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10 Thanksgiving mistakes you don't want to make

Your turkey day will run much smoother if you follow these tips.

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Alina Bradford
Thanksgiving tips
1 of 13 James Martin/RemiainInLight.com

Surviving Thanksgiving is no easy feat. There's a lot to juggle -- side dishes, keeping the family occupied and figuring out when to cook everything when you only have one oven. Relax, we're here to help. We show you 10 things you're doing wrong in the kitchen and how to make the day run much more smoothly.

Originally published in the dim and distant past.

cleaning
2 of 13 Wojtek Skora/iStock

You wash your turkey

My mom always taught me to wash my turkey before I prep it for roasting. I bet you do, too. According to the USDA, all washing does is spread bacteria, possibly contaminating other foods in your kitchen. This Thanksgiving, save some time, skip the rinse and keep your cooking area sanitary.

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3 of 13 Chris Monroe/CNET

You're stuffing the bird

Yes, it's a tradition, but stuffing your bird can make it cook more slowly and less evenly. If you just have to have the yummy flavor, use the juices from the turkey pan to make your gravy or moisten up your stuffing.

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4 of 13 Alina Bradford/CNET

You're baking your cookies wrong

If you bake your cookies on a cookie sheet, you're missing out. Cooking them in a muffin tin can make chewier, yummier cookies. Here's how to make them.

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5 of 13 Taylor Martin/CNET

You're making pie the old-fashioned way

Stop baking pie in pans and start making them in mugs as a cool new family tradition. Taylor Martin has the details on making pie -- and other delicious delights -- in the microwave.  

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6 of 13 Colin West McDonald/CNET

You use your oven for everything

Instead of stuffing your oven full (which can inhibit heat circulation) or cooking things in shifts, make use of other appliances. For example, use your toaster oven set on bake for making stuffing (or dressing, if you prefer) and your slow cooker for side dishes like green bean casserole.

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7 of 13 Josh Miller/CNET

Or try something completely different

Try sous vide cooking with a machine like the Anova. The water bath and plastic cooking bag keep foods moist and the food's temperature consistent throughout the item while it cooks.

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8 of 13 Taylor Martin/CNET

You're scrubbing scorched pans

Instead of scrubbing a singed pan, try this simple soaking technique and sit down to some football. 

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9 of 13 Taylor Martin/CNET

You use aluminum foil for everything

Though aluminum foil has at least 21 nifty uses, it shouldn't be your only go-to. For example, foil sticks to just about every kind of food, so you're better off lining your pans with parchment paper.

foil in the oven
10 of 13 Alina Bradford/CNET

You use foil in the oven

Foil doesn't belong in the bottom of your oven, either. It can melt and stick to it. Here are two other ways to protect your oven from splatters.

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11 of 13 Alina Bradford/CNET

Wax paper, parchment and foil

Here are some more tips on when to use wax paper, parchment and foil.

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12 of 13 EyeEm/Getty Images

You reheat bread in the oven

Reheating bread in the oven is your ticket to Dried-Out City. Instead, pop your bread in the microwave for 30 seconds. If it's already on the stale side, put a mug of water in the microwave with the bread. Mmm... warm and moist.

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13 of 13 Alina Bradford/CNET

You're letting your mixer splash

A splashing mixer creates more mess to clean up. Here's how to prevent splatters and make cleanup easier.

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