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Nov 21, 2012 06:15 PM

Can any Stuffing Recipe be made into a Make-Ahead?

DIdn't have "luck" with a specifically Make-Ahead stuffing recipe (even though it was from Cooks Illustrated). In the past have had a LOT of success with this recipe for stuffing:
which is a standard recipe, not a make-ahead.

Think it would be OK to make this stuffing through half of #4, i.e. add assembled ingredients to baking dish, but then to refrigerate it overnight and bake it the next day?

It would be a hit on any Thanksgiving table, if it could just be made-ahead!

(Takes a lot of time to prep the herbs...)

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  1. A couple of years ago I started making my stuffing the day before and to tell you the truth, it tastes even better. I don't use eggs in mine, but I would do everything up to the stock and eggs and refrigerate. Tomorrow, add the stock and eggs and bake. It should be just fine.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Saluti

      Thanks so much! This would save me a lot of time tomorrow. But is it OK to

      1)not have the veggies and herbs all hot before adding in the stock?
      2)if I can, should I wait on adding the bread, or is it OK to add the bread cubes today so they'll soak up the butter/veggies/herbs? I'm afraid of it being too wet.

    2. I make my stuffing a day ahead, and add the stock to it. I don't use eggs, and use dried bread cubes, either homemade or commercial. I think it comes out better than when made the day of.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

        I agree; it's better when made the day of. So you also add stock the day of. I'll try it Saluti's way; thanks and if you have any other suggestions/answers to my last query, that'd be great. Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

        1. re: wahine88

          You've misread the response. D said "it comes out better than when made the day of", not that its better made the same day. I agree that the stuffing comes out better when mixed with everything including the stock (I don't use eggs) and left to rest in the refrigerator overnight to meld. I just finished making mine even though I'm dead tired because I know it will taste a lot better this way made in advance and allowed to fully saturate and temper. I will bake it later. I do the same when I make bread pudding, and after tasting the result, I've converted most of my friends to this method.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            How interesting. Thanks for pointing out my misreading. So far the consensus on this and other posts seems to be to add everything BUT the stock/eggs, but your point is that it will taste better TO add the stock a day in advance. You even stayed up late to do so. Hmmm..
            Not sure if I will add stock/eggs now or "tomorrow."
            What do you think about the bread cube question - to add later if I add stock later, add before stock/eggs, or add immediately to wet ingredients while they are warm?

            1. re: wahine88

              Uh, I put the whole thing together including stock the night before because I get a better result than what you're suggesting. So it's not fruitful to to ask me to advise on something i have already rejected. Not sure how to say it any clearer. I'm trying to emulate the taste and texture of stuffing cooked inside the bird the way it tasted and was done when I was a kid. You and others may be going for something different and in that case other methods might be preferred.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                I get it that you assemble everything the night before. That's one method. I was wondering, if I use the other method, of holding off putting in the broth/eggs til the day I bake it, would you recommend also holding off on the bread cubes, or OK to put them in with the wet veggies? Thinking of making two dishes and doing a non-scientific trial - see which one comes out best.
                Also, this prob has a lot to do with whether folks like dry or wet stuffing. I prefer drier. (As to which method they prefer, the assemble-all-but-the-baking the day before, or assemble-all-but-add-liquids-the-day-of school.)

      2. I make mine all the way, until the bake part, the day before, always. Have never had a problem. Occasionally the day of, you might add a little more stock if the bread has soaked it all up and still looks dry.

        8 Replies
        1. re: sasha1

          Cool! Good to know. This way would be so much easier. Just got all the herbs...fresh is so much better than dried! The hardest to find was savory. Thank God a non-Whole Foods small natural foods store had some, from a local farm.

          1. re: wahine88

            Savory was the one herb that proved impossible for me, fresh and dry, so will have to do without.

            1. re: TeRReT

              Sorry to hear that. I had to look pretty far and wide myself. I would think dried is quite accessible. Fresh is carried in natural food stores around holidays. I guess if you know you need it, maybe start looking a week and a hlaf or so out...

              1. re: wahine88

                Normally dry would be no problem but I am in Japan at the moment and they don't use it here so couldn't find it in my small city.

          2. re: sasha1

            Forgot to ask - you mean you even add broth, and eggs if you use them, and assemble it all, then refrigerate til next day?? I hope so!

            1. re: wahine88

              I do - it sounds like others don't. The only thing I do the day of is take the pyrex out of the fridge, maybe moisten it a bit more, and put it in the over while the turkey is resting. This brought a smile to my face just now - turkey makes even itself sleepy!

              1. re: sasha1

                Cute. Yes, good turkey resting. In actuality, live, I think turkeys can be quite aggressive! I've seen some wild ones. Large! Anyway, what's your moistener of choice - oiive oil? butter? Seems like people are split on adding broth/eggs later or right away. Most seem to add it later. Thanks for sharing!

                1. re: wahine88

                  Broth. I put plenty of butter in when sauteeing the veggies or whatever filling I use with the bread.

          3. I am making mine now, the night before and baking it tonight. I don't trust the cooking appliances where I am going, so will just add more stock and reheat in roaster while turkey rests. Just a very basic stuffing I am improvising as I go. A few day old baguette, sautéed celery and onion with sage, orgegano and thyme, could not get savory or marjoram. Sautéed in some butter, mixed with bread and then topped with some stock and then I will find a way to cook it in my convection microwave.

            3 Replies
            1. re: TeRReT

              Cool. I'm not brave enough to go sans recipe. So you're OK with adding broth the day before? I won't be able to reheat it in roaster - it'll be in a 350 oven in a regular casserole dish.

              One thing I can't figure out - one year this recipe worked like a charm, another it bombed. Same ingredients. Don't know why.

              1. re: wahine88

                Well to be honest I have never made it a day in advance, but I have no problem adding the stock as long as I cook it, I wouldn't add it and leave it soaking overnight. I also only plan on putting it in the roaster. I also only have an aluminum tray for it unfortunately. It may end up I either a roaster, a toaster oven, or in a microwave either being microwaved or on the convection setting. It's a pretty fly by the seat of my pants setup so I am not bothering being committed to a recipe I have no means of following.

                1. re: TeRReT

                  Bravo/Brava for making Thanksgiving dinner while in Japan!

                  seems like the consensus is, best to leave most liquids out til right before you bake.

                  Did you think adding bread cubes into the wet veggie/herb mix the day before is OK?

            2. I'm trying the 'put it all together tonight' and chilling in baking dish until tomorrow.Covered it with saran wrap so as to not dry out.I didn't have celery I discovered at the last minute tonight and had jammies on and so sauteed' chopped fine onion,mushrooms,cashews,celery salt,some minced onion powder in butter and coconut oil.I used some chicken stock and poured that over the bread pieces and then poured the seasonings on top and mixed in well.Will bake tomorrow at 350 until done.