We’ve been dreaming about our Thanksgiving menu since October 1st, and that’s because we know the secret to the perfect Thanksgiving meal is planning ahead. Nothing ruins our favorite feast day of the year like spending a panicked day in the kitchen, trying to schedule our oven space, stirring, boiling, mashing and roasting like mad, while trying to check every dish off on our master list and hoping we didn’t forget anything.
Instead, we like to prepare for Thanksgiving on our own schedule. Taking a few weekends to cook up our seasonal favorites at our own pace removes that day-of pressure. Instead, we can take our time, making perfect mashed potato casserole, rich and creamy gravy, tart and sweet cranberry sauce, and fluffy bread rolls, then storing them in our freezer until the big day.
Most of these recipes, even the apple pie, can be made completely ahead of time, then moved right from the freezer to the oven. On the big day, all you’ll have to worry about is the main event – the turkey – and you might even get to enjoy a glass of wine or two while you cook.
Savory Smoked Gouda and Thyme Sweet Potatoes
Make a batch of brown butter twice-baked sweet potatoes ahead of time, freeze them, then top with shredded gouda and bake until heated through on Thanksgiving day.
Get the recipe from That Amy Cakes.
Loaded Twice Baked Potato Casserole
Enriched with sour cream, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese, this twice baked potato casserole freezes like a dream.
Get the recipe from This Farm Girl Cooks.
Cheesy Creamy Broccoli Casserole
Our favorite way to add green veggies to our Thanksgiving meal? Smother them in a cheesy cream sauce, of course. You can make this broccoli casserole up to three months in advance and pop it in the freezer, then thaw it overnight on Thanksgiving eve, and reheat it the day of.
Get the recipe from The Cozy Cook.
Classic Dinner Rolls
No one has time to bake fresh yeast rolls on Thanksgiving. Bake them ahead of time, freeze, then thaw the day of Thanksgiving – heat them up in the oven so they’re warm for dinner.
Get the recipe from Leite’s Culinaria.
Apple, Fennel, and Sausage Stuffing
Stuffing is a champ when it comes to spending time in the freezer. Bake it, covered in foil, until heated through on Thanksgiving day, then remove the foil and let it get crispy and brown on top (we won’t tell if you add a few extra pats of butter).
Get the recipe from Nerds With Knives.
Make Ahead Gravy
Making gravy last-minute is unnecessarily stressful. You can make this gravy ahead of time, no drippings needed. Freeze it in ice cube trays, then thaw overnight and reheat on Thanksgiving day.
Get the recipe from Zested Lemon.
Freezer Apple Pie
Assemble this apple pie ahead of time, then freeze the whole thing in a metal pie pan. On Thanksgiving day or the day before, simply move the frozen pie into the oven and bake for an hour until the crust is golden brown in the filling it hot and bubbling.
Get the recipe from The Pie Academy.
Make Ahead Freezer Mac and Cheese
How do you make mac and cheese worthy of Thanksgiving? Use three kinds of cheese, buttermilk, and sour cream to make it impossible rich, then freezer and reheat on Thanksgiving day.
Get the recipe from Savory Spicerack.
Freezer-Friendly Green Bean Casserole
Love it or hate it, it’s just not Thanksgiving without green bean casserole. This one is made without canned soup for a more homemade flavor, and you can bake it ahead of time (minus the french fried onions), then remove it from the freezer, add the french fried onions, and bake so it’s ready for your big feast.
Get the recipe from Rachel Cooks.
Make Head Freezer Cranberry Sauce
Tangy sweet cranberry sauce, flavored with orange and sweetened with coconut sugar, can be made up to two months in advance and kept in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge and enjoy.
Get the recipe from Vegan in the Freezer.
Freeze Ahead Butternut Squash Gratin
Assemble your butternut squash gratin, freeze for up to two weeks, then bake right from frozen.
Get the recipe from Two Purple Figs.
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