21 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes (2024)

Home Recipes Cooking Style Make-Ahead

21 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes (1)Alyssa AsaroUpdated: Feb. 05, 2024

    These make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes—including turkey and all the trimmings—can be made the night before (or even earlier!) to help ease the holiday rush.

    Thanksgiving day moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it. While Ferris Bueller might not be a Thanksgiving movie, we all know the familiar feeling of getting so wrapped up in prep work that we miss out on the day itself.

    So why not spare yourself some stress with these make-ahead recipes? Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing, side dishes and desserts can be made ahead of time. And for that, we’re grateful.

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    Herb-Brined Turkey

    For an impressive make-ahead Thanksgiving main course, look here. The moist, flavorful bird will have guests counting the minutes until carving time. — Scott Rugh, Portland, Oregon. If you’re looking for more recipes, then check out our collection of easy Thanksgiving recipes.

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    Maple Walnut Cake

    This maple-flavored cake with candied walnuts honors beloved my grandpa, who made maple syrup when I was a child. It honors his memory and has proven to be a favorite with family and friends throughout the years. —Lori Fee, Middlesex, New York

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    Taste of Home

    Moist Corn Spoon Bread

    Enjoy this easy take on a southern specialty that utilizes the convenience of a slow cooker. It’s an excellent make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish for your feast. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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    Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream Puffs

    This extraordinary dessert showcases homemade pumpkin ice cream and cream puffs. The effort is worthwhile…and you can make the parts ahead of time for easy assembly later. —Richard Lasher, Stuarts Draft, Virginia


    Taste of Home

    Gruyere and Crab Palmiers

    I keep these little bursts of flavor in my freezer so they can be pulled out and popped into the oven at a moment’s notice. Crab, pancetta and Gruyere make an elegant make-ahead Thanksgiving appetizer, and you can make your own variations of the filling. Try chicken and pesto, or a Mediterranean version with spinach and feta. —Grace Voltolina, Westport, Connecticut

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    Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

    My family loves gravy, so I can never have enough of this make-ahead turkey gravy recipe on hand for a holiday dinner. The base is prepared with turkey wings and can be prepped in advance. —Linda Fitzsimmons, Fort Edward, New York

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    Make-Ahead Creamy Potatoes

    For the holidays, I usually serve the traditional foods with a new spin or two on family favorites. I put together these creamy potatoes the night before and simply bake the day of to save precious holiday time. —Wendy Ball, Battle Creek, Michigan. Next, check out our collection of Thanksgiving recipes for two.

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    Taste of Home

    Jazzed-Up Green Bean Casserole

    After trying many variations of this old standby, I decided to give it a little kick. The crunchy texture from the veggies combines with bacon and melt-in-your-mouth cheese to make this dish a hit at any holiday get-together. —Stephan-Scott Rugh, Portland, Oregon

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    Easy Potato Rolls

    After I discovered this recipe, it became a mainstay for me. I make the dough ahead of time when company is coming, and I try to keep some in the refrigerator to bake for our ranch hands. Leftover mashed potatoes are almost sure to go into these rolls. —Jeanette McKinney, Belleview, Missouri

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    Old-Fashioned Dressing

    Remember Grandma's delicious turkey dressing? Taste it again combined with flavorful herbs and crisp veggies in this family-favorite dressing. You'll love the fact you can make it in your slow cooker. —Sherry Vink, Lacombe, Alberta, Canada

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    Cranberry-Apple Red Cabbage

    When I was looking for something new, I started playing with flavors and came up with this very tasty dish. My German grandmother would be impressed, I think! The colorful side dish is just right with pork. —Ann Sheehy, Lawrence, Massachusetts

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    Taste of Home

    Slow-Cooker Marinated Mushrooms

    Here's a healthy and delicious addition to any buffet spread. Mushrooms and pearl onions seasoned with herbs, balsamic vinegar and red wine are terrific on their own or alongside a tenderloin roast. —Courtney Wilson, Fresno, California

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    Holiday Rice Salad

    It’s nice to prepare a cold salad like this when entertaining because it can be made ahead and doesn’t take up valuable oven space. —Debra Walter, Huntington Woods, Michigan

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    Make-Ahead Turkey and Gravy

    Ease the holiday time crunch with a make-ahead turkey recipe that’s ready to serve when you are. It’s a great choice for potlucks, too. —Marie Parker, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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    Winter Fruit Macaroons

    Coconut macaroons with sweetened condensed milk instead of egg whites are my version of a recipe my mom loved. All you do is mix, drop and bake. —Veronica Miller, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

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    Autumn Bisque

    I like cozy comfort soups that taste creamy—without the cream. This one’s full of good stuff like rutabagas, leeks, fresh herbs and almond milk. —Merry Graham, Newhall, California

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    Texas Garlic Mashed Potatoes

    These creamy potatoes get their flavor burst from garlic and caramelized onions. Their savory goodness makes any meal better. —Richard Markle, Midlothian, Texas

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    Pureed Butternut Squash Soup

    For several years, we've been enjoying this velvety, healthy soup at Thanksgiving. Butternut squash isn’t the easiest thing to cut into, so I buy mine pre-chopped. —Christen Chalmers, Houston, Texas

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    Moist Poultry Dressing

    Tasty mushrooms and onions complement the big herb flavor in this amazing stuffing. This dressing stays so moist because it’s made in the slow cooker. —Ruth Ann Stelfox, Raymond, Alberta

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    Taste of Home

    Caramel-Pecan Pumpkin Pull-Aparts

    We love sticky buns made with my husband's angel biscuit dough, caramel and pecans. For a twist, try apple butter or applesauce instead of the pumpkin. —Carolyn Kumpe, El Dorado, California

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    Originally Published: November 21, 2022

    21 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes (22)

    Alyssa Asaro

    Alyssa has been with Taste of Home for just over a year, but has been in food and lifestyle publishing since 2018. As an associate editor, she writes and edits recipe collections and runs several newsletters, including Top 10, Slow Cooker & Casseroles, Quick Dinners and Balanced Plate.When she's not planning her next trip overseas, you can find Alyssa trying out new Chicago restaurants or watching a movie.

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