Short on time on Thanksgiving? No problem. We've found a whole bunch of delicious make ahead Thanksgiving side dishes (like my White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes) that everyone will love!
Whether you're traveling to spend Thanksgiving with family or hosting the dinner yourself, you have no time to spare on Thanksgiving Day. It's busy enough as it is, right?
You can save yourself a lot of time cooking Thanksgiving dinner by prepping easy recipes a day or two before. Everything from the cranberry sauce to the stuffing can be made at least a day ahead of time so you're not rushing trying to get everything ready for your Thanksgiving meal.
And don't worry... these delicious side dishes will be even more yummy the next day. Most of these sides are not only great for Turkey Day, but also wonderful for Christmas and other holidays, too.
💭 Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions (and answers!) readers often ask about make ahead Thanksgiving recipes.
Prepping or making sides dishes a day or two before Thanksgiving is a huge time saver. Roasted and mashed vegetables are great for making ahead because they reheat easily. Here are some common dishes that are easy to make ahead of time:
* Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
* Butternut Squash
* Carrots and Parsnips
* Dinner Rolls
* Cranberry Sauce
* Compound Butter
1. Start by making a Thanksgiving menu plan and double up on your prep where ever you can. For instance, if multiple dishes call for minced onions, cut them all at once, or toss them into the food processor and pulse.
2. Prep ingredients and use restaurant-style storage containers to keep everything fresh and organized in the refrigerator.
3. To reheat your dishes, think about using other appliances such as a slow cooker or a buffet server.
You can start preparing your make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes 1-2 days ahead of time.
Use fresh ingredients just before serving to add extra flavor to your dishes. Fresh herbs are a great way to add tons of flavor. You might have a dish that could benefit from fresh lemon zest or a drizzle of olive oil, too.
Make Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dishes
You're going to love how much easier Thanksgiving day is when you make a few dishes ahead of time!
- Bacon & Garlic Cauliflower Mash | Juggling Act Mama
- Easy Baked Rice with Mushrooms | Glue Sticks & Gumdrops
- Favorite Cranberry Sauce | Studio Delicious
- Easy Baked Potato Casserole | Juggling Act Mama
- Brown Sugar Mashed Sweet Potatoes | Juggling Act Mama (these are especially good served with our brown sugar compound butter, which you can also make ahead!)
- Cinnamon Butternut Squash | Juggling Act Mama
- Cheesy Cornbread (Cast Iron Cornbread) is easy to make a day or two ahead of time and always a big crowd pleaser! Serve it with some homemade Garlic Chive Butter, which can be made a week in advance!
- Stuffed Mushrooms with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts | Food, Folks and Fun
- Quinoa with Acorn Squash, Apples and Walnuts | Chelsea's Messy Apron
- Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole | Flipped Out Food
- Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans | The Gracious Wife
- Creamy Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes | Once Upon a Chef
- Make Ahead Cranberry Chutney | Ahead of Thyme
- Maple Roasted Acorn Squash | Juggling Act Mama
- Succotash with Bacon and Scallions | Food, Folks and Fun
- Candied Sweet Potatoes | Bowl Me Over
- Buttery Dinner Rolls | Juggling Act Mama
- Make Ahead Stuffing | Simply Joy
- Slow Cooker Creamed Corn | Damn Delicious
- Make Ahead Creamy Butternut Squash Bake | Juggling Act Mama
- Easy Cranberry Sauce with Apples, Pecans and Pineapple | Two Healthy Kitchens
- Roasted Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Salad | Chelsea's Messy Apron
- Make Ahead Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows | Juggling Act Mama
- Broccoli Casserole with Rice and Cheese | Grumpy's Honeybunch
- Potatoes Au Gratin Casserole | Swirls of Flavor
Make Thanksgiving way easier (and yummier) with a scrumptious Cowboy Corn Casserole. It's loaded with smoky bacon, lots of cheese, and crunchy corn for a creamy dish that tastes even better the next day. It's a wonderful make-ahead side for the holidays!
More Thanksgiving Recipes and Ideas
While these are not make ahead recipes, they are really awesome recipes that I think you're going to love.
More Thanksgiving Side Dishes
While this recipe for Pan Seared Asparagus isn't one that can be made ahead of time, it is definitely one that will impress! To save yourself some time, prep the asparagus ahead of time so that all you need to do is cook them.
These Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries are perfect for Thanksgiving, and you can find more tips about How to Store, Clean and Steam Brussels Sprouts here.
- Cornbread Sausage Stuffing or Cast Iron Skillet Cranberry Stuffing
- Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Garlic Green Beans
- Honey Glazed Baby Carrots
Thanksgiving Décor and Activities
We love Thanksgiving so much that we've got tons and tons of free printables for you, our amazing readers! Check these out:
- Thanksgiving Chalkboard Printable
- Gratitude Cards for Thanksgiving
- Printable Thanksgiving BINGO
- Pinecone Turkey Craft for Kids
If you're in charge of making dessert for Thanksgiving, be sure to check out this list of awesome recipes! There are loads of recipes you can make before the big day like apple pie, Old Fashioned Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge, and of course, pumpkin pie.
If you want the flavors of apple pie but not the work, try my Mini Apple Tart Recipe instead.