Side dishes don’t mess around when it comes to Thanksgiving. If you are doing the cooking, make Thanksgiving easy on yourself by making your side dishes ahead of time. All of these dishes can be made before the big day and still taste super fresh.

collage graphic of make ahead thanksgiving recipes

TASTY MAKE AHEAD THANKSGIVING SIDE DISHES

Oven space on Thanksgiving day can get crowded really fast. Do yourself a favor and make some — or even all — of your side dishes before the big day. Lots of these dishes even taste better made ahead of time because it gives the flavors a chance to really develop together.

Some of these dishes can even be made weeks ahead of time and left in the freezer until you need them. Most of the casserole dishes or bread rolls fit into that category. Simply let them thaw out and place them in the oven right before you are getting ready to sit down and eat.

SIMPLE DISHES TO MAKE AHEAD ON THANKSGIVING

You cannot go wrong by choosing any of these dishes to add to your Thanksgiving dinner. Each dish pairs perfectly with turkey and will be even better as leftovers. With most of the dishes, you’ll want to double the recipe, so you have enough to go around and then some!

1. Cornbread Casserole

What happens when you combine cornbread with a casserole? You get this incredible side dish of a cornbread casserole.

The cornbread casserole can be made ahead and warmed up right before your big meal.

You can also make this one weeks ahead and stick it in the freezer until you are ready for your big meal.

2. Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

Thanksgiving would not be complete without a cheesy broccoli casserole.

This make-ahead Thanksgiving sidedish is a true crowd pleaser.

Stick this one in the oven to warm it up before serving, and get the cheese nice and melty.

3. Maple Glazed Roasted Carrots

If you are looking for a quick side dish that is vegan-friendly, look no further than this maple glazed roasted carrot side dish.

The side dish elevates basic carrots and gives them a subtle sweetness.

They are so tasty and naturally sweet you’ll forget that you are eating a vegetable.

4.  Bacon Wrapped Green Beans

Green beans are a staple when it comes to Thanksgiving.

Switch up the classic staple of a dish and add some bacon into the mix.

The bacon not only adds a bit of flavor into the mix, but also keeps the green beans in a nice and neat little bundle.

5. Sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

These sauteed brussel sprouts are sure to be a hit with your Thanksgiving table.

The vegetables are always a fan favorite, so you might as well double the recipe so you will have enough to go around.

Make these ahead of time, and then crisp them up in the oven right before you all sit down to eat.

6. Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving would not be complete with a sweet potato casserole.

The traditional dish is the best partner to a juicy slice of turkey.

Make this one a few weeks ahead of time and place it in the freezer. Then, the night before Thanksgiving, let it thaw so you can cook it right before your big meal.

7. Autumn Apple and Pear Salad

Add a healthy option to your Thanksgiving menu with a hearty salad.

The key to making this salad ahead of time is keeping the dressing on the side.

When you are ready to sit down to eat, toss the salad in the dressing. This way, nothing will get soggy.

8. Mashed Potatoes

Thanksgiving would not be complete without a serving of mashed potatoes.

Next to turkey, mashed potatoes might be the most traditional side dish to have on your plate.

These potatoes can be made up to a few days in advance. To freshen them up before hitting the table, add in butter while warming them up. It will make them taste as if they came right off of the stove.

9. Creamed Spinach 

Don’t judge this creamed spinach by its cover. The leafy vegetable tends to have a bad reputation but is actually quite delicious.

The secret to getting the leafy vegetable so creamy is actually in a block of cream cheese.

It will surprise your tastebuds after one bite.

10. Crispy Potato Roast

There is no such thing as too many potatoes when it comes to Thanksgiving. Not a fan of mashed? Go with this crispy potato roast instead.

This crispy potato roast is almost too pretty to eat. The layered potatoes not only make a beautiful side dish, but also create little pockets of crispiness.

Warm this dish up before you sit down to eat to let the potatoes regain their signature crunch.

11. Corn Pudding

Looking for a side dish that even your pickiest eater will like? Go with this corn pudding.

The dish falls on the sweetness side, so much so that you might even be able to convince your little eaters that it is dessert.

This dish freezes up real well, so make it a few weeks before the holiday and warm it up on the big day to save yourself time and space in the oven.

12. Homemade Cornbread

Cornbread is a classic when it comes to Thanksgiving.

The side dish is great to make ahead of time and keeps in the freezer until the meal.

Simply cut the bread into squares and place it in an airtight container or plastic bag. This will help it stay in place until you are ready to serve it on Thanksgiving.

13. Sausage Stuffing

Upgrade your stuffing this Thanksgiving and add sausage to the classic dish.

This dish is great to make ahead of because it gives all of the flavors extra time to hang out.

When you are ready to serve the dish, warm it up in the oven at a lower temperature, so it does not dry out.

14. Cornbread Dressing

If you have never made stuffing with cornbread, get ready for a big treat.

This cornbread dressing will be such a hit on your Thanksgiving table.

The sweet cornbread pairs so well with the herbs and veggies in the dish to make an irresistible bite.

15. Sage Apple Stuffing

Apples are not just for dessert. Case in point: this sage apple stuffing.

The apples complement the herbs to make a savory and sweet bite all in one.

Make this ahead of time and warm it up low in the oven to let the apple come to its peak sweetness.

16. Cranberry Sauce

Not everyone loves cranberry sauce, but I think we can all agree that it makes the house smell great on Thanksgiving day.

Make this cranberry sauce first thing in the morning to get those excellent smells flowing throughout the house all day long.

You can even make the cranberry sauce a few days ahead of time and freeze it. Then, on the morning of the big day, throw it in a pot and let the smells come to life.

17. Turkey Gravy

Don’t be the family that forgets about the gravy on Thanksgiving.

Make sure you have the gravy ready to go on Thanksgiving, and do yourself a favor by making it ahead of time.

The simple recipe will make your turkey taste even better.

18. Roasted Vegetables

If you are looking for a simple side dish that can be made ahead of time, look no further than these roasted vegetables.

Pretty much any vegetable can be roasted using this method.

When you are ready to serve the veggies, pop them back on a cookie sheet and let them warm up.

You can even serve them at room temperature, and they will still be just as tasty.

19. Butternut Squash Casserole

Thanksgiving means squash season is in full swing. Show off the beautiful harvest of squash with this butternut squash casserole.

The casserole puts a healthy spin on a typical casserole by swapping out breadcrumbs with wild brown rice.

Plus, it is vegan, making it easy for those looking for alternative options.

20. Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans

Cranberries and pecans are such seasonal foods, so it only makes sense that they are paired in a rice pilaf recipe.

This recipe is great because it holds up well in the refrigerator a few days ahead of the big meal.

Feel free to add in other fall flavors like pumpkin seeds or dried apples to make this rice dish even better.

21.  Dinner Rolls

You can never go wrong by adding a dinner roll to your Thanksgiving meal.

Make the dinner rolls ahead of time, and stick them in the freezer until you are ready to warm them up.

Let them sit in the oven at a low temperature and take them out right before you are ready to eat so your rolls will be nice and toasty.

MORE THANKSGIVING SIDE DISHES

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About Kasey Schwartz

Hi, I’m Kasey, Founder of All Things Mamma – where I am dishing up family favorite recipes that are easy to make with simple, everyday ingredients. Plus – tips and tricks for living your best life!

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