37 Make-Ahead Holiday Side Dishes

With these fuss-free and delicious side dishes, you'll get an early start on your holiday cooking so you can spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen


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1/38
Swiss Corn Bake Cups

    These bite-size bakes with egg, cheese, onion, and corn are ready in about an hour and make the perfect side dish for a holiday brunch.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Bake   30 mins  375°F 
Stand   10 mins 
2/38
Rustic Garlic Mashed Potatoes

    Whip up a batch of these fluffy garlic mashed potatoes for a dozen guests in no time flat -- they cook for 8 hours in a slow cooker after just 25 minutes of prep work.

Makes: 12 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Slow Cook  6 hrs  to 8 hrs (low), 3 to 4 hours (high)
3/38
Butterhead Salad with Smoky Ranch

    This tasty holiday salad only takes 20 minutes to make from start to finish; prep the dressing a few hours in advance and store in the fridge for an almost-instant side dish.

Makes: 8 servings
Start to Finish   20 mins 
4/38
Gingered Fruit Compote

    The prep work for this colorful fruit salad takes just 20 minutes; start it in the morning and stick in the fridge for up to six hours for a great make-ahead dish.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep   15 mins 
Chill  Up to  1 hr  to 6 hrs 
Cook   5 mins 
5/38
Sweet Potato Salad

    Make this potluck perfect salad (it serves up to 20) the night before; it goes in the fridge for up to 24 hours before party time.

Makes: 16 servings
Prep   35 mins 
Chill  8 hrs  to 24 hrs 
6/38
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with White Cheddar

    Try a sweeter spin on the classic savory side dish with sweet potatoes and sliced apples. If you want to make the dish in advance, chill the potato mixture for a few hours before baking in the oven.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   40 mins 
Bake   40 mins  425°F 
Bake   30 mins  325°F 
7/38
Winter White Vegetable Soup

    This seasonal soup will warm any dinner party; a diced beet and fresh chives add a festive garnish.

    Make-Ahead Tip: Roast, peel, and dice beet, then cover and chill up to 24 hours. This shaves an hour from cooking time and makes it easier to pull the whole soup together faster.

Makes: 10 servings
Prep   45 mins 
Roast  1 hr  400°F 
Cook   40 mins  to  50 mins 
8/38
Potato Goat Cheese Gratin

    This cheesy potato bake is great as a side dish or main meal; slice the potatoes and leeks in advance for a quick-to-come-together offering.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   30 mins 
Cook   20 mins 
Bake  1 hr 25 mins  400°F 
9/38
Sweet Potatoes with Toasted Pecans

    Toasted pecans and sticky-sweet marshmallows top creamy whipped sweet potatoes.

Serving size: 8 (1/2-cup) servings plus leftovers
Prep   45 mins 
Roast   30 mins  to  40 mins  350°F 
Chill  24 hrs 
10/38
Make-Ahead Apple, Bacon, and Onion Stuffing Muffins

    A fun twist on traditional stuffing, these muffins are easy to transport, making them the ideal potluck recipe.

Makes: 12 servings
Prep   45 mins 
Bake   20 mins  375°F 
Cool   10 mins 
11/38
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

    Featuring cranberry relish, dried cranberries, and walnuts, this six-ingredient side dish will be a hit with your holiday guests.

Makes: 10 servings
Prep   20 mins 
Bake  1 hr 15 mins  325°F 
Chill  Up to  24 hrs 
12/38
Make-Ahead Butternut Squash Gratin

    Filled with butternut squash, spinach, cheese, and rich creme fraiche, this tasty side dish is a surefire crowd pleaser.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   40 mins 
Chill  Up to  8 hrs 
Bake   15 mins 425/475 degree F
13/38
Lemon-Nut Rice Stuffing

    Fresh herbs, bacon, onion, long grain rice, carrot, almonds, and a handful of spices come together to make this tasty side dish. Lemon zest brightens it.

Makes: 10 servings
Prep   40 mins 
Chill  4 hrs  to 24 hrs 
Bake   45 mins 
14/38
Scott's Holiday Salad

    Scott 'Peacock's gelatin mold salad is vibrantly fresh and crunchy good -- a celebration of all things deliciously sweet and sour.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   40 mins 
Chill  4 hrs 
15/38
Green Bean Bake Revisited

    Caramelized onions and cheese top a scrumptious update on the classic green bean casserole.

Makes: 10 servings
Prep   50 mins 
Chill  overnight
Bake   35 mins  400°F 
16/38
Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

    These melt-in-your-mouth rolls are sure to wow the crowd. For even more tender rolls, make the dough the night before and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Makes: 32 servings
Serving size: about 32 rolls
Prep   30 mins 
Chill  8 hrs  to 24 hrs 
Rise   30 mins 
17/38
Basic Potatoes Au Gratin

    It's hard to go wrong with this hearty potato side dish. Serve it traditional, or try our suggestions for dressing it up (noted in the recipe) -- one with seafood and goat cheese, the other with mushrooms and blue cheese.

