Quick Fixes for Thanksgiving Fails

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Inevitably, something is going to go wrong when you’re whipping up new dishes or cooking for way more people than you’re used to. It can be disappointing to see a recipe you’ve planned and prepped for turn out far from perfect, but for the love of gravy, don’t throw it out! Unless you burnt the thing to a crisp, your “Thanksgiving fail” is probably still edible, fixable, and could potentially be even more delicious than you expected with a few simple tweaks. So let’s get to rescuing!

Burnt pie crust 

apple pie

You looked away for just a second! Pie filling and pie crust don’t always take the same time to cook, so next time you can prevent burning by wrapping your crust in foil when it looks right to you. But if it’s too late…

The quick fix  

Carefully scrape out the cooked filling and make parfait cups with layers of pie filling and crumbled shortbread cookies (or make a quick crumble to add on top). Hooray! Now everyone has a personal pie. 

Over-mashed potatoes 

Yes, this is a thing. Too much or too vigorous mashing will result in unpleasantly gummy mashed potatoes. While there are all kinds of tools out there to make mashing potatoes easier, your best bet is to use an old-fashioned potato masher or a fork. 

The quick fix    

If it’s too late for your taters, spread them in a baking dish and sprinkle with butter, grated cheese, and crispy onions or bread crumbs. Bake at 425° until browned and bubbling on top.

Stuffing too dry 

Curried Sweet Potato Stuffing

Left your stuffing in the oven for too long? Didn’t use enough wet ingredients? Tried a new recipe and it failed for some unexplainable reason? 

The quick fix  

Mix together some stock and melted butter and use it to baste the stuffing. You need enough of the mixture to coat all of it. Cover with foil and bake for a few minutes to let it steam.

Over-whipped whipped cream

What’s great about making whipped cream from scratch is that the worst you can do is turn it into butter by over whipping it. Not a bad outcome, if you ask us.

The quick fix 

Add a little cinnamon and honey. Now you have fancy cinnamon butter for people to spread on their rolls. 

Cracked pumpkin pie

Mexican Spiced Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie can crack for a few reasons: spending too long in the oven, cooling too quickly after being removed from heat, or experiencing a chemical reaction in the filling mixture.

The quick fix

Dust your pie with powdered sugar or spread whipped cream on top. No one will ever know. 

Gravy gone runny

Some people prefer runny gravy, and this might just be the year you set out one thick gray and one thin gravy for folks to choose from. But if you prefer it thicker, it probably just needs more flour or to cook for longer so the water can evaporate.

The quick fix

Mix together equal parts water and flour until it forms a paste. Bring your gravy to a boil and add dollops of the flour and water mixture until the gravy is at your desired consistency.


  • Paula
    November 17, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    Great ideas!
    Now, do you take requests?
    I just got an “air fryer.” The pamphlet that came with it is VERY limited for recipes. Can you do a post recommending ways to make use of Imperfect Foods in an air fryer?
    Many thanks!

    • Imperfect Foods
      November 18, 2021 at 12:28 pm

      Thanks so much for the suggestion, we’ll pass it along to the team!


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