Holiday Recipes You Can Freeze Ahead To Save Time Later

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Brimming with errands, preparations, and hosting duties, the holidays can be a little overwhelming, but the good memories of time spent with loved ones make it more than worth it. Around the holiday season, our biggest fear is being ill-prepared, especially when feeding our hungry crowd of guests. This moment is when a few staple Southern holiday dishes in the freezer could be the difference between admitting holiday defeat and raking in the compliments.

To be safe, you'll need hearty casseroles that feed the family in a pinch, classic side dishes that belong on the Christmas dinner table, breakfast bakes that satisfy every guest, and desserts you can make months ahead. (Oh, and handy appetizers for any last-minute hosting crisis.) For casseroles, stock up on disposable foil casserole dishes instead of tying up your baking dishes for months. For soups, freeze flat in gallon Ziploc bags to maximize storage space. For cookies or bite-sized appetizers, freeze on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then transfer to Ziploc bags. Always remember to pad your prep time by a day for thawing. There's no reason to panic when you've covered every last base month before the crazy holiday season starts. Here are the best make-ahead, freeze-ahead holiday recipes you'll thank your lucky stars for later.

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Keep These Classic Dishes in the Freezer for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

02 of 24

Vanessa's Make-Ahead Beefy Lasagna

Vanessa's Make-Ahead Beefy Lasagna
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Recipe: Vanessa's Make-Ahead Beefy Lasagna

Having a lasagna in the freezer is about as dependable as it gets. Pull this recipe together in a flash, then freeze for up to three months. This dish fits perfectly into your crazy holiday schedule.

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Mac and Cheese with Ham

Baked Smokin' Macaroni and Cheese
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Recipe: Mac and Cheese with Ham

As far as picking just one of your macaroni and cheese recipes to freeze for the holidays, this smoky dish makes a strong argument. It's full of a creamy smoked Gouda and Cheddar sauce, corkscrew pasta, and chopped smoked ham, making it a crowd-pleaser when whipped out for holiday company. If ham is not your favorite mac and cheese additive, there are options to swap it out for something more to your family's tastes.

04 of 24

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Chicken enchilada casserole is an odd yet beloved Southern holiday mainstay, especially in Texas. Whether you've been wrapping gifts or attending Christmas Eve service, these creamy stacks layered with corn tortillas, cheese, and chicken are there to comfort and celebrate.

05 of 24

Greek Baked Ziti

Greek Baked Ziti
Greg Dupree

Recipe: Greek Baked Ziti

This flavor-packed baked ziti can feed a house full of hungry family members during the holidays with no sweat. Fix and freeze this cheesy pasta bake ahead of time to have on hand. It's a classic Greek comfort dish that every family will love.

06 of 24

Cheesy Broccoli-and-Rice Casserole

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Cheesy Broccoli-and-Rice Casserole

This comforting, classic dish has fresh ingredients that will freeze well, ready to break out for any holiday meal. You can't have a Southern feast without some form of broccoli casserole. Plus, making anything cheesy is an automatic winner.

07 of 24

New Turkey Tetrazzini

New Turkey Tetrazzini Recipe
Alison Miksch

Recipe: New Turkey Tetrazzini

This freshened-up version of a classic comfort dish is a casserole that doesn't need anything added to make it a new family favorite. Pop some crusty garlic bread in the oven before serving for a warm, savory dish. Around Christmas, that can be a saving grace!

08 of 24

Old-School Green Bean Casserole

Old-School Green Bean Casserole
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch Stelling; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Old-School Green Bean Casserole

There's never a wrong time to put classic green bean casserole on the table. French fried onions top off this dish perfectly but freeze without them for ultimate freshness. It's a year-round casserole dish, but somehow it might taste cheesier during the holidays.

09 of 24

Chicken-and-Brisket Brunswick Stew

Chicken-and-Brisket Brunswick Stew
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Chicken-and-Brisket Brunswick Stew

This smoky stew, made with chicken and brisket, is filling and comforting. It's a perfect make-ahead dish to warm up for your family on a chilly winter night when you don't have time to cook a big dinner.

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White Lightning Chicken Chili

White Lightning Chicken Chili
Becky Luigart Stayner

Recipe: White Lightning Chicken Chili

This chili lives up to its name. This dish is lightning-quick to put together, with only 30 minutes of hands-on time. Make your life even easier by stocking your freezer with it. During the holidays, satisfy your family and guests with this comforting stew with hot cornbread.

