Make Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

These simple make ahead thanksgiving recipes and my planner can help you free up much-needed time on Thanksgiving Day to focus on the turkey!

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If you are looking to spend less time in the kitchen this Thanksgiving holiday and more time with family, check out these great make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes. You’ll find some great side dishes to prep in advance and delicious dessert ideas that can be prepped and frozen before the big day!

Thanksgiving dinner table with carved turkey, sides and dessert

Tips to make Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Plan ahead. The key to stress free time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving is all in the planning. Choose from a mix of make ahead and cook on the day dishes and work out your timings for the day, so that you know what you are putting in the oven and when.
  • Choose a good mix of dishes. Aside from your main Thanksgiving turkey, choose a good selection of vegetable dishes, potato dishes and sauces like gravy and cranberry sauce to keep everyone happy!
  • Ask people about their dietary requirements. If you are hosting friends and family you may not see all the time, be sure to check in with them if they have any dietary needs so that they aren’t left without!
  • Ask people to bring food! If you are hosting a large Thanksgiving, take some of the pressure off by asking your guests to make some dishes for you that you can quickly heat up to serve!
  • Make the most out of your kitchen appliances. It can be tough to juggle lots of dishes in the oven, so make the most of your air fryer, slow cooker and Instant Pot to cook and reheat dishes so that you can free up the oven.

Below are some of my favorite healthy make ahead Thanksgiving recipes that you can use this year.

Thanksgiving spread on the table

Thanksgiving make ahead recipe ideas

Sweet potato and potato recipes

Mashed sweet potatoes are a great alternative to traditional mashed potatoes or sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top. They store well in the fridge, so you can cook them the night before and reheat them for your meal. These are my other favorite potato dishes for Thanksgiving:

Sides Dishes for Thanksgiving dinner

Make ahead vegetable side dishes

What I love about the Potato Cauliflower Bake recipe is that you you can prep it ahead of time or for when you’re ready to cook. If you make it ahead of time, it will keep well in the fridge for multiple days and can easily be reheated in the oven. You can also think about prepping some other side dishes like:

Plate at Thanksgiving dinner with cranberry sauce on the side and green beans

Thanksgiving make ahead dessert recipes

You can prepare almost all Thanksgiving dessert dishes a day or two in advance. If you’re making something warm like pecan pie or apple pie, just put it in the oven after you are finished cooking everything else. Don’t turn the oven on – let the resting heat inside the oven warm up the dish for you. Keep an eye on it so the crust doesn’t burn, and you will be ready when everyone is finished with the main course. Check out these yummy desserts that are perfect for Thanksgiving!

Mini pumpkin pies on plate at Thanksgiving

I hope the planner and these make ahead Thanksgiving recipes will help plan your menu a little easier! It’s such a busy day in the kitchen, we can all use a little help!

Plate at thanksgiving with turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry and green beans

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve made any of these Thanksgiving sides – leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it or what you are planning for your Thanksgiving menu. If you snapped some shots your dishes, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

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Thanksgiving spread on the table

Leave a comment


  1. Wow, you’re the Kitchen Queen!
    Very impressive, and with tons of recipes!
    Specially the sides… I’m always out of ideas about sides and I always end up making the same roasted potatoes :(((
    Thank you Yumna!

    Cristiana, from Italy

  2. Impressive, thorough, and very helpful tips and guidelines. I think every household will rely on your suggested recipes. Thanks