In this post, I am sharing 5 methods for a make ahead Thanksgiving stuffing so that you can save prep time on the big day !
We love celebrating Thanksgiving with all the foods that we really only make once a year.
But honestly, often there is a lot of prepping and cooking so I am always looking for ways to make things easier for myself.
This make-ahead Thanksgiving stuffing fits that bill. You can make it up to 6 months before the big day and I am sharing 5 different methods with you.
More make-ahead recipes:
In the spirit of prepping ahead, I have teamed up with two of my blogging friends who are also sharing make-ahead recipes. Please check out Cheyenne’s and Megan’s methods by scrolling all the way to the bottom of this article to see the mouthwatering photos of their recipes!
This post contains some affiliate links which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Thanksgiving stuffing recipe
Even though I am giving you our favorite, very basic stuffing recipe, this is really more about how you can make it ahead of time.
In other words, you can absolutely use your family’s favorite Thanksgiving stuffing recipe and find the method that works best for you.
1 medium onion
5 stalks of celery
½ cup of butter
1½ – 2 cups of chicken broth
6 cups of bread cubes
1 sprig of rosemary (or some dried rosemary)
6 sage leaves (or some dried sage)
1 handful of pecans or hazelnuts (optional)
salt & pepper
Method Nr. 1
If using, roast the nuts in a medium-hot skillet until fragrant and set aside.
Next, melt the butter over medium-low heat and chop the onion. Saute the onion in the butter until translucent.
In the meantime, chop the celery and the herbs. Add once the onions are soft but not browned and cook until the celery is soft, too.
On Thanksgiving day, you simply thaw this mixture, cube the bread, add the broth, spices, and nuts, if using. Either bake it in a casserole covered with foil for 30 minutes at 350˚F and about 10 minutes uncovered.
Alternatively you can stuff you turkey with it.
Done. You will have saved yourself a lot of chopping and prepping.
Method Nr. 2
To save even more time, you can cube the bread. We always love toasting it in the oven at 250˚F until golden-brown (about 15-25 mins) but you can absolutely omit this step.
Then, you let is cool down and also freeze the bread in some container or ziplock bag.
On Thanksgiving day, you assemble the stuffing by combining the onion-celery mixture with the bread, the broth, spices, and nuts, if using. Either bake it (see above) or stuff your turkey.
Method Nr. 3
For this method you can assembly the entire stuffing; onion-celery mixture, cubed bread, broth, spices and nuts, if using. Then you place this is a freezable container or ziplock bag and freeze it for up to 6 months.
On Thanksgiving day, you proceed as described in method nr. 1 by baking your stuffing or stuffing your turkey with it.
Method Nr. 4
Make and assembly the entire stuffing (onion-celery mixture, bread, broth, spices, and nuts, if using), bake it in a casserole at 350˚F for about 30 mins covered with foil and uncovered for another 10 mins or.
Now, you let it cool off and keep this covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days ahead of Thanksgiving.
Method Nr. 5
Just as in method nr. 4, you prepare and bake the entire stuffing and let it cool down. However, in this method you freeze it in a freezable container for up to 6 months. Again, on Thanksgiving day, you thaw it and reheat it at 350˚F for about 15-20 mins.
How to decide which method to use for your make-ahead Thanksgiving stuffing?
Ultimately, this boils down to how much freezer, refrigerator, and oven space you have, and what kind of containers you will use versus how much time you want to save on Thanksgiving day.
Obviously, the method that will save you the most amount of time are refrigerating or freezing the baked stuffing. On the other hand, you will need enough space in your freezer or fridge to keep it there.
If you’re short on space but want to save some prep time, you might like to go with method nr. 1 in which you only prepare the onion-celery mixture and freeze or refrigerate that. That means that you will still need to assemble and bake the stuffing.
Your choice also depends on whether you are baking the stuffing separately or whether you will be stuffing your turkey with it.
A lot of people have a single oven. By the time you have your turkey in there and maybe a green bean casserole and sweet potato dish, there might not be enough space to bake the entire stuffing. In this case you could prepare all those dishes and baked and thawed the stuffing during the time the turkey is resting.
I hope I was able to show you some simple and easy ways to prep your Thanksgiving stuffing ahead of time so that you can enjoy the day relaxed and not stressed out.
Please check out my friends’ posts for their make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes:
Megan with her Cranberry Sauce with Oranges using fresh Cranberries at https://www.simplyrootedfarmhouse.com/how-to-make-cranberry-sauce/
Cheyenne with her Grammy’s Broccoli Cheese Casserole at
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Freezable containers: https://amzn.to/2GKzOJf
More freezable containers: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/ikea-365-food-container-with-lid-rectangular-glass-plastic-glass-s89269071/
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 stalks celery, chopped
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ – 2 cups broth (turkey or chicken)
- 6 cups bread cubes (optional: toast bread cubes at 350˚F until lightly browned)
- 1 sprig rosemary (or 1 tsp dried)
- 6 leaves sage (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 handful nuts (optional; walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Roast the nuts until fragrant if using, let cool, and chop coarsely. Set aside.
- Melt butter over medium heat.
- Add onions and saute until translucent, stirring frequently.
- Add celery and saute until soft.
- Add the remaining ingredients and transfer to an oven-proof dish.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350˚F for about 30 mins. Remove foil and bake for another 10 mins or until edges of bread cubes are crisp.