Also known as filling or dressing, stuffing is a popular addition to festive holiday meals such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. To some, a holiday meal just wouldn’t be complete without a side of stuffing.
Whether you want to make the stuffing ahead of time or have a heap left over after the festivities, the good news is that you can freeze the stuffing to prevent any of it from going to waste. Here is everything you need to know about freezing and reheating stuffing.
Types of Stuffing
Stuffing is a mixture of dried breadcrumbs, onion, celery, spices, and herbs such as sage. The tasty mixture is served as a side dish or used as a filling to stuff a whole chicken, turkey, or even vegetables, eggs, and seafood.
Not only does stuffing bring a hearty flavor to a dish but it can also prevent the meat from drying out.
Other popular stuffing varieties include the use of rice, cornbread, or quinoa instead of traditional breadcrumbs. Sausage, cranberries, chestnuts, dried fruits, nuts, and even oysters can be incorporated into various stuffing recipes to accompany the appropriate main dish.
Can Stuffing Be Frozen?
Yes, stuffing can be frozen whether cooked or uncooked. Cooked stuffing should always be cooled to room temperature before packing for freezing.
Freezing warm stuffing will result in the formation of large ice crystals causing freezer burn and faster deterioration of the texture and flavor.
If you are planning to freeze cooked stuffing, it is best to remove it from the oven 10 minutes before it should be done and cool it down quickly. This will allow the stuffing to complete the cooking process when reheated after being frozen without becoming excessively dry or soggy.
The most important thing when freezing stuffing is to keep it free from contact with air and moisture by keeping it in air-tight packaging. Also, ensure that the stuffing is kept at a consistent temperature in the freezer.
How To Freeze Cooked Stuffing
Step 1: Cool
Let the cooked stuffing cool down completely after baking.
Step 2: Portion and Pack
Portion the stuffing into the desired quantities and pack each portion into a resealable freezer bag. Lie the bag flat and press out any air before sealing tightly.
Step 3: Label and Freeze
Label the freezer bags with the date to keep track of how long it has been stored and place it in the freezer.
How To Freeze Uncooked Stuffing
Step 1: Prepare the Components
Uncooked stuffing can either be mixed and frozen ready to bake or you can freeze the different components separately. Prepare your stuffing as desired.
Step 2: Pack
Place the stuffing into the tray you are going to use to cook it in (this would need to be both freezer and oven-safe). This allows you to pull it straight from the freezer into the oven for baking without the hassle of thawing or needing extra dishes.
Alternatively, you can scoop the mixture or various separate components into resealable freezer bags. Make sure to press out any air from the bag before sealing it.
Step 3: Wrap
Wrap the tray containing the stuffing in a layer of cling film. Then, wrap it again in a layer of foil. Ensure that all the corners are sufficiently sealed with no gaps left open where air can enter.
Step 4: Label and Freeze
Label the wrapped tray or freezer bags with the date to keep track of how long it has been stored and place it in the freezer.
How To Thaw and Reheat Frozen Stuffing
Stuffing can be cooked or reheated straight from frozen, and therefore, does not require thawing. Defrosting the stuffing first can affect the texture so it is best taken straight from the freezer to reheat.
Preheat the oven to 325 °F and place the stuffing in an ovenproof dish. Cover the dish with foil. After baking for 15 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 5 minutes until fully warmed. You can drizzle some broth over the stuffing if you are concerned that it is too dry.
The cooking time will vary depending on the quantity and doneness of the stuffing when placing it into the oven.
Whether you are making the stuffing ahead of time to avoid last-minute holiday kitchen chaos or have a stash of leftovers, freezing it is a great way to save time, money, and food going to waste.
Cooked or uncooked, stuffing is easy to freeze as long as it is kept free from contact with moisture and air. It is best to portion the stuffing into smaller quantities so you can just remove what you need from the freezer without having to thaw and use an entire batch at once.
Stuffing is not only great to fill meat and veggies, but is versatile and can be used as a delicious component in many dishes from breakfast all the way through to dinner.
Up next: How to freeze cornbread
*image by Stuffing/depositphotos