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Dishes to make ahead on Thanksgiving: stuffing and m&c?

Do you guys think that either stuffing (cornbread with apples and cranberries) or macaroni & cheese would suffer texturally or in any other way if made the day before Thanksgiving? And baked after the turkey comes out of the oven to rest? Would M&C get mushy? Would stuffing get soggy? I have the day before off, and would like to do a lot of prep then.

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  1. We always do stuffing the night before, and have never had any issues - but maybe that's because we ALWAYS have done it that way and wouldn't know the difference.
    For the mac and cheese, could you keep the components seperate and then combine them just before baking? Maybe if you undercooked the pasta it wouldn't turn to mush overnight, but would then finish while baking.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ghbrooklyn

      I always do my stuffing the night before also (bread with dried fruit, sausage, and chestnuts).

    2. I know for a fact you can make a batch of macaroni and cheese the day before, bake it off, then rewarm in the oven the next day. It will be fine.
      If you're talking about assembling, but not cooking, I probably wouldn't recommend it with the mac. I would imagine the pasta would get soggy, but no reason not to bake it the day before and rewarm. I think the flavors actually are better on the second day.

      I would imagine you could do the same with stuffing, but I never have.

      1. I always do my macaroni and cheese the night before, but I don't bake it -- I combine everything, put it in the pan, and then cover and refrigerate, then slide it into the oven about 40 minutes before eating time, and it's perfect.

        1 Reply
        1. WE always make our stuffing the night before. We don't have mac n cheese on Thanksgiving, but I have prepped and put into my clay pot in the morning, and then into the oven to bake at night. Always seems fine. But i have never baked it the day before serving. If you do add breadcrumbs to the top, just add them before baking.

          1. Thanks guys. I think I have decided to maybe do stuffing the day before and do m&c while turkey is in the oven. Ghbrooklyn, email me if you are interested in a chow meal that's going on tonight at Yemen Cafe. scarroll8@nyc.rr.com

            1. I will probably do both of my dressings on Tues. and chill them well. I will wait until Thurs. to fold in the oysters into the bread dressing and the cooked sausage into the cornbread dressing. This afternoon I am getting my pie doughs made. Double wrapped they will keep a week in the fridge but I will probably make the tartlet shells tomorrow afternoon and pop into the freezer and wait on the pie crust. I like to get fiddly stuff done early. Cranberries and quinces are done. I will bake pie and tartlets on Wed. and get the table set. I will be able to have a pretty leisurely turkey day with just the turkey to roast some potatoes to mash and to cook whatever green veg I deside to have.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Candy

                Candy, I'm new to making my own pie dough...Can I make a standard recipe on Sunday and roll on Wednesday for pies? That would be fantastic!

                1. re: eriberri

                  Sure. You could even roll it out and fit it into the pie plates if you are making open pies and wrap and refrigerate. My dough is in the fridge well wrapped now.

                  I make an all butter crust but if your are using lard or shortening or a combo it will be fine. I make miine in the food processor and cut up my butter and freeze it before starting. Make sure your water you add is also ice cold. When you get ready to roll it out let it stand about 15 minutes before trying to roll it out. Work quickly and keep that dough cool so the fats don't start to melt and you will have a good crust.

                  1. re: Candy

                    Candy thanks for the tips! I shall get started this weekend, what a great thing to know!

                2. re: Candy

                  Candy, I've often done my dressings ahead including the oysters and sausage or whatever. Mama did too. They get better and better as the flavors meld. I think I like them better than making them and using right away. The only problem is not snacking on them and keeping others from doing it.

                3. I have cooked an entire Thanksgiving Dinner the day before, except for the turkey itself and the gravy. I even roasted turkey legs to make stock, used in the stuffing and elsewhere, and used the fat to make roue for the gravy. I picked the veggies carefully, so they did not suffer much.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Captain

                    I'm doing my gravy this weekend from roasted turkey legs, I am so excited to try this this year.

                    1. re: prunefeet

                      Make sure you deglaze some good brown stuff from the bottom of the pan in which you roast the legs. I thought it needed more of that stuff, the one time I tried to make the gravy ahead of time.

                      1. re: Captain

                        Oh you get. That stuff is pure gold. I intend to also add the drippings from the turkey itself on the actual day, if I can get my act together anyway. I hope it comes out well, I do love good gravy.

                  2. My favorite ever m&c was a batch I prepped into individual servings, refrigerated, and then baked a few days later. It was better than that part of the batch that I baked right away.


                    1. Question: when making the stuffing the day before, do you not add the chicken broth until the next day right before popping it in the oven?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: MeowMixx

                        I was gonna ask that question also. I'm really thinking about making the stuffing on Wed, and my stuffing is the one thing everone likes. Not sure if this will work well with my method. I saute the veggies till their soft, then I add wine. Then I cook that down a bit, toss in some herbs and start mixing it with the bread cubes.

                        Then, I start adding as much stock as I need to get the right consitency.

                        I wonder if I could stop right before adding the stock - stick it in the fridge, and then add the stock before baking it on Thursday?

                        1. re: Ace_Mclean

                          exactly! Now if we could only get an answer :)

                        2. re: MeowMixx

                          With the recipe I use (Silver Palate's Grand Marnier, sausage and dried apricot stuffing), I add the broth the night before.

                        3. Oh my gosh!...Just discovered this sight and what a wealth of info. Just what I need...(all the help I can get)
                          I too think the stuffing is better done ahead, the flavors blend.

                          1. What about eggs? Do you add them the night before or wait?