Ina Garten's Gravy Hack For No-Stress Thanksgiving Turkey Is Genius

We've all been there. It's the long-awaited Thanksgiving "turkey day," and the star of the show is delaying its debut. In other words, all accompanying dishes are ready and waiting while the turkey takes its sweet time reaching the ideal inner temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. It's just part and parcel of holiday dining, right? But maybe it doesn't have to be. 

If you take a genius tip from America's beloved no-fuss chef, Ina Garten, it's possible to bypass the drama and enjoy the unfolding day of good eats, good company, and hopefully minor family brush-ups at the dinner table. According to Garten, this one simple gravy hack can eliminate the turkey-timing trauma while delivering delicious, warm, moist, and fully edible versions of the two essential holiday performers, the turkey and its co-star, the gravy.  

It involves cooking and carving the turkey ahead of time and nestling the slices within a bed of warm gravy. With a bit of forethought and planning, it's as simple as it sounds. And you'll be free to focus on all the side dishes, double-check seating arrangements, strategically place last-minute condiments and bread baskets, and maybe –– just maybe –– enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail and conversation with your cherished dinner guests.

A gravy bed keeps turkey warm and moist

First, you'll be cooking the turkey well before it graces the holiday table. Pop it into the oven early that morning or even the day before when there's plenty of time to let it roast to perfection, checking often. Then carefully carve it into plate-ready slices, just as you would if carving a whole turkey tableside. Place the turkey legs and other standalone pieces aside. 


#inagarten shares her secret to #makeahead turkey. She says the most stressful things about Thanksgiving are carving the turkey at the last minute and keeping it hot. Her solution is to carve it in advance. #williamssonoma #thanksgiving #thanksgivingrecipes #turkey

♬ original sound – Williams Sonoma

Next — Garten's gravy hack: Spread a thick puddle of gravy, which you've also made well ahead of time, across the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish. Choose one that's aesthetically pleasing, as it will be going directly from oven to table. Now, take those turkey slices and legs, and lay them across the gravy in the pan. Then, reheat it all in the oven immediately before serving. You'll end up with a gorgeous spread of hot turkey, which stays moist longer because of the warm gravy underneath. 

When served, each diner gets turkey and gravy together, a marriage made in holiday heaven. If you're worried about the turkey drying out while being reheated, just don't overdo the heating time. You can also have a saucepan of chicken or turkey broth simmering on the stovetop, ready to lightly drizzle over the turkey-and-gravy masterpiece as it leaves the oven. That adds a bit of moisture, warmth, and extra juicy flavor just in time for serving. 

As Garten says when sharing her Thanksgiving gravy tip, "How great is that?"