5 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

Plan for success with these easy make-ahead festive recipes.


Family enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

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Thanksgiving is almost here, which means making traditional recipes and getting together with family and friends. For the people in charge of preparing the meal, however, the warm feelings may be sprinkled with excitement and a pinch of stress. 

After all, meal planning and prepping is a big deal, especially when there is lots of company coming over for a feast. The great news is that even though you might be super busy and don’t know how you’ll manage to get everything done in time; you can use an amazing secret power: make-ahead recipes. 

According to Southern Living, using make-ahead recipes allows you to enjoy home cooked meals that can be on the table in a blink. Cooking or baking the dish in advance at your convenience reduces last minute stress. Check out these five recipes and plan for success with these five make ahead recipes.

Mashed Potato Bake

Creamy mashed potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving dish. This recipe comes from The Times Colonist and is an excellent make ahead item. All you need to do is spread cheesy mashed potatoes in a baking dish, top with more cheese and then refrigerate until it's ready to bake. According to The Ashcroft family table, mashed potatoes last three to five days in the fridge, so it can be prepared a few days before Thanksgiving.

Serve this comfort food at your Thanksgiving feast.

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Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

If you have an Instant Pot, this recipe from The Pioneer Woman is a must! The Instant Pot will save you stovetop space and is basically hands-off! And of course, the cranberry sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to five days.

Put homemade cranberry sauce on your Thanksgiving table.

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Freezable Dinner Rolls

Baking bread and rolls can be extremely time consuming, between the time it takes for the dough to rise, the kneading, baking, and all the other steps in between. Thankfully, Spend With Pennies has an excellent 30-minute dinner roll recipe with rave reviews. This is the kind of recipe you want to hang on to and use again. And of course, these rolls are freezable!

Nothing tastes better than homemade rolls.

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Turkey Gravy

This recipe from The Times Colonist is a gravy base that is made by thickening chicken or turkey stock. You can prepare the gravy the day before the holiday. Just wait for the gravy to cool and store in your  refrigerator.  Then heat and serve on the holiday.

Enjoy turkey gravy without the fuss.

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Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving dinner wouldn't be complete without pumpkin pie. And the great news is, most recipes, according to The Kitchn, are completely freezer safe! This recipe from The Pioneer Woman is a great option for you to try. Or you can look up your favorite pumpkin pie recipe and check to see if it is freezable. You might be pleasantly, and thankfully, surprised.

It’s not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie.

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