How to Make Your Entire Thanksgiving Dinner Ahead

Food Network Kitchen tested, tweaked and retested to come up with a full Thanksgiving menu that freezes perfectly, down to the whipped cream topping for apple pie.
Related To:
FNK_ThanksgivingOpener_H

FNK_ThanksgivingOpener_H

Food Networks Kitchen’s Frozen Thanksgiving: All the classic Thanksgiving recipes, prepared in advance and frozen for THANKSGIVING/BAKING/WEEKEND COOKING, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Is it ever too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving? We say no. No matter how far in advance you start planning, the last few days leading up to the feast are always chaotic. There’s family in town, holiday traffic and plenty of last-minute tasks to complete the menu. This year, with the goal of a stress-free Thanksgiving, Food Network Kitchen took on a major challenge, attempting to answer this question: Is it possible to make the entire feast ahead? They tested, tweaked and retested to come up with a full Thanksgiving menu that freezes perfectly, down to the whipped cream topping for apple pie. With these recipes in your arsenal, the whole meal will be sitting pretty in the freezer, ready for the big day.

FNK_MakeAheadRoastedTurkeyBreast_H

FNK_MakeAheadRoastedTurkeyBreast_H

Food Networks Kitchen’s Make-Ahead Roasted Turkey Breast for THANKSGIVING/BAKING/WEEKEND COOKING, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Timing your turkey can be the most nerve-racking part of your holiday dinner, so stress less and make it 100 percent ahead. Brining the breast makes it extra moist and flavorful. Roast and freeze it, then simply thaw, slice and reheat with an herbed butter. Keep the wishbone and use it to hope for something really fun (you've got the relaxed-dinner thing covered). You can even check gravy off your to-do list — we’ve got a make-ahead recipe for that, too.

FNK_MakeAheadGreenBeanCasserole_H

FNK_MakeAheadGreenBeanCasserole_H

Food Networks Kitchen’s Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole for THANKSGIVING/BAKING/WEEKEND COOKING, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Dedicate just a little bit of your freezer space to this crowd-pleasing casserole. Make the green bean-and-mushroom favorite (no canned soup required), then freeze it. To serve, just reheat (from frozen) and top with crunchy fried onions.

FNK_MakeAheadSausageStuffing_H

FNK_MakeAheadSausageStuffing_H

Food Networks Kitchen’s Make Ahead Sausage Stuffing for THANKSGIVING/BAKING/WEEKEND COOKING, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Stress less by getting your stuffing halfway done before T-Day. Simply prepare the bread cubes, sausage and vegetables, then stop and freeze. Finish and bake it on the big day. Once you have the prep in the bag, the rest is easy.

FNK_MakeAheadDeepDishApplePie_H

FNK_MakeAheadDeepDishApplePie_H

Food Networks Kitchen’s Make-Ahead Deep Dish Apple Pie for THANKSGIVING/BAKING/WEEKEND COOKING, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Bake your holiday pie in advance (up to two weeks) this year, then freeze and forget it. Simply thaw it in the fridge overnight, then pop it in the oven right before serving to take the chill off. We use vodka in the pie dough, which doesn't make the crust taste boozy, but does make it extra flaky and tender. We’ve even got a freezable recipe for whipped cream to dollop on top.

Check out the rest of our ultimate make-ahead Thanksgiving feast in the full gallery.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Have a Question About Making Thanksgiving Dinner? Ask Us

FoodNetwork.com will answer all of your Thanksgiving questions on Saturday, Nov. 22 beginning at noon EST. Find out how to submit a question.

Get a Head Start on Thanksgiving Dinner: 5 Easy Recipes to Make the Day Before

From cranberries to stuffing, cut your cooking time in half on Thursday by crossing a few of these off your list by Wednesday (if not sooner).

Thanksgiving Dinner-Hopping Strategies

You can do a lot of damage by eating a full plate each time you visit a family member or friend on Thanksgiving. Here's how you can prevent stuffing yourself.

Test Your Thanksgiving Dinner IQ

Test your Thanksgiving knowledge with our Turkey Day quiz.

Thanksgiving Dinner: Where to Save, Where to Splurge

Melissa d'Arabian created a handy list to show you where to splurge and where to save on turkey-day groceries.

Turkey, Potatoes and Pie: The Kitchen Co-Hosts' Thanksgiving Dinner Picks, Revealed

Hear from the cast of The Kitchen to find out what Thanksgiving dishes they crave the most.

8 Dishes to Make with Thanksgiving Leftovers (That Aren’t Sandwiches)

Some might argue that the best part of Thanksgiving dinner is yet to come.