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We Tested Pinterest Thanksgiving Hacks To See Which Ones Were Legit

Here's what worked and what (definitely) didn't.

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Hey there! I'm Marie, from BuzzFeed's Food team.

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I love cooking and eating, and so I (obviously) love Thanksgiving. I also spend a ton of time on Pinterest to find the latest recipes, tips, and hacks.


Since Thanksgiving is the ultimate food holiday — but also can be a huge headache to plan — I wanted to see if Pinterest had any good tips for prepping and hosting.

And to make *your* time easier, I tried some of the most popular ones to see which actually worked. Here's what I found out:

1. HACK #1: Run pumpkin puree through a food processor to get an even smoother pumpkin pie filling.

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THE IDEA: You take your usual recipe for pumpkin pie but you run your canned purée through a food processor for a minute or so, before adding it to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients. According to The Kitchn, this'll give you a super-silky-smooth pumpkin pie.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

DID IT WORK?: Yes! 😍

THE RESULTS: This is the best kind of hack: It takes only an extra minute and it's totally worth it. I baked two pies, one where the pumpkin purée was processed, the other one where it was used straight out of the can. The pie with the processed purée was definitely smoother and silkier than the test pie. It ended up being one of the best pumpkin pies I've ever made.


2. HACK #2: Make peeling potatoes much easier by boiling them skin-on and submerging them in ice-cold water first.

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THE IDEA: If you boil your potatoes skin-on and then put them in ice water, the skin will easily peel right off.


THE RESULTS: First off, I have to admit I didn't even see the point of this hack. What's so bad about peeling potatoes that you need a two-step, 20-minute hack to avoid doing it? But I tried it anyway, and it didn't even work. Maybe I didn't put enough ice cubes in my water? But the potatoes skin didn't slide right off. Not even close. I ended up having to peel wet, soft potatoes, and that, my friend, wasn't fun. 😒

3. HACK #3: Make a fool-proof spiral twirl crust to top your pies.

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THE IDEA: A video about pie-decorating hacks recently went viral on Facebook and I wanted to try a couple of them to see how doable they actually were. For this one, I tried the ~spiral twirl~ technique, where you spin strips of dough and then place them in a spiral shape on top of your pie. I also tried using a spoon to fold the crust into a cool design.

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DID IT WORK?: Yep! And it was really pretty.

THE RESULTS: Twirling the dough required a bit of patience. It would break at times and I had to patch strips together. The spoon hack, on the other hand, was super easy. Both looked really great in the end and I'll definitely do this again to spice up my pie game (and yes, I know the edges of my pie look burnt, but that's the way I like it).

(BTW, I used Ina Garten's pie dough recipe and it's the best.)

Marie Telling

DID IT WORK?: Yes. It's delicious.

THE RESULTS: To compare, I made two identical gravies and just added a teaspoon of dark soy sauce to the second one. I was skeptical at first, wondering how much of a difference a teaspoon could make. Well, I shouldn't have doubted the power of soy sauce because it really gave an amazing depth of flavor to the whole thing. The basic soy sauce–free gravy was good, but the soy sauce one was truly delicious. Definitely worth it!

5. HACK #5: Add vodka to a piecrust to make it flakier.

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THE IDEA: Here's the deal: The more moisturized your dough is, the less likely it is to break when you're prepping the pie, but a dough with too much water will also be tougher once cooked.

It's a fine line to walk and, according to Cooks Illustrated, you can solve this problem by replacing part of the water in the recipe by vodka. It'll add moisture to the dough making it easier to handle, but most of it will evaporate during baking so that your pie crust is deliciously flaky. (Here's the recipe.)

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THE RESULTS: To really see if this hack was worth it, I baked a second pie using this recipe that's very similar to the Cooks Illustrated one, except for the fact that it doesn't use vodka.

Prep-wise, the vodka dough definitely didn't break as easily as the test-pie. But it was also much stickier because of the moisture from the vodka. It was kind of a mess to handle, TBH, and I probably wouldn't pick this method if I were making a lattice.

Once baked, the vodka crust was definitely flakier and crumblier that the test pie, while still holding together well. I had a few people try it and most people preferred the vodka crust because of its flakiness. So, does it make a difference? Yes, definitely. Is it worth the effort? If you really love super-flaky pie crusts, probably. Otherwise, I wouldn't go out of my way to try it.


6. HACK #6: Turn leftover pie into a milkshake.

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THE IDEA: Apparently, you can repurpose your leftover Thanksgiving pie by blending a slice with two scoops of ice cream and a splash of milk to turn it into a milkshake. For pecan pie (which is what I had at home), People Food recommends using vanilla ice cream and adding a glug of bourbon too.

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DID IT WORK?: Not really. It was kinda gross, TBH. 🙃

THE RESULTS: Oh man. First, I'm not sure how long you're supposed to blend a pie slice to achieve a milkshake level of smooth. I blended for about 10 minutes and it was still so chunky I had to sieve the whole thing before drinking it. Second, it made a ridiculously small amount of milkshake. Third, it was sickeningly sweet so I didn't even drink a quarter of that ridiculously small amount. Texture-wise, I think this may work better with a pumpkin pie, but just be prepared for a big sugar high.

7. HACK #7: Use wax paper instead of flour to make rolling out your pie dough even easier.

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THE IDEA: Instead of using flour and making a mess, place your dough in between two sheets of wax paper to roll it out.

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DID IT WORK?: Lol. No.

THE RESULTS: This may work with something drier than pie dough (like store-bought cookie dough), but it was a complete waste of time in this case. I know flour makes a mess, but at least it works.


8. HACK #8: Add baking powder to your mashed potatoes to make them super fluffy.

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THE IDEA: You should add a pinch of baking powder to your mashed potatoes to make them fluffier.

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DID IT WORK?: I guess? It was kinda hard to tell the difference.

THE RESULTS: As instructed, I added a pinch of baking powder while I was mashing the potatoes. When I tasted the potatoes and compared to some without the baking powder, I honestly couldn't really tell the difference. But since this is a super low-effort hack, if you already have some baking powder in your pantry, it doesn't hurt to try.

9. HACK #9: Easily clean your food processor by filling it with water and dish soap, then blending.

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THE IDEA: Cleaning a food processor is the worst: It's so big and inconvenient, and so many different parts are involved. To make this chore easier, just pour some water and dish soap half way through your dirty food processor. Run the blender for a few seconds. Empty and rinse, and it'll be magically clean!

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed


THE RESULTS: I've tried this method several times, after using my food processor for different recipes (pie dough, pumpkin puree, hummus, etc.). It's worked pretty well every time, especially if you clean the food processor right after using it instead of hours later. Also, watching the soap foam is kinda fun, so there's that.

Marie Telling / BuzzFeed

DID IT WORK?: Yes, but I kinda fucked it up.

THE RESULTS: The whole thing is super smart, easy enough, and I ended up with something resembling roses. But next time I do this hack, I'll make sure to use thinner pieces of dough. Mine were pretty thick and the final product was a bit a clunky and awkward.

11. HACK #11: Cover your pie in parchment paper when you bake it to cook it more evenly.

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THE IDEA: According to Food52, wrapping your pie in parchment paper (or in a paper bag) is the best way to get an evenly cooked pie.

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DID IT WORK?: Meh. 😕

THE RESULTS: I don't know, you guys. Maybe I didn't do this right? It took forever to cook, much longer than the test pie, and it didn't look much better. In the end, I wasn't particularly impressed with the result. If I had to try again, I'd probably use a paper bag instead of parchment paper. But honestly, I probably won't try again.


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