There’s a lot that can go wrong on Thanksgiving Day, whether you’re cooking your first turkey or your 20th. The key is in planning for what could go wrong before it actually has a chance to.

Check out these 20 ingenious turkey-cooking tips to save your Thanksgiving from disaster (so that you don’t have to #ThanksgivingFail tweet about it).


1. Your kitchen is unprepared for cooking an entire feast…

1. Make a slow cooker turkey.

If you’re doing a smaller Thanksgiving dinner or just don’t have the oven space to roast a bird, then you can make slow cooker turkey.

2. Break your turkey down before you cook it.

Separating the turkey into smaller pieces means you need to cook only what you think you’ll eat, and it saves vertical space in your oven so you can cook on more than one rack at a time. It also allows you to separate the white from the dark meat, so everything cooks evenly.

3. Get a precooked turkey breast.

Use a precooked turkey breast, and whip up something on the stovetop, like this turkey mole. That’ll free up your oven for side dishes and, of course, pie.

4. Make a roasting rack with aluminum foil.

You forgot to get a roasting rack or just can’t find it anywhere and are terrified your bird will burn on the bottom. No worries: You can whip up a makeshift roasting rack with nothing but foil.

5. Cook while you sleep.

Slow-roast your turkey overnight so your oven is free in the morning. It takes some planning ahead, but you’ll be happy your oven is free on the big day.

6. Grill it.

Shake things up, and grill your turkey outside over low heat while you finish up the side dishes and decorating. Better yet, assign any relatives who won’t get out of your hair to grill duty so you can focus on the rest of your meal prep.