Thanksgiving dinner is about sharing a bountiful meal with the people you love. Savor time with friends and family instead of juggling a dozen different dishes by planning ahead, and by choosing dishes you can work on well in advance. For those of you who thrive on planning the big day ahead, we’ve put together a full menu of delicious recipes that allow you to prep early on, adding special finishing touches at the last minute. Thanksgiving day will be a breeze — and your guests will be wowed.
|Candied Mixed Nuts with Rosemary
Slightly sweet and slightly spicy, these nuts are easy to prepare and make a satisfying snack when guests gather for dinner. You can toast the nuts up to 3 days in advance; let cool, place in an airtight container and store at room temperature. Then you can simply reheat them and toss with rosemary before serving.
|Pumpkin Soup with Brown Butter and Crème Fraîche
This warming autumn soup is finished with a drizzle of brown butter, which adds a nutty richness. Make it a day or two ahead, cool, cover and refrigerate. Make the brown butter and finish with crème fraîche just before serving.
|Kale Salad with Pine Nuts, Currants and Parmesan
Here, kale is treated similarly to cabbage in a slaw—it’s marinated to create a tender and flavorful salad. Allowing the greens to sit in the dressing improves their taste and texture, and you don’t have to wait until the last minute to toss everything together.
|Michael Voltaggio’s Sous Vide Turkey
Here’s a Thanksgiving turkey that no one at your table will forget. The bird is first cooked in pieces using the sous vide method, then quickly browned just before serving. The turkey can be cooked in the sous vide circulator for up to four days in advance; refrigerate in the vacuum-sealable bags. (If you don’t have a sous vide machine, you can still work ahead by brining your turkey a couple of days in advance. And remember resting time: a roasted turkey needs 30 minutes before carving to seal in the juices, so you have more downtime than you think.)
|Focaccia Stuffing with Chestnuts, Bacon and Apples
Many stuffings, including this one made with our savory mix, are easy to make ahead. You can cook the vegetables in advance and combine with the bread and stock just before baking to streamline prep.
|Potato and Celery Root Gratin with Gruyère
Celery root has a pronounced nutty, earthy taste and pairs wonderfully with potatoes in this rich, creamy gratin. Assemble it a day ahead, cover and refrigerate, then bake before serving.
|Collard Greens with Lardons and Smoked Onion Jam
Here, a smoky onion jam adds just enough sweetness and acidity to balance the flavor of bitter collard greens. You can blanch the collard greens a day in advance and refrigerate, then finish the dish a few minutes before you’re ready to eat.
All pies can easily be prepped ahead, as the dough can be refrigerated for a day or two before baking (or frozen for much longer than that). But this one is served at room temperature, so it can be made and baked entirely a day in advance, then cooled on a wire rack overnight.