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Make ahead Thanksgiving recipes

Thanksgiving is a holiday to give thanks and appreciation to those around us. It shouldn’t be a day of stressful scrambling in the kitchen to make sure every dish is cooked to perfection. Save yourself from Thanksgiving angst by preparing the following make ahead Thanksgiving recipes.

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Scalloped sweet potato recipe

Serves 8

A nice change from mashed potatoes, these scrumptious scalloped sweet potatoes can be made up to two days ahead and simply reheated in the oven.


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, halved, and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto (about 4 slices), cut into small squares
  • 3/4 cup coarsely ground fresh whole grain breadcrumbs
  • 1 small clove garlic, smashed to a paste with a pinch of salt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook sweet potatoes until just tender. Drain and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.
  3. Coat a 1-1/2 quart baking dish with a bit of the melted butter. Add remaining butter to a medium sized skillet and place over medium heat. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned. Toss the breadcrumbs and garlic with the prosciutto and set aside.
  4. Arrange a single layer of sweet potato slices in the baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle half of the cheese and thyme on top. Repeat with another layer of sweet potato slices, salt, pepper and the remaining thyme and cheese. Top with a final layer of sweet potato slices and season again with salt and pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Gently pour the cream over the sweet potatoes and scatter the prosciutto mixture on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.
  6. Let cool completely and refrigerate. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and top is golden.

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Glazed carrots and parsnips recipe

Serves 8

Sweetly caramelized carrots and parsnips are a kid-friendly fave that adults certainly won’t turn down. This yummy gem of a Thanksgiving side dish recipe can be made up to two days ahead and reheated.


  • 1 pound small carrots, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 pound small parsnips, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon thyme leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine carrots, parsnips, water, and orange juice. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender.
  2. Add butter, agave, and thyme and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated and vegetables are glazed. Season with salt and pepper, stirring one last time.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To reheat, place carrots and parsnips in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until heated through. You can add a bit of water if skillet is dry.

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Pumpkin mousse recipe

Serves 8

A creamy dreamy make ahead Thanksgiving dessert, this pumpkin mousse recipe is simple to prepare and super delicious to eat.


  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2.25 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups chilled heavy cream, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Finely chopped candied ginger for garnish


  1. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over water and let sit until gelatin has softened. Bring mixture to a low simmer over low heat and stir until gelatin has dissolved.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar, spices, salt, and gelatin mixture. Set aside.
  3. In a large chilled bowl, beat 1 cup cream and the vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold cream into pumpkin mixture. Spoon into 8 dessert glasses. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. When ready to serve, beat remaining 1 cup cream until soft peaks form. Dollop cream on top of pumpkin mousse and garnish with candied ginger.

More ways to take the stress out of Thanksgiving

Planning your family’s Thanksgiving
Sandra Lee’s last minute appetizers
Traveling safely with your turkey dinner

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