Thanksgiving may be looking a little different this year, but one thing remains the same: Preparing a big meal like this is stress level 💯. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Cravings is here with our inaugural Tipsgiving: A week of tips, tricks, fixes, and hacks to make Thanksgiving easier. Whether that’s a foolproof way to guarantee crispy turkey skin and juicy meat, a guide to what side dishes you can actually make in advance, or a way to make your store-bought pie crust look waaay fancier, we’ve got you. For day four, here’s our guide to getting bready for Turkey Day without actually having to make your own dough.
1. Doctor Up Some Store-Bought Rolls
You can definitely fake out family or friends into thinking you baked homemade rolls by zhuzhing up a package of store-bought rolls. We love fluffy King’s Hawaiian rolls, which are buttery already… but are even better when brushed with melted butter, sprinkled with lots of minced garlic and herbs (parsley, rosemary, and thyme are all great), and baked at 350°F until the tops get a little crusty and brown. (For 24 rolls, we used a ½ stick of melted butter, a whole head of garlic minced up, and about ¼ cup of chopped parsley.) Optional: Finish with a hefty sprinkle of flaky salt. Then, put them in a basket, throw away the packaging, and no one will know you didn’t bake them from scratch.
2. Make “Breadsticks” Out of Pizza Dough
Chrissy’s Parmesan breadstick recipe is easy, but there’s a way to make it even easier: store-bought pizza dough. Roll out dough into a 1″-thick rectangular block, and using a pizza cutter, cut into individual strips. Brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with a mix of 1 ½ teaspoons dried parsley, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and ¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Bake at 400°F for 10–12 minutes or until golden brown on the top. They will be flatter than Chrissy’s breadsticks, but will still taste great.
3. Rehydrate Your Kinda-Stale Bread
You probably won’t buy a loaf of fresh bread on Thanksgiving, so if your bread from a day or two before is a little stale, here’s a foolproof way to revive it. It may seem weird, but trust us here! Set the oven to 250–300°F. Take the loaf of bread and run it under water quickly until the outside crust is completely wet but not soaked through like a sponge. Bake for 5–10 minutes, depending on the size of your loaf. The water, once heated in the oven, permeates as steam, and both softens and fluffs the inside of bread while the oven heat works to get the crust all crispy again.
4. Try New Cornbread Mix-Ins
Chrissy’s Cheesy Jalapeño Bacon Cornbread is legendary and is easy enough to make the day of Thanksgiving without getting too stressed out. But even if you use a box of cornbread mix, you can mix in different cheeses and toppings to your cornbread to make things more exciting. Try actual corn kernels, cooked crumbled sausage (so it tastes like cornbread dressing!), scallions, blue cheese, or plenty of black pepper and Parm for a cacio e pepe vibe, or chunks of various cheeses that will melt into cheesy little pockets when the cornbread bakes.
5. Think Outside the Breadbox
Traditional carbs like rolls and cornbread are great, but Thanksgiving can be a time to experiment, too. Bring an array of new flavors to your dinner plate by adding a bread that is important to your family’s heritage or unexpected breads from other cultures, like frybread, naan, focaccia, shaobing, pita, milk bread, tortillas, challah, roti, chapati, pandesal, or lavash. They all pair well with turkey and make leftovers even better.