How the Microwave Can Save Thanksgiving

Your secret weapon this Thanksgiving? Nope, it's not the slow cooker.

Lisa Cericola
50 Best Thanksgiving Brussels Sprouts with Cornbread Croutons
Iain Bagwell

Oven space is prime real estate on Thanksgiving. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a double oven, there’s usually never enough room to heat up or cook everything at the same time. That’s where your trusty microwave can come in. Many Thanksgiving dishes, especially potatoes, can be made ahead and quickly reheated right before everyone sits down to dinner. And some dishes, like dressings and casseroles, can taste even better when made a day or two in advance because the flavors have had time to meld together. Save oven space and save time in the kitchen on the busiest food holiday of the year. Read on for Thanksgiving dishes you can make-ahead and reheat in the microwave, and the best way to do it.

The Baked Potatoes
How-to: Cut the cooked baked potato in half, then place a damp paper towel over both halves and reheat on MEDIUM heat at 30-second intervals until it is heated through. Try these comforting baked potato recipes:
Twice-Cooked Sweet Potatoes with Citrus and Honey
Apple-Pecan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Vegetable Loaded Potatoes
Twice-Baked Potatoes Four Ways

The Mashed Potatoes
How-to: Make the mashed potatoes according to the recipe. Cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Reheat (in a microwave-safe dish) on MEDIUM for 2-minute intervals until hot. Stir the potatoes in between intervals, if needed. Try these rich and creamy mashed potato recipes:
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

The Casseroles
How-to: Prepare the casserole according to the recipe. Reserve any toppings, such as chopped nuts, mashmallows, fried onions, or cheese. Cover the casserole and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Reheat (in a microwave-safe dish) on MEDIUM for 2-minute intervals until hot. Stir the casserole in between intervals, if needed. Add the topping and heat an additional 30 seconds, if needed. Try these classic Thanksgiving casseroles:
Green Bean Casserole
Cornflake, Pecan, and Marshmallow-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole
Tee’s Corn Pudding

The Dressing
How-to: Whip up the dressing according to the recipe. Cover the casserole and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Reheat (in a microwave-safe dish) on MEDIUM for 2-minute intervals until hot. Try these Southern-style Thanksgiving dressing recipes:
No-Fail Cornbread Dressing
Grandmother Carter’s Cornbread Dressing
Cornbread Dressing with Kale and Bacon

The Gravy
How-to: Follow the recipe, then reheat (in a microwave-safe bowl) on MEDIUM for 30-second intervals until hot. Stir the gravy in between intervals, if needed. Try our ultimate make-ahead gravy this year.

The Roasted Vegetables
How-to: Roast the vegetables according to the recipe. Reserve any toppings, such as chopped nuts, breadcrumbs, or cheese. Cover the vegetables and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Reheat (in a microwave-safe dish) on MEDIUM for 2-minute intervals until hot. Stir the vegetables in between intervals, if needed. Add the topping, if using, and heat an additional 30 seconds, if needed. Try these savory roasted vegetable dishes:
Roasted Vegetable Salad with Apple Cider Viniagrette
Brussels Sprouts with Cornbread Croutons
Roasted Root Vegetables