Make some Thanksgiving recipes ahead of the feast day, so that your main concern on the day itself is the “ruling roast” or the “big bird”—and quality time with family and friends. Here is a list of great make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes, including appetizers, soups, side dishes, and desserts.
First, make your own stock or find an excellent stock in the freezer section of your grocery store. You’ll want to have plenty of stock (3 or 4 quarts) for gravy, warming the turkey, deglazing your roasting pan and more. We recommend our Homemade Turkey Stock recipe.
Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Rolls and bread can certainly be made ahead. These Fall Harvest Squash Rolls are always a hit with readers.
Cranberry Sauce can also be made a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator. (Don’t freeze.)
Mashed potatoes and stuffing are generally best on the day itself, but mashed potatoes will refrigerate well and taste delicious if you bake them like a casserole. See our Mashed Potato Casserole.
Seriously consider any casserole. This dish can be prepared and even cooked well in advance. There’s a reason why the the Green Bean Casserole is a classic.
Another fan favorite is the Sweet Potato Souffle, below. Some of us aren’t big marshmallow fans, but this is one of our most requested recipes—and Thanksgiving is for the guests!
Soups are also easy to prepare in advance. One of our favorites is this Vermont Butternut Squash Soup.
Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Desserts
Not all desserts should be made in advance. If you’re making a pie, you can prepare the dough well ahead of time and store in the freezer, but we wouldn’t bake the pie more than 24 hours in advance.
However, cheesecakes and any dessert that is normally refrigerated are great choices.
Our Pumpkin Satin Cheesecake will hold up nicely.
We also love this refrigerated Cranberry Dream Pie.
Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Appetizers
While we wouldn’t go crazy with appetizers before the Thanksgiving feast, do serve something simple with drinks before the meal begins.
A bowl of high-quality mixed nuts are also a fine idea, assuming your guests aren’t allergic to nuts. Guests love these addictive Spiced Nuts and often ask for the recipe!
Thanks For Reading!
Ready to consider the full Thanksgiving menu, including the turkey? Check out our classic Thanksgiving Feast Recipes.