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.
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
SIDE NOTE ON COOKING TURKEY
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!!
Butterball.com 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.
MAKE AHEAD THANKSGIVING SIDE DISHES
Make-ahead Side Dishes for Thanksgiving
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.
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!
Ditch bread stuffing this Thanksgiving and make Cornbread Pudding instead! Assemble it in advance for a no-stress meal!
Make Ahead Stuffing Recipes
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!
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
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
This green bean casserole uses no canned ingredients, only fresh! Prepare in advance and warm in the oven on Thanksgiving!
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 Creamed Spinach is the perfect side dish to go with your holiday dinner. Make it a day or two ahead and just reheat!
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
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.
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
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
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!
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.
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.
TWO SIDES IN ONE DISH. MAKE THIS AHEAD OF TIME AND THEN WARM UP WHEN READY TO serve.
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.
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
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 recipe is the best of both worlds. Cheesecake layers topped with pumpkin pie
The perfect bite size cheesecake dessert. You can change up the recipe to make the flavors of your choice.
A Chocolate Chip cookie dough Cheesecake with a cookie dough crust filled with a cheesecake filled with chocolate chips
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.
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 is a treat all year round especially thanksgiving time
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 is a wonderful change of pace for Thanksgiving dinner