7 Thanksgiving Dishes You Can Make Ahead Of Time

Don’t get stressed out on Thanksgiving! Save yourself time and energy by making some of your dishes ahead of time, whether it’s the night before or several days before. From classic dishes to unique twists on traditional favorites, here are 7 Thanksgiving dishes you can make ahead of time.

1. Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving dishes to make ahead of time - homemade cranberry sauce

This homemade cranberry sauce is almost as easy as serving the canned version! With some simple ingredients and some quick steps, you can create a delicious cranberry sauce for your turkey day feast. This homemade cranberry sauce can be made up to a week in advance – just place it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve with dinner.

Makes 6-8 Servings


1 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Water

1 (12-Ounce) Package Cranberries (fresh or frozen)

2 Teaspoons Orange Zest



Step 1: Heat up sugar and water in a small saucepan on low heat. Heat up until the sugar dissolves.

Step 2: Mix in the cranberries for about 10 minutes. Once they break apart, mix in your orange zest and sprinkle in some salt.

Step 3: Make sure you let it cool down completely before placing it in the fridge.

2. Pumpkin Pie Bars

Thanksgiving dishes to make ahead of time - pumpkin pie bars

These pumpkin pie bars are a fun and easy twist on the classic pumpkin pie served at Thanksgiving dinner! If you’re looking to save time, if you’re a novice baker, or if you just want to make something different this Thanksgiving, these bars are a must.

Makes 20 Servings



3 Cups Flour

1 1/2 Cups Butter (cut into 1/2″ pieces & softened)

1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar



3 Cups Pumpkin Purée

2 Cups Heavy Cream

1 Cup Light Brown Sugar

4 Large Eggs

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Whipped Cream (for serving)


Step 1: Start by making the crust first. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease up at 12″ x 17″ baking sheet.

Step 2: Make your crust mixture. Mix together flour, butter, powdered sugar and a small pinch of salt in a large bowl. Mix together until it’s crumbly. Then, take your dough and evenly press it into your pan. Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

Step 3: While your crust is baking, you can start working on the filling. Mix together the pumpkin, heavy cream, brown sugar, eggs, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, and salt. Whisk these ingredients in a large bowl until combined.

Step 4: After your crust is done, pour the filling inside and evenly spread it out. Bake for about 40 minutes or until it’s set.

Step 5: After it cools, cut into squares and top each square with whipped cream and cinnamon to serve. If you make this the day before Thanksgiving, place in the fridge before cutting and serving.

3. Slow Cooker Stuffing

Thanksgiving dishes to make ahead of time -  slow cooker stuffing

Stuffing is a key part of your Thanksgiving meal! You can choose to make this the night before or you can make it the morning of. The great thing about using a slow cooker for this recipe is that it saves you oven space for your larger dishes such as the turkey. The slow cooker is also helpful because you can simply set it and forget it, making for an easy to make stuffing dish!

Makes 6-8 Servings


1/2 Cup Butter

3 Stalks Celery (chopped)

1 Medium Onion (chopped)

1 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme Leaves

1 Teaspoon Fresh Rosemary (chopped)

1 Teaspoon Sage (chopped)

2 Large Eggs

2 Cups Chicken Broth



7 Cups Stale Bread (cubed)

1 Teaspoon Parsley (chopped)


Step 1: Start by melting the butter in large skillet on medium heat. Once the butter is melted mix in the celery, onion, and herbs, along with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are clear. Set aside to cool.

Step 2: Grease up the bowl inside of your slow cooker. Pour in your cubes of bread, followed by the vegetable mixture, the eggs, chicken broth, and parsley. Carefully mix them all together until evenly combined.

Step 3: Set your slow cooker on low and cook for about 3-4 hours. Make sure to stir it after the first 2 hours.

Step 4: If you’re keeping it in the pot after cooking, make sure to set your slow cooker to a “keep warm” setting and mix it every half hour. Tip: if you make your stuffing much earlier in the day, you can keep adding 1/4 cup of broth every few hours to prevent it from drying out.

4. Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Thanksgiving dishes to make ahead of time - green bean casserole

A green bean casserole is such a classic side dish to have at any Thanksgiving feast! This dish is fairly simple to make and it can be placed in the freezer if you make it several days in advance. Once it’s ready to serve, just reheat it and top it with fried onions. It’s as easy as that!

Makes 6-8 Servings


1 1/2 Pound Green Beans (trimmed and cut in half crosswise)

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1 Medium Onion (diced)

1/2 Pound Button Mushrooms (sliced)

2 Tablespoons Flour

2 Cup Chicken Broth

1/2 Cup Half-and-Half


1 1/2 Cups Fried Onions


Step 1: Cook the green beans first. Fill a large pot with water, sprinkle in some salt, and let it boil. Pour in the green beans and cook for about 10 minutes. They should be bright green and an even mix of crisp and tender. Set aside for now.

