What Is Your Favorite Thanksgiving Shortcut?

Real Simple readers reveal their best time-saving tips.

Photo by Hector Manuel Sanchez

Cut a Few Corners

For our first Thanksgiving away from home, my friend and I ordered, unbeknownst to us, a precooked turkey. We searched inside it for the gizzards, and my friend started laughing. There were no innards to pull out, of course, as the bird was cooked―a great shortcut.
Julie Chiapetta
Fort Lewis, Washington

After years of dealing with last-minute homemade gravy for a crowd of 20 people, I came up with a new approach. I mix several different types of store-bought turkey gravy, then I destroy all the evidence before anyone gets to the house. It's a hit every year.
Cathy Pence
San Diego, California

I love baking, but recently my family informed me that I'm really not good at it. My shortcut? We have a baker in our neighborhood who will happily make apple pie in my mother's glass dish, pumpkin in Grandma's, and mincemeat in one we got as a wedding present, and all much better than I could.
Julie Demarco
Fairfield, Connecticut

My trick is pseudo-homemade stuffing. I jazz up boxed stuffing a bit with chicken broth instead of most of the water the instructions call for. I also take some of the carrots, celery, and onions from the bottom of the turkey roasting pan, dice them up in the food processor, and add them to the mix.
Jessica Weinraub
Chicago, Illinois

Go to your sister-in-law's gourmet Thanksgiving Day feast, bring bread and flowers, and offer to help with the dishes.
Karen Davis
Nashua, New Hampshire

My most reliable Thanksgiving shortcut is having my husband cook the turkey and letting his stepmom bring everything else. Last year I made the crescent rolls. I love Thanksgiving.
Morgan Harris
Ringwood, New Jersey

Potluck. I roast a large turkey and provide the festive table setting and a warm oven for friends and family. Everyone has a dish to share that's part of a personal Thanksgiving tradition. There are always oohs and ahhs, recipe sharing, and stories of past holidays.
Jo Scozzafava
Seattle, Washington

It's so time-consuming peeling 10 pounds of potatoes on Thanksgiving Day when there are so many other things to cook. Delegate the mashed potatoes to another family member.
Dania Irvin
Tallahassee, Florida