Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

A make-ahead Thanksgiving dinner will be your saving grace come holiday season. Whether you're hosting your entire extended family or just a few friends, each of these delicious Thanksgiving recipes can be made or prepped 24+ hours in advance to help relieve day-of kitchen chaos. We've got make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes to cover all your holiday favorites, including turkey (complete with make-ahead turkey gravy) and holiday pies.

Dilled Onion Cheese Balls

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without appetizers. These cheesy snacks can be frozen for up to three months, then thawed in the refrigerator overnight. How's that for being on top of things?

Peppered Herb Cheese Ball

A short ingredients list and a two-step process make this creamy peppered cheese spread a hit both for the chef and the Thanksgiving guests. Bonus: You can make it up to 24 hours before the party starts. 

Roasted Acorn Squash and Beet Salad

Roast the colorful stars of this salad—squash and beets—the night before. Mix up a batch of tangy vinaigrette while the veggies roast, and all you'll have to do come holiday mealtime is toss everything with some salad greens.

Gingered Fruit Compote

The prep work for this flavorful holiday fruit salad takes just 20 minutes! Make it in the morning and store in the fridge during the day for this make-ahead Thanksgiving recipe. It's simple, colorful, and delicious.

Herb Buttered Mashed Potatoes

Complete your make-ahead Thanksgiving dinner spread with these herb mashed potatoes. If you're really in a rush, skip the gravy—these spuds are so rich and buttery that they don't need a topping.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Gouda and Crispy Pancetta

Looking for new holiday recipe ideas? Gouda and pancetta add new flavors to an otherwise classic make-ahead Thanksgiving recipe.

Overnight Refrigerator Rolls

A make-ahead Thanksgiving dinner menu is complete once you have a batch of rolls chilling in the fridge. These come with four different flavor combinations.

Bacon-Topped Green Bean Casserole

Even the holidays call for a bit of bacon. This make-ahead Thanksgiving dish can chill up to 24 hours before baking. 

Smoky Green Bean Casserole

Melty smoked Gouda cheese gives this slow-cooked green bean casserole its name. Prepare the casserole, cover, and chill up to 24 hours before Thanksgiving morning.

Meringue-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

Put your pie and casserole skills to work at the same time when you top this sweet potato dish with meringue. You can chill this make-ahead casserole up to two days before the big event, then bake when you're ready.

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing

This hearty Thanksgiving side-dish recipe has every flavor you love from a Thanksgiving stuffing: celery, onion, carrot, and parsley all find their way into this make-ahead recipe. Start the stuffing the day before, and either slow-cook it or bake it before the big dinner.

 

Carrot-Mushroom Stuffing

Put an Asian-inspired spin on your make-ahead Thanksgiving stuffing with shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce. This dish takes just 25 minutes of prep time.

Sage and Bacon Slow Cooker Stuffing

Slow cooker recipes are a busy cook's MVP. Don't stress about the stuffing with this make-ahead recipe. Even better: The crumbled bacon and toasted hazelnuts will have everyone getting up for seconds.

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey is the star of any Thanksgiving menu, make-ahead or otherwise. This bird soaks in a brine in the fridge for a couple of days before the big meal, and the recipe also includes a done-in-advance turkey gravy.

Roast Turkey with Arugula-Pesto Rub

Roasting the Thanksgiving bird requires a little planning ahead, so save time by preparing the rub the day before. This succulent Thanksgiving turkey recipe will be well worth the wait!

Cranberry Tarts

The holidays aren't the holidays without cranberries. Our lineup of make-ahead Thanksgiving desserts includes these easy Cranberry Tarts, which can be stored at room temp for 24 hours or in the refrigerator for two days.

Crumb-Topped Apple Slab Pie

This crumb-topped Thanksgiving dessert takes just 45 minutes of prep time. Chill the pie for up to three days, but serve at room temp.

Sweet Potato Pecan Bars

Make-ahead sweet potato casseroles are a cinch, but why not make sweet potato bars, too? This sweet dessert is a welcome alternative (or addition) to your pumpkin pie.

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