Make Ahead Thanksgiving Sides Dishes and Desserts

 Anytime we entertain, I usually like to look at our menu and decide what can I make in advance. Traditionally we have gone to a Turkey Jam at our workout facility on the morning of Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, that time is not used cooking last-minute sides. I thought I would share 30  Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts that have worked for our family and other food bloggers so you can eliminate the day of Thanksgiving cooking craziness.

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes

For at least the last 15 of the 20 years I have been married I have hosted Thanksgiving at our house. I am not looking for sympathy just stating a fact. My husband and I love it and would not give it up for anything, we have gotten it down to a science until we switch up the meal. 

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts


While all these are great they may be the only thing you are eating if you don’t cook your turkey the right way. We went to the experts at Butterball to get their proper cooking times for your Thanksgiving Turkey. You don’t want to get anyone sick this Thanksgiving, especially if they are overnight guests!! has a conversions table on their site where you can figure out just how long your specific weight turkey needs to defrost and how long to cook your Turkey.


Best Make Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes

Best Make ahead Thanksgiving sides that you can freeze or make a day or two in advance.


Make-ahead Side Dishes for Thanksgiving

Spirited Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Cranberry sauce is best made a day or two ahead of time. Make it on the stove, allow it to cool and then store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Mom's Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Photo Credit:

Baked Macaroni and Cheese, loaded with melty Vermont white cheddar. Around our parts, it's just not a holiday meal without it. And the make-ahead beauty of this tasty side is it's actually better if prepared the day ahead and refrigerated overnight before baking!

Cornbread Pudding, Easy and Delicious!

Photo Credit:

Ditch bread stuffing this Thanksgiving and make Cornbread Pudding instead! Assemble it in advance for a no-stress meal!

Make Ahead Stuffing Recipes 

Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

Photo Credit:

 This savory and sweet cornbread stuffing has made in advance cornbread, breakfast sausage, and delicious herbs! Prepare in advance, pour in the broth when you’re ready to bake!

Homemade Bread Stuffing with Butternut Squash & Bacon

Photo Credit:

Crispy bacon, chewy cubes of toasted, buttery bread, and a smattering of tender butternut squash make this Homemade Bread Stuffing a total MUST MAKE for your holiday dinner

Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing

Photo Credit:

There are so many things to love about Traditional Southern Cornbread Dressing and, in addition to the taste which is divine, it’s virtually effortless to make. Both the cornbread and the dressing can be made well ahead of the big day and frozen so that all you have to do is pop it in the oven

Make Ahead Veggie Side Dishes

Fresh Green Bean Casserole with Fried Shallots

Photo Credit:

This green bean casserole uses no canned ingredients, only fresh! Prepare in advance and warm in the oven on Thanksgiving!

Ratatouille (Recipe + Video)

Photo Credit:

Ratatouille is a bounty of fresh vegetables roasted in a rich tomato sauce, delivering the most incredible side or main dish. Can be made ahead. This Ratatouille recipe is Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Paleo, Low Carb, Whole30, Keto, and Dairy Free…and yet fires on all cylinders! Everyone can enjoy it.

Lawry's Famous Creamed Spinach

Photo Credit:

Lawry's Creamed Spinach is the perfect side dish to go with your holiday dinner. Make it a day or two ahead and just reheat!

Creamy Spinach Cheese Bake

Photo Credit:

Make this ahead, freeze if desired, and warm for serving in a casserole dish in the oven or crock pot. Perfect for the hostess or to take along if traveling. (I have personally done both many times.) Being low carb and gluten free is an added bonus

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette Recipe

Photo Credit:

These easy Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette can be made up to a few days in advance then just warmed that day. Make a little extra of the vinaigrette to drizzle right before serving.

Make Ahead Breads

Homemade Dinner Rolls {Extra Soft and Buttery} OfBatter&Dough

Photo Credit:

This dinner roll recipe just might be my family’s most requested item. They are a staple at Thanksgiving dinner and pretty much every other special occasion where dinner rolls are appropriate. They can easily be made ahead of time and frozen

Cheddar Corn Biscuits (Flaky & Delicious)

Photo Credit:

These Cheddar Corn Biscuits are the perfect combination of flaky and soft! Packed with flavor and the sweetness of corn. Perfect for Thanksgiving. Plus, they can be made ahead of time & frozen too!

Potato Side Make Ahead Dishes

Sweet Potato Casserole with crunchy topping

A wonderful and easy sweet potato casserole great all year long. We have made sweet potatoes a few different ways and this was a fun and easily made ahead  Classic Sweet Potato casserole from Southern living or this sweet potato casserole that is has cereal topping. 

Cheesy Bacon Potato Casserole

Photo Credit:

Make ahead and heat it up in the oven on Thanksgiving Day! This Cheesy Bacon Potato Casserole is so flavorful, simple to make and require no peeling of potatoes!

Creamy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Photo Credit:

An important secret to getting through the holidays when you’re hosting is to make ahead when you can! These make ahead mashed potatoes can be prepared up to 2 days before which makes them perfect for holiday planning.

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole

Photo Credit:

Classic Southern Sweet Potato Casserole can easily be made ahead - either a day or two and refrigerated, or several weeks and frozen. Loaded with creamy sweet potatoes and crumbly crunchy brown sugar-pecan topping, it's a classic holiday side dish for a reason - because it's just plain good.

Green Beans Casserole with Mashed Potato Topping: Two Thanksgiving Side Dishes in One


Make-Ahead Duchess Sweet Potatoes

Photo Credit:

Dress up your holiday dinners with these Make-Ahead Duchess Sweet Potatoes. Here’s an easy savoury side dish recipe that can be made in advance.

Thanksgiving Side Dishes Made in an Instant Pot

If you have limited oven space especially during Thanksgiving meal prep, then you need to let your Instant Pot take over and make some of these delicious Thanksgiving side dishes in a pressure cooker

Easy Make-Ahead Sweet Potato Casserole with Toasted Meringue

Photo Credit:

 This easy and rich Make-Ahead Sweet Potato Casserole with Toasted Meringue is a gluten-free and nut-free SIDE dish that is sweet enough to serve even as a dessert.

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Desserts

Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie

Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie recipe is the best of both worlds. Cheesecake layers topped with pumpkin pie

Mini Cheesecakes

The perfect bite size cheesecake dessert. You can change up the recipe to make the flavors of your choice.

Shortcut Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake

A Chocolate Chip cookie dough Cheesecake with a cookie dough crust filled with a cheesecake filled with chocolate chips

Five Cute Thanksgiving Desserts for Kids Young and Old

Make these the day before with the kids or give them the project of creating fun desserts for kids while you do some meal prep.

18 Amazing Pie Recipes for Thanksgiving

Pies are one of those desserts that are best done a day or two in advance. We make our pumpkin and pecan at least 2 days early. You can make the pie crusts weeks in advance and just freeze it.

Turtle Bourbon Pecan Tart

Turtle Bourbon Pecan Tart is a treat all year round especially thanksgiving time

Mini Apple Pies with Caramel - Texanerin Baking

Photo Credit:

These mini apple pies have a delicious oatmeal cookie crust and are covered in caramel sauce. The perfect individual dessert for Thanksgiving! They're just as delicious from the freezer as fresh.

Frozen Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Pie

Frozen Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Pie is a wonderful change of pace for Thanksgiving dinner



make ahead thanksgiving dishes

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Find Us On Social Media

Don’t Miss a Post: Get our Newsletter Today!