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Thanksgiving with America's Test Kitchen
Julia and Chris on the set of America's Test Kitchen. (Photo: americastestkitchen.com)

Julia and Chris on the set of America's Test Kitchen. (Photo: americastestkitchen.com)

Let’s see… It’s Monday. Thanksgiving’s Thursday. And I’ll bet someone in your house — maybe everyone — is thinking about that meal.

Thanksgiving Day. If you cook, this is the day — maybe the week — the kitchen gets its full workout. Every chopping board. Every burner. Celery and sage and cornbread and apples. It’s a production.

We’re starting early, with the staff of America’s Test Kitchen. Great recipes. Great tips. And a long view of American cooking.

This hour, On Point: We’re firing up the Thanksgiving stove with America’s Test Kitchen.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Julia Collin Davison, senior editor for the books division of America’s Test Kitchen and on-screen test cook for America’s Test Kitchen on TV.

Jack Bishop, editorial director of America’s Test Kitchen.

Their new cookbook is “The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook.” It includes every recipe ever featured in the show’s ten years.


Here are the recipes from America’s Test Kitchen for today’s Thanksgiving picks. Click on each link below for a PDF version.

- Classic Turkey

- Spiced Pecans with Rum Glaze

- Skillet Green Beans Amandine

- Spicy Cornbread Stuffing with Red Peppers, Chipotle Chiles, and Andouille Sausage

- Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

- Garlic-Scented Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Milk and Cilantro

- Skillet Apple Pie/Pandowdy

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  • Cory

    I have always enjoyed ATK… Topical and usefull with enjoyable hosts. Keep up the good work please!

  • Brian

    uh oh…
    Sorry, Tom, but I’m turning off the show the first time you make eating noises.

  • Keith Johnson

    What about a fried thanksgiving turkey?

  • Joan

    Hi Julia,

    I am foregoing green beans this year, due to stove space and quality etc.

    Can you suggest a good salad to serve with T-day dinner?

  • Marie

    I’ve been asked to bring the rolls and I’ll be using the Multi-grain Sandwich Bread recipe from Cooks Illustrated to make them. Since I have to make them in advance – any ideas on how to reheat them really well?

  • Rachel

    I am shocked with the “have to have mashed potatoes” rule. We, a traditional southern family with 50+ people every year never have mashed potatoes. I love our meals because it is a great way to experience and introduce others to new dishes.

    Huge fan of Test Kitchen!


  • Holly

    My mouth is watering! Don’t really like sweet potatoes, but I’m trying this recipe!!

  • Maria

    I grill my turkey every year..in a pan, but on a gas grill so i have my oven open for everything else..any tips on grilling?

  • Ellie

    Please post the recipe for make ahead mashed potatoes! It sounds like a lifesaver. Thank you.

  • Chris

    Oh, NO!

    For ME, in the last few decades, Thanksgiving was the National Day to Escape Garlic!

    I’m afraid your wonderful show, which deserves its popularity, will reach too many people and there will be No Escape from this over-used flavor!!!

    Regarding cilantro. It was NPR that told us that some people have the DNA to hate cilantro. I’m one of those people — to me it tastes like soap, and, in recent years, it, too, is lurking in way too many dishes!

    I hate to complain because I love your show, and I love diversity, but, of late, diversity would be flavors of ginger, citrus, vinegar, sweet & sour, peanuts, etc., etc. Garlic and cilantro are cliches!

    Bye! Happy Thanksgiving, but remember the Native Americans, of which I am one! We DO remain!

  • Vicki

    I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner. The menu is always the same, since no one is willing to give up any favorites. The guests talked about regional influences and the one thing that is always served with turkey at our house is sauerkraut slow-simmered with a small piece of pork rib. My mother-in-law was raised in Baltimore and claimed everyone ate sauerkraut at Thanksgiving.

  • Char

    The best turkey I ever had was one that ended up being the simplest. All I had for vegetables was an onion. I sliced it and covered the entire salted/peppered turkey with the raw rings and baked away. The onions caramelized all over it, it was great.

  • Caryn

    to free up the oven this year we are trying a brined “spatchcocked” turkey on the grill! Any tips, comments?

  • Kate

    Just a little warning about traditional stuffing… Do not over do it on the sage. More is not better, it’s actually inedible. The sage takes on a truly weird and terrible flavor.

  • Alma

    I am a big fan of ATK, Cook’s Illustrated & Cook’s Country – I have all the DVD’s and magazines

    Last night I reran the pecan pie DVD in preparation for
    Thanksgiving – I have made in the past but all the details on DVD and website make everything less stressful

    Great recipe

  • Dan R.

    My secret to a juicy turkey has been basting religiously every 30 minutes. How can a work in brining. Will it help with keeping the juice in? This year we will have a 12 lb turkey. Thanks.

  • Bob Colonna

    How about an alternative to all that sugar for dessert? I’ve recently seen a hostess bring out the most beautiful fruit platter with anjou pears, grapes and strawberries, very festive and autumnal, and deliciously sweet.

  • Pat

    I second Ellie, above, in requesting the recipe for the make-ahead mashed potatoes. Anything that can be made ahead should be.

