33 Very Merry Make-Ahead Christmas Recipes (2024)

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33 Very Merry Make-Ahead Christmas Recipes (1)

ByElizabeth Harris

Taste of Home's Editorial Process

Updated: Feb. 18, 2024

    Keep calm and get your meal prep on. This batch of make-ahead Christmas recipes takes the chaos out of having company over.


    Overnight Reindeer Rolls

    Kids love helping in the kitchen. This year, have a little fun making these reindeer-shaped rolls with your little bakers. And make sure to take pictures because the treats will be gone before you know it! —Chris O'Connell, San Antonio, Texas

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    Roasted Beef Tenderloin

    An overnight marinade provides a savory seasoning for this tenderloin. I've served this simple elegant roast on many special occasions. —Schelby Thompson, Camden Wyoming, Delaware

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    Make-Ahead Turkey and Gravy

    Ease the holiday time crunch with a make-ahead turkey recipe that's ready to serve when you are. It's a great choice for potlucks, too. —Marie Parker, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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    Christmas Day Chicken

    I’ve been fixing this delicious chicken for Christmas dinner for over 10 years. It’s convenient since you refrigerate it overnight, then simply coat with crumbs and bake. It comes out crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. —Marcia Larson, Batavia, Illinois

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    TMB Studio

    Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

    With five different dairy products, you know this make-ahead mashed potato casserole is going to be super rich and, of course, delicious. It gets even better topped with onions and bacon! —JoAnn Koerkenmeier, Damiansville, Illinois

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    Make-Ahead Butterhorns

    Mom loved to make these lightly sweet, golden rolls. They're beautiful and impressive and have a homemade taste that makes them memorable. —Bernice Morris, Marshfield, Missouri

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    Twisted Eggs Benedict Salad

    Salad for breakfast? Absolutely. You can prep everything except the dressing and chill it overnight. In the morning, dress the salad and poach the eggs. —Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota

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    Taste of Home

    Frozen Mud Pie

    Here's one of those "looks like you fussed" desserts that is so easy it's become a standard for me. I love the mocha version, but pure chocolate lovers may prefer using chocolate chip ice cream. The cookie crust is a snap to make. —Debbie Terenzini-Wilkerson, Lusby, Maryland

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    Overnight Pancakes

    Our kids love waking up to these golden, fluffy pancakes. The buttermilk batter is refrigerated overnight, making them perfect for busy mornings and special occasion breakfasts alike. —Lisa Sammons, Cut Bank, Montana

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    Make-Ahead Cornbread Dressing

    Being from California, my family has always been big veggie eaters. I wanted to share a little taste of home with my in-laws so I created this dish for Thanksgiving. You don't have to let it sit overnight, but it's a nice make ahead Thanksgiving option and the flavors mesh more that way. —Patricia Broussard, Lafayette, Louisiana

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    Ginger Pear Freezer Jam

    At dinner with friends one evening, one of our hosts served some pears she had preserved with ginger and lemon. The flavor was so heavenly I decided to use the fresh pears she gave us to try my hand at a ginger and lemon freezer jam.—Jeni Pittard, Commerce, Georgia

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    Broccoli Salad Supreme

    People can't get enough of the sweet grapes and crunchy broccoli in this colorful salad. I appreciate its make-ahead convenience. —Terri Twyman, Bonanza, Oregon

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    Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy

    My family loves gravy, so I can never have enough of this make-ahead turkey gravy recipe on hand for a holiday dinner. The base is prepared with turkey wings and can be prepped in advance. —Linda Fitzsimmons, Fort Edward, New York

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    Overnight Cinnamon Rolls Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

    I like to try different fun fillings in these soft rolls, and each one is packed with cinnamon flavor. They are definitely worth the overnight wait. —Chris O'Connell, San Antonio, Texas

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    Classic Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

    These make-ahead mashed potatoes save me a ton of time on Christmas Day. No more frantically whipping the potatoes while hungry family and guests hang around the kitchen! —Marty Rummel, Trout Lake, Washington

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    Overnight Cherry Danish Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Overnight Cherry Danish

    These rolls with their cherry-filled centers melt in your mouth and store well unfrosted in the freezer. —Leann Sauder, Tremont, Illinois

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    Make-Ahead Tiramisu

    This variation of the popular Italian dessert is so easy to assemble. It's convenient, too, since you can make it the day before your dinner party or potluck. —Linda Finn, Louisville, Mississippi

