Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes and Tips

Worried you won't have enough time to pull everything together on Thanksgiving Day? Get a head start with these freezer-friendly recipes and make-ahead tips.

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Photo By: Tara Donne

©Quentin Bacon

Photo By: Tara Donne

Photo By: Tara Donne

Photo By: Tara Donne ©2009

Photo By: Tara Donne

Photo By: Tara Donne

One Month Ahead: Deep-Dish Apple Pie

Have Ina’s showstopping pie at the ready by freezing it ahead of time. After assembling, put the entire pie — greased tin and all — into a loose-fitting plastic bag and seal tightly. Transfer it to the refrigerator the night before baking to thaw, and the next day you’ll have a fresh, juicy apple pie on your table in about an hour.

Get the Recipe: Deep-Dish Apple Pie

One Week Ahead: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Vegetable soups can be easily frozen if they don't have cream or eggs, making them an excellent do-ahead appetizer. The warm curry flavor in Ina's butternut squash soup will still be nicely preserved when you reheat just before serving. For an extra jump-start, cube the onions and squash ahead of time.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and Curry Condiments

One Week Ahead: Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Cross cranberry sauce off your to-do list early by making it ahead and then freezing it. Our straightforward recipe is easy to pull together with a few simple ingredients, and the citrus will give your sauce a fresh zing, even after reheating on the stove.

Get the Recipe: Perfect Cranberry Sauce

One Week Ahead: Best Pie Crust Ever

Planning to make a pumpkin pie? Make your cust in advance with Aaron Sanchez's fail-safe recipe. It can be rolled out and frozen in advance — and will actually benefit from some freezing time. Chilling the dough will give it more flakiness and flavor, in addition to giving you more valuable kitchen time.

Get the Recipe: Countdown #1 Best Pie Crust Ever

Three Days Ahead: Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey With Apple Cider Gravy

Brining is a simple, hands-off way to infuse your turkey with flavor before it even hits the oven. Anne’s recipe maximizes flavor (but minimizes prep) by having the turkey sit in the no-cook apple cider brine for 2 to 3 days.

Get the Recipe: Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy

Two Days Ahead: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Dicing your squash ahead of time will make assembling Ina's warm fall salad a snap.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Two Days Ahead: Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts

With just some herbs and olive oil, this side from Giada highlights the taste and texture of root vegetables. Cut up your veggies two days ahead, and then let the oven do all the work right before serving.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips and Brussels Sprouts

The Day Before: Sweet Potato Souffle

Finish most of your prep work early for this comforting side by boiling and mashing your sweet potatoes a day ahead. Let them come up to room temperature before using, and then you're just about ready to start baking.

Get the Recipe: Old School Sweet Potato Souffle

The Day Before: The Pioneer Woman's Pecan Pie

Letting the pie sit overnight makes Ree's version of this classic a natural do-ahead dessert. Cool the pie on the countertop before refrigerating, and then let the pie come to room temperature the next day before serving.

Get the Recipe: Pecan Pie

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