What to Eat the Night Before Thanksgiving

What to Eat the Night Before Thanksgiving? Delicious Ideas

Last Updated on April 25, 2024 by Kimberlee Johnson

The evening before Thanksgiving evokes a delightful culinary journey. I fondly recall how my family and I were filled with anticipation last year, as we anticipated the scrumptious feast awaiting us the following day.

But we also wanted something satisfying but not too heavy to eat before the holiday. 

I want to give you some easy and tasty ideas on what to eat the night before Thanksgiving that’ll make you hungry for all the turkey and pie you’ll have tomorrow.

5 Tasty Foods to Eat The Night Before Thanksgiving

1. Deli Spread

Spreading Cream Cheese on a Bread

A deli spread is a convenient choice for the night before Thanksgiving. It allows you to relax and socialize with your guests without the hassle of cooking an elaborate meal. 

Bagels and cream cheese [1], often associated with breakfast, can be transformed into a comforting dinner. This breakfast-for-dinner theme is particularly appealing after a day of travel. 

2. Asian Cuisine

Go for Chinese takeout, a crowd-pleaser that’s satisfying for a pregame meal. 

You can pick up some dishes from your local hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant or explore a fusion hot spot known for excellent dumplings and other menu items.

Read: What Food Do Chinese People Eat On Thanksgiving?

3. Pizza

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is renowned as one of the busiest pizza nights of the year. Instead of settling for national pizza chains, why not try the best local pizza joint in your area? 

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” 

Paul Prudhomme, American Chef

Many of these establishments offer convenient delivery options, allowing you to impress your out-of-town guests with a mouthwatering pie.

Check out these delectable dishes that Australians eat on Christmas here.

4. Burgers

If you’re looking for a hearty red meat option before the turkey-centric Thanksgiving meal, consider indulging in the best burgers your state offers. 

Whether it’s a gourmet burger joint or a local favorite, a well-crafted burger can provide a satisfying prelude to the festivities.

5. Savory Soup

A warm, hearty soup can be a comforting choice, whether a homemade family recipe or a local favorite; a bowl of savory soup is a cozy way to kick off your Thanksgiving festivities.

Related Post: Top 10 Delicious Foods To Cook For Thanksgiving

What Foods Should You Cook Before Thanksgiving?

A. Casseroles

Casseroles are a staple of Thanksgiving feasts and can be prepared beforehand. 

Whether it’s a green bean, sweet potato, or a hearty macaroni and cheese dish, making these in advance allows flavors to meld and ensures they’re ready to pop in the oven for reheating on the big day.

B. Soup

A warm and comforting soup can make for a delightful starter on Thanksgiving. Preparing it beforehand enhances the flavors and saves you from last-minute cooking stress. 

Think of classics like butternut squash or creamy tomato soup.

C. Stock

Homemade stock [2] is the foundation of many Thanksgiving recipes, from gravy to stuffing. 

Preparing stock beforehand allows you to concentrate the flavors and have them readily available when needed, making the cooking process smoother.

D. Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce beats the canned version any day. This dish benefits from sitting for a while, allowing the flavors to meld and develop. 

Make it a day or two in advance and refrigerate until serving.

E. Cornbread Dressing

Dressing (or stuffing) is a hallmark of Thanksgiving cuisine. You can simplify the process by preparing the cornbread and other dressing ingredients in advance. 

“Before the turkey takes the spotlight, the night before Thanksgiving is all about the opening of palate pleasures.”

Howkapow Gift Site

Assemble and bake on the day of the feast for a side dish that’s both convenient and delicious.

F. Gravy

Crafting the perfect gravy takes time and patience. Prepare your gravy base in advance, using the turkey neck and giblets, so you can easily finish it with pan drippings on Thanksgiving Day.

Find out how much gravy each person gets for Thanksgiving here.

G. Desserts

Thanksgiving desserts like pies and cakes often taste even better when made a day ahead. 

Bake your pumpkin pie, pecan pie, or any other favorite dessert in advance to free up oven space and ensure a perfect finish.

Read: Why Do People Eat Pumpkin Pie During Thanksgiving?

Do People Go Out To Eat On The Night Before Thanksgiving?


Many people go out to eat the night before Thanksgiving, also known as Thanksgiving Eve. 

This happens because some people want to meet with friends from their hometowns.

Others don’t feel like cooking because they’ve already prepared food for Thanksgiving, and their fridges are full.

Going to a restaurant on this day is a convenient and easy way to have a meal. So, it’s become a tradition for some people who want a relaxed dinner before the busy holiday.

How Do You Get Ready To Eat A Lot On Thanksgiving?

Getting ready to eat a lot on Thanksgiving involves a few key steps. First, physical activity can boost your appetite. 

A brisk walk or run can help move food through your digestive system and make space in your stomach for the feast. 

Second, staying relaxed is essential. Stress can affect digestion, so try to unwind and enjoy the holiday.


Why do you eat Thanksgiving dinner early?

People eat Thanksgiving dinner early because it lets them enjoy the big, delicious meal without feeling too full. 

Having the feast in the late afternoon or early evening gives them time to enjoy the food and not feel uncomfortable afterward.

Should you eat less on the day before Thanksgiving?

No, it’s important to eat your regular meals before Thanksgiving dinner. Skipping meals might seem like a way to cut calories, but it often leads to overeating when the big meal arrives.

Final Thoughts

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, what you eat the night before can make a big difference in how much you enjoy the big feast. 

Whether you get some easy-to-make food from a store or try making special Asian dishes, the goal is to make everyone feel cozy and excited.

Now, when it comes to the dishes you should cook the day before Thanksgiving, it’s all about getting ready and making the flavors even better. 

Casseroles, soup, cranberry sauce, cornbread dressing, gravy, and desserts taste even yummier if you make them ahead of time. 

This makes the big Thanksgiving meal even more delicious.


Kimberlee Johnson
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