Will getting ahead ruin this Thanksgiving dish?
Preparing for Thanksgiving might seem overwhelming, whether it's your first year hosting or you've been cooking the full meal for years. No matter where you fall, getting a head start on what can be prepared before the big day is essential. One question that always crops up: Can you make stuffing ahead of time?
The short answer to whether you can making stuffing ahead of time is yes.
"Making stuffing ahead saves time, allows stove and oven space for other things, and making it ahead gives time for the flavor to fully develop," Chef David Tiner, Director at Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge, tells Southern Living.
No matter your reasoning for prepping stuffing ahead of time, it's important to take note of when to cook it, how to store it, how to reheat it and most importantly—the best make-ahead stuffing recipe.
Meet The Expert
Chef David Tiner is the Director at Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
When To Cook Make-Ahead Stuffing
Now that you have the go-ahead to cook your stuffing in advance, it's important to know what that timeline looks like to ensure stuffing remains moist and flavorful.
"Stuffing that is made ahead of time is usually cooked to some degree of doneness since it contains aromatic vegetables," Tiner says.
Make-ahead stuffing can be prepared and stored in the freezer or refrigerator.
"Make-ahead stuffing freezes well and can be made as much as two months early if stored in the freezer properly," Tiner says. "Stuffing that is made ahead and only refrigerated should be used within seven days."
How To Store Make-Ahead Stuffing
Once cooled, the stuffing should be placed in an airtight container or ziplock bag.
"If using a bag, flatten out to allow the mixture to freeze quicker and take up less space. If refrigerating the stuffing, simply store in an airtight container to prevent drying out.
How To Reheat Make-Ahead Stuffing
The big meal has arrived, and it's finally time to reheat your make-ahead stuffing. But is it as simple as popping it in the oven?
If your stuffing is frozen, make sure to thaw it completely first. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Place stuffing in a baking dish and cover with foil. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until warm all the way through.
"You may need to add a little broth are water to maintain the moistness of the stuffing while reheating," Tiner says. "It is important that you reheat the stuffing to an internal temperature of 165°F before removing to serve."
Tiner says that if a turkey will be filled with the stuffing, then baked, it is important to cook to an internal temp of 180°F.
"The stuffing will act as an insulator for the inside of the turkey, thus increasing the risk of under cooked meat," he says.
Make-Ahead Stuffing Recipes
Looking for a stuffing or dressing you can make in advance? Consider one of these:
For more Southern Living news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on Southern Living.