Step 2: Next, make your liquid mixture. Start by melting the butter on a pot over medium heat. Then, mix in the onions and cook for about 8 minutes.

Step 3: Once your onions are soft, add in the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Step 4: Gradually sprinkle flour and stir into the pot until absorbed.

Step 5: Pour in the chicken broth, half-and-half, 3/4 tablespoons of salt, and a touch of pepper.

Step 6: Bring the pot to a boil, reduce it to simmer, and then cook and stir for about 5 minutes. The sauce is done when it starts to thicken.

Step 7: If you want to serve right away, pour the sauce over the green beans in a baking dish, top it with fried onions, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Step 8: If you’re making it ahead of time, let the casserole cool down before placing in the freezer. When you’re ready to serve, put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Then, place the fried onions on top and bake for 20 more minutes.

5. Lemon-Maple Roasted Carrots

Thanksgiving lemon maple roasted carrots

These lemon-maple roasted carrots are a sweet and exciting take on a simple vegetable! This carrot dish makes an excellent side to your Thanksgiving meal and your guests will love it. Serve these carrots alongside some other vegetable side dishes to give your guests a variety of options to choose from.

Makes 8 Servings


2 1/2 Pound Carrots

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Teaspoons Coriander Seeds (crushed)



2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

1/2 Cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves


Step 1: Start by preheating the oven to 450 degrees.

Step 2: Prep your carrots by peeling them and cutting them in half crosswise. Cut the thicker ends in half lengthwise if they’re large.

Step 3: Mix your carrots with olive oil, coriander seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper.

Step 4: Lower the oven heat to 425 degrees and cook your carrots on a baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, toss the carrots for even heating.

Step 5: After they’re done roasting, mix the carrots with maple syrup followed by lemon juice. Top with cilantro to serve.

6. Delicious Pumpkin Soup

Thanksgiving pumpkin soup

Nothing says fall time comfort food more than a bowl of thick and creamy soup! This delicious pumpkin soup recipe is a perfect appetizer or first course dish for your Thanksgiving meal. You can easily cook it the day before and place it in the fridge; just reheat on the stove when you’re ready to serve!

Makes 8 Servings


2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1 Large Potato (cut into small pieces)

1 Large Onion (chopped)

4 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth

1 Can Pure Pumpkin



1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1/2 Pint Heavy Cream


Step 1: First, melt the butter in a large bot over medium heat. Once melted, add the potato and onion. Cook for about 8 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Step 2: Add the chicken broth into the pot and bring it up to a boil. Then, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook for about 10-12 minutes until the potato is soft.

Step 3: Now it’s time to add the pumpkin. Start by making the pumpkin into purée with an immersion blender. Stir the pumpkin into the pot.

Step 4: Next, mix in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of pepper, and the 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.

Step 5: Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring it up to a boil. Cover the pot again, bring the heat to low, and then cook for about 10 minutes.

Step 6: After the 10 minutes is up, pour in the heavy cream and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper before serving. Serve in festive fall bowls for a fun touch.

7. Five-Ingredient Potato Gratin

Five Ingredient Potato Gratin

This deliciously creamy dish is a perfect side to add to your big Thanksgiving meal! This is another dish that’s incredibly easy to make and can also be made ahead of time to freeze and reheat. This is a great alternative to the classic mashed potatoes, or can be an additional potato dish to serve.

Makes 8 Servings


1 Clove Garlic

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

3 Pounds Medium Russet Potatoes (about 5-6 potatoes)

Salt and Pepper

2 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream

1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg (grated)


Step 1: Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.

Step 2: Take a 1/2 quart shallow oval baking dish and rub the inside with garlic. Then, grease it with 2 tablespoons of butter.

Step 3: Now it’s time to prep the potatoes. Peel and slice them into thin pieces. Place some of the slices on the bottom of the baking dishes to create the first layer; make sure they overlap. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top. Then repeat to make more layers until all potatoes are used.

Step 4: Pour the heavy cream on top of the potatoes. If the cream doesn’t cover the potatoes, feel free to add some extra.

Step 5: Sprinkle the grated nutmeg on top, along with 2 tablespoons of butter.

Step 6: Cover the top of the baking dish with tinfoil and bake for about 30 minutes. Then, take the foil off and bake for another 35-45 minutes. It should be golden brown and tender.

Looking for more Thanksgiving dinner inspiration? Shop our selection of Kitchen & Dining to find table linens, serveware, baking and cooking supplies, and much more for holiday entertaining!

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