Whether you’re putting the finishing touches on your holiday dinner menu or you’ve just been assigned the task of hosting all your in-laws, relatives, friends and acquaintances, we’re sharing our tastiest make-ahead recipes to save you time in the kitchen. While your main course will probably need to be done a la minute, you can still get an edge up thanks to these tasty sides, desserts, snacks and yes, even an entrée or two that can easily be made before the big meal. Prep your favorites and then pour yourself a festive cocktail — you deserve it!
1. Triple-Herb Overnight Dinner Rolls: Let the rolls rise overnight in your fridge, then bake the next day. Or freeze the rolls in pans and pop them in the oven on the day of your dinner. (via Recreating Happiness)
2. Sun-dried Tomato Polenta Bites: Each step of this elegant appetizer can be done ahead of time, which means all you have to do before your guests arrive is assemble and lay out on a pretty plate. (via Recipe Girl)
4. Make-Ahead Mussels in White Wine: Mussels are already easy to whip up, but this recipe breaks it down so you can prep everything ahead of time, then heat again right before serving. Your guests won’t know the difference. (via The Wimpy Vegetarian)
6. Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad With Cranberries and Walnuts: Assemble each component up to a few days in advance, and make sure to keep separate in the fridge. Then just combine with your favorite dressing right before serving. (via Green Evi)
8. Mashed Potato and Rutabaga Gratin: The rutabaga adds a slight sweetness to classic mash. Let the cheese on top get crispy and gooey under the broiler before bringing it to the table. (via Fine Cooking)
9. Butternut Squash and Apple Soup With Maple Cream: Freeze or refrigerate this soup depending on how far in advance you make it. Then just warm it up on the stovetop when you’re ready. (via Nerds With Knives)
11. Apple, Walnut and Cranberry Salad: The sturdy spinach in this salad can stand up to the other hearty ingredients. You can assemble ahead of time, but make sure not to dress the salad until you’re ready to serve, or the greens will get soggy. (via Creme de la Crumb)
12. One-Hour Roast Chicken: Okay, this one is kind of cheating, but technically you can add the spice rub to the chicken and let it rest in the fridge up to a day in advance. The beauty of this recipe is how little prep (five minutes!) you need before letting the oven do the rest of the work. (via Little Spice Jar)
14. Maple Sausage, Apple and Sage Strata: Talk about a perfect Christmas morning breakfast. Assemble a few days ahead so all you need to do is throw it in the oven before rushing to the tree for presents. (via The Stay at Home Chef)
19. Peppermint Tiramisu Trifle: Wow everyone — including yourself — with this incredibly easy and impressive dessert. You can layer all the ingredients into the serving dish a few hours before serving. (via Bakers Royale)
20. Pecan Pie: Good news! This decadent pecan pie actually needs a timeout in the fridge in order to set properly. Make ahead, then don’t worry about it until it’s time to serve. (via The Pioneer Woman)
21. Homemade Egg Nog: If you’re going all out this year, make your own signature batch of brew. It will keep in the fridge for several days… if you can resist sipping on it, that is. (via Nerds With Knives)
Are you inspired by any of these recipes? Which ones are you excited to try? Got your own to share? Let us know below!