Who wants to be stuck in the kitchen all day on Thanksgiving?
Not me—and I’m sure you don’t either. That’s why I’m a big fan of preparing as much in advance as possible. Fortunately, we have some great ideas for make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes that’ll have you spending more time with your family and less time with your mixer.
Here are some of our favorite easy make-ahead recipe ideas.
- The essential dinner roll. Whip up this 30-minute prep time, freeze-and-thaw dinner roll recipe from Martha Stewart a few weeks early. Defrost a few hours prior to dinner and voila! This recipe makes 30, so you may have some left for turkey sandwiches.
- The Thanksgiving staple: Chex Mix. As a child, making a giant batch of the original Chex Mix was a family ritual and it’s still our favorite. Now there are dozens of 15-minute Chex Mix recipes including one for Pumpkin Pie Crunch Chex Mix.
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- A perfect vegetarian appetizer. These Sriracha Veggie-Cheese Balls will add a modern flair to your Thanksgiving Day. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, or freeze uncooked balls up to two months ahead of time.
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- Whip up a dip. This fabulous Restaurant Style Spinach Artichoke Dip can be made a few days ahead of time and warmed up on Thanksgiving Day prior to serving.
- Mashed potatoes. Yes, you can make these ahead of time, too! Prepare up to two days in advance, and just pop them into the oven an hour before dinner. Pro tip: Be careful not to over mix the potatoes—they’ll release extra starch and can become gummy.
- Sweet Potato Souffle. This is a long-time favorite with rave reviews. Don’t be fooled by the long ingredients list—this recipe only takes 30 minutes and it freezes fabulously.
- Perfect Cranberry Sauce. Make this expert recipe for fresh cranberries from The Food Network up to one week ahead of time.
- Praline Crumb Cheesecake Bars. Store in an airtight container for up to three weeks in the refrigerator or for three months in your freezer. Get more information about freezing cookies ahead of time and free downloadable labels from the experts at the Betty Crocker Kitchens.
- Mini-desserts are all the rage. These bite-size mini pies have just 4 ingredients, and are customizable, portable, portion-controlled, freezable and best of all, totally fun.
- Turkey cupcakes. Okay, these should be decorated on Thanksgiving, but the cupcakes can be made several days ahead of time. Grab your leftover candy corn, delegate a few teen helpers and make this a fun kids table activity before or after dinner.
- Bonus: Superpower Overnight Oatmeal. Impressive to both family and guests alike, try this amazing overnight oatmeal with steel cut oats for a super simple breakfast. It can even be customized by using different flavor yogurts.
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