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19 Thanksgiving Recipes You Should Make Ahead

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, you’ve probably started to finalize your menu and figure out exactly what you’ll be cooking and baking.

When looking ahead for the week, it’s always a great idea to know what dishes you can make head for Thanksgiving to help lighten your load that morning.

I love making a handful of things in advance – it helps lighten the load when it comes to lmeal preparations and also with timing dishes for oven space.

To get started, here are 19 delicious Thanksgiving recipe you can make ahead. Trust me – you’ll wow your guests even if you don’t make them the same day.

1
Garlic Butter Baked Mushrooms Photo
Garlic Butter Baked Mushrooms Recipe
This flavorful and sophisticated mushroom and garlic side is simple to make, requiring very few ingredients and cooks quickly. You can prep this garlic butter baked mushrooms recipe the night before in a baking dish and throw in the oven at the last minute on Thanksgiving – a quick 15 minute bake time means you can means you can cook this as you’re bringing everything else to the table.
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2
Bourbon Ginger Cranberry Sauce Photo
Bourbon Ginger Cranberry Sauce Recipe
A new kick on a classic favorite, this bourbon ginger cranberry sauce recipe sauce combines fresh ginger, cranberries, bourbon, orange juice, zest, and dark brown sugar for a delectable side dish that your guests will always remember. You can prepare this homemade cranberry sauce recipe up to two days in advance and store in the refrigerator to keep fresh while waiting for Thanksgiving day.
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3
Cauliflower Rice Stuffing Photo
Cauliflower Rice Stuffing Recipe
Whether you’re low carb, gluten free, just looking for new ways to incorporate vegetables into your meal, or simply a huge cauliflower fan, this savory cauliflower rice stuffing recipe will hit the spot. You can easily prepare it a day or two in advance and store in the fridge until Thanksgiving. To serve it, simply tuck it into the oven to warm it through right before dinner is ready.
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4
Pioneer Woman Mac and Cheese Recipe Photo
Pioneer Woman Mac and Cheese
For a side dish that adults and children alike will enjoy, this indulgent, creamy mac and cheese recipe can be made a day or two before the big day and will supplement or replace just about any side that pickier eaters will refuse. In many parts of the country, serving mac and cheese on Thanksgiving is a must, so try our version of the Pioneer Woman mac and cheese recipe – it’s a crowd pleaser!
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5
Butter Pecan Fudge Photo
Butter Pecan Fudge Recipe
This creamy, sweet delight tastes amazing served alongside your after dinner coffee or tea. The amazing thing about fudge is that it can be left at room temperature, properly wrapped, for one to two weeks – this is the preferred way to store fudge. Refrigerated fudge can become crumbly and lose its moisture. If you make too much or want to save it for a later date, you can store it in the freezer for two to three months!
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6
Roasted Tahini Maple Sweet Potatoes Photo
Roasted Tahini Maple Sweet Potatoes Recipe
I love roasted vegetables, especially sweet potatoes. The texture is amazing and the potato never dries out! These roasted tahini maple sweet potatoes cook up very quickly, so preparing them in advance for roasting will save time and energy. You can roast them toward the end of the cooking, and serve them fresh and piping hot! Nobody will know you cut the potatoes the night before.
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7
Paleo Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup Photo
Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
This coconut milk-based coconut curry butternut squash soup is perfect for pairing with your traditional Thanksgiving feast, plus it’s great for those guests who may have unique dietary needs or restrictions. It tastes wonderful, has a kick that keeps it creative, and the best part is, like most soups, it tastes best on the second day. Make it a day or two before and simply reheat to serve.
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8
Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad Photo
Roasted Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad Recipe
This roasted butternut squash quinoa salad recipe is a dish that vegetarians will love seeing on Thanksgiving! If you, too, are bored with the same old thing, this brings in incredible seasonal flavors in an unexpected way. Squash, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, feta, pomegranate, yum! Make this the night before and store in the fridge, setting the pomegranate molasses aside for the final presentation.
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9
Whipped Goat Cheese Photo
Whipped Goat Cheese Recipe
Love it or hate it, goat cheese is unique and will bring something refreshingly new to your Thanksgiving spread. This whipped goat cheese makes a delicious Thanksgiving appetizer that’s as simple to prepare as it is memorable in flavor. It pairs well with crackers or baked breads and wine and can be prepared two days in advance so it’s a cinch to pull it out for snacking while dinner finishes up.
