These make-ahead Thanksgiving dishes are true sanity-savers. Over the years, I learned that a stressed-out host makes for a lousy shindig. Because I was that hot holiday mess (sorry, friends and family!)
So, over time, I changed. I chilled. In particular, these three things helped immensely:
- I simplified. As much as I want to make three desserts – one with flames, of course – it’s not worth losing my ever-loving mind to make it happen.
- I got myself a husband who sees to it that the house is spic-and-span so that I don’t have to worry about it. I seriously lucked out on that front.
- Make ahead, make ahead, make ahead. The freezer, in particular, is my very best friend. A best friend who helps make sure that I’m enjoying my guests, wine glass in hand, as opposed to sweating bullets and cursing quietly (or not so quietly) in the kitchen.
With its myriad of dishes – and large ones, at that – Thanksgiving is a prime candidate for the make-ahead strategy. Every year, I like to challenge myself to make as much as humanly possible ahead of time in early November (or even October). Man, does it help with Thanksgiving Day chaos.
With me?! If so, here are 5 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes for the Freezer.
Table of Contents
- Cranberry Sauce
- Sweet Potatoes
- More for Your Vegetarian Thanksgiving
My very favorite thing to make ahead and freeze for the big day. This recipe is for a basic (but delicious!) sauce, but if you’d like to mix it up, how about one of these? Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce, Honey Sweetened Orange, Orange Maple, Apple Cranberry, Spiced Wine, Raspberry Red Wine, Lemon and Miso. So many options!
Freeze gravy, you say? Yes! Once when I was whipping up this recipe, I realized that with that list of ingredients, there was really no reason why it shouldn’t freeze and thaw perfectly. And it did! Now, I’m not sure if this method will work with your traditional turkey drippings gravy – I haven’t tried it there. But with these broth-based gravies, it’s totally doable! Just make it, cool it, freeze it in an airtight container or zipper bag. Then pull it out a day or so before Thanksgiving and put it in the freezer. Once it’s thawed, you can just heat it up in a saucepan on the stove. It looks a little weird cold, but it comes right back together once it heats up. I love all three of these: Vegetarian Onion Gravy, Vegan Garam Masala Brown Gravy, and Vegan Mushroom Gravy.
Unlike most potato-potatoes, sweet potatoes are perfect for making ahead and freezing. Who knew?! Not me, until this year. I can’t wait to give it a whirl. More sweet potato recipes to try: Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole, Best-Ever Sweet Potato Casserole with Apples, or Sweet Potato Casserole Lightened Up.
Rolls are known for freezing wonderfully, and these honey whole-wheat swirls are no exception. Make these rolls, partially bake them, then freeze. Finish them off in the oven right before the feast for that can’t-be-beat, fresh-baked taste. More rolls and other delicious stand-ins that are perfect for freezing ahead of time: Soft & Fluffy Dinner Rolls, Overnight Dinner Rolls, Pumpkin Cornbread, Skillet Honey Cornbread, Cranberry Pumpkin Rolls, Honey Whole Wheat Buttermilk Rolls, Parmesan Thyme Crackers and, for slathering, Cranberry Honey Butter.
There are all kinds of freezer desserts that will have everyone oohing and ahhing, including you. But your oohs and aahs are because all you had to do was cut and serve – the work was done weeks ago, then it kept beautifully in the freezer! Life is good. Freezer-friendly dessert ideas: Apple Cranberry Crisp, Brownie Bottomed Cheesecake, Vegan Gingerbread Pear Bundt Cake, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Rolls, Carrot Cupcakes, Fresh Cranberry Brownies, and Vanilla Bean Caramel Pecan Bars.
More for Your Vegetarian Thanksgiving
Bring on the meatless holiday options!
- All Thanksgiving recipes
- 100+ Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes – one huge list of every kind of meatless holiday recipe
- 30 Main Vegetarian Dishes for Thanksgiving & Christmas
- 15 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Side Dishes with Wide Appeal
- 19 Vegan Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- 12 Vegetarian Gravy Recipes
- A Thanksgiving Feast for (Nearly) Every Diet – a full, epic menu with plenty of options for the carnivores, vegetarians, vegans, AND gluten-free folks at the table!
- Thanksgiving for Special Diets: The Ultimate Guide to Coexisting Deliciously
- And for Christmas, here’s our Christmas dinner menu that I shared few years ago.
5 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes for Freezing
- Cranberry Sauce
- Sweet Potatoes
- Pick a dish and a recipe to make ahead and freeze.
- Come back and choose another one, and enjoy your stress-free Turkey Day!