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    Taste of Home

    Overnight Cranberry-Eggnog Coffee Cake

    To use up leftover eggnog, cranberries and pecans from the holiday season, I added them to a classic coffee cake recipe. Mix it all together the night before, and bake it in the morning. —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas

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    I love, love, love to make appetizers and I especially like this recipe because I can make the rolls ahead, freeze them, and then slice and bake when needed. —Kate Dampier, Quail Valley, California

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    Taste of Home

    Overnight Baked Oatmeal

    My husband and I spent a long weekend at a bed-and-breakfast not far from our home. The owners shared this delicious recipe with me, which I made my own with a couple of simple changes. —Jennifer Cramer, Lebanon, Pennsylvania

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    Biscuits and gravy are usually prepared separately but served together. I created a way to bake them all at once in this scrumptious casserole. —Nancy Mcinnis, Olympia, Washington

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    For many years I’ve hosted Mother’s Day brunch. One year I didn’t make this delightfully spicy casserole and thought the family would toss me from my own house! —Dawn Vance, Geneva, Illinois

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    Almond Cheddar Appetizers

    I always try to have a supply of these appetizers on hand in the freezer. If guests drop in, I just pull some out and reheat to serve. They work great as a snack, for brunch or along with a lighter lunch. —Linda Thompson, Southampton, Ontario

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    Overnight Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

    Recipes that don't tie me to the kitchen—that’s what I’m all about. I make this luscious dish the night before breakfast or brunch with guests. —Patricia Harmon, Baden, Pennsylvania

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    Make-Ahead Sausage Pinwheels

    Filled with sausage, sweet pepper and cream cheese, these roll-ups are excellent for unexpected visitors, a co*cktail party or a halftime snack. Besides being easy to make, they can be done way ahead and kept in the freezer. All you have to do is pop them into a hot oven! —Cindy Nerat, Menominee, Michigan

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    TMB Studio

    Save those turkey wings! Then use this richly flavored stock in my pour-it-on-everything herbed gravy. —Angela Lively, Conroe, Texas

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    Holiday Brunch Casserole

    If you'll be having overnight company during the holidays, you may want to consider this hearty casserole. Guests will be impressed with its bountiful filling and scrumptious flavor. It's the perfect Easter breakfast or Christmas casserole. —Nelda Cronbaugh, Belle Plaine, Iowa

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    Make-Ahead Creamy Potatoes

    For the holidays, I usually serve the traditional foods with a new spin or two on family favorites. I put together these creamy potatoes the night before and simply bake the day of to save precious holiday time. —Wendy Ball, Battle Creek, Michigan

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    Freezer Strawberry Shortbread Dessert

    When I’m planning party menus, I appreciate dessert recipes like this; you can make and freeze it up to two weeks before serving. A refreshing slice is welcome after a big meal.—Cassie Alexander, Muncie, Indiana

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    Originally Published: November 22, 2017


    Elizabeth Harris

    Liz is an unapologetic homebody who loves bowling and beers almost as much as food and fitness. The highlight of her week is making cheesy popcorn for her family on movie night. She has worked as an intern, editor and freelancer for Taste of Home.

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    33 Very Merry Make-Ahead Christmas Recipes (31)

    33 Very Merry Make-Ahead Christmas Recipes (2024)


    What food can be prepared the day before Christmas? ›

    Make-ahead Christmas recipes
    • Tuscan sausage, kale & ciabatta stuffing. A star rating of 4.5 out of 5. ...
    • Sunken chocolate, olive oil & hazelnut cake. ...
    • Pheasant casserole. ...
    • Roast garlic make-ahead gravy. ...
    • Air-fryer soy & cranberry chicken wings. ...
    • Croissant bread sauce. ...
    • App onlyQuick pickled red cabbage. ...
    • Mincemeat half-baked cookies.

    What can you make-ahead and freeze for Christmas? ›

    • Roast potatoes. Freezing your roasties up to a month ahead not only cuts down Christmas lunch prep – some say it makes them extra crunchy, too. ...
    • Stuffing. Most stuffing recipes can be made ahead and frozen for up to three months. ...
    • Pigs in blankets. ...
    • Gravy. ...
    • Cranberry sauce.

    How do you prepare Christmas dinner in advance for a crowd? ›

    Christmas Eve food prep hacks to get ahead of the game
    1. Pre-prepare your Christmas vegetables. ...
    2. Cook the turkey on Christmas Eve. ...
    3. Prep your dessert. ...
    4. Clean the 'good' plates, glassware and cutlery. ...
    5. Check what you need. ...
    6. Arrange your table decorations. ...
    7. Lay out napkins. ...
    8. Do one last check on Christmas Eve.

