How to throw the best (and easiest) Friendsgiving

October 30, 2023

It’s that time of the year! My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, but Friendsgiving is a close second. I love having my friends in our home, catching up and spending time together before the craziness of the holidays. But in reality, our home isn’t huge, specifically the kitchen.

After years of hosting this annual tradition, Manny and I have somewhat gotten this hosting thing kind of figured out. I wanted to share some easy recipes and tips we have learned along the way. There are so many turkey specials now, I would research a few options before purchasing one.

So here are 10 tips to make the hosting a little easier!

Friendsgiving Hosting Tips:

Schedule it- To start off, you need a date and time! To help us choose, we use Doodle. The host picks 2 dates and times and everyone chooses their preference.

Menu- When planning the menu, think about if you want a brunch or a more traditional dinner? Is it sit down or buffet style? Plan your menu around this.

Plan Ahead- Ask your guests if they will need an oven to help you plan your cooking time. I would advise having the turkey almost done before everyone arrives and let it sit. That way, the oven is open for your guests to heat up their dishes.

Turkey time- The easiest way is for the host to make the turkey. But one thing we have learned along the way is it doesn’t HAVE to be a turkey. There are other options like a turkey breast or cornish hen. Just as good, but a little more manageable at times. You could even find these already seasoned. If you want them unseasoned, just make sure you adjust the brine or dry rub recipe according to the size of turkey you get. If we aren’t making the rub, my favorite is Urban Accents!

Don’t overcook- The host can make the turkey, 1-2 appetizers or sides, but have everyone sign up for a dish along with a paired bottle of wine or beverage. This can easily be done in shared an excel spreadsheet with all the guests.

Decorations– Using candy corn or dried cranberries as a base in candle holders is festive, but easy. Or add fake pumpkins into vases, easy!

Make a punch!- I always recommend making a punch because it serves several people, cost effective, it can be non-alcoholic and the punch bowl makes a pretty centerpiece on your table. See the recipe below.

Playlist– Assign a friend to a make a playlist or create one together on Spotify.

Beverages– If you have a small kitchen like us, keep all beer and soda outside (if that’s an option). It keeps people out of the kitchen, which is always bustling during this time.

Good Cause- Lastly, every year we try to choose a nonprofit to donate. Whether it’s the Red Cross, Chicago Food Depository or another nonprofit, it’s a great way to give back at the start of the holiday season.

Turkey Tips:

There are lots of ways to make a turkey. Google it, YouTube it and follow the cooking directions on the back of the turkey. We do not stuff it, rather cook the vegetables around the turkey and stuffing separately, but that’s just a personal preference of ours! As a good rule to follow, there should be about 1 1/2 -2 pounds per person. We love having leftovers, so that’s something to keep in mind.


I never knew there was so much to think about to prep a turkey, but defrosting it is a HUGE part of the process. It is best to thaw turkey in the refrigerator, where it’s too cold for harmful bacteria to grow. Use the bottom shelf, in case of drips or place paper towels underneath. We keep it in the original packaging, face side up. Plan ahead to allow a full day for every 4 pounds of turkey being thawed.

If you decide to spatchcock the turkey, this video is really helpful! It cuts down on cook down big time!


If you decide to cook a fresh turkey or thaw out a frozen one, remove the giblets and save them for gravy stock (if you want!). I’ll be honest, this is where my husband steps in! Not my favorite part. Rinse the turkey under cool running water, and dry it inside and out with paper towels.


Choose a sturdy plan to cook it in. A pan that is heavy, stainless steel with handles is super helpful. We love our’s from Target and it’s always on sale too 🙂

Dry Rub

Once the turkey is fully defrosted, brine it for 12-24 hours (depending on size) before cooking or use a dry rub, which is what we use. There is a premade one like Urban Accents or use a simple recipe:

Cooking: This will vary depending the size and whether it’s stuffed. Below is a chart we use as a guide from All Recipes

 Weight of Bird Roasting Time (Unstuffed) Roasting Time (Stuffed)
10 to 18 pounds3 to 3-1/2 hours3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds3-1/2 to 4 hours4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds4 to 4-1/2 hours5 to 5-1/2 hours
24 to 29 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 hours5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

Manny’s Spatchcocked Turkey Recipe 


  • Whole turkey, thawed (any size)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped 
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped

For the butter:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1 TB fresh rosemary
  • 1 TB fresh sage
  • 1 TB fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Ensure turkey is completely thawed
  2. Remove turkey from packaging and rinse off with cold water and remove giblets and neck bones
  3. Pat dry and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour
  4. While the turkey is resting, make your butter. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until the herbs and butter are completely mixed together
  5. It’s not time to spatchcock your turkey. Here’s a link to help you do that –
  6. In a wire rack pan, place your veggies on the bottom of the pan
  7. Please turkey on top of wire rack pan
  8. Butter her up! Separate the skin from meat and put butter underneath the skin. Once buttered underneath, butter the outside of the turkey
  9. Set over to 450 degrees
  10. Cook uncovered until breast reaches 150 and the thigh reaches 185 degrees, around 90 minutes
  11. Take the turkey out and let the turkey rest. Put tin foil around the turkey and let it rest for 30 minutes. Turkey will continue to cook
  12. Carve and enjoy!

Side Dishes:

Corn Casserole

I love this side dish so much actually anytime of the year!


  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 8.5 oz package dry corn bread mix
  • 1 15 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 packets Splenda
  • 1 14.75 oz can creamed corn
  • 1 cup sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×9 inch baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine butter, eggs, corn bread mix, whole and creamed corn, Splenda and sour cream. Add mixture to baking dish.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown.
  4. I prefer it served warm, but it can be kept cool until ready to be served.

Mother in laws Puerto Rican Rice recipe (arroz con guandles)

Always great to have on the table for a side! Recipe linked here.

Harvest Salad:

I love to have a salad at a large meal for a few reasons. If you have vegetarians, it’s great, but it also adds beautiful colors on the table.


  • 1 bag spring mix
  • 1 red apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 pear, cored and chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1 cup glazed, candied pecans
  • balsamic dressing


  1. Add spring mix, fruit, goat cheese and top with pecans.
  2. Enjoy!

Stuffed Jalapeños

This recipe is so easy! My MIL gave me it me last year and they went! It’s a great appetizer for people to grab.


  • 24 jalapeños, washed and de-seeded, sliced in half
  • package of cream cheese
  • 2 packages of cooked Italian sausage


  1. Cook meat according to directions on the package
  2. Let me cool, then add cream cheese
  3. Fill jalepenos with meat and cream cheese
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees

Champagne Punch:

This recipe has been a family staple in my house ever since I was a kid. It’s one of my absolute favorites! It adds a lot of color to the table. You can add champagne or use sparkling juice, both taste great.


  • 2 bottles champagne or 1 bottle of sparkling juice
  • 2 bottles ginger ale
  • 1 can (46 oz) pineapple juice
  • Frozen strawberries OR freeze strawberries/raspberries in ice cube trays


  1. Add all liquids together
  2. Top with frozen strawberries or raspberries
  3. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie or Dessert

I love pumpkin pie. Is it really Thanksgiving without one on the table? NO! I have to say, since we host Friendsgiving, we don’t make homemade pies. It’s just too much work! But there are so many places you can pick up from like Bang, Bang Pie.

If you need some hosting ideas, you can see more here!

You can shop anything above here!

As always, thanks for following along and you can follow me on Instagram. Most importantly, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I am thankful for so much, including being able to share all this with you.

I hope some of these tips and recipes help you entertain this holiday season! Friendsgiving is my favorite! Let me know if you make any of these recipes, I would love to see how your dinners turn out.


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