After making a Thanksgiving dinner, you may wonder, “can you freeze stuffing?” The answer is yes! The best part of this yearly dinner is the leftovers, including the stuffing.
No matter how you make stuffing each year, you’ll be happy to know that freezing it is a great way to save it for later.
What is stuffing?
Stuffing, sometimes called dressing, is traditionally made with Thanksgiving dinner for American families. It’s a mixture of onions, bread cubes, celery, and sausage baked inside the turkey. It’s the perfect pairing with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.
You can make it with all kinds of ingredients, including cornbread, breadcrumbs, sausage, carrots, chicken broth, or cranberries. You can make a homemade version or buy a premade mix from the store.
One of the essential things with stuffing is that since it’s cooked inside the turkey cavity, you must check that the stuffing has been cooked through a digital thermometer.
This can sometimes be tricky if your turkey is cooking faster than the stuffing since you don’t want your turkey to dry out.
For this reason, many people make dressing instead. I also have an entire post on what is the difference between stuffing and dressing.
Can you freeze stuffing?
The answer to the big question is yes, you can freeze leftover stuffing.
You can also freeze unbaked stuffing. This is helpful for when you want to get a head start on Thanksgiving dinner, so you don’t need to make everything on the same day.
Or, if you are a guest and want to contribute a dish, you can make this dish as well as sweet potatoes at your home ahead of time and then take it with you to be cooked on the big day.
When it comes to frozen foods, it’s essential to know how to recognize signs of spoilage to ensure food safety and quality.
In my comprehensive post on how to tell if frozen foods have gone bad, I’ve also covered valuable insights on what to look for to identify spoilage.
Feel free to refer to it for detailed information and guidelines on maintaining the best quality of frozen stuffing and other food items.
How to reheat frozen stuffing
There are a couple of ways to reheat or bake frozen stuffing.
Bake it straight from frozen in its own dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, bake for one hour, uncover, and bake for another 20 minutes or until it’s 165°F all the way through and the top is crispy.
You can allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or throw it in the microwave to defrost if you’re short on time.
From there, you can bake it separately from the turkey or go ahead and put it in the turkey to bake them together.
If you bake them together, be aware that the turkey may finish cooking before the stuffing in the middle.
There are a couple of ways to make sure this doesn’t happen. First, allow the turkey to sit on the counter for 30 minutes before baking to get closer to the stuffing temperature.
Also, make sure the turkey is very moist before baking by letting it soak in a brine bath for up to 48 hours before cooking. You can also baste it with its own juices while baking to make sure it stays moist while in the oven.
Other ways to store
Besides freezing, there are other ways to store stuffing after you prepare it or after it’s already been cooked.
Before baking, you can keep unbaked stuffing in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. After baking it, you can also store leftovers in the fridge for up to five days.
While freezing and reheating stuffing may be easier, it will always taste freshest when made from scratch each time you want to eat it.
What’s the difference between stuffing and dressing
After the stuffing is prepared, it’s then put inside the turkey to cook together while dressing is not.
Instead of filling the turkey with this mixture, the dressing is baked in its own dish in the oven after the turkey is taken out to rest.
Another thing to remember is that stuffing is called dressing in the south, even when it’s cooked inside the turkey. This is a regional description that you should be aware of if you’re planning a trip to the southern states during Thanksgiving.
Both dishes are made with similar ingredients and are both delicious, it just comes down to how you choose to prepare them.
The answer to “can you freeze stuffing” is yes! You can freeze it cooked or uncooked, and this is handy if you have leftovers or make it ahead of time to take to Thanksgiving dinner at someone else’s house.
To thaw stuffing, leave it in the refrigerator overnight or microwave it until it’s no longer frozen in the middle.
You can also cook it straight from frozen, and this will take longer than cooking it when it’s thawed, but it is possible.
Keep it in the refrigerator rather than freezing it if you know you’ll need to bake it within two days. Otherwise, you can make it fresh for the best texture and flavor.