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Cooks Illustratred - As part of our exclusive partnership with Cook’s Illustrated, we’re pleased to bring you their favorite recipes and tips for the perfect Thanksgiving feast.  

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey, trimmed, neck, giblets, and tailpiece removed and reserved for gravy (see related recipe)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 onions, chopped coarse
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped coarse
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped coarse
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup water, plus extra as needed

1. Dissolve salt in 2 gallons cold water in large container. Submerge turkey in brine, cover, and refrigerate or store in very cool spot (40 degrees or less) for 6 to 12 hours.

2. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Remove turkey from brine and pat dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Place turkey on prepared wire rack. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 8 hours or overnight.

3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Line V-rack with heavy ­duty aluminum foil and poke several holes in foil. Set V-rack in roasting pan and spray foil with vegetable oil spray.

4. Toss thyme and half of vegetables with 1 tablespoon melted butter in bowl and place inside turkey. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and tuck wings behind back. Scatter remaining vegetables in pan.

5. Pour water over vegetable mixture in pan. Brush turkey breast with 1 tablespoon melted butter, then place turkey breast side down on V-rack. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon butter.

6. Roast turkey for 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Using 2 large wads of paper towels, turn turkey breast side up. If liquid in pan has totally evaporated, add another 1/2 cup water. Return turkey to oven and roast until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 50 to 60 minutes.

7. Remove turkey from oven. Gently tip turkey so that any accumulated juices in cavity run into pan. Transfer turkey to carving board and let rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes. (If desired, scrape up drippings in roasting pan and pour into fat separator; let drippings sit until fat has separated, about 20 minutes. Add defatted drippings to gravy to taste.) Carve turkey and serve.

Classic Pecan Pie Thanksgiving Day Start Time:9:45

View Recipe

One Week Ahead

Make and freeze dough

Special equipment: Food Processor

One Day Ahead

Thaw dough night before

Thanksgiving Day

Prep work: 45 minutes

Special equipment: Traditional 9" Pie Plate

Cooking Schedule

10:30-12:00 Main Oven


  • 9:45 Roll out crust and chill
  • 10:15 Toast nuts at 375° on middle rack for 5-10 minutes
  • 10:30 Bake crust at 375° on middle rack for 25-30 minutes
  • 10:35 Make filling
  • 10:55 Reduce oven to 275°
  • 11:00 Bake pie on middle rack for 50-60 minutes
  • 12:00 Remove from oven, cool 2 hours


Pie Server

Pumpkin Pie Thanksgiving Day Start Time: 11:00

Classic Holiday Turkey (12-14 lbs.) Thanksgiving Day Start Time: 2:00

Mashed Potato Casserole Thanksgiving Day Start Time: 3:15

Herbed Bread Stuffing Thanksgiving Day Start Time: 4:05

Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy Thanksgiving Day Start Time: 4:15

Cranberry Sauce Thanksgiving Day Start Time: 4:15

Green Bean Casserole Thanksgiving Day Start Time: 4:30

Classic Holiday Turkey
Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Herbed Bread Stuffing
Mashed Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Pumpkin Pie
Classic Pecan Pie
Foolproof Pie Dough
Maple-Glazed Acorn Squash
Broccoli-Cheese Soup
Sautéed Green Beans with Smoked Paprika and Almonds
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake
Rustic Walnut Tart with Bourbon Whipped Cream
Deep-Dish Apple Pie
Foolproof Double-Crust Pie Dough(for Deep-Dish Apple Pie)
Rustic Turkey Tart
Turkey Noodle Soup
Turkey Cobb Salad
Turkey and Cheese Quesadilla Pie
Cold Sesame Noodles with Shredded Turkey
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