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5 Chef-Approved Tricks to Make the Most Flavorful Thanksgiving Meal Ever

published Nov 1, 2022
Thanksgiving celebration traditional dinner. Roasted turkey garnished with cranberries on a rustic style table decoraded with pumpkins, vegetables, pie, flowers and candles.
Credit: Shutterstock

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Regardless of how quickly it feels like the holiday has crept up on us this year, our goal remains the same: It’s got to be delicious. How to make this Thanksgiving’s feast the best one yet? Enlist a little help.

Armed with quality McCormick herbs and spices, and the brand’s Flavor Maker app — a valuable kitchen sidekick that helps you build a digital pantry, saves recipes, offers cooking tips, and more — you can transform the big meal in the most memorable, flavorful of ways. McCormick has been a part of family traditions for over 130 years, so you know you can trust them to inspire and enlighten your Thanksgiving menu.

We checked in with McCormick executive chef Hadar Cohen Aviram to get her best tips for mastering a flavorful Thanksgiving. With these five smart tricks in your back pocket, you can feel confident you’ll cook the perfect holiday meal for your loved ones.

Credit: McCormick

1. One Word on Turkey: Brine

“Brining gets salt, flavor, and extra moisture into your bird, which in turn yields a flavorful and juicier bite — and will also make it a little easier not to burn or dry it out,” says Hadar. The McCormick Thyme Brined Turkey recipe features a savory blend of McCormick® Rosemary, Thyme, and Paprika and results in perfectly seasoned, moist meat. “And always hold on to the turkey drippings they make an excellent addition to Turkey Gravy!”

2. Spice Things Up

Boost the flavor and flair of Thanksgiving classics by reaching for spices and herbs. “Rim glasses with a mix of sugar and McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice to add a kick of spice to your favorite cocktail or sprinkle on top of Sweet Potato Casserole. Or make Cranberry Sauce your own by adding a splash of McCormick All Natural Pure Vanilla Extract,” Hadar recommends.

3. Eat More Plants!

Ensure everyone around your table can dig in by including a few plant-based sides. “It’s easier than ever to include plant-based options on your menu or adapt your regular recipes to include plant-based options. Swap out regular butter for vegan butter, chicken stock for vegetable stock, and try our Vegan Green Bean Casserole that is sure to please even the skeptics around the table,” says Hadar.

Credit: McCormick

4. Brighten Up the Meal

The usual Thanksgiving spread tends to be pretty rich and heavy. Hadar suggests lightening it up with a little acidity for balance: “Having a bright dish at the table will not only cut through the richness of the meal and make it more balanced but will also help you digest better. Add some lemon zest to green beans, dress your favorite salad mix with Citrus Thyme Dressing, or stir cranberries into your favorite stuffing recipe.”

5. Finally: Nail Your Pie Crust

Crust can make or break your pie. While a flaky, golden-brown crust might seem easy to master, even experts struggle. Hadar’s tip ensures success: “Preheat your oven to 425°F and start by baking the pie on the lowest shelf for 10 to 15 minutes — the bottom will brown and get crispy. Move the pie to the middle rack, reduce the heat to what’s called for in the recipe, and continue to bake for the remainder of the time outlined in the recipe, so the filling bakes.” The McCormick Signature Pumpkin Pie is a delicious (and easy!) contender to give this tip a try.