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Stress Less This Thanksgiving by Preparing These Dishes in Advance

man rolling out bread dough to prepare Thanksgiving sides ahead of schedule
WAYHOME Studio/Shutterstock

We totally get it; Thanksgiving can be overwhelming, especially for the host. This year chill out a little bit and enjoy the wonders of make-ahead dishes. Here are seven of our favorites.

Whether you are making something several weeks ahead of time, then freezing or taking care of a few dishes just the day before, it helps. So if you need a few recipes that will help you unwind on the day of, here are a few.

Make, Bake, then Freeze These Dinner Rolls

A plate of freshly bake rolls
Simply Recipes

Dinner rolls are a must during the Holidays, especially for a massive feast like Thanksgiving. How else will you sop up all the juices and leftover gravies once you’ve devoured everything else?

Well, there’s no better way to wipe your plate clean than with these buttery soft dinner rolls. You can make these bread rolls way in advance and plop them in the freezer. On the day of Thanksgiving, take them out and warm them up and voila. And no, you don’t have to be an artisan bread guru to make these.

Get the Recipe: Simply Recipes

Honey Maple Roasted Carrots

A gorgeous serving dish filled with sliced carrots, tossed in with pomegranate arils and fresh herbs.
The Care Sucre Farine

Candied carrots are super popular, but how about trying these roasted root vegetables with a honey maple twist. They have been said to taste even better the day after.

Once done, these carrots will be gleaming with warm maple syrup and fresh honey and decorated with thyme leaves and sesame seeds. You’ll adore how the tart pomegranate arils burst in your mouth with each bite.

Get the Recipe: The Cafe Sucre Farine

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

A green bean casserole in a white oval casserole dish
Food Network

Here is another family favorite (and definite staple) that hits tables across the country every November. You’ll love making this simple casserole ahead of time, then forget about it in the freezer.

Rather than using cream of mushroom, you’ll make your own thickened sauce using butter, flour, and chicken broth. The day before you’re the gigantic supper, take it out of the freezer and let it defrost overnight. Bake it in the oven, and don’t forget to add the crispy onion straws in the last 20 minutes of baking.

Get the Recipe: Food Network

Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

A fresh bowl of mashed potatoes topped with chopped chives and melted butter.
Recipe Girl

Making mashed potatoes can be a lengthy process. From peeling to boiling, then mashing each step takes time, which we all know is precious. This recipe is tried and true and teaches you about storing them before the big meal.

If you plan on cooling and storing them in the fridge, you’ll need to take them out the day of and bake in the oven for about 50 minutes. Sour cream, cream cheese, and milk make these the creamiest taters out there.

Get the Recipe: Recipe Girl

Way-In-Advance Sweet Potato Casserole

A bright and beautiful sweet potato casserole being scooped.
Add a Pinch

Here’s another fantastic freezer-friendly recipe that can be served as a side dish or dessert. The decadent flavors of sweet butter streusel mixed with the natural flavors of sweet potatoes blend to create a heavenly casserole.

Prepare these a few days in advance or store it in your freezer for a few months. Do whichever works for you, but if you plan on storing ahead of time, the streusel topping will have to be made the day of for guaranteed quality.

Get the Recipe: Add a Pinch

Cranberry Sauce: If You Aren’t Into the Canned Stuff

A freshly homemade cranberry sauce in a square white bowl.
Ahead of Thyme

This cranberry sauce can be made in under 20 minutes and only takes four ingredients. Save on stovetop space for the day of your dinner, and make this by heating the orange juice and sugar, then simmering the cranberries.

Once the cranberries burst, you’ll add your cinnamon, and cool in the fridge overnight. It seriously doesn’t get much simpler than that. Serve this in a fancy mason jar and place it in the door of your fridge to save on precious space.

Get the Recipe: Ahead of Thyme

Freezer-Friendly Perfect Apple Pie

A beautiful golden brown pie, fresh out of the oven.
Once Upon A Chef

One of the very best things about making a pie is that most do well in the freezer. If you’ve got leftover apples from apple picking season, there’s no better way than to make a pie and freeze it for later.

While we understand Thanksgiving is just around the corner, this pie can be made several months in advance. So if you have a few hours to spare days before the big family meal, make this one.

Get the Recipe: Once Upon a Chef


Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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