Makes: 8 servings
Serving size: 8 side-dish servings
Prep   40 mins 
Chill  overnight
Bake  1 hr 30 mins  350°F 
18/38
Gourmet Onions

    A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese adds a festive touch to sauteed onions.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   30 mins 
Cook   15 mins 
Chill  Up to  24 hrs 
19/38
Christmas Potato Soup

    Your guests will love this rich potato-bacon soup. Toasted bread in the shape of a star with onion-grape marmalade and snipped chives makes a festive topper.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Chill  up to 3 days
Cook   40 mins 
20/38
Apple, Bacon, and Leek Bread Pudding

    Put a different spin on your Thanksgiving menu by serving this savory pudding in place of stuffing.

Makes: 12 servings
Prep   45 mins 
Chill  3 hrs 
Cool   10 mins 
21/38
Lemony Green Beans

    These beans are an update of the tried-and-true green bean casserole. In only 20 minutes, sauteed garlic, lots of shallots, and lemon peel pack a 1-2-3 flavor punch.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   15 mins 
Chill  4 hrs 
Cook   7 mins 
22/38
Sweet Potato Pudding

    Moist and delicious, this nutmeg-spiced pudding makes a delightful alternative to sweet potato pie.

Makes: 9 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Chill   Up to 24 hours
Bake  1 hr 30 mins  300°F 
23/38
Chunky Applesauce

    Make this simple applesauce ahead of time, or in your slow cooker. Fresh thyme sprigs add a touch of sophistication.

Makes: 12 servings
Serving size: 6 cups
Prep   15 mins 
Chill  Up to 3 weeks
Cool  1 hr 
24/38
Pumpkin Marmalade

    This blend of pumpkin puree, ginger, and orange marmalade whips together in 15 minutes, creating a delicious spread sure to delight your holiday guests. Serve it with Brie and crackers.

Makes: 24 servings
Serving size: 3 cups
Prep   15 mins 
Cool  1 hr 
25/38
Honestly Good Mashed Potatoes

    Created by Scott Peacock, this recipe makes potatoes feathery light, rich, and creamy. We also show you how to make them ahead and reheat in your slow cooker.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Chill  Maximum  24 hrs 
Cook   30 mins 
26/38
Roasted Squash Soup

    Slow-roasting brings out the squash?s rich flavor with ease, while freshly grated nutmeg adds a touch of spice. To save time, make this velvety soup the night before and reheat it before the meal.

Makes: 6 servings
Serving size: 6 cups
Prep   10 mins 
Chill  up to 2 days
Bake  1 hr  350°F 
27/38
Parsleyed Green Beans

    Two teaspoons of garlic, a pinch of salt, and a dash of pepper make these green beans a hit. Chop the garlic with a good pinch of salt -- it will soak up the garlic flavor and transfer it to the beans.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Chill  Up to  24 hrs 
Cook   10 mins 
28/38
Cherry-Pomegranate Chutney

    This versatile recipe is sure to be popular. For company, try serving it alongside crackers and a wedge or two of cheese. For family, try it as a topping for roasted turkey sandwiches.

Serving size: 1-3/4 cups
Prep   15 mins 
Cook   35 mins  to  36 mins 
29/38
Make-Ahead Pumpkin Cornbread

    Masa harina, a fine corn flour, gives this bread light texture and corn flavor.

Makes: 12 servings
Prep   30 mins 
Bake   22 mins  to  25 mins  350°F 
30/38
No-Knead Focaccia Tiles

    This fancy bread only looks tricky. The recipe starts with an easy dough you stretch into shape by hand then dress with colorful toppers -- briny olives, olive-packed tomatoes, zesty citrus, and roasted pumpkin seeds.

Makes: 12 servings
Serving size: 6 tiles, 12 servings
Prep  
Stand  12 hrs 
Rise  1 hr 
31/38
Fresh Citrus and Cranberry Salad

    We've added a refreshing kick of mint and ginger to an arugula salad and topped it with chopped fresh cranberries.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Chill  1 hr 
32/38
Make-Ahead Herb Buttered Mashed Potatoes

    These mashed potatoes are so rich you can skip the gravy.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep   25 mins 
Cook   25 mins 
Chill  3 hrs 
33/38
Brussels Sprouts with Frizzled Prosciutto

    Even kids won't be able to resist this flavorful Brussels sprouts side dish.

Makes: 12 servings
Prep   30 mins 
Cook   20 mins 
34/38
New Cranberry Sauce

    Ingredients such as persimmon and rosemary add a surprising (and delicious) twist to this sauce. It's also quick to make -- just 30 minutes from start to finish.

Makes: 12 servings
Serving size: 12 (1/4-cup) servings
Prep   10 mins 
Cook   18 mins  to  20 mins 
Chill  up to 48 hours
35/38
Cauliflower Crowns with Pesto and Prosciutto

    You can put this irresistible side dish together in 30 minutes, then chill it overnight.

Makes: 12 servings
Serving size: 12 side-dish servings
Prep   30 mins 
Chill  Up to  24 hrs 
36/38
Pickled Dilled Green Beans

    Cayenne pepper, pickling salt, fresh dill, and garlic add delicious flavor to this simple green bean side dish.

Makes: 40 servings
Prep   40 mins 
Marinate  4 hrs 
Cool  1 hr 30 mins 
37/38
Aromatic Parsnips and Carrots

    A mixture of fennel, cinnamon, coriander, and garlic adds a kick to two autumnal classics.

Makes: 10 servings
Prep   35 mins 
Chill  Up to  24 hrs 
Cook   20 mins 
38/38
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