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. You can save yourself a lot of time by prepping your side dishes the day 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 on Turkey Day. And don’t worry… these sides will be even more delicious the next day. Most of these sides are wonderful for Christmas and other holidays, too.
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What can you make ahead for Thanksgiving?
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
What tools will help with make ahead side dishes?
- Start with a 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.
- Prep ingredients and use restaurant-style storage containers to keep everything fresh and organized in the refrigerator.
- To reheat your dishes, think about using other appliances such as a slow cooker or a buffet server.
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
- 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!)
- Succotash with Bacon and Scallions | Food, Folks and Fun
- Candied Sweet Potatoes | Bowl Me Over
- Cranberry & Clementine Conserve | Femme Fraiche
- Slow Cooker Creamed Corn | Damn Delicious
- Roasted Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Salad | Chelsea’s Messy Apron
- Stuffed Mushrooms with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts | Food, Folks and Fun
- Easy Cheesy Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes | Family Fresh Meals
- Quinoa with Acorn Squash, Apples and Walnuts | Chelsea’s Messy Apron
- Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans | The Gracious Wife
- Make Ahead Stuffing | Wine and Glue
- Make Ahead Creamy Butternut Squash Bake | Juggling Act Mama
- Easy Cranberry Sauce with Apples, Pecans and Pineapple | Two Healthy Kitchens
You’re going to absolutely LOVE our step-by-step guide for How to Brine and Roast a Thanksgiving Turkey! It is the most flavorful and delicious turkey I’ve ever made.
Thanksgiving Decor 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:
If you’re in charge of making dessert for Thanksgiving, be sure to check out this list of awesome recipes!