How to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner for 100 People


Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for a family of five can be stressful enough to keep you up at night, so preparing this meal for 100 people can be maddening. To prepare a delicious dinner and maintain your sanity, you must enlist several capable assistants to whom you can delegate certain tasks. Not only will the process be easier, but you will have a lot more fun cooking with others than you will handling everything alone.

  • Make pie crusts, rolls and appetizers a week before Thanksgiving. These items can be frozen, so your Thanksgiving day cooking will be less stressful. Miniature meatballs or quiches will freeze well and are the right size for appetizers. Make ten batches of pie crust, since you will need about ten pies for 100 people. You can also make and freeze cookies ahead of time.

  • Do most of your shopping 4 to 5 days before the holiday. The earlier you shop, the less busy the store will be. You also need to buy your turkeys this early, so they have time to thaw. According to Ocean Spray, to serve 100 people, you will need four turkeys --- each between 18 and 24 pounds.

  • Take the pie crusts, rolls and cookies out of the freezer the morning before Thanksgiving. Pie crust needs to thaw for an hour or so before it will be soft enough to roll out.

  • Start the preparation of your mashed potatoes the day before Thanksgiving. Peel and chop 25 pounds of potatoes. Place the pieces in large pots, cover them with water and store the pots in the fridge or in coolers.

  • Make the pies the night before Thanksgiving. Make things easy for yourself by creating only one or two types of pies. Pumpkin or pecan pie filing are both quick to mix up; you can keep both overnight and they will taste just as good the next day.

  • Cook the turkeys on Thanksgiving morning. If you do not have oven space for four turkeys, consider using a deep fryer to prepare a few of them. This method keeps turkeys juicy and can be done outside.

  • Boil the pots of potatoes until the chunks are soft. Mash up the potatoes with butter and milk until they are creamy.

  • Heat up the appetizers just before guests arrive. Set them out in an area away from the kitchen, so that guests will not be interrupting you while you are finalizing the dinner preparations.

  • Use the turkey drippings to make gravy and put together a green salad 1 hour before you serve dinner. You can also microwave frozen vegetables, if you are short on time.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may also buy rolls, gravy or premade pie crusts or complete pies from the grocery store to simplify things.

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