A 10-Day Timeline for Hosting Friendsgiving

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

Whether it’s your first time hosting Friendsgiving or you’ve played host a few times before, this is the 10-day timeline that will set your celebration up for success. From sending out a side dish sign-up sheet to buying the bird, here’s how to do it.

(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

10 Days Before Friendsgiving: Make Your Plan

I believe that the sooner you get planning, the smoother things will roll along. And while it’s never too soon to start planning your Friendsgiving, about 10 days before the feast is a good time to get started. For Friendsgiving, the host usually prepares the main — in this instance, we’re talking turkey — and the sides are brought by the guests. This plan will give you the details for working that particular plan.

  • Check kitchen equipment: Make sure you have everything you need. Pull out all the cookware, tools, and ingredients you’ll need to cook the turkey, and pick up anything you’re missing. I’m talking about everything from the roasting pan and rack, to a meat thermometer and baster. Also, if you haven’t used your oven in a while and it tends to be finicky, make sure it won’t give you any surprises.
  • Send out a sign-up sheet for dishes: Since you’re hosting, you’re only obligated to make the turkey and gravy. Now’s the time to have guests sign up for the dish(es) they plan to bring. Google Sheets is my favorite easy and efficient way to keep track of who’s bringing what. Make categories for vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.
  • Take an inventory of dinnerware, silverware, and glasses: What’s the status on your plates, forks, and knives? Make sure you have enough to get you through dinner and dessert. If not, ask you pal with the pretty plate collection for assistance. Or buy some nice enough paper plates and plastic utensils. There are plenty pretty ones to chose from!
  • Plan your turkey method: How will you cook your turkey for your Friendsgiving dinner? Do you want to keep it classic or go for something a little more adventurous? And will you cook the whole bird or just the lean breast? Make sure to read through that recipe before cooking day!

Our Favorite Turkey Recipes for Thanksgiving

(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

7 Days Before Friendsgiving: Time to Shop

Make a list, check it twice, and buy your turkey.

  • Check for ingredients and make a shopping list: Before hitting the store, make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need for the turkey, gravy, and anything else you plan to make. Then check the pantry, fridge, and freezer to see what you already have on hand.
  • Buy the turkey: Whether you’re going with fresh or frozen, about a week before Friendsgiving is a good time to pick up the turkey.

Tips for Buying the Turkey

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4 Days Before Friendsgiving: Thaw the Turkey!

If you have a frozen turkey, remember that it needs plenty of time to thaw.

  • Thaw the turkey: If you bought a frozen turkey, start defrosting it in the refrigerator now!
(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

2 Days Before Friendsgiving: Time to Brine

If you’re planning to brine the turkey, now’s the time to get started on that. It’s also a good time to tidy up in preparation of guests.

  • Brine the turkey (if you like): Brining is totally optional, although it’s an easy process and makes for a succulent turkey. If you do plan to brine, get started one to two days before roasting. But first double check to make sure the turkey isn’t pre-brined; some brands like Butterball come already seasoned.

More on Brining a Turkey

(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

The Day Before Friendsgiving: Set the Table

No reason to wait until the last minute to

set the table

  • Set the table: Get this done the day before and you’ll have one less thing to worry about before all your friends arrive. Trust me — you’ll appreciate this later.
(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

4 Hours Before Friendsgiving: Cook the Turkey

Time to get cooking.

  • Cook the turkey: Thirty minutes to an hour before the turkey needs to start roasting, turn on your oven and let the turkey sit out at room temperature while it’s heating up. It’s a good idea (although not required) idea to baste the turkey while it cooks.
(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

1 Hour Before Friendsgiving

It’s almost time to eat! Here are the last-minute tasks you’ll need to tackle.

  • Rest the turkey: Your turkey should be done by now, so move it to a serving platter or carving platter and let it rest. If you’re serving it carved, do it about 30 minutes before dinner and cover it with foil to keep warm.
  • Make the gravy: If you are making gravy from the drippings, do it now. If you have make-ahead gravy, get it into the saucepan.
  • Fill water glasses and pitchers: Designate someone to fill up water glasses and pitchers.
  • Clean up the kitchen: If you have the luxury of time or a helpful guest, get the sink cleared and the dishwasher running. “Clean as you go” is a good mantra for these big cooking days.
(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)


You did it! Sure, there might be a few snafus along the way, but when you sit down to enjoy this meal with your best pals, you can leave all the worry and stress behind. There’s so much to be grateful for, and the company is just the start of what you’re here to celebrate. Enjoy!

(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)