If you're planning to order takeout Thanksgiving dinner this year, read up.

By Betty Gold and Grace Elkus
Updated November 05, 2020
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As a food editor, I get asked a lot of questions, from how to use ghee (I like it in place of butter for cooking pancakes) to my thoughts on slow cookers versus Instant Pots (Instant Pots, hands down). But the questions really start pouring in come Thanksgiving, as my friends and family members begin prepping dishes ahead of time. The number one dish that seems to cause the most stress? Believe it or not, stuffing.

Here’s the honest truth: not every dish is worth making in its entirety ahead of time. Stuffing is one of them. I know, I know—you want to cross something off your to-do list. But hear me out.

(Oh, and while the words “leftover stuffing” might sound like an oxymoron, it does happen. Use the following guide to reheat the stuffing, then put it to work in one of our recipes for leftover stuffing here.)

How to Reheat Stuffing

You can assemble the stuffing the day before, you just don’t want to bake it until the day of. You’ll do all the hands-on work: cubing and drying out the bread, cooking the veg and the aromatics, and tossing them together with the eggs and broth. But instead of sticking the stuffing in the oven, cover it tightly with foil and set it in the fridge. On Thanksgiving morning, bring the stuffing to room temperature and bake as directed.

If you’ve already baked your stuffing—or someone else, including your favorite local takeout spot, is supplying a finished stuffing for Thanksgiving—there’s hope for you yet. Bring the baked stuffing to room temperature so that it will reheat evenly. This will take about 30 minutes. Then you'll want to warm it in a 350°F oven, covered, for 30-40 minutes until heated through. To recreate the crispy top that you'll find in freshly-baked stuffing, remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of the baking time. If the stuffing feels dry, add a splash of stock or some of the turkey drippings before rewarming.

How to Dry Your Bread Before Making Stuffing

One final note about stuffing: drying out the bread is crucial to prevent a soggy stuffing, especially if it’s sitting in the fridge overnight. You have two options: After cutting your bread into half-inch pieces, spread it onto a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and set aside, uncovered, at room temperature overnight. Or, toast the bread in a 350°F oven and dry until just starting to brown, 25-30 minutes. Let cool, then proceed with the recipe.

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