10 Travel-Friendly Thanksgiving Dishes for Hitting the Road (PHOTOS)

Maressa Brown | Nov 21, 2014 Food & Party

family packing up car tripFor anyone who isn't hosting but also isn't dining out this Thanksgiving, a special conundrum arises: What can you bring to Turkey Day dinner at someone else's home that will withstand holiday travel?

Given that 91 percent of us drive to our Thanksgiving spread, and the average trip length is 214 miles, bringing dishes that are travel-friendly is a must. So, whether you're only hopping in the car for a half hour or you're in for a major road trip to get to your final destination, we rounded up 10 Thanksgiving dishes that you can make ahead and that "travel well."  

pumpkin pie thanksgiving

Check them out, and then tell us: Where are you heading for Thanksgiving this year?

Images via iStock.com/fstop123 & iStock.com/bhofack2

  • Cranberry Sauce


    Good old fashioned cranberry sauce may seem like a disaster waiting to happen, but it's also easily stored in a travel-friendly plastic or glass container and transferred to a different bowl for a prettier presentation!

  • Seasonally-Spiced Cupcakes


    Pick any seasonal flavor you love -- from pecan pie to pumpkin or even classic vanilla or chocolate -- and there's a cupcake recipe you could whip up. Whether mini or full-size, cupcakes travel easily in the pan you baked them in or even a nifty carrier (like the Progressive Collapsible Cake & Cupcake Carrier, $29.99, bedbathandbeyond.com).

    You can make the process even more stress-free by frosting them once you get to your feast!

  • Roasted Veggies


    Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without brussel sprouts, potatoes, carrots, or any other colorful smattering of roasted seasonal veggies. And thankfully, they're easy to cook at home and transport, too! Reheat in a 350-degree oven, covered, for 30 minutes.

  • Cheesecake


    Cheesecake is one of those desserts that is actually better eaten a couple days after you've baked it, so it's a perfect make-ahead dessert for an out-of-town Thanksgiving dinner. Freeze it after it has cooled, which will help it keep its form. By the time you get to your dinner, it will be ready to serve.

  • Green Bean Casserole


    Not only is green bean casserole a Thanksgiving tradition; it also travels well, because it's a casserole! (Hint: You may want to save that last step -- the 15-minute heat up with last of the onions on top for just before serving! Yum!)

  • Mini Quiches


    Mini quiches -- seasoned perfectly for the occasion with some sage and garlic -- will hold up well when transported in a cookie tin. Before serving, just heat in a toaster oven or on a cookie sheet.



  • Creamy Pumpkin Soup


    Of course, creamy pumpkin soup doesn't have to be stowed it in an actual pumpkin to travel well and easily reheat. But serving it that way will add a lovely touch to its presentation!

  • Stuffing


    What would turkey be without stuffing? The holiday staple is also an easy one to bake ahead in your favorite 13 x 9-inch baking dish, then reheat in a 350-degree oven, covered, for 20-25 minutes.

    More from The Stir: 10 Mistakes That Ruin Thanksgiving Stuffing (PHOTOS)

  • Sweet Potato and Fig Salad


    Okay, so it may not be as popular as the buttery carbs at the table, but a beautiful, colorful autumn salad that pairs seasonal root veggies (like sweet potatoes) with fruit (think figs) over mixed greens would be a delicious addition to any Turkey Day feast! The best part: Everything can be prepared ahead of time. Just add dressing, toss, and serve! 

  • Perfect Batch of Rolls


    We tend to think that bread needs to be fresh and hot out of the oven to be out of this world, but the dough for these Martha Stewart-approved "refrigerator rolls" can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, making them an easy go-to -- whether you want to bring the dough and bake them fresh, or bake them the morning of your feast.

    But if you've baked them a day or more ahead of time, you can easily reheat them in a 350-degree oven, wrapped in foil, for 10-15 minutes.

thanksgiving travel