3 Make Ahead Thanksgiving Breakfast Ideas

On Thanksgiving day, your focus is on creating a dinner that everyone will enjoy, but your guests will certainly need to eat before the main meal. Offer them an array of breakfast choices without cutting into your dinner cooking schedule with these three options.

Simple, Quick, and Healthy

A simple array of fresh fruits, bagels, cheeses, and spreads appeals to everyone and nothing is easier to prep in advance. You can chop everything the day before in between prepping other make ahead Thanksgiving sides, but store them in separate containers as appropriate and assemble your platters the next day. Remember, fruit stored with bread will make the bread chewy or soggy and may change the flavor of the cheese. Instead, store chopped bagel pieces in a plastic Ziploc bag, sliced cheese in an airtight container, and juicy fruits in separate containers from each other so their juices don’t mix.

Tips for Your Make Ahead Fresh Fruit Platter:

  • Choose fruits that won’t brown overnight after being chopped (e.g., avoid apples, avocadoes, et cetera) or chop these at the last minute and add to the plate.
  • Opt for brightly colored, bite-sized fruits to minimize your prep time (e.g., kumquats, grapes, et cetera).
  • Transfer pre-packaged cream cheese spreads, fruit dips, jellies, and butter for the bagels into bowls on Thanksgiving morning for a pretty table presentation.
  • Include vegetables and appropriate dips if your Thanksgiving dinner is scheduled for later in the day.
  • Make a toaster available to guests; don’t toast bagels or breads in advance.
  • Divas Can Cook offers some interesting tips on creating a beautiful fruit plate.

Baked Goods

Talk about “make ahead”! You can bake pumpkin muffins, zucchini bread, and other sweet breads a month or more in advance and store in the freezer until you need them. Take them out of the freezer 24 hours in advance so that they defrost completely and if you intend to add frosting or glaze, wait until Thanksgiving morning to add it so that the top of the breads aren’t soggy.

Tips for Make Ahead Baked Items:

  • Do bake your sweet bread in different size muffin tins as well as loaf form to vary the presentation.
  • Make a range of different muffins, breads, and pastries – blueberry, apple, pumpkin, et cetera – so that your guests have a variety to choose from.
  • Kraft offers tips on how best to freeze baked goods so that they are as fresh as the day you made them when served.


The Yummy Life offers a recipe for a pretty yogurt and granola parfait that will be a unique addition to your table and quick to put together just before breakfast. Simply purchase the yogurt and granola in advance and serve in a large trifle dish, providing bowls and spoons for guests to serve themselves or serve in individual tall glasses. Alternately layer the ingredients until the serving dish is full.

Tips for Parfait:

  • If you’re making your own granola, do so in advance and store at room temperature in a Ziploc bag.
  • Offer different combinations of yogurt and granola if serving in individual glass dishes (e.g., layer one with blueberry yogurt and another with strawberry yogurt, or add a layer of chopped dried apricots or cranberries to some).
  • Do not assemble in advance! The yogurt will make the granola soggy.

Don’t Forget!

If you’re setting out a breakfast buffet for your guests to serve themselves on Thanksgiving morning as you go about the business of preparing the main meal, don’t forget to make sure they have everything they need. On the table, include:

  • Silverware
  • Napkins
  • Plates and bowls, as needed
  • Pitcher of juice
  • Carafe of hot water and coffee (decaf and regular)
  • An array of tea choices
  • Cups and mugs
  • Sugar, cream, and other condiments

Happy Thanksgiving!

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