30 Easy Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes That Will Save You Time

The Best Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes to Try

Thanksgiving is already a busy day as it is without the added stress of trying to prepare a huge meal. If you only have a single oven, or even two, you may find yourself pressed for both oven space and time to put together your big Thanksgiving dinner.

Appetizers, sides, pies, and even main courses can be made ahead of time to make Thanksgiving dinner a little less stressful this year! Don’t worry! They don’t taste like leftovers and will still be just as flavorful as the day you made them!

From side dishes and stuffing to desserts, we have gathered up so many make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes for you to try out and pull inspiration from! Hopefully, you’ll find something to help please your dinner guests and make Thanksgiving dinner less overwhelming. Enjoy!

6 Main Dishes That You Can Make Before Thanksgiving

Are you looking for something a little easier than turkey this year? These slow cooker BBQ spare ribs are so tender and delicious; you won’t even miss the turkey.

Best Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs Recipe

Slow cooker spare ribs
Easy and tasty slow cooker BBQ spare ribs recipe. Such a convenient meal to freeze and prepare on those busy nights!
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This freezer-friendly chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole is a frugal meal that would work great with turkey as a leftover option or as a side for your Thanksgiving table!

Chicken Broccoli & Rice Casserole Freezer Meal

chicken broccoli and rice casserole
Save yourself some time and money. Make this chicken broccoli and rice casserole freezer meal!
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If you are looking to steer away from Thanksgiving turkey this year, why not give this crowd-pleasing pulled pork a try! It’s perfect for picky eaters or just those who don’t care for turkey!

Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe

the best bbq pulled pork instant pot recipe
So easy and delicious! The simple spice rub is what takes this Instant Pot BBQ pulled pork to the next level!
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When it comes to making recipes ahead of time, the last thing you may have thought of was the turkey! But, with this easy recipe, you’ll have a deliciously moist turkey to serve on Thanksgiving without all the work!

Make Ahead Roasted Turkey

If you're pressed for time (or oven space), Make Ahead Roasted Turkey is just what you need. With this technique, cooking turkey the day before, the week before, or even the month before, still tastes delicious and freshly carved.
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If you’re looking for an easy gravy, you can make ahead of time to go with your turkey; this one is a winner! You can freeze it for a few weeks, or you can make it up to three days ahead of time.

Easy Turkey Gravy Recipe

Learn how to make the best turkey gravy with turkey drippings. Recipe includes instructions using both cornstarch and flour, as well as make ahead tips!
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This easy and delicious turkey is such a fun twist on the traditional Thanksgiving turkey! It’s such an easy Instant Pot recipe and a definite crowd-pleaser for Thanksgiving.

Instant Pot Turkey Breast

This simple, moist Instant Pot turkey breast is a flavorful, easy recipe that is a great twist on traditional turkey. With the perfect balance of herbs and seasonings, you’ll love how fast and quick it is to make thanks to the Instant Pot.
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16 Sides and Appetizers That You Can Make Before Thanksgiving Day

This delicious bacon cornbread stuffing will seriously take your stuffing game up a notch! It’s so easy to make and the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving dinner!

Amazing Bacon Cornbread Stuffing Recipe

best bacon cornbread stuffing recipe
This bacon cornbread stuffing recipe is the perfect side dish for any Thanksgiving dinner.
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If you’re looking to make turkey sandwiches, or just something a little more exciting than a traditional dinner roll, you’ve got to give these pretzel rolls a try! They are sweet and salty and go perfect with turkey and gravy!

Super Soft Pretzel Rolls Recipe

Super soft pretzel rolls recipe
Super soft pretzel rolls are perfect with soup or as a bun for a sandwich or burger!
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An easy melt in your mouth recipe that you can make ahead of time? You’ll find all of these in this easy slow cooker cauliflower cheese recipe! It’s just like mac and cheese but way better and healthier!

Slow Cooker Cauliflower Cheese with Bacon

Cauliflower cheese slow cooker recipe
Melt in your mouth cauliflower cheese with bacon on top. Yum!
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If you’re looking for a quick and easy recipe to make for your appetizer, you can’t go wrong with these jalapeno poppers. They’re so simple to make, and it only takes thirty minutes to make!

