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Michael Brandy
Ed Quinlan injects seasoning into the turkey before cooking it in the The Ultimate Turkey Dutch oven.

The star of Thanksgiving is food, although football fans may disagree. Maybe all you care about is keeping the kids busy while you cook for hours on end. Whatever the case, there are handy apps out there to help your turkey day run more smoothly.


The Butterball Cookbook Plus app (free; iOS and Android) is exactly what everyone in charge of cooking the big bird needs. Of course it has hundreds of recipes, ideas for ingredient substitutes and conversion charts, but the most important feature is the turkey calculator. It helps you choose the right turkey, proper portions and the all important thawing and cooking times. This app is the best bet to keep hosts from messing up the star of the Thanksgiving show, the turkey.

The Big Oven app (free; iOS, Android, Windows) brings a social aspect into cooking and has the best idea for Thanksgiving help: the leftover search engine. List what leftover ingredients you have on hand and it will tell you what to make. Big Oven has 350,000 recipes submitted by home cooks and you can add your own to the list. Another great feature allows users to keep all those treasured family recipes in one place. Just snap a photo of the recipe card and the app will type it in for you for safe-keeping. Big Oven will create a shopping list based on your meal plan, which is available to share with other grocery shoppers in the family.


Yes, a college football game will likely be on display during Thanksgiving as well. But how to keep track of so many going on at once? The ESPN app (free; iOS and Android) has you covered with highlights and scores for your favorite teams right on the homepage. Users can also livestream games by signing in through their TV provider. Which content is available all depends on the TV provider and package you have. To stream any content, users must allow ESPN to know where you are by granting location access through the app.


Loud Crow Interactive
The A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving app brings the 1973 kids classic back, with new interactive elements.

There is nothing greater than introducing your kids to bits of nostalgia from the Thanksgivings of your youth. For many of us, watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” each year was part of our holiday tradition. Now, the 1973 original with all its dialogue, sound effects and music is digitally remastered in an app, ready to charm your children. The A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving app has fun interactive elements that activate as kids tilt, swipe and touch the screen. There are hidden leaves to find throughout the story and three modes: Read to Me, Read Myself, and Autoplay. You can even kick the football with Charlie Brown, with no guarantees whether Lucy will pull it away at the last minute. The app is $3.99 for Google Play or in the Amazon App Store, and $4.99 for iPhone and iPad. Right now, Apple’s App Store is offering it in a bundle along with “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Charlie Brown’s All Stars!” interactive stories for $14.99.

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For a quiet kids’ activity, download the Thanksgiving Coloring Book! app (free; iOS and Android). With tons of Thanksgiving-themed pictures and 60 colors, children will love creating a turkey day masterpiece. Kids can finger paint or use the paint bucket tool for easier coloring, and when they’re finished, they simply shake their device to clear the picture and start over. Save the finished pictures to post to social media or email to loved ones who weren’t able to make it for turkey dinner.