Use this post to find out when you can shop for the different ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner. Make sure you get what you need for the meal without the stress of shopping at the busy times. Let us help you get a head start!
I don't know if anyone likes standing in line.
If you do, I got to say you are more patient than I am.
What about standing in line on the day before Thanksgiving Day?
That's probably a big fat no for most of us. If you did this last year, you are probably hoping to avoid it this year.
It would be easier to just buy the ingredients for the meal before hand. Here comes the dilemma, what if they go bad?
It's about fine tuning our desire to not stand in line with our desire to have fresh ingredients.
Don't want to buy your ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner at the last minute? Then you need to check out our Low Stress Thanksgiving Shopping Guide for all the answers. This guide will help you get ahead of the game and avoid the long check out lines. Know how early you can buy each ingredient with customizable printable shopping lists.
🦃 Thanksgiving Staples
We have more detailed information on a few of the more popular Thanksgiving stables. For more info on these ingredients check out this posts:
🧂 Pantry Staples
Anything that you can buy that doesn't need refrigeration, you might want to consider buying in early November. Stock up and this will cut down on your list later on in the month. You won't feel so overwhelmed.
Here are some items you may consider if they are on your ingredient list for Thanksgiving.
- Salt (an essential!)
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Chicken Stock or Broth
- Dried Mushrooms
- Crispy Onions for Green Bean Casserole
- Dried Herbs (fresh herbs should be bough close to Thanksgiving)
- Canned pumpkin (although I recommend cooking your own pumpkin)
- Sweet condensed milk
- Evaporated milk
- Corn starch or an alternative starch
- Cooking oil
- Anything frozen
You could do a pantry stock up only shopping trip to make it easy or include any of these items with your normal grocery shopping routine.
You can get this checked off your list at any time. Butter can last for months. Butter is one of those items that is often on sale for Thanksgiving, so you may want to wait to save a little but you for sure don't have to.
You don't need to freeze butter to keep it long enough, however if you are have more freezer space than fridge space, you may want to do that just for that reason alone.
🥧 Apples or Pumpkins for Pie
If you live in a place that grows apples or pumpkins, I recommend you hit up a local orchard or farm before they close for the year. Some places close right around or shortly after Halloween. Some remain open through Thanksgiving or later.
For the best pies, find out what the farmers recommends. Especially with the apples as most grocery stores nowadays offer mainly apples great for eating but not the best baking apples (you could always go with reliable Granny Smith).
Pie pumpkins can be stored at room temperature until you need them. They make great decoration. Apples should be put in the fridge. An apple you will use for a pie should last for several weeks as end of season apples are typically the ones with the longer shelf life.
📆 Best Time to Shop
It's my thought that you can finish your Thanksgiving shopping by the Monday before Thanksgiving. I think that Monday is one of the best days to shop. The weekend before is busy but usually there is a lull on Monday before traffic at stores picks up on Monday. Can't make it that day? Then shop as early in the morning over the next couple days as you can get there.
You don't need to go any closer to Thanksgiving for anything. And at that time the only thing that you could be going for is more perishable items like green beans and green herbs.
Instead of standing in a long line the day before Thanksgiving you can be home preparing your meal for the next day.
If you aren't getting those items, then you go a week before Thanksgiving. Veggies like carrots, Brussels sprouts, celery, and all the root vegetables will easily last for a 1 week in your fridge.
Wondering what the worst time to shop for Thanksgiving is? Sunday afternoon before Thanksgiving can be busy. On the day before anytime after 10am to around 4pm is super busy. Usually right before the store closes it calms down but your selection may be sparse then and you may have to take what you can get.
🗒️ Menu Planning
Plan out your full Thanksgiving menu with what you are going to make and what your guests are going to make before you do any of the shopping. I see more people at grocery stores with a paper Thanksgiving shopping list than I do any other time of the year.
It's a good idea.
Knowing everything you need before you go to the store will save you trips and make it easier to buy ingredients ahead of time. We have a running shopping list in an app on our phones.
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Feeling anxious about cooking the meal? Not sure whether brining your turkey is worth your time? Hate peeling potatoes for mashed potatoes but don't know any other way? Never sure when a pumpkin pie is done?
If you have questions like this that have brought stress or anxiety to what should be a fun meal to cook, then you need to sign up for our Thanksgiving Anxiety Reducing email list.
Got more questions about the Thanksgiving meal? Check out our Thanksgiving Troubleshooting page.