Easy Bacon Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

These jalapeno poppers are easy, delicious, and low carb! Perfect as an appetizer, party food, or a fun side dish.
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If you’re looking for an easy Instant Pot recipe that you can make ahead of time, you can’t go wrong with this recipe! This easy cranberry sauce is so simple to make, and it tastes so good! People won’t even know it was made ahead of time!

Easy Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Instant pot cranberry sauce
Super easy instant pot cranberry sauce that can be also cooked in a slow cooker or on the stovetop.
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If you’re looking for an easy recipe you can make ahead of time; these mashed potatoes are perfect! You can make them up to two days ahead of time and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat them!

Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Perfect for the busy holidays, these ultra-creamy make-ahead mashed potatoes can be prepared two days ahead of time and reheated in the microwave.
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This easy and affordable corn casserole side dish is perfect for Thanksgiving! You can freeze it ahead of time or make it the day before and reheat when you’re ready to enjoy it.

Easy Corn Casserole Recipe

Corn casserole is a class holiday side dish, but it’s also a budget-friendly, super easy side for any dinner. Also known as corn pudding, this corn casserole recipe is all the best parts of cornbread in a slightly sweet baked spoon bread.
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What’s better than an easy appetizer? One, you don’t have to cook! This easy salami appetizer can be put together days in advance, making it one less thing you need to worry about this Thanksgiving.

Easy Salami Appetizer

An easy salami appetizer is perfect for snacking and entertaining: slices of Hard Salami and Genoa Salami and cheese wrapped around an olive. These are always the first to disappear at any party!
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These delicious stuffed mushrooms are the perfect make-ahead dish for any family gathering! You can make them ahead of time and freeze them, making them a great appetizer to whip up ahead of time weeks in advance.


Stuffed mushrooms only take minutes to prep and make a tasty party food or appetizer! The creamy filling is full of fresh herbs and garlic, perfect with the soft baked mushrooms. You can even prep them ahead, freeze them and then bake! Vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten free.
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This delicious bean dip is perfect for veggies or crackers and can be made pretty far in advance! It lasts well in the fridge, so you don’t need to worry about it going bad before you can enjoy it!

Pumpkin Bean Dip Recipe

What could be more festive party fare than this Pumpkin Bean Dip recipe? The dip is easy to make and perfect for Halloween parties, fall gatherings or even as a Thanksgiving appetizer.
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What would Thanksgiving be without a great stuffing recipe! If you are looking for an easy Crockpot recipe that you can make ahead of time, this stuffing is perfect!

Crockpot Stuffing Recipe

Crockpot stuffing is so simple to make and will be everyone’s favorite side dish during the holidays. The slow cooker does all of the work and cooks everything to perfection.
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This is an easy dump and go pumpkin risotto recipe that you can whip up ahead of time for Thanksgiving! Plus, you can easily make it vegetarian or not, depending on your Thanksgiving guests.

Crockpot Pumpkin Risotto Recipe

The perfect fall side dish, this Crock-Pot Pumpkin Risotto takes the guess work out of making a creamy risotto. This truly is a “fix it and forget it” recipe!
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This easy sweet potato casserole is such a classic for Thanksgiving dinner! You can easily make this up ahead of time, freeze it, or prepare it the day before for an easy side dish you can throw in the oven.

Easy Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

What makes a delicious sweet potato casserole? Well, it is the perfect combination of sweet, fluffy, and crunchy.
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This delicious new way to enjoy butternut squash is perfect for Thanksgiving! It freezes great and would make a great side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Butternut Squash Gratin Recipe

Intimidated by butternut squash? Stuck in the rut of thinking butternut squash puree is the only way to enjoy it? Don't be! With this easy Butternut Squash Gratin recipe, you'll soon be enjoying butternut squash's rich deliciousness in a new and delightfully-cheesy way.
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Green bean casserole is a staple of Thanksgiving! You can easily freeze this recipe or make it a day or two ahead of time for a quick side when you’re ready to enjoy it!

