9 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Foods

The more cooking you can do before The Big Day, the better.

1. Cider-Sage Gravy

Prepare this earthy gravy as directed, cool to room temperature, and then freeze in freezer-safe ziplock bags. Defrost the day before, and reheat before serving.

1 small bunch sage leaves
3 tablespoons (or more) drippings from turkey
1 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Add the sage leaves to the roasting pan with the drippings from roasting the turkey. (If you have at least 6 tablespoons of drippings, you can double the recipe.).

Place the pan over medium heat and allow the sage to infuse the fat and heat until the leaves start to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes.

Deglaze the pan by slowly adding the apple cider, stirring to scrape up the brown bits. Simmer for 3 minutes.

Whisk together the flour and chicken stock in a separate container until smooth.

Slowly pour the stock/flour mixture into the pan and stir continuously until it reaches the desired consistency, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the sage leaves and add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat and pour into a gravy boat to serve and enjoy.

Save and print the recipe on Food52.

2. Pear, Brandy, and Walnut Cranberry Sauce

This twist on a classic cranberry sauce is smooth and silky, unlike all the other tart-out-of-can variations out there. Plus, it’s got brandy. Make it, freeze it, and thaw. Get the full recipe on Food52.

3. Butternut Squash and Cider Soup

Whip this up a day or two before turkey day then store it in the fridge. Then, it’s just zapping it for a minute in the microwave. Get the full recipe on Food52.

4. Meta Given’s Pumpkin Pie

Caramelizing the pumpkin puree means that this is a pie with guts, one that won’t just sit there phoning in the pumpkin flavor. And because you blast it at 400 degrees the whole time, it bakes in 25 minutes — less than half the time of your average back-of-the-can recipe. Make the pie dough and filling up to 2 days in advance and then bake off the pie the night before. Get the full recipe on Food52.

5. Potato Mash with Leek Confit and Bacon

Like everything else, mashed potatoes are made much, much better with bacon. Make this mash up to three days before and wrap it up until you’re ready for it. Get the full recipe on Food52.

6. Double-Corn Cornbread

This tender and slightly sweet cornbread freezes well, and — bonus! — it’s easy to double, so you’ll have extra treats on hand once you finally get hungry again in December. Get the full recipe on Food52.

7. Maple Cream Tart

Make the crust the day ahead, then mix your filling and bake the tart on the big day. Get the full recipe on Food52.

8. What We Call Stuffing: Challah, Mushroom, and Celery

Do yours a day or two in advance, then all you’ll need to do is arrange and bake. (And devour.) Get the full recipe on Food52.

9. Sweet Potato and Parsnip Mash

Make this savory/sweet mash the morning of Thanksgiving, and then reheat! Get the full recipe on Food52.

Food52 is a community for people who love food and cooking. Follow them at and on Twitter @Food52. And check out their new shop, Provisions, to get $10 off!

Check out more articles on!

  Your Reaction?


    Now Buzzing