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10
Butter Pecan Skillet Cookie Photo
Butter Pecan Skillet Cookie Recipe
If you’re looking for an incredible, unique Thanksgiving dessert recipe, serve up our butter pecan skillet cookies! Made the night before, these chewy, gooey cookies will still wow your guests as though they were fresh from the oven. Pop the skillet back into the oven to warm just before you’re planning to serve dessert. Top the warmed cookie with vanilla ice cream and be amazed.
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11
Cranberry Apple Walnut Tarts Photo
Cranberry Apple Walnut Tarts Recipe
Delicious little tarts like our recipe for cranberry apple walnut tarts look so fancy and adorable without much added prep time. Single serving amounts make them easier to prepare for a set number of guests, and just a sprinkle of walnuts on top will make it look dressed to impress. Prepare these tarts up to two days in advance and you’ll have a tasty appetizer ready to go in no time.
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12
Mashed Carrots and Turnips Image
Mashed Carrots and Turnips Recipe
For an unusual twist on the classic Thanksgiving sides, and one that you don’t have all year round, our mashed carrots and turnips recipe will be a side dish that shakes things up without going too off course. This dish can be prepared up to two days in advanced and then simply warmed up in time for dinner. Don’t be suprised when you love the flavor and start making these all the time.
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13
Parmesan Smashed Potatoes Photo
Parmesan Smashed Potatoes Recipe
Preparing these parmesan smashed potatoes the night before Thanksgiving and saving the final step of cooking for the last 20 minutes before dinner is served will save you lots of time and stove space! These potatoes will amaze your guests while putting just a slight twist on the traditional Thanksgiving mashed potatoes. The parmesan cheese adds just the right extra something-something.
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14
Pecan Pie Cinnamon Rolls Photo
Pecan Pie Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
If you love pecan pie, you will enjoy these soft, delicious pecan pie cinnamon rolls. These sweet, flaky rolls taste wonderful when reheated a day or two after preparation, or even left at room temperature, so you can easily make them ahead of Thanksgiving. These sweet rolls paired with a cup of coffee makes a delicious, sweet breakfast while you’re watching the parade on Thanksgiving.
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15
Cheddar Bay Biscuits Photo
Red Lobster Biscuit Recipe
Cheesy, garlicky copycat Red Lobster biscuits are absolutely the way to go for Thanksgiving because there’s simply nothing quite as cozy as fresh, warm biscuits. Biscuits made in advance last a couple of days and can easily be reheated. Everyone loves the famous Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuits so make them for Thanksgiving day and make them ahead to cut back on time.
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16
Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies Photo
Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies Recipe
A twist on a dessert just about everyone loves, these brownies combine chocolate and pumpkin for a flavor combination that you’ll adore. You will want to refrigerate these brownies, as they have cream cheese – the best part is, they taste so good cold. These will last five days in the fridge, but for company and for the sake of leftovers, I would prepare them no more than 3 days in advance.
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17
Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes Image
Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Mashed potatoes are a side that most people love any time of the year, but potatoes at Thanksgiving are almost a given! These extremely buttery potatoes are creamy, rich, and a surefire way to satisfy your guests. Our take on the Pioneer Woman mashed potatoes recipes, you can prepare the potatoes 1 to 2 days in advance, saving the final butter topping for when you reheat them
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18
Vanilla Pumpkin Skillet Cornbread Photo
Vanilla Pumpkin Skillet Cornbread Recipe
A nice, sweet dish that’s great for a dessert or a side to keep you satisfied, our vanilla pumpkin skillet cornbread recipe is not your average cornbread recipe, that’s for sure. This delicious fall cornbread can be made a couple days in advance and warmed up before drizzling butter and/or maple syrup on as a finishing touch. In addition to being great with dinner, it also makes a simple, delicious breakfast.
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19
Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad Photo
Harvest Acorn Squash Quinoa Salad Recipe
Quinoa is an excellent base for warm or cooled salads that are rich and hearty and contain multiple flavors and textures. This harvest acorn squash quinoa salad recipe adds kale, bacon, cranberries, and pistachios for a unique flavor sensation that makes a perfect addition to your traditional Thanksgiving feast. Whether you are hosting or traveling, this salad can be made ahead without compromising flavor or texture.
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