We know that come Thanksgiving day there will be multiple dishes to juggle and never quite enough oven space. We’ve put together a collection of our favorite make-ahead Thanksgiving side dishes. Whether you’re hosting, or have been asked to bring a dish to dinner, they’ll help you out on the big day.
Every Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of Meghan Trainor’s song “All About That Bass.” Because when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I’m all about those sides.
Don’t get me wrong, I love turkey. I eat it throughout the year. Turkey and cheddar with copious amounts of mayo is my favorite sandwich. But come on! How many times a year do you eat green bean or sweet potato casserole, creamy gratins, and mashed potatoes so rich they make your cardiologist faint?
And let’s talk about stuffing, er, dressing. Some obscure government agency should make it its very own food group. Or at the very least, create a food pyramid that rests on those mighty herb-scented shoulders.
Then there are the days following Turkey Day–so marvelous they are that who can think of Black Friday? If I’m not making a turkey-stuffing-and-cranberry-sauce sandwich or stuffing muffins, I’m layering leftovers into a casserole dish, topping them with homemade pie crust, and making a day-after-Thanksgiving pot pie.
Huzzah, huzzah, side dishes! Long may you reign and terrorize doctors everywhere.
These roasted carrots were excellent! I made them along with the slow-roasted pork shoulder with stuffed squash for an early Christmas dinner party and they were an absolute hit! Super easy to prep in advance and I liked the preserved lemon surprise at the end. Yum!–Amy
Extraordinarily delicious! I will definitely be making this creamed spinach recipe again soon. Texture and flavoring was perfect.–Elizabeth
What types of side dishes are best to make ahead of time?
The best types of side dishes to make in advance are those that are served at room temperature, like cranberry sauce, or sides that reheat well, like mashed potatoes or gravy. For other types of side dishes, like creamy gratins or roasted Brussels sprouts, do as much prep as you can and then pop them into the oven at the last minute.
How many side dishes do I need for Thanksgiving dinner?
There’s no firm rule, but we recommend you aim for 4 to 5 side dishes for your Thanksgiving menu. We like to include 2 vegetable sides, like easy roasted carrots and pan-fried green beans, and two starchy sides like black pepper mashed potatoes and herbed bread and celery stuffing. Of course, if your family demands a marshmallow-laden sweet potato casserole, then we recommend you also include that.
What’s the best way to store leftover side dishes?
Most side dishes will keep in sealed containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. Some sides, particularly gravy and cranberry sauce freeze well and can be stashed in airtight containers in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Now that you have your side dishes squared away, you can move on to the most important part — dessert! We’ve got an incredible selection of Thanksgiving desserts, many of which can also be made ahead and stashed in your fridge or freezer.