Can you freeze Thanksgiving side dishes? Yes, you can! Put your feet up this Thanksgiving with this Make-Ahead and Freeze Thanksgiving Side Dishes freezer cooking plan.
While you may want to Cook a Turkey on Thanksgiving Day itself, the side dishes are pretty flexible. You can make and freeze sides like Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom and Onion Gravy far in advance and buy yourself valuable minutes in the days leading up to the holiday.
When you’re a food blogger, you learn things about holiday cooking that you might not otherwise consider. One year I cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal a few days after Halloween so that I could take photos and share the recipes before you needed them.
I had a major epiphany that has changed my life. I even recorded it on Facebook:
I cooked Thanksgiving yesterday — and it reminded me WHAT A CHORE that meal is to me. I spent all day. And I didn’t really enjoy it. So, I’m on a mission to see what I can do to make this work — without all the hassle and without buying a fake food meal at the store. Thinking of make-ahead and freeze….November 4, 2013
And I did just that. That year and the years following I established the tradition of freezing Thanksgiving side dishes a few weeks in advance. I could spread them out over several days and build a stash in the freezer. I was more peaceful and I’ve come to enjoy the holiday so much more.
Why Do This
You buy yourself time. One of the benefits of Thanksgiving is seeing friends and family you haven’t seen in awhile. If you’re stuck in the kitchen, you don’t get to enjoy their company as much as you could. When you freeze your Thanksgiving side dishes, you buy yourself more free time over the holiday week.
You can experiment with recipes. If you’re someone who likes to try new recipes, you can do freeze Thanksgiving side dishes that might be new to you, without the pressure of it working out. Bonus: you can do a taste test and make sure it’s something you want to serve on the big day. (If your recipe doesn’t specifically offer freezing instructions, be sure it’s on the list below of Thanksgiving Side Dishes to freeze.
You can serve more of your favorites. When you spread out your cooking time over several weeks, you allow yourself more room for variety. Freeze Thanksgiving side dishes and you can have more dishes prepped and ready than you could probably prepare that day.
What Can You Freeze
Be sure to read –> 25 Make Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes for specific recipes that will make your holiday!
There’s an incredible number of foods that you can freeze that serve as Thanksgiving Side Dishes. Consider this general list:
- sweet potato casserole – Prep but do not bake. Chill, cover, and freeze. Thaw before baking.
- green bean casserole – Prep but do not bake. Chill, cover, and freeze. Thaw before baking. Here’s our favorite Homemade Green Bean Casserole.
- mashed potatoes – Prep, chill, cover, and freeze. Thaw before reheating. Be sure to try Mashed Potato Casserole!
- cheesy potatoes – Prep but do not bake. Chill, cover, and freeze. Thaw before baking. This Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole Recipe is amazing!
- mac and cheese – Prep but do not bake. Chill, cover, and freeze. Thaw before baking. Have you tried Alfredo Mac and Cheese?
- dinner rolls – Bake and cool on a rack. Wrap and freeze. Thaw and reheat in the oven. Our fave are Whole Wheat Cranberry Rolls!
- cranberry sauce – Prep and cool. Cover and freeze. Thaw before serving. Learn How to Make and Freeze Cranberry Sauce
- soups – Prep, chill, cover, and freeze. Reheating in a pot on the stove. See Tips for Making Soups for the Freezer
- gravy – Prep, chill, cover, and freeze. Reheating in a pot on the stove. Be sure to try this 5-Minute Easy Gravy Recipe and all the variations.
- fruit pies – Prep but do not bake. Cover and freeze. Bake from frozen.
- nut pies – Bake and cool on a rack. Wrap and freeze. Thaw and serve.
- cinnamon rolls – Prep but do not bake. Freeze. Thaw and allow to rise before baking. See How to Freeze Cinnamon Rolls.
- compound butter – prep, wrap, and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator.
Here’s some of the packaging that will come in handy to freeze Thanksgiving side dishes:
A Freezer Cooking Plan
To make it easier to freeze Thanksgiving side dishes, I’ve put together a freezer cooking plan that includes:
- a prep checklist
- a detailed cooking plan
- a detailed grocery list
- recipes for mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, apple pie, and pie crust
- printable labels for easy labeling of the finished products
Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, taking a few dishes to share to a family gathering, or simply want to get ahead on holiday-style meals this season, this freezer cooking plan is for you!
Cooking up these items takes only a few hours and the rewards are huge! If you haven’t noticed already, these dishes also work for Christmas, New Years, and any other big feast you’ve got planned over the next couple months.
Make your holiday dinners delicious and easy without feeling stressed; freeze Thanksgiving side dishes.
Best Thanksgiving Recipes
What’s your experience?
Have you ever frozen Thanksgiving side dishes? How did it go for you? Do you have questions about what will freeze? Leave a comment and let’s chat.
This post was originally published on November 18, 2015. It has been updated for content and clarity.