Green Bean Casserole

Better than your mama's green bean casserole. Trust. This cast iron casserole has all the green beans and fried onions you know and love with a fresh homemade sauce in lieu of soup from a can.
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Put your slow cooker to work and whip up these delicious sweet potatoes! They last well in the fridge, and you can easily reheat them in the oven or air fryer when you’re ready to enjoy.

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes

One of my most reliable tricks to having a good meal prepared at night is by using my slow cooker. We've been eating sweet potatoes in a variety of ways recently and I'd been wanting to finally try them in slow cooker.
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8 of the Best Thanksgiving Desserts to Make-Ahead

This delicious cheesecake is the perfect twist on a traditional pumpkin pie! You can whip it up a few days ahead of time and leave it in your fridge until Thanksgiving Day!

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie Recipe

Layered pumpkin cheesecake recipe
Gingersnap crust, a layer of cheesecake, then a layer of pumpkin pie - perfect dessert recipe for Thanksgiving!
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Once you make this delicious Instant Pot cheesecake, you’ll find it hard to make it in the oven ever again! It’s so delicious and easy to make, plus you can quickly whip this up a few days before Thanksgiving or freeze it until you’re ready to enjoy it!

Instant Pot Cheesecake of Your Dreams

the best instant pot cheesecake
Ready to make Instant Pot cheesecake? You may never go back. This Instant Pot cheesecake is the best cheesecake I've ever made!
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This delicious coffee cake dessert can be made the night before, so it’s ready to go on Thanksgiving Day! You can even freeze it for up to a month if you want to make it even further in advance.

Overnight Coffee Cake Recipe with Sour Cream

overnight coffee cake with sour cream
Delicious and moist overnight coffee cake recipe with sour cream.
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If you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving dessert that can feed a crowd, you’ve got to give these pecan pie bars a try! You can freeze these bars for a few months or make them a day or two in advance.

Easy Pecan Pie Bars

These Easy Pecan Pie Bars are a perfect make ahead holiday dessert to serve a crowd!
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These creamy and sweet pumpkin cheesecake bars are so easy and so tasty! They last for about 3-4 days, but you could even freeze them before adding the topping to make them last longer.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

These intoxicatingly delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars are also a winner because they are make ahead friendly which eliminates all of that last minute stress/hassle
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If you’re looking for something tasty to enjoy this Thanksgiving, you’ve got to give this pumpkin pie bread pudding a try! It’s easy to make ahead of time and tastes just as good as a pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding

You’ll never buy any pre-made bread pudding again after you try this recipe. This pumpkin bread pudding is moist and delicious and makes for a great fall treat! Aromatic baking spices, creamy pumpkin, and a few tasty tricks make this the best ever!
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This delicious keto-friendly pumpkin pie is perfect for whipping up ahead of time! You can easily freeze this recipe to enjoy a few weeks from now, or you can make it the night before, so your dessert is ready to go Thanksgiving Day.

Keto Pumpkin Pie

This crustless keto pumpkin pie is full of flavor and the perfect creamy texture — but only 5g net carbs per slice! It’s the perfect guilt-free holiday indulgence!
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This No bake Pumpkin Pie Icebox Cake recipe would be such a fun and new tradition for Thanksgiving. You only need 8 ingredients and can easily make it ahead of time and store it before Thanksgiving dinner!

No Bake Pumpkin Pie Icebox Cake

This Pumpkin Pie Icebox Cake is an easy, no bake dessert for Thanksgiving! It has only a few ingredients and is easy to make ahead.
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Final Thoughts

There are a lot of moving parts that make Thanksgiving dinner a success! I hope that this post has helped inspire you to make some of your Thanksgiving favorites ahead of time so that you can enjoy more time with your family and loved ones during the Thanksgiving holiday.

If you’re looking for even more Thanksgiving cooking inspiration, don’t forget to check out these posts:

Meal Type: Desserts, Main Dish, Recipe Roundup, Sauces, Spreads, and Dressings, Side Dish, Thanksgiving
Categories: Meat and Poultry, Pie, Make Ahead/Freezer Meal

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