As someone who typically hosts Thanksgiving, I have a unique perspective on what defines the perfect Thanksgiving guest (and to the members of my family reading this: Yes, you’re all PERFECT.) The most important quality is that they come with a joyful attitude ready to participate in lively conversation. Second most important? That they don’t hog all the stovetop or oven space by bringing a dish that requires a lot of last minute time in the kitchen, ’cause everyone knows that on Thanksgiving, the kitchen is a crazy place. If you’ve volunteered to bring a dish to the Thanksgiving celebration this year, amazing! Now be a good guest and show up bearing one of these totally make-ahead recipes that’ll keep you out of the kitchen and in the party.

If you offered to bring an appetizer:

Carrot Turmeric Hummus

It’s the perfect shade of orange and a light, healthy snack that won’t weigh everyone down before the feast.

Curry & Brown Sugar Holiday Snack Mix

Nothing gets a group in the holiday spirit quite like gorging on a spicy-sweet pretzel and nut combo. Set this one out and watch ’em go wild.

Blue Cheese & Asian Pear Crostini

Lay out a pretty spread with the toasts, blue cheese, & pears, then let guests build their own crostini.

A cheese board will never let you down – here’s how to build one for under $25.

Bring a pretty cutting board and you’re 5 minutes away from the perfect hors d’oeuvres.

If you offered to bring a salad:

Kale Sourdough Panzanella

The longer this one sits, the more the sourdough croutons soak up all the yummy flavors.

Chicory Salad with Hazelnuts and Lemon-Parmesan Vinaigrette

Sturdy greens won’t wilt, even if dressed an hour before the meal.

Athena Calderone’s Blood Orange & Beet Salad

Have you ever seen a prettier color combo? Bring the beets & oranges in a bowl separate from the yogurt, then arrange on a platter just before serving.

Asparagus, Quinoa & Rice Salad with Goat Cheese & Maple-Tahini Dressing

No lettuce required for this salad, making it a perfect make-ahead dish.

If you offered to bring a side dish:

Ottolenghi’s Sweet Potato Gratin

A new, sophisticated twist on the classic potatoes au gratin – sage and rosemary make it classic.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Dates

Bring these in the cooled down cast-iron skillet you used to cook them, then put them on the stove and shake them around for a few minutes just before it’s time to eat.

Poblano Cornbread Stuffing

Stuffing can be a little boring, but not when it’s kicked up with spicy Southwestern flavors.

Green Bean, Toasted Walnut, & Pecorino Salad

Green beans typically need to be cooked right at the last minute, but these are served crisp and room temperature in a salad that can sit out for awhile.

Perfectly Spicy Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

My new fave way to make sweet potatoes. Make this recipe up until the final broiling step – then pop them under the broiler right before meal time.

If you offered to bring dessert

Pecan Pie Bars – Salted Caramel AND Chocolate Bourbon

Why choose when you can enjoy both flavors baked up in the same dish?

Apple, Blackberry, & Thyme Pie

Also seen here: your step-by-step guide to the prettiest Thanksgiving pie crust.

no bake chocolate pecan pie above: a treats affair

Oh and here are 20 more no-bake pies that would be PERFECT.

I’m partial to the pumpkin mousse with gingersnap crust.

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Comments (2)
  1. 1
    Denise November 15, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    This is great post. I was just thinking today how I was going to prepare a dish on time for Thanksgiving.

    Denise @