50 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year filled with family, friends, and—you guessed it—a perpetually long to-do list. That is why we rounded up 50 Thanksgiving recipes that can be prepped in advance, so you don't have to sacrifice creativity and taste because of a busy schedule. From spicy mashed sweet potatoes to Instant Pot turkey, these quick and easy dishes perfect for prepping beforehand will have you covered for the holiday. Now if we could only magically figure out some simple ways to create more counter space…
Muffin-Tin Quiches with Smoked Gouda and Ham
These mini quiches, which feature diced red potatoes, chopped broccoli, and creamy Gouda cheese, are perfect to bake ahead, freeze, and then reheat and serve as an appetizer during any holiday get-together. Even better? These quiches don't require paper muffin liners, which means fewer things to pick up on your grocery list. Just spray the muffin pan with cooking spray and get baking!
Get our recipe for Muffin-Tin Quiches with Smoked Gouda and Ham.
Sweet Potato Toasts
Thinly sliced sweet potato takes the place of crackers in this Sweet Potato Toasts recipe. Loaded with fun toppings, such as almond butter and sweet cherries, this unexpected appetizer will definitely become a holiday must-have. Be sure to prepare the sweet potatoes the night before and then bake and load with fun toppings the day-of to save some time.
Get our recipe for Sweet Potato Toasts.
Pecorino Thyme Crisps
You may want to prepare more than just one batch of these Pecorino Thyme Crisps—they are that tasty! Pecorino-Romano cheese, thyme, sunflower seeds, and fennel all come together to create an aromatic crisp that is better than any store-bought option. They only take three to five minutes to cook in the oven, so you can easily bake a few trays of these before Thanksgiving while tending to other last-minute holiday tasks.
Get our recipe for Pecorino Thyme Crisps.
White Bean Pumpkin Hummus
Serve this white bean pumpkin hummus alongside cut vegetables and crackers for a healthy pre-dinner snack that takes just 10 minutes to put together. This spread keeps for up to a week in the refrigerator, so go on and blend your beans in advance.
Killer Cheese Plate
Nowadays, it seems that no party is complete without a cheeseboard. Use this cheese plate recipe as an outline to master the art of charcuterie. You can even cube your cheese and slice your meat the evening before to save some time.
Cream Cheese Cranberry Dip
Smooth cream cheese, tangy cranberry, and flavor-packed cilantro come together in this dip that allows you to take a break from ho-hum grocery-bought ones.
Thanksgiving Turkey Veggie Tray
Show off your creativity with this veggie tray. Wash, cut, arrange, and cover veggies with saran wrap the night before and just pull the tray out of the fridge when you are ready to eat.
Easy Cranberry Brie Appetizers
Need a quick holiday appetizer? Assemble these cracker and brie cheese bites before the festivities and pop them into the oven for a few minutes before serving. Just add a spoonful of cranberry sauce once cooled and you are all set!
Baked Potato Soup
This healthier baked potato soup, made with bacon, russet potatoes, and low-sodium chicken stock, is comforting, creamy, and perfect to serve during Thanksgiving. Just make a batch before the holiday, freeze, and heat it up once you are ready to serve.
Get our recipe for Baked Potato Soup.
Butternut Squash Soup
This butternut squash soup is great to serve as a starter during the cold-weather holidays. It can also be frozen or stored in the refrigerator to make day-of Thanksgiving cooking a breeze.
Get our recipe for Butternut Squash Soup.
Roasted Pumpkin Soup
This soup proves that there are countless ways to serve pumpkin beyond traditional pies this Thanksgiving. An added bonus is that this soup is vegan! Serve this soup within four days of making, or freeze it for up to three months.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
This savory warming chicken noodle soup is the ideal food to start with before dinner comes out. If you are planning on freezing and eating it later, it's best to leave the noodles out and add them in once you are ready to reheat.
Fall Vegetable Soup
Kick the holiday season off right with this delicious soup that features nine different types of vegetables, including sweet potato, cauliflower, carrots, and cabbage. This soup lasts for up to a week in the fridge, and a few months in the freezer.
Roasted Beet Salad with Barley
This mouthwatering salad, which features roasted beets, barley, goat cheese, and eggs, is perfect for holiday meal prepping. It can stay fresh in the fridge for up to three days—just be sure to add the dressing right before serving.
Get our recipe for Roasted Beet Salad with Barley.
Mixed Green Salad and Pumpkin Vinaigrette
There may not be a salad that says "fall" more than this one. This nutritious salad offers a kick with a unique vinaigrette made of canned pumpkin, mustard, maple syrup, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Be sure to make a container of the vinaigrette well in advance so you have it ready to go.
Get our recipe for Mixed Green Salad and Pumpkin Vinaigrette.
Warm Goat Cheese Salad
Homemade breadcrumb-crusted goat cheese croutons and refreshing slices of pear steal the show in this delicious starter salad. Remember if you are preparing ahead to not dress the salad or chop up the pears until it hits the dinner table.
Get our recipe for Warm Goat Cheese Salad.
