50+ Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes For The Perfectly Prepared Host
Oh, the Thanksgiving paradox: a house filled with loved ones who have traveled from near and far to see you, yet your quality time is spent with the stove. You try to seem a calm, cheery hostess, but in truth, you're frazzled. Your mind races with forgotten ingredients, you overmix the mashed potatoes, and the gravy burns. We're here to break the cycle. This year, we've designed every dish on our menu to be made ahead so all you have to do on the big day is reheat and assemble. We have all the classic dishes like Old School Green Bean Casserole and Candied Sweet Potatoes on deck for easy to prepare beforehand dishes. Don’t worry: We didn’t forget about the grand finale—a gorgeous dessert—we’ve got an all-star lineup of seasonal treats. Revel in good company and delicious dishes this holiday season. A festive, fuss-free Thanksgiving? Now that's something to be thankful for.
Homemade Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Leeks
Fried leeks give this classic green bean casserole the most elegant topping. Make the casserole the day before Thanksgiving then fry the leeks the day of.
Classic Cornbread Dressing
Recipe: Classic Cornbread Dressing
For all the go-getters and holiday planners, this heavenly cornbread dressing can be prepared a month ahead of time and stored in the freezer until the holidays.
Hasselback Sweet Potato Casserole
This elegant hasselback technique has completely transformed the traditional sweet potato casserole. Make this dish the day before turkey day.
Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
Recipe: Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
Toasted pecans, cheese, and breadcrumbs gives this Sweet Potato Casserole some extra savory nodes.
Savory Corn Pudding
Recipe: Savory Corn Pudding
This fluffy and creamy corn pudding has won over our hearts and will win over yours too! This dish can chill up to two days then be reheated for the big feast.
Gingerbread Cheesecake with Lemon-Ginger Glaze
Impress your guests by serving this showstopping dessert. Create this cake two days in advance to allow enough time for its required chill time.
Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls
Recipe: Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls
Form these decadent treats the week of Thanksgiving and store them in your fridge until they’re ready to be served.
Corn Pudding Casserole
Recipe: Corn Pudding Casserole
We cut some corners with this cheesy corn pudding by substituting frozen corn for fresh corn. Prepare this crowd-pleaser a day ahead of time.
Classic Cranberry Salad
Recipe: Classic Cranberry Salad
This fruity dish requires a 24-hour chill time, so you have an excuse to go ahead and get started.
Classic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
These buttermilk potatoes can be prepared ahead of time and reheat oh-so beautifully. We like to add a sliver of butter on top as the finishing touch.
Recipe: Buttermilk-Pecan Pralines
These sugary, rich treats are so heavenly and can be stored in an airtight tin for up to a week.
Old-School Green Bean Casserole
Recipe: Old-School Green Bean Casserole
You can mix up this classic casserole dish up to 3 days in advance—just slide it in the oven and add toppings the day of.
Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole
Recipe: Cheesy Potato Casserole
This delicate and rich casserole is so creamy that you wouldn’t believe us if we told you we prepared this ahead of time.
Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe: Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese
It's true what they say, macaroni and cheese tastes even better the next day. Store this best-ever dish in the refrigerator the day before the feast then let it sit out for 30 minutes before sliding it in the oven.
Apple Stack Cake
Recipe: Apple Stack Cake
This award-worthy apple delight requires two to three days of chill time to solidify.
Salted Butter-Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Create this cookie dough in advance. You can stick it in the fridge for up to two days before baking.
Recipe: Fruitcake Bark
Holiday bark is the perfect make-ahead treat to set out on the dessert table.
Classic Candied Yams
Recipe: Classic Candied Yams
You can assemble this holiday classic three days in advance.
Roasted Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese
Make your way through the first half of this recipe a day in advance. Just cover and refrigerate. Once you're ready to complete, just bring it to room temperature and keep on cooking.
Crème Brûlée Cheesecake
Recipe: Crème Brûlée Cheesecake
Let this tangy and sweet cheesecake chill overnight then add the final brûlée touch when dessert time comes around.
Cherry-Spice Cake Trifle
Recipe: Cherry-Spice Cake Trifle
Take out the Holiday Spice Cake layers to thaw then use it to create this one-of-a-kind holiday trifle.
Recipe: Pumpkin-Espresso Tiramisù
Forget the pies this Thanksgiving, make-ahead Tiramisu is the smarter way to go.
Slow-Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Bacon
Wake up on Thanksgiving morning and put this sweet potato mixture into your slow cooker. It'll be ready to serve by dinnertime.
Turkey Cheese Ball
Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy
Herby-Pecan Cornbread Dressing
Recipe: Herby-Pecan Cornbread Dressing
This earthy version of classic cornbread dressing included toasted pecans for a bit of fall brunch. You can prepare the cornbread up to three days in advance, and store it, covered at room temperature.
Caramel-Pecan-Pumpkin Bread Puddings
Swap out your usual parade of pies for a seasonal bread pudding recipe. This decadent dessert can be made in a 13x9 dish or individual ramekins and can be prepped up to a day in advance.
Wild Rice-and-Greens Casserole
Recipe: Wild Rice-and-Greens Casserole
Add this greens casserole to your repertoire of Thanksgiving side dishes this year. We chose kale, but you can use whatever greens are your favorite. To make this new addition ahead of time, cover and chill up to three days before baking.
Cheddar Cheese Straws
Recipe: Cheddar Cheese Straws
It wouldn’t be a holiday in the South without a snack bowl full of homemade cheese straws. This old-school recipe can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week before Thanksgiving.
Overnight Yeast Rolls
Recipe: Overnight Yeast Rolls
Trust us when we say these rolls are just as easy as buying the frozen ones. With just about 20 minutes of hands-on time and seven ingredients, you should definitely give homemade rolls a shot this Thanksgiving. Prepare the dough a day ahead of Thanksgiving and let it chill overnight.
Roasted Herb Turkey and Gravy
Recipe: Roasted Herb Turkey and Gravy