6 Make Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

6 Make Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

Making Thanksgiving Dinner can be stressful. If you are worried you won’t have enough time to get it all done, you can get a head start with these 6 Make Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes.

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One way to keep Thanksgiving from being stressful and to have dinner done on time is to make several dishes ahead of time. This round-up has everything you might want at Thanksgiving dinner from soup to dessert.

Here are some recipes you can make ahead of time and a timeline for when you to make these delicious recipes. This timeline starts one week prior to Thanksgiving. You can make one dish each day or more than one. It’s up to you. Recipes like the Butternut Squash Soup are simple enough that you can make it stovetop or in your pressure cooker and walk away.

When I make recipes that are simple or don’t require a lot of hands on time I like to make a couple of recipes. For example, I would make the cranberry sauce recipe in the pressure cooker and the butternut squash recipe stovetop.

6 Make Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes

7 Days Before Thanksgiving

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving favorite of mine. I absolutely love our pressure cooker cranberry sauce recipe because it’s hands off. If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can make your cranberry sauce stovetop.

We are also a fan of Tyler Florence’s stovetop cranberry sauce which is super simple and only uses four ingredients. We swap out the honey in Brown’s recipe for sugar.

Cranberry sauce cooked in pot

Once cooled you can store your cranberry sauce in the freezer. Allow to defrost in the fridge.

If you like your sauce a little warm, reheat your cranberry sauce on the stove and add a bit of fresh zested orange.

6 Days Before Thanksgiving

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup is a great make ahead recipe. Not only is butternut squash in season a simple soup is easy to make and freeze. The El’s Kitchen Butternut Squash Soup recipe does not have any milk in it so it’s perfect for freezing.

Puree the soup until it reaches the consistency you prefer. Then freeze flat or in a round container until you are ready to reheat. When you reheat this Butternut Squash soup recipe you can add regular milk or coconut milk for additional flavor.

5 Days Before Thanksgiving

Macaroni and Cheese

A yummy, cheesy macaroni and cheese recipe is exactly what you need this Thanksgiving. Macaroni and cheese can be made about a month or so before hand. When reheating baked macaroni and cheese you don’t want it to dry out. That would negate all the hard milky, cheesy goodness you infused into it.

To prevent this I would suggest you reheat your mac and cheese in the oven. Set oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place mac and cheese is a buttered baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes until hot completely through. This should take about 20 minutes.

southern baked macaroni and cheese
Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese

4 Days Before Thanksgiving

Mashed Potatoes

Turkey and mashed potatoes are a delicious combination. The El’s Kitchen Comforts Instant Pot Mashed Potato recipe is delicious and easy to jazz up anyway you would like. There are several different ways you can reheat mashed potatoes. Once thawed you can reheat your mashed potatoes in the microwave, the oven or a double boiler.

If you are in a rush and need to reheat your mashed potatoes quickly you can use the microwave. My preferred method to reheat mashed potatoes if I have a little more time is in a double boiler.

Once you’ve reheated your mashed potatoes think about adding some melted garlic butter or herb butter for extra flavor.

3 Days Before Thanksgiving


If you like a cornbread stuffing you might want to make double so that you can use it to stuff in your turkey tomorrow. Reheating cornbread pretty simple. If already cut, add a little butter then wrap in foil or place on a baking sheer and place it in the oven while you are reheating your baked macaroni and cheese. Your cornbread only needs about 10 minutes to reheat.

If you’ve used the El’s Kitchen Comforts cornbread recipe and the cornbread in still in the your cast iron skillet add a couple of slim pats of butter and cover it with foil. Place in the oven and for about 10 to 15 minutes.

2 Days Before Thanksgiving


For Thanksgiving hubby typically handles the big bird. I guess that’s why there’s no Turkey recipe on the blog. He always does a wonderful job of making a very flavorful turkey. It’s probably because he brines his turkey and adds lots of fresh herbs from the garden. The Herb Brined Turkey recipe from a Taste of Home is similar to how we roast our turkey.

When reheating turkey, I prefer to cut it up and baste it as it warms in the oven at 350 degrees F. Having had some many dry turkeys in the past I’m always concerned with making sure the turkey stays moist when heating it. And basting it does exactly that .

Of course, if you are looking to reheat your whole turkey it’s important to try to make sure you don’t dry it out. The are several ways to make sure this doesn’t happen. First, cover your turkey in foil. Foil holds heat well and will shorten the amount of time it takes the the turkey to heat up and will allow the turkey retain its moisture. You will reheat the turkey at 300 degrees F for about 30 to 45 minutes.

1 Day Before Thanksgiving

Pecan Pie

You’ll love the layers of flavor in our Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe. Like with many pies you should make your pecan pie before Thanksgiving. I like to make mine a day or two ahead of time.

Once baked, allow pie to come to room temperature before wrapping it and placing it into the fridge. Let the pie come to room temperature before you serve it.

Bourbon Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie

Thanksgiving Day

Now, it’s Thanksgiving Day and all you have to do is make gravy, some veggies and warm up the recipes you’ve made ahead of time.

Perfect right?!? Now, you can actually spend Thanksgiving Day giving thanks and spending time with your family. Instead of running around like a turkey with your head cut off.

Tips to Stress Less on Thanksgiving

  1. Three to four days before Thanksgiving remove your turkey from the freezer. A 5 pound frozen turkey needs about 24 hours to defrost. So, if you have a 20 pound turkey you will need to take you turkey out of the fridge at least 4 days in advance.
  2. Stick to recipes (or recipes from people) you know and trust.
  3. Take help
  4. Start prepping recipes early
  5. Make a timeline for when things should be done

We hope that you enjoy every minute you can with your family.

From our family to yours and made with love,

El Signature

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