Take the stress out of hosting Thanksgiving dinner by preparing as much of the meal as you can in advance. All of these recipes can be made days (or even weeks) ahead of time. Whip up your spices, side dishes, rolls and desserts now, so you won’t have to spend as much time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day.
Start your Thanksgiving prep by restocking your spice rack with all the spices you’ll need to make your meal. This poultry seasoning recipe makes enough to season your turkey and stuffing, and can be made months in advance.
Get the Recipe: Poultry Seasoning
This pumpkin pie spice can also be made well ahead of the holiday. Make enough for a single pie, or enough for a bunch of pies.
Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Spice
If apple pie is a part of your Thanksgiving tradition, this apple pie spice is another good spice to prep ahead. It takes less than two minutes to make.
Get the Recipe: Apple Pie Spice
Lots of Thanksgiving casseroles and side dishes call for broth. Make a batch in your crockpot now. Then, freeze it, so you’ll have plenty on hand for all your holiday recipes. Just pull your broth out of the freezer a couple days before Thanksgiving, so it has time to thaw in the fridge, or use the speed defrost setting on your microwave to thaw a pint in about 15 minutes.
Get the Recipe: Crockpot Chicken Broth
Like the idea of using homemade puree in your pumpkin recipes? Make it ahead of time, so your oven won’t be tied up for hours on Thanksgiving Day. This will also give you a chance to drain the excess water out of your puree, so your pumpkin pie doesn’t turn out soggy. Pumpkin puree freezes beautifully.
Get the Recipe: How to Make Pumpkin Puree
Get the Recipe: Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup
Have some casseroles that call for cream of chicken condensed soup? It’s a cinch to make yourself. Whip up a few jars for the freezer, so you won’t have to rely on the store-bought kind this year. You can even make a vegan version, if some of your guests don’t eat meat.
Get the Recipe: Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup
Get a head start on your pies by making your pie crusts now. Just roll your dough out; press it into pie plates (metal or disposable); and pop them in the freezer – plate and all. Once they’re frozen, slide your crusts into a freezer bag, and they’ll keep for at least three months. There’s no need to thaw your pie crusts before you use them. Just fill them, and pop them in the oven. Your pies should be ready within a few minutes of their normal bake time.
Custard-based pies (like pumpkin), don’t freeze well, but fruit pies do. So, if you have an apple pie on your holiday to-do list, go ahead and make it early – even a couple months early. Just prepare your pie as usual. Wrap it well; and store it in the freezer, until you’re ready to bake it. If you bake your pie from a frozen state, you’ll completely eliminate that soggy crust problem that plagues fruit pies. That’s because the crust will thaw and start baking well ahead of the fruit filling. Expect your pie to take an extra 20-45 minutes in the oven. Cover the edge of your pie crust with foil, or a pie shield, mid-way through the bake time to protect it from burning.
These yeast rolls hold up beautifully in the freezer. Bake a batch, and freeze them, or just freeze the dough, so you can bake a fresh batch on Thanksgiving Day. If you cut the dough into rolls, and flash freeze them (without allowing them to rise), you can arrange them on a baking sheet Thanksgiving morning, and leave them to thaw and rise, while you work on other kitchen tasks. Easy!
Get the Recipe: No-Fail Yeast Rolls
Have some jellied cranberry sauce lovers in your family? Surprise them with this homemade version. It’s easy to make, and can be stored in the freezer, until you need it. Just move it to the fridge a couple days before Thanksgiving, so it has plenty of time to thaw.
Get the Recipe: Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Make your stuffing ahead, and freeze it. This will give all the flavors a chance to meld together, so it’s at its absolute tastiest when you serve it. Just move it to the fridge a couple days ahead, to give it time to thaw. Then, warm it up before serving.
Normally, pumpkin soup doesn’t freeze well because of the cream, but if you leave the cream out, until you’re ready to serve it, it’ll do brilliantly.
Get the Recipe: Creamy Pumpkin Soup