A salad created just for Thanksgiving? Sign us up! This recipe combines mixed greens with pecans, brie, pomegranate, and pears.
Get the recipe from Five Heart Home.
Kale with Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Sneak some extra serving of vegetables into your holiday menu with this tasty salad recipe. You can roast and freeze your squash in advance and then reheat when it is time to combine ingredients.
Get the recipe from Eating Bird Food.
Butter-Baked Salmon and Asparagus Recipe
Have something on hand for any vegetarian dinner guests you may have this year with this recipe. Fitting for a busy holiday host, this recipe only takes 10 minutes to put together and another 15 minutes or so to bake, so prepare the fish a bit beforehand and then place into the oven when you're ready.
Get our recipe for Keto Butter Baked Salmon and Asparagus.
Gluten-Free Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
What would Thanksgiving be without a deliciously dressed turkey? This turkey recipe option is particularly special because it not only is free of gluten, but it is low-sodium and nitrate-free as well. Be sure to cook ahead and heat it up just before dinner if you really want to be time-efficient!
Get our recipe for Gluten-Free Herb Roasted Turkey Breast.
Bourbon-Glazed Ham with Peach Chutney
Of course turkey has become the ultimate food symbol for Thanksgiving, but sometimes we just really want to enjoy a tasty holiday ham. This recipe combines peach marmalade, dijon mustard, red onion, and jalapeno pepper to create a truly memorable dining experience.
Get our recipe for Bourbon-Glazed Ham with Peach Chutney.
Garlic Brown Sugar Baked Chicken
Want to stray away from the norm and instead have chicken for Thanksgiving? Well, you're in luck, because we have a recipe for that. This dish is bursting with flavor and can easily be prepared beforehand—either prep the chicken right up until baking and keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight, or freeze it in a Ziploc bag until you are ready to cook.
Easy Instant Pot Turkey
Say goodbye to spending a whole day by the oven cooking your turkey with this incredibly convenient recipe. An eight-pound turkey will cook in just one hour in a six-quart instant pot! Prepare your turkey a day ahead of the holiday if you are short on time, and heat it up again later on.
Herb and Butter Roasted Turkey with White Wine Pan Gravy
This turkey recipe, which features mouth-watering white wine gravy, will soon become your Thanksgiving go-to. Cook and slice either the evening before or the morning of and then reheat and dress it with warm gravy to have dinner done in a flash.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower, aka Vegan Turkey
This "vegan turkey" is actually roasted cauliflower dressed with traditional Thanksgiving seasoning, is both tasty and convenient! Prep the night before and reheat for a quick vegan meal.
Crispy Crumb-Topped Mac and Cheese Cups
Tins aren't just for muffins and cupcakes—they're also perfect for whipping up some of these tasty mac and cheese cups. Just put these together before Thanksgiving, refrigerate (or freeze if you aren't eating them within a couple of days) and reheat them when you are ready to serve. And if you're looking to sneak in some more vegetables into your holiday meal, swap out traditional pasta for healthier options, such as vegetable macaroni.
Get our recipe for Crispy Crumb-Topped Mac and Cheese Cups.
Pumpkin Potato Mash
Make typical Thanksgiving mashed potatoes a bit more exciting by whipping up a batch of Pumpkin Potato Mash. Perfect for prepping beforehand, these mashed potatoes will have you wanting to add pumpkin to everything.
Get our recipe for Pumpkin Potato Mash.
Pumpkin Ravioli and Pesto
Break out of the expected vegetable and potato Thanksgiving side dish menu with this Pumpkin Ravioli and Pesto recipe. Assemble a few batches of these in the days leading up to Thanksgiving (they take a mere 35 minutes to make, so they won't keep you in the kitchen long), freeze, and then heat them up when you are ready to serve.
Get our recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli and Pesto.
Thanksgiving dinner can easily become a bit carb-heavy with all of the pies, cakes, potatoes, and other delicious dishes. So why not offer a low-carb option on the menu? All you had to do is rice the cauliflower in advance and sauté it in a skillet with olive oil for three to five minutes when you are ready to serve. And yes, you read that right—this recipe only calls for two ingredients!
Get our recipe for Cauliflower Rice.
Honey Roasted Carrots
Carrots, roasted with olive oil, honey, and thyme, are sure to become one of you and your family's favorite side dishes. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can even throw in some other root vegetables to roast into the mix, such as beets or turnips. Wash, trim, and dress your carrots a day before to cut back on some kitchen time.
Get our recipe for Honey Roasted Carrots.
Grilled Ratatouille Salad
Both healthy and refreshing, this grilled ratatouille salad, which centers around eggplant, bell peppers, and zucchini, can be served either hot or cold.
Get our recipe for Grilled Ratatouille Salad.
Why have plain corn on the cob when you can have succotash instead? This succotash recipe, which features corn, lima beans, and bacon, puts a tasty twist on a common holiday side. As a bonus, it can be cooked ahead and reheated.
Get our recipe for Succotash.
