Here's one way to give yourself a fuss-free holiday: outsource the food shopping, prep work, baking, or all of the above. (Because 2020 has been stressful enough.)

By Betty Gold
November 06, 2020
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By now, we’re all highly aware that Thanksgiving dinner is going to look quite different this year. How? For starters, the safe social distancing recommendations from the CDC, travel restrictions, and shorter guest lists all indicate that significantly more Americans will be hosting their own (smaller) Turkey Day dinners at home compared to holidays in the past.  

Where to begin? If it’s your first time cooking Thanksgiving on your own, you’ll need to know how to roast a small-sized turkey and follow the proper food safety precautions, which mistakes to avoid when making mashed potatoes, how to cook your favorite pie in a pint-sized portion size, and the best ways to connect with loved ones digitally as you dine. And FYI, Trader Joe’s won’t be open on Thanksgiving Day.

Credit: Getty Images

Head spinning yet? You’re not alone. In fact, according to a recent survey by HelloFresh, 53 percent of Americans have said that their stress about Thanksgiving is doubled this year with nearly 20 percent hosting at home for the first time. One in 10 said they’ll skip celebrating entirely (no!). But here’s the thing: if you don’t feel like spending your holiday—and the entire week before—in the kitchen, you don’t have to. This year has given us more than enough crippling anxiety, you know? You deserve all the comfort you can get right now, and if hosting a holiday meal intimidates you, outsource it and embrace the opportunity to dine in your sweatpants. Many local restaurants around the country are offering catering and takeout, and this is a great year to share your gratitude by purchasing food from them (tip well, it’s a holiday!). But if you’d like to order ahead, Thanksgiving meals—as well as components and meal kits—are also available online and in grocery stores. Here are six of our favorite options for outsourcing Thanksgiving dinner.

Credit: Williams-Sonoma

See Your Options

Consider this your one-stop shop for everything you’ll need for a high-quality Thanksgiving feast at every step of the way—from basic turkey brine spice blends to pre-made lobster macaroni and cheese in single-serve ramekins, sausage apple cranberry stuffing,  and fully-cooked Thanksgiving dinner kits (roasted turkey, sides, and desserts included) for parties of every size. Prefer a Southern Cajun fried turkey dinner? They have that. Want to serve all six guests their own personal preference for pie? Try a set of mini pies that includes chocolate chess pie, caramel apple pecan pie, caramel apple pie, cherry pie, pumpkin pie, and French coconut custard Pie.

Credit: HelloFresh

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HelloFresh is bringing back its popular Thanksgiving box this year, known as the Thanksgiving Feast. It’s available for preorder now with delivery options starting on November 17. The box is available in two versions and features all the fresh ingredients, easy to follow recipes, and in-depth meal prep guide you’d need to orchestrate the ultimate holiday feast. The first option, Turkey + Sides ($160 + shipping), serves 8-10. It includes roast turkey with a garlic-herb butter rub and classic gravy, creamy mashed potatoes with garlic and sour cream, smoky maple Brussels sprouts, ciabatta stuffing with chicken sausage and cranberries, and cranberry sauce with orange and cinnamon. For dessert, apple ginger crisp with cinnamon pecan crumble. The second Thanksgiving Feast is Beef Tenderloin + Sides ($135 + shipping), which serves 4-6. Included is a peppercorn-crusted beef tenderloin with sherry thyme jus, creamy mashed potatoes with garlic and sour cream, smoky maple Brussels sprouts, ciabatta stuffing with chicken sausage and cranberries, and cranberry sauce with orange and cinnamon, and apple ginger crisp with cinnamon pecan crumble.

Credit: Goldbelly

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Consider Goldbelly a godsend for the homesick (ahem, hi). Why? Because it ships fully-cooked, fresh restaurant meals from your most beloved spots nationwide directly to your doorstep. This year, it has a curated shop of Thanksgiving Essentials, which includes classics like sweet potato casserole from Mighty Quinn's BBQ to regional favorites, like Uncle Ray's cajun spicy deep fried turkey (if you know, you know). It has also compiled a genius guide to the country’s best pies—think the PieCaken you've always wanted to sample, Four & Twenty Blackbirds signature salted caramel apple pie, Michele’s Pies, and Centerville Pie Co’s chicken pot pie. Drooling yet?

Credit: Blue Apron

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For the first time ever, Blue Apron is launching a Thanksgiving Feast meal kit in partnership with Chef Edouardo Jordan, two-time James Beard Award winner and chef of Junebaby, Salare, and Lucinda in Seattle, Wash. The Southern-style inspired menu is flexible and suitable for any type of gathering. Options include spiced roasted turkey breast, pimento cheese-style mashed potatoes, sage gravy and cranberry relish, roasted carrots in ginger syrup, mushroom braised collard greens, cheesy cornbread, and peanut-glazed apple and persimmon crumble with maple syrup. Mix and match to suit your personal preferences and party size. Blue Apron’s kit feeds a party of 6-8 for $23-$17 per person and gets delivered right to your door. Blue Apron will also be offering a Holiday Feast Favorites wine bundle, featuring chefs’ selections of four reds and two white wines, specifically chosen to complement the Thanksgiving dishes.

Credit: Whole Foods

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Whole Foods Market offers endless pre-made holiday meals that can easily be ordered and picked up in-store. From party platters made for entertaining, a la carte entrees featuring traditional and specialty proteins, to delicious sides and seasonal desserts, it will do the work and you’ll get the credit. For Thanksgiving, this includes full turkeys to favorite sides, traditional desserts, and more.

Credit: Marley Spoon

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Another top-notch meal kit service, Marley Spoon, has teamed up with Martha Stewart to bring you the ultimate time-saving, sanity-saving pre-prepped Thanksgiving sides and sweets menu. Its Thanksgiving offerings include all the fresh, pre-portioned ingredients you need to make Martha’s favorite Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts, which get delivered direct to your door. (FYI, you need to subscribe to Martha & Marley Spoon to order these dishes off the menu.) This year, new recipes include cream cheese-swirled pumpkin pie with chocolate shortbread crust, pumpkin sage drop biscuits, and honey glazed roasted veggies.