Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Sweet Potato Pecan Bars
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 have make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes to cover all your holiday favorites, including turkey (complete with make-ahead turkey gravy), make-ahead mashed potatoes, and holiday pies.

Dilled Onion Cheese Balls

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without appetizers, but since they're usually not the main attraction, make-ahead Thanksgiving appetizers are definitely the way to go. These super-delish cheese balls 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

Easy appetizers are the best, and this yummy, flavorful cheese ball delivers. 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

Free up more space in your oven for the turkey by prepping these make-ahead roasted vegetables this Thanksgiving. 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 side dish. It's simple, colorful, and delicious. Plus, it'll add a taste of something sweet to your Thanksgiving dinner plate.

Herb Buttered Mashed Potatoes

Make-ahead mashed potatoes might sound too good to be true, but this recipe is as creamy and delicious as a batch made just before sitting down to eat. 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 unique flavors to an otherwise classic make-ahead Thanksgiving recipe. Get seriously ahead of the game by preparing these make-ahead mashed potatoes up to 24 hours before your feast. To serve, just pop them in the oven right before Thanksgiving dinner so they're piping hot when they hit the table.

Overnight Refrigerator Rolls

A make-ahead Thanksgiving dinner menu is complete once you have a batch of rolls chilling in the fridge. Instead of going for store-bought dinner rolls, opt for this make-ahead Thanksgiving roll recipe that calls for letting the dough chill overnight. These come with four different flavor combinations, including cinnamon-sugar and Parmesan-herb, so you can also go beyond just traditional dinner rolls.

Bacon-Topped Green Bean Casserole

Yep, make-ahead green bean casserole can also turn hosting Thanksgiving from stressful to stress-free. Even the holidays call for a bit of bacon, so we topped this classic green bean casserole recipe with a few crispy crumbles. This make-ahead Thanksgiving dish can chill up to 24 hours before baking. 

Smoky Green Bean Casserole

This make-ahead green bean casserole recipe is a life-saver for a few different reasons. For one, you can prep it up tp 24 hours early. Also, you can make it in your slow cooker, saving valuable oven space. Melty smoked Gouda cheese gives this slow-cooked green bean casserole its name, and makes each bite even more decadent.

Meringue-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

One of our favorite make-ahead sweet potato recipes puts your pie and casserole skills to work at the same time when you top this sweet potato dish with meringue. Chill this make-ahead casserole up to two days before the big event, then bake when you're ready. No one will ever guess it's a make-ahead side dish, especially with its sky-high meringue topping!

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing

Especially if you like serving it on the side, make-ahead stuffing gets a jump on your Thanksgiving dinner prep. 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. Plus, using seasoned croutons instead of toasted bread cubes makes this stuffing recipe extra crunchy. This dish takes 25 minutes of prep time and can chill in your fridge up to 24 hours before baking, so it's definitely worth the time spent prepping on the day before Thanksgiving.

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. Bonus: The crumbled bacon and toasted hazelnuts will have everyone getting up for seconds. This make-ahead stuffing recipe may not require much work on your part, but it'll quickly steal the show! This is hands down the best Thanksgiving stuffing out there!

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Turkey

Yep, you can save yourself a ton of time this year and even serve up a make-ahead Thanksgiving turkey! Turkey is always 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. It'll cut the 15 minutes of prep time for this make-ahead Thanksgiving recipe down to almost zero on the day of your feast. 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 temperature for 24 hours or in the refrigerator for two days. Almost like a mash-up of make-ahead cranberry sauce and make-ahead Thanksgiving pie, these delicious desserts will be gobbled up quick.

Crumb-Topped Apple Slab Pie

You can make Thanksgiving apple pie for a crowd with this recipe, and you can make it in advance, too! This crumb-topped Thanksgiving dessert takes just 45 minutes of prep time. Chill the pie up to three days, but serve at room temperature (maybe with a scoop of ice cream on top).

Sweet Potato Pecan Bars

Make-ahead sweet potato casseroles are a cinch, but why not make sweet potato bars, too? Be prepared with make-ahead desserts when you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner. This sweet dessert will be a welcome alternative—or addition—to your pumpkin pie.

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