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Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Sides

Prep and freeze side dish recipes make Thanksgiving day a breeze.
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When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, planning ahead is smart, but working ahead is even smarter. The sides here can be made days, weeks, or even a month ahead. So when the big day comes, you can focus on what really counts—spending time with friends and family.

  • Recipe

    Cranberry Sauce with Orange, Ginger, and Thyme

    Aromatic notes from fresh herbs and ginger, plus a little heat from cayenne, add excitement to a holiday favorite which can be prepped up to a month ahead. Adding orange segments just before serving gives homemade frozen cranberry sauce a hit of fresh flavor.
  • Recipe

    Apple, Leek, and Sage Stuffing

    This crisp-on-the-top bread stuffing is similar to the classic but so much better thanks to additions like sweet apples, savory prosciutto, and zingy lemon zest. You can prepare the "kit" up to two weeks ahead, so all that's left to do for this stuffing Thanksgiving day is mix and bake.
  • Recipe

    Southwestern Cornbread Stuffing

    You can take a similar "kit" approach to this stuffing, but cornbread, bell peppers, cumin, and chili powder give it a Southwestern accent that pairs perfectly with a grill-roasted turkey.
  • Recipe

    Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Lasagne

    Creamy soups are a great option for a make-ahead Thanksgiving starter. In this one, coriander, mustard seeds, and Madeira add depth of flavor to a fall classic. It can be made up to 5 days ahead.
  • Recipe

    Seeded Pull-Apart Rolls

    These savory dinner rolls are great for soaking up soup or sauce, or on their own with just a bit of butter. The dough can be shaped then refrigerated for up to a day before baking.
  • Recipe

    Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Lasagne

    An indulgent side that can serve as a main dish for the vegetarians, this entire lasagne can be assembled up to two days ahead of time.
  • Recipe

    Kale with Crispy Pancetta

    The pancetta adds a bit of salty crunch to every bite of tender kale, making this colorful side dish hard to resist. And bonus: Since kale cooks up more tenderly if frozen, you can start the prep for this side weeks in advance.
  • Recipe

    Pear, Cranberry, and Blood-Orange Mostarda

    This punchy alternative to cranberry sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Recipe

    Potato and Caramelized Onion Gratin

    This entire dish can be assembled and baked a day ahead, then it needs just a quick re-warming before dinner.
  • Recipe

    Sweet Potato Apple Casserole with Pecan Crust

    Sautéed apples, a crunchy pecan crust, and spicy mashed sweet potatoes make for a sophisticated update on the marshmallow-topped casserole of old. The topping and sweet potatoes can be prepped a day ahead.
  • Recipe

    Roasted Shallots with Sweet-and-Sour Sauce

    A rich caramel-vinegar sauce makes these shallots an exclamation point on the plate. Go ahead and make the tangy sauce up to two weeks in advance and stash it in the cupboard; it'll keep just fine.
  • Recipe

    Knotted Dinner Rolls

    You can make the dough for these soft, rich, buttery dinner rolls up to four days ahead.
  • Recipe

    Carrots with Pistachio-Herb Butter

    An herb-flecked make-ahead lime and pistachio butter add brightness and crunch to crisp-tender carrots.
  • Recipe

    Mashed Potato, Parsnip, and Parmesan Gratin

    Parsnips contribute earthy sweetness to make-ahead mashed potatoes. The potatoes and parsnips can be mashed and the entire gratin assembled three days in advance. On Thanksgiving day, just sprinkle on the cheese on and bake.
  • Recipe

    Broccoli with Eggs & Lemony Parmesan Breadcrumbs

    A crunchy mimosa-like topping adds a festive note to this simple broccoli side. The topping and broccoli can be prepped a day ahead, with a quick final bake just before serving.
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