We all know side dishes are the true stars of Thanksgiving day and we want lots of them. The best way to accomplish this is to prep several ahead of time. Here’s my formula for how to reheat Thanksgiving sides for a seamless holiday meal.
Thanksgiving dinner isn’t the same unless everyone’s plate is loaded up with mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green beans. The question I get most often is…
How the heck do you keep everything warm on Thanksgiving?!
Believe it or not, the answer to that question starts with planning a proper Thanksgiving menu. Consider your oven space and cooking equipment when planning. The most important thing is to not try to make more dishes than you have room for. Think about what you can make on the stove top instead of the oven. Ask guests to bring a dish or just leave it off the menu. If your oven won’t fit more than a single casserole dish at a time, maybe you don’t need it.
As for equipment. Do you own a slow cooker or an Instant Pot? Those can be used to cook and/or warm side dishes. Also check to make sure you have a baking dish for each casserole or side that needs one.
An easy way to keep everything organized is to make a cooking schedule for the big day. Decide what time you are serving dinner and work back from there. Most turkeys take 3-4 hours, including resting time, so use that as a guide for the cooking schedule.
This guide for how to reheat Thanksgiving sides is not only helpful for turkey day, but also useful for Thanksgiving leftovers. By the way, if you are hosting, stock up on inexpensive leftover containers to send home with your guests.
To make Thanksgiving dinner without a lot of stress, have several side dishes be room temperature or cold. The cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, and a salad can be kept in the fridge or at room temperature.
As for those sides that must be hot, here’s your guide.
How To Reheat Thanksgiving Sides
To serve Thanksgiving side dishes hot, utilize the oven after the main course (the whole turkey) is done roasting. On Thanksgiving morning get the turkey in the oven first. That way you’ll have plenty of time to reheat the rest of your sides before dinner is served.
Any mashed potato recipe can be made ahead and reheated in a slow cooker. To keep mashed potatoes warm, set the slow cooker on low. Stir in a little cream or butter if the potatoes appear to be drying out. They’ll stay ready to serve for up to two hours!
*CHEF’S TIP: When you’re at the grocery store buying all your ingredients, pick up an instant-read food thermometer. Stick it into your side dishes to know if they are hot enough to serve. Dishes need to have an internal temperature of 165°F.
Classic stuffing takes a bit longer than other side dishes. I put it in the oven about 15 minutes before the turkey is done. I like to give it plenty of time for the top to crisp for that extra toasty flavor. Cover with aluminum foil if the top is getting too brown.
*CHEF’S TIP: Reheat the casseroles (like stuffing) uncovered. If they are getting too brown on top you can tent them with foil. Make sure to cover them loosely or poke several holes to let the steam escape.
Green Bean Casserole
Truth be told I usually opt for sautéed green beans instead of green bean casserole. I can cook those quickly on the stovetop right before we eat, which frees up oven space. If green bean casserole is a must at your house, here’s what to do.
Green bean casserole takes about 20-30 minutes to bake. Turn the oven to 350 degrees F once the turkey comes out. Bake the casserole while the turkey is resting.
Prepped the sweet potato casserole in advance? Great! Now all you have to do is bake it. Top casserole with marshmallows. Bake for 30 minutes with the green bean casserole once the turkey comes out and is resting.
I love roasted Brussels sprouts but I don’t like serving roasted vegetables at Thanksgiving. They require a much hotter oven than the other casseroles. Chop and blanch Brussels sprouts ahead of time or steam over medium heat. Sauté over high heat with olive oil, garlic, shallot, thyme, and bacon quickly before eating.
*LEFTOVERS: Spread leftover Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and reheat in a 400°F oven until hot and crispy.
I always make my gravy ahead of time keep in an airtight container until Thanksgiving. To reheat it, warm in a small saucepan. Cover with a lid over low heat until ready to serve. Add a little extra chicken stock if it get too thick.
To keep your cornbread warm, wrap it in a single layer of aluminum foil. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10-15 minutes.
Pies like pumpkin pie and pecan pie should be made a day in advance and luckily can be served cold. As for apple pie, I like to serve it warm. When I sit down for dinner, I turn off the oven and put in my apple pie. It warms in the residual heat while we’re eating our Thanksgiving feast.
How To Reheat Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey
I’m not a huge fan of the microwave oven. I mean heck, I don’t even own one, but a good use for the microwave is reheating leftover turkey breast. The trick is to place the cold turkey on a microwave-safe plate. Cover it in gravy or a decent amount of turkey stock. Top with a damp paper towel to help retain moisture and prevent dryness. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, checking to see if it is hot.
The microwave is also superior at reheating plates of leftovers. Drizzle everything with a bit of gravy or chicken broth, cover with a damp paper towel and heat.
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You’re The Hostess With The Mostest!
Especially now that you’ve got a plan for how to reheat Thanksgiving sides! I always love hearing from you and any feedback you might have. Leave me a comment below or share a photo and tag me on Instagram using @katesbestrecipes so that I can see! Also, sign up for my weekly recipe newsletter so you never miss a thing.