    Can you cook pigs in blankets the day before? ›

    Serve as part of a Christmas spread. You can make these ahead, then reheat to serve on the day. Will keep chilled for up to two days after cooking.

    Can I cook my chicken the day before Christmas? ›

    If you have a small oven, cook the meat the day before, wrap and leave in the fridge, when the vegetables are cooking, slice and reheat in the gravy. it keeps the meat moist and reheats nicely. With skin, you can heat in the oven for a few mins to crisp nicely.

    What are three foods that don't freeze well? ›

    Foods That Do Not Freeze Well (SP 50-766)
    FoodsUsual use
    Icings made from egg whitesCakes, cookies
    Cream or custard fillingsPies, baked goods
    Milk sauces and graviesFor casseroles or gravies
    Sour creamAs topping, in salads
    15 more rows

    What to make the night before Christmas? ›

    7 Jamie's Night Before Christmas recipes
    1. 40 minutes Super easy. The ultimate carrots.
    2. 3 hours Not too tricky. Jamie's easy turkey.
    3. 5 minutes Super easy. Jamie's Christmas co*cktail.
    4. 1 hour Not too tricky. Gennaro's pork & onion stuffing.
    5. 40 minutes Not too tricky. Christmas Day gravy.
    6. 10 minutes Super easy. ...
    7. Perfect roast potatoes.

    What veg can I prepare in advance for Christmas dinner? ›


    Get your potatoes, carrots, parsnips, red cabbage and Brussels ready, then simply cover with foil and pop in the fridge, ready to cook tomorrow. And while you're at it, prep your turkey too.

    What is the most popular Christmas dish in the world? ›

    What are the Most Popular Christmas Foods Eaten Around the World?
    • Roast turkey or ham, a standard main course for holiday dinners.
    • Eggnog, a rich and creamy beverage made with eggs, milk, and spices. ...
    • Gingerbread cookies and houses are popular festive treats and decorations.

    What are the top five Christmas dinner dishes? ›

    Top 10 Christmas Dinner Recipes
    • Maple-Bourbon-Brined Turkey.
    • Tarragon Crusted Roast Beef.
    • Classic Bread Stuffing.
    • Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pecans.
    • Pillsbury™ Tourtière.
    • Roasted Rosemary-Onion Potatoes.
    • Crispy-Coated Lemon-Pepper Salmon.
    • Perfect Apple Pie.

    What is the most popular Christmas meat dish? ›

    Turkey is definitely the most traditional meat for Christmas dinner and you can take a look at our wide selection of whole, rolled and diced turkeys here – perfect for your traditional Christmas dinner!

    What do you serve a crowd for Christmas dinner? ›

    Feed a Crowd With These Christmas Dinner Menu Ideas
    1. 02 of 20. Baked Brie with Quebec Maple Syrup. View Recipe. ...
    2. 05 of 20. Cranberry Dip. View Recipe. ...
    3. 08 of 20. Broccoli Cheese Bake. View Recipe. ...
    4. 11 of 20. A Simply Perfect Roast Turkey. ...
    5. 14 of 20. Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions. ...
    6. 17 of 20. Best Toffee Ever - Super Easy.
    Oct 13, 2020

    What is the most important preparation you do before Christmas? ›

    Set a Budget: The first step for Christmas planning is to make a holiday budget that you can commit to. When planning your budget, consider the prices of gifts, holiday cards, decorations, travel, and Christmas Day and Christmas Eve meals.

    What can be done day before Christmas? ›

    What to do the night before Christmas
    • Bake for Santa. It wouldn't be Christmas without leaving a plate of milk and cookies out for Santa. ...
    • Check your turkey. ...
    • Super sauces. ...
    • Finishing touches. ...
    • Last minute desserts. ...
    • Star side dishes. ...
    • Emergency gifts. ...
    • Drink up.

    Can you cook Xmas meats the day before? ›

    Gammon & ham

    Do bear in mind that you might not want to put another large thing in the oven on Christmas Day, so it might be better to fully cook it the day before and reheat slices as and when you need them.

    How early can I prepare Christmas dinner? ›

    One week to go before Christmas Day

    Spare a couple of minutes to save you a few hours. One week before cooking Christmas dinner, make room in the fridge and freezer for festive goodies – no one likes a messy fridge and, when it comes to the crux, you want to be able to find everything as soon as you need it.

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