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Add this 1 ingredient to make fluffier mashed potatoes, plus more hacks to try

Save your time and sanity with these smart Thanksgiving cooking hacks.
Mashed potatoes
Check your pantry, not your fridge, for this secret ingredient. Photography Ren? Bosch / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Making a Thanksgiving feast is, obviously, quite a lot of work. But you can make your kitchen equipment work harder this Thanksgiving with these hacks to save your time and your sanity.

CafeMom contributor Nacia Walsh is here to show you how a cooler, a slow cooker and some vodka will take the stress out of your Thanksgiving. (And no, the idea is not that you drink the vodka. But, I mean, you could.)

Slow cooker

Oven space is valuable. Use your slow cooker to make a side dish like a green bean casserole or crock pot sweet potatoes to save time and space. Plus, the slow cooker keeps the dish warm and ready to serve for a few hours.


Lumpy gravy is the worst and sometimes, inevitable no matter how much you whisk. So I have a trick: Make your gravy the way your normally do on the stove-top, then pour it into a food processor, give it a few pulses for smooth gravy. Not ready to serve yet? Transfer it to a coffee thermos to keep warm and save stove-top space. Transfer it to your pretty serving dish right before you sit down.


Of course, you can use your cooler to keep drinks cold and free up fridge space, but you can also use it to keep dishes hot. Line a cooler with tin foil and pop in your ready-to-go, hot dishes to keep them warm. We love this for tailgating, camping, and holidays when you need to keep things warm.

Pie crusts

For flakier pie crusts, liquor is the secret! If you don't want to impart any flavor, use vodka. I use 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of vodka for my crust. You can use Bourbon or whiskey as well, but you will be able to taste their flavors. Those are perfect for apple or pecan pies.

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Mashed potatoes

For fluffier mashed potatoes, a pinch of baking soda does the trick! Make your potatoes like you normally would, mash with butter and milk until they're about 95% mashed. Then add a pinch of baking soda and mix for another 45 seconds to a minute. Season with salt and pepper and you're done!