Start Early for Thanksgiving: 10 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes

Here are 10 make-ahead Thanksgiving dishes, some of which can be prepared up to a week in advance
Homemade Cranberry Sauce


Cranberry sauce it possibly the easiest Thanksgiving side dish to make. 

Making Thanksgiving dinner can be stressful. You have to juggle appetizers, side dishes, desserts, and the Thanksgiving turkey. Most of the time, you’re so focused on the turkey that other dishes have to wait until the last minute. With make-ahead Thanksgiving dishes, you can devote equal attention to all of the food you serve on Turkey Day.

Click here for Start Early for Thanksgiving: 10 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes slideshow.

Some of the easiest dishes to make ahead are sides such as casseroles, cranberry sauce, and butternut squash. You can also  start dessert ahead of the big holiday feast. Fruit pies, such as apple pie, are delicious additions to your Thanksgiving menu that can be made up to a week in advance.

For the apple pie, prepare the filling and dough, assemble the pie, place it in a plastic bag, and freeze it. On Thanksgiving Day all you’ll have to do is throw it right in the oven; just be sure to adjust the baking time (a frozen pie will need about 10 extra minutes to cook through).

For an easy and stress-free Thanksgiving, add a few make-ahead dishes to your menu so you aren’t so overwhelmed on the day of the big meal. JeanMarie Brownson, author of Dinner at Home: 140 Recipes to Enjoy with Family and Friends, says, “I write my menu at least a week in advance and make my grocery list at the same time. Then I make notes on the menu as to who is bringing what and highlight dishes that I can make in advance.”

Making some of the dishes ahead of time is the best way to go. On Thanksgiving Day, all you’ll have to worry about is roasting the turkey and adding any finishing touches to what you've already made.

Keep reading for 10 Thanksgiving dishes that you can make ahead of time.