how to serve thanksgiving dinner warm

It's GO time, friends!

Your kitchen is most likely buzzing with activity right now!

And I’ll bet your fridge is PACKED with ALL the Thanksgiving ingredients!

If you love to cook, this is your Super Bowl!

You’ve been prepping and planning and are ready for kickoff.

Before we chat about how to keep dinner warm,  are you looking for even more guidance and help to cook Thanksgiving this year?  I’ve got you covered, my friend!! I’m talking about recipes, cooking tips, downloadable PDFs, and online cooking classes……..

**SCROLL ON DOWN FOR THE THANKSGIVING COOKING CLASSES (yep, that’s where the music’s coming from! 😉)

Ok, now back to the blog post.  

If you’re not a huge cook, then you’ve probably made sure to delegate most of the cooking, leaving you in charge of setting the table and buying the wine (which are very important jobs, btw).

And if you’re like “WHAT? Thanksgiving is THIS week?!“, it’s not too late to download your free Thanksgiving Guide and Checklist.

Organization and knowing all the tips to keep you on top of your Thanksgiving game is just one click away. 

 Click right here to download it now.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is

“How the heck do I keep all the food warm?”

Thanksgiving has LOTS of balls dancing around in the air, and it can feel overwhelming just cooking.

Then, when you think of actually having to serve everything, it can be next level stressful.

Especially if you’re feeding a crowd.

You worry your guests will fill their plates, excited to eat ALL the goodness, only to find, at the first bite, that the food has gone cold. (cue Snoopy’s wah….wah…wah)

And I know how this feels because I’ve been in your shoes!!

My very first Thanksgiving was a hot mess!

The turkey was dry and closer to charred than golden brown, the mashed potatoes turned gloopy (before I discovered the beauty of a ricer), and everything was closer to cold than room temperature because I didn’t have a good system in place at all.

In fact, there was no system. 

Unless you call “fly by the seat of my pants” a system. Which can absolutely work sometimes.

But definitely not on Thanksgiving.

These 3 ways to keep your Thanksgiving dinner warm are exactly what I do every single year to make sure dinner is hot. 

 So I know they work!

If you use these tips, you, too, can sit back and relax knowing you’re gonna ROCK Thanksgiving this year.

The only thing you’ll need to worry about is keeping everyone’s wine glasses full.


Take advantage of the turkey rest time to put any dish that needs warming into the oven. This includes stuffing, casseroles, and veggies. Plan out how much space you have, so you know how many side dishes can fit in your oven.

And remember, you don’t just have the rest time, it also takes time to carve the turkey. Turkey can rest for about 20 minutes, and it takes another 20-25 minutes to carve, so you have about 40-45 minutes to use the oven to warm other dishes.

And because you’ve cooked everything on Wednesday (or early Thursday), this will give you plenty of time to get everything warm before serving it.


Two other ways to reheat side dishes are on the stove and in a crockpot.

Use crockpot (or crockpots) to keep mashed potatoes nice and warm. You can start reheating them on your stove, and then, to keep them warm through dinner, add them to a crockpot. Keep the crockpot on the lowest setting.


No, I don’t mean the turkey should be ice cold, but don’t forget about salads.

Not every dish you serve needs to be hot. And salads are a nice way to add crunch and lightness to a meal that usually has loads of rich dishes.

This shaved Brussels sprout salad would be a DELICIOUS addition to your Thanksgiving table!


If serving everything hot still seems overwhelming to you, here’s another tip.

Not everything needs to be served piping hot.

Yep, you read that right!! 

Not everything needs to be HOT!  

Roasted veggies, and even stuffing still taste delicious at room temperature. If you’re struggling to find space in your oven on Thursday, focus on the dishes that absolutely need to be served hot.

Prioritize those to go in your oven last (if you need to have dishes take shifts), so they can go straight from your oven to the buffet table.

The 3 things to focus on serving hot are the turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes.

So now that you know 3 easy ways to keep your Thanksgiving dinner warm which one (or 2) will you use this year?

Drop a comment below to get the conversation started!


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  • Reply
    Kate Russell
    November 15, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    I LOVE the crockpot idea for mashed potatoes! I’m definitely using that one this year. I may also use a chafing dish for my sweet potato casserole, though that might be tricky. Any ideas on how to keep gravy warm, fluid, and skinless? And where can I find that shaved Brussels sprouts salad recipe? That sounds like a great way to add cold and crunch to an otherwise warm, brown meal.

    • Reply
      November 17, 2021 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Kate! The crockpot is definitely amazing for keeping the potatoes warm! I love heating platters to help keep other dishes warm. Personally, I think they work better than chafing dishes. If you have oven space, cook your sweet potato casserole ahead of time, then reheat in the oven when you’re carving the turkey. To keep your gravy warm, put it in a thermos until before serving. Then pour it into your gravy boat. Or, you can keep the gravy in the saucepan and gently press plastic wrap so that it’s touching the gravy. This will prevent the skin from forming. When you’re ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and reheat gently over low heat. You may need to whisk it a bit, too. Here’s the link to the shaved Brussels sprout salad — it’s a really great side dish to break up the rich food! https://www.amenuforyou.com/seasonal-ingredients/brussel-sprouts/shaved-brussel-sprout-salad-3589. If you have any other questions let me know!

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