s temperature: Begin checking the turkey’s temperature about halfway through the estimated cooking time. Check the temperature in three places: the breast, outer thigh, and inside thigh (see photos above). In every case, the meat should be at least 165°F when the turkey has finished cooking. If any place is under that temperature, put the turkey back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Shield the breast meat with foil if needed to keep it from overcooking.
- Rest the turkey before carving: Grab one side of the roasting rack with an oven mitt and tilt the whole pan so the liquids inside the turkey cavity run out into the pan. (These juices are used to make the gravy.) Then, lift the whole turkey (still on the rack) and transfer it to a cutting board. Tent the turkey with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This gives time for the meat to firm up and the juices to be re-absorbed into the muscle tissue, making the turkey easier to slice and taste juicier.
15-Minute Pumpkin Mousse
If you’re looking for a lighter twist on your traditional Thanksgiving dessert, these easy pumpkin mousse cups have all the flavors of pumpkin pie without the heavy calories, plus you can make them the night before or even the morning of, then chill until you’re ready to serve.
- 1 x 8 ounce tub of cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 can Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
- 2 cups plain or Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves
- 1 cup whipped cream, plus more for decorating
- 1 cup crushed cookies of your choice (we like Brownie Brittle)
- Beat cream cheese for 30 seconds, then add maple syrup to incorporate. SLowly beat in the pumpkin puree and spiced.
- Stir through the yogurt (don’t beat it in as it may split), then fold through the whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Top with extra whipped cream and crushed cookies.
15-Minute Turkey Chili
Photo credit: Food Network
Have leftover turkey or just not doing the whole bird? Try this turkey chili recipe from Food Network instead. It’s an amazing warm bowl to enjoy during the game or before the main course.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped
- 5 scallions, sliced (white and green parts separated)
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 15 -ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup crushed Sun Chips, plus more for topping
- Sour cream and cheddar cheese, for topping (optional)
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the tomato paste, chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring, until the mixture darkens, about one minute. Add 1/2 cup water, the bell pepper, scallion whites and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the bell pepper is crisp-tender, about four minutes. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about four minutes.
Stir the tomatoes, chicken broth, beans, and crushed tortilla chips into the pot; bring to a simmer. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in all but a few tablespoons of the scallion greens and season with salt. Top with more crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, cheddar and the remaining scallion greens.
15-Minute Party Mix
Guests love digging into finger food while the main attraction cooks. We love stirring up a mix of our favorite salty snacks and cereal and making the Sriracha rain (or sprinkle) depending on how spicy our guests like it. Just leave these out by the TV for those watching the game or beside a bottle of wine in the kitchen as you prep with friends and your guests will be enjoying it by the handful.
- Two handfuls of Prince & Spring Mixed Nuts
- Handful of Cheez-Its
- Handful of Snyder’s Pretzels
- Handful of Honey Nut Cheerios
- Mix everything together in a bowl.
- Lay out on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 10 minutes.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe? Share it in the comments!