9 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes

November 12, 2013

Whether it's hosting a houseful of guests or cooking a feast for a select, lucky few, Thanksgiving is inevitably a busy, food-filled day. And we think it should be enjoyable, as opposed to anxiety-provoking—say, from waiting around until 9 pm for the turkey to reach temperature (if it happens, just have a steady stream of this flowing).

So let's clear out some freezer and fridge space and plan ahead to get a few sides out of the way—letting the bird take up as much time as it likes. You'll wake up on T-Day with time to watch that new balloon in the parade and mentally stretch to the Rockettes' high kicks.

Sour Cream Dinner Rolls by AntoniaJames

Shop the Story

Sour Cream Dinner Rolls on Food52

Josh Besh's Green Olive Tapenade by Merrill Stubbs

Josh Besh's Green Olive Tapenade on Food52


Parsnip and Potato Mash by Merrill Stubbs

Parsnip and Potato Mash on Food52


Spinach Gratin by Lizthechef

Spinach Gratin on Food52


Creamy Butternut Squash Soup with Sherry by Merrill Stubbs

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup on Food52 

April Bloomfield's Lemon Caper Dressing by Genius Recipes

Lemon Caper Dressing on Food52

Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Bread Stuffing with Apples by Gena Hamshaw

Squash, Brussels Sprout and Bread Stuffing on Food52

Canal House's Cranberry-Port Gelée by Genius Recipes

Cranberry-Port Gelee on Food52


Spiced Maple Pecan Pie with Star Anise by Merrill Stubbs

Spiced Pecan Pie on Food52

Tell us your favorite make-ahead holiday dishes in the comments. 

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Catherine
  • AntoniaJames
  • Elana Carlson
    Elana Carlson
Lactose intolerant cheese lover, who will walk blocks for a good cup of coffee. Recently escaped the corporate world, after discovering her favorite part of the job was ordering catering.


Catherine November 17, 2013
I read earlier that a Heritage bird should be cooked at high heat, 425. I have a 9+lb Heritage bird, first time cooking one. I'm a little nervous about cooking at this temp. How much time per lb? I do plan to dry brine, also first time. Thanks so much.
Author Comment
Elana C. November 19, 2013
Catherine, cooking at high heat is the only way to go for Heritage birds since they are leaner. The cooking time depends on the size of your bird. Martha Stewart has a helpful recipe here: http://www.marthastewart.com/347005/roasted-heritage-turkey
AntoniaJames November 16, 2013
I posted a question to the Hotline about the stuffing included in this post, but it hasn't been answered, so I hope the editors will respond to it here:
What did the Food52 test kitchen do to confirm that the Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Bread Stuffing with Apples could be made ahead of time? I.e., what exactly did you do? I'm concerned about the Brussels sprouts not holding up well if made ahead of time. Did you make the entire dish and then just heat it up later? Also, did you bake it on a baking sheet and then put it into the copper pan shown in the photo for the purpose of the photo shoot? Thanks so much. ;o)