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Hearty Italian Soup with Parmesan-Pepper Cornbread Biscotti

Hearty Italian Soup with Parmesan-Pepper Cornbread Biscotti
Photo: Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Hearty Italian Soup with Parmesan-Pepper Cornbread Biscotti

This warm brothy soup makes a great addition to your frozen dinner lineup when you desire a cozy, quick meal. Small plastic freezer jars are perfect for freezing smaller portions of your batch, which is better for thawing beforehand. Hot soup on a cold winter's day is what you and your family need this holiday season.

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Make-Ahead Yeast Rolls

Make-Ahead Yeast Rolls
Laurey W. Glenn

Recipe: Make-Ahead Yeast Rolls

You can make these tender, fluffy rolls, let them cool, and freeze them in Ziploc freezer bags until you need them for a holiday meal. Make several batches and seal them tightly so you can double up on delicious rolls and spare time in the future.

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The Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy

Make-Ahead Gravy
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: The Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy

It's rare that you'll find yourself thinking you made too much gravy during the holiday season. Make this meal-topper ahead of time so you have enough for every delicious meal you plan. A one-pot recipe is as easy as it gets for this holiday staple.

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Party-Perfect Meatballs

Party-Perfect Meatballs Recipe
Photo: Brie Passano

Recipe: Party-Perfect Meatballs

These homemade meatballs can be made ahead and frozen until you need to whip them out. All you have to do is prepare the finishing glaze before your guests arrive. In an air-tight freezer bag, you can save these appetizers up to one month ahead of your holiday event.

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Sweet Potato and Chorizo Sausage Bites

Sweet Potato and Chorizo Sausage Bites
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Sweet Potato and Chorizo Sausage Bites

This perfect party appetizer gets its kick from spicy, peppery Mexican-style chorizo sausage. These sausage balls can be frozen on a baking sheet, transferred to ziplock plastic freezer bags for storage, and then baked from frozen.

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Cheese Dreams

Cheese Dreams
Southern Living

Recipe: Cheese Dreams

You won't ever go wrong with these cheesy bites at any holiday party. The cheesy bread bites are a simple yet satisfying appetizer. Freeze these dreamy snacks for up to three weeks, and have a batch ready to go in the case of a drop-by guest.

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Tater Tot Bake

Tater Tot Breakfast Bake
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Tater Tot Bake

Mornings are always busy, especially during the holidays when entertaining guests. Thick-cut bacon, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, and some hearty tater tots—need we say more? Just freeze the whole dish, and pop it in the oven, topped with extra shredded cheese, until warm and melty.

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Breakfast Enchiladas

Breakfast Enchiladas
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Breakfast Enchiladas

Like our enchilada dinner casserole, this enchilada breakfast bake is a crowd-pleaser. It's especially perfect during the holidays when hosting guests. Make sure to top with halved grape tomatoes, chopped fresh cilantro, and avocado for a stunning finish.

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Cheesy Sausage-and-Croissant Casserole

Cheesy Sausage-and-Croissant Casserole
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Cheesy Sausage-and-Croissant Casserole

This ultimate breakfast casserole will impress your family and holiday guests, even though you pulled it from the freezer already set to go. Hot ground sausage, flaky croissants, and Parmesan and Gruyère cheeses—name a better trio!

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Pancake Bake with Cinnamon Streusel

Pancake Bake with Cinnamon Streusel Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: William Smith

Recipe: Pancake Bake with Cinnamon Streusel

We don't even want to think about spending Christmas morning flipping pancakes. Instead, this bread pudding-like casserole sounds much better. Hold off the streusel until baking after freezing.

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Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley

Recipe: Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

These slightly boozy delights are a hybrid of bourbon balls and chocolate truffles. They make the easiest throw-together treat for any occasion with only four ingredients. Make a double batch, and freeze one to have on hand!

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White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake

White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: White Chocolate Cranberry Cheesecake

This festive cheesecake combines a creamy white chocolate filling, delicious chocolate pie crust, and a tart cranberry topping. Freeze this cheesecake after it's been chilled, without the cranberry topping. When ready to serve, you can prepare the topping the night before and spoon it over the pie right before serving.

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Rum Balls

Rum Balls Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Rum Balls

These tender, pecan-filled treats are for adults only—made with dark rum and bourbon—they pack a powerful punch! While the recipe states that you can store these in the fridge for up to a month, you can extend that time by stocking them in your freezer. These sweet treats also make great gifts, so double the batch for those last-minute gifting surprises.

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Chocolate-Pecan Chess Pie

Chocolate-Pecan Chess Pie
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Recipe: Chocolate-Pecan Chess Pie

Chess pie and pecan pie are tasty enough on their own. Combining pecans and chocolate into one pie becomes a real Southern treat. Freeze this decadent pie ahead of the holidays, then top with homemade whipped cream when serving.

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