Picture this: It’s about a half hour before your guests arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey’s nearly finished roasting, a pumpkin pie is cooling on the windowsill, your servicemember spouse is setting the table, and the bowl of mashed potatoes is… wait? Where’d the mashed potatoes go?

With so many dishes coming in and out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving, it’s understandable if you lose track of one and it, well, never gets cooked. But don’t fret if you find yourself with a bag of raw potatoes rather than the fluffy, whipped ones you promised your guests. The microwave can be your number-one tool for whipping up a tasty Thanksgiving in no time, no matter the dish. Read on for how to prepare some of your Thanksgiving favorites the microwave.


Believe it or not, you can actually cook a turkey in the microwave. Well, a small one, at least (8-10 pounds). Simply place the turkey in a microwave safe bag, then cook it for 10 minutes per pound on medium power.

2. Mashed Potatoes

Whip up everyone’s favorite side dish in a matter of minutes. Poke half-inch deep holes into the potatoes with a knife or fork. Place the potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave 3-5 minutes per potato. Carefully remove the plastic wrap with tongs, then add in your desired ingredients, such as butter, milk, cheese, garlic, etc.) and mash until incorporated.

3. Green beans

Cooking doesn’t get any easier than this. Simply cook a store-bought microwave bag of green beans to package directions. Then toss with butter, garlic, bacon bits, slivered almonds, or anything else you desire.

4. Cranberry Sauce

Yes, you could always buy it in a can, or you could simply combine a 12-oz. bag of cranberries, 1 cup of sugar, and 1/2-cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and nuke on high for 5 minutes or until the cranberries burst. Give the sauce a good stir before serving.

5. Stuffing

No Thanksgiving feast is complete without this starchy side. Make in on the fly by combining a bag of StoveTop stuffing with 1/2 cups hot water and 1/4-cup chopped butter in a microwave-safe dish. At this point, you can also add any chopped vegetables or extra seasonings you’d like. Then microwave on high for 5-6 minutes.

6. Sweet potato casserole

Similar to the mashed potatoes recipe, poke half-inch holes into 2 lbs. of sweet potatoes. Place in the microwave on high for 5-8 minutes. Carefully peel and slice the potatoes, and add them to a microwave-safe dish with 1/4-cup packed brown sugar and 1/4-cup butter. Mash until smooth and microwave for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with your choice of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, mini marshmallows, and pecans, then microwave for 2-4 more minutes.

7. Pumpkin Pie

Forgot you were supposed to bring dessert? Simply mix up a standard pumpkin pie filling, such as the one in this recipe, then pour into a ready-made 9-inch pie crust in a microwave-safe pie dish. Microwave for 14-20 minutes on medium or until the center of the pie is set. Chill before serving.

8. Cornbread

This extra accompaniment takes minutes to make. Simply prepare a store-bought cornbread mix to package directions, pour into a greased 8-inch microwave-safe dish, and microwave for 8 minutes on medium. This bread won’t get as golden brown or crispy as it would in the oven, but it pairs just as well with butter and honey.

9. Baked apples

This single-serve dessert is perfect for a smaller group. Core two apples, leaving the bottom intact. In a separate bowl, mix 2 Tbsp. of brown sugar, 1 tsp. nutmeg, and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Spoon the mixture evenly into each of the apples, and top with a small pat of better. Place the apples in a microwave-safe casserole dish and cook microwave for 4 minutes. Let apples cook for a few minutes before serving with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

10. Gravy

Let’s not forget the icing, er, gravy on top! Combine 2 Tbsp. of butter or fat drippings from your turkey with 2 Tbsp. flour and 1 cup of turkey broth or pan juices in a microwave-safe bowl. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and herbs. Microwave for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Is your cooking ahead of schedule? Try one of these recipes:

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