If you want to (literally) think outside of the box for this year's stuffing, look no further than this Apple-Sausage Stuffing recipe. The tastiness that comes with traditional stuffing is punctuated by notes of earthy chopped sausage and sweet bits of apple.
Get our recipe for Apple-Sausage Stuffing.
Roasted Parmesan Asparagus
Parmesan, black pepper, and lemon juice make a nutrient-dense vegetable come alive in this recipe. Wash, cut, and dress the asparagus beforehand, and throw it into the oven once you are almost ready to serve this side dish.
Get our recipe for Roasted Parmesan Asparagus.
Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
If you are looking for ways to spice up your mashed potatoes, this is the solution. This recipe uses chipotle and black pepper to give this Thanksgiving go-to an extra kick.
Get our recipe for Spicy Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
These delicious tomatoes, which are stuffed with Panko bread crumbs, feta cheese, basil, and minced garlic, take just two minutes to assemble and 20 minutes to cook in the oven. If you are low on time, prepare a dozen or so of these the night before your big holiday get-together and throw them in to cook as guests start to arrive.
Get our recipe for Stuffed Tomatoes.
Creamy spinach that is both healthy and comforting? Sign us up! This particular recipe dish will stay good in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Get the recipe from The Seasoned Mom.
This corn casserole recipe can be made up to two days ahead of serving. Just reheat when you are ready to dish it out!
Get the recipe from The Cozy Cook.
Sweet Potato Casserole
This casserole's filling can be prepared and then refrigerated for up to a few days, making it the perfect holiday make-ahead!
Get the recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything.
Olive Oil Ice Cream
Make vanilla ice cream (and the pies it usually accompanies) a little more exciting with this incredibly quick and easy recipe. Pick up a quart of your favorite vanilla bean ice cream during the holiday week, and just scoop some out, drizzle olive oil on top, and sprinkle it with flaky sea salt when it's time for dessert. Your piece of pie will thank you!
Get our recipe for Olive Oil Ice Cream.
Sticky Toffee Date Cake
This cake features dates, pears, and dark brown sugar, making for a comforting after-dinner dessert. Make it the day before your holiday festivities, and serve it the day of with either whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Get our recipe for Sticky Toffee Date Cake.
A cookie that is made using only five ingredients and can be frozen for up to three weeks? Sounds like a holiday food prep dream!
Get our recipe for Shortbread Cookies.
Apple Cranberry Crisp
What better way to use all your leftover apples from those family apple picking trips than in this recipe? One of our favorite details of this recipe is that it can be easily prepared in a pressure cooker, meaning less work (and dishes) for you. If you are prepping in advance, remember to soak the sliced apple pieces in a mixture of kosher salt and cold water until you are ready to cook them so they stay crispy and vibrant.
Get our recipe for Apple Cranberry Crisp.
Fudgy Raspberry Brownies
Frozen raspberries, unsweetened applesauce, and lemon zest come together to create a delectably sweet post-dinner treat. Make sure to bake a batch of these the day or two before the holiday for minimal fuss, or prepare well in advance and freeze.
Get our recipe for Fudgy Raspberry Brownies.
The Ultimate No-Bake Cookie Dough
Ingredients like almond butter, maple syrup, and chocolate chips take holiday treats to another level in this recipe. One of the best parts is that it requires no baking—just prep all your ingredients, chill the cookie dough balls in the refrigerator (or in the freezer if you are prepping more than a couple of days in advance), and take them out once you ready to serve for a simple yet tasty dessert.
Get our recipe for the Ultimate No-Bake Cookie Dough.
If you are tired of all the pumpkin-flavored desserts and cinnamon-spiced treats, then make sure to whip up this southern-style banana pudding. Delicately sweet and conveniently easy to make, this recipe transforms simple ingredients, such as bananas and vanilla wafers, into a soon-to-be crowd favorite. This banana pudding is perfect to prepare the night before Thanksgiving as it gives it time for all of the flavors to soak into the wafers.
Get our recipe for Banana Pudding.
Fudgy Pumpkin Brownie Bites
Canned pumpkin makes a delicious appearance in this recipe. Just combine the popular holiday delicacy with some easy-to-find baking ingredients, such as cocoa powder and flour, and prepare to be blown away. You can even freeze and reheat this dessert if you plan on baking in advance.
Get our recipe for Fudgy Pumpkin Brownie Bites.
Who says pumpkins are just for pies? Put an inventive spin on a classic holiday staple with this quick pumpkin cheesecake that you can easily put together a day or two before festivities. It actually tastes even more delicious 24 hours after baking!
Get our recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
These cookies are great served with vanilla ice cream or a steamy cup of hot chocolate.
Get our recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Make-Ahead Apple Pie
This recipe for apple pie can be prepared not just a couple of days in advance, but actual weeks ahead of time. Just prep the pie filling in a crockpot and store in sterilized jars in the refrigerator for up to six weeks. The crumb topping can also be made ahead and stored in the freezer until you are ready for use.
Get the recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking.
With all of these make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes in your back pocket, you'll have plenty of time to relax on the holiday itself.