  • Henry Lafferty

    I like the discussion about food. Plan to try some of these recipes.

    I personally think the fear associated with “cooking the turkey” etc. comes from all the discussion on shows like yours and in the papers about how hard it is to turn out a good turkey and thanksgiving meal. I have been cooking the turkey since I was in my early 20′s some have been slightly dry – the worst is the undercooked on, but at least it can be cooked longer. The key is the meal, the fellowship with family and friends, and an attitude of gratitude – for life and the opportunity to give thanks.

  • Leslie

    Thank you so much for airing this show before Thanksgiving day – it gave me lots of ideas and the time to try them.

  • Ruth Hiller

    I never serve mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving . . . always roast potatoes along with a sweet potato casserole. It always wows my guests and I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving dinner without them!

  • Claire

    We’ve been smoking brined turkeys for years on an old charcoal grill and they are wonderful. We cook the turkey directly on the grill (no pan), tent with foil, use indirect heat (adding charcoal partway through) and add a few chunks of fresh cut cherry wood for the smoke. Even without wood, you’ll get a smokey flavor from the charcoal – less so with a gas grill. The cooking time tends to be similar to an oven or perhaps a little longer. A good thermometer to check the bird is essential! I will never cook a turkey in the oven ever again! This year we are going to the in-laws where they always do the turkey-in-the-bag method. Oy!!

    We’ve never tried spatchcocking a turkey but I’ve done dozens of chickens that way. I use a direct grilling method (with or without smoke) with great success – really nice and crispy. I don’t know if trying this with a turkey would just speed up the cooking or cause more drying out because the juices drip out more.

    Since the grill method doesn’t allow for good pan drippings for gravy I get some chicken thighs and/or turkey legs and cook them ahead of time, saving the pan drippings and using the cooked meat for excellent broth.

  • http://kcpw.org Elisabeth

    For those listeners who wanted the make-ahead mashed potatoes, it was an easy google search:


  • David

    I loved the description of the “beer butt Turkey”. Is there a post with the recipe?

  • Brett

    This was a fun show…for some reason, maybe it was because I listened to the show while hungry, I felt inadvertently subjected to a kind of Pavlovian experiment hearing Tom sample the different dishes…:-)

    I tried brining a turkey six years ago, and I will never NOT brine my turkey again!

  • http://thebottlereport.com Dan Doughtie

    This is “Dan from Augusta” who called in. I posted the recipe on my website, bottlereport.com. There are two versions. The War and Peace version that goes through the whole process including the moral dilemmas over what to do with the beer from the beer can and pictures of the bird going through the paces. Then there is the Cliff Notes version that’s just the recipes for the brining and the turkey itself. I’m doing a repeat on Thanksgiving Day and might try injecting some cajun spices.

  • Elaine

    I need the Beer Butt Turkey recipe!!!!!!

  • Putney Swope

    They should rename this program White Americas test kitchen. I like the show but man is it ever a waspy show.

  • Michael Carmody

    a mouth-watering show for sure, I was surprised no one knew what the pilgrim “fricasee of coney” might have been. Every devotee of Lord of The Rings movies knows the scene where a penitent Gollum impresses Frodo and Sam by eagerly bounding home with a couple of bunny rabbits in his maw, whereby Sam chides him on the proper way to prepare a “brace of coneys.”

  • Joe

    I don’t know how you’re listener spelled it when he mentioned the fricasee of coney but Coney derives from a Dutch word for rabbit. It is the origin of the name Coney Island because when the dutch arrived they found a large population on what was at the time an island.

  • Rhonda

    okay – real simple in my house — these are our much loved traditions

    mashed potatoes with onions and lots of garlic and butter

    prepare turnip and carrots together
    (even turnip haters LOVE this)

    we flip our bird a total of 4 times – cooked side to side every half hour (usually a 20 lb bird) then final flip is breast up —- so moist and tasty!!

  • Karen

    Another sauerkraut-supporter! Like Vicki’s mother-in-law, my parents grew up in Maryland, so our spread always included sauerkraut. To me, Thanksgiving is the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven while the sauerkraut simmers slowly away on the range with the turkey neck (and now that I’m the cook, I get to enjoy those delectable bits of neck!). While so many of the traditional dishes lean towards sweet, the sauerkraut provides a welcome bite.

  • Jeff

    Thanks, Elisabeth for the link to the mashed potatoes.

  • shanti bennett

    i really wanted the ladies brunswick stew recipe. with the v8 juice does anyone know it???

  • Stephanie

    I think I enjoyed this “On Point” program as much as or more than any other I have heard. I always enjoy the ATK folks and their tips, and this program inspired me to do a bit more experimentation this year. Thanks for a fun program.

  • http://onpoint kathleen schumacker

    Need help with brining turkey. Remember all the tips from On Point discussion Monday 11/23 – except the part about taking turkey out of brin after 6 or 8 hours and allowing to “air dry” in refrigerator overnight…did anyone get that part of the directions? Not sure if turkey should be covered when air drying (and if so, tightly or loosely). Or if I should just forget the air dry and leave the bird in brine all night.

    Thanks for any help here. kathleen

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