A delicious dressing or sensational stuffing is the highlight of a great holiday feast, but it’s just one more dish on the long list of dishes a host has to make. Can you freeze dressing that is uncooked and cut down on holiday prep and holiday stress?
Thanksgiving Day is the kickoff of the winter holiday season. It can be a marathon of cooking. That is why home chefs need any hack they can get to make this mega meal work. This is where the freezer comes in handy. Use the freezer to make your holiday meal prep so much smoother with this delicious guide to freezing dressing!
What is Dressing?
While the turkey gets all the attention the dressing may just be the true star on Thanksgiving Day! This staple holiday side dish is a flavorful and textural wonder that tastes like nostalgia and comfort!
The dressing is the starchy filling used inside or outside of the bird. Some people know it better by the name stuffing, but it’s all the same delicious blend of dried bread, fresh herbs, veggies, stock, and spices. Common versions include cornbread dressing and sage stuffing. Whichever version you decide to serve, it will be a great addition to your Thanksgiving dinner.
The dressing is sometimes used as a warm stuffing inside the turkey cavity, but more often it is prepared as a stand-alone side dish. That is what makes it so great for advance preparation. You can mix up your favorite dressing recipe before the event and then just thaw, cook, and serve!
Can You Freeze Dressing?
That is the big question. There is nothing like hosting the holidays. It's a whirlwind of grocery store runs, cooking, eating, and love, but all that action can get a little hectic! Take one more thing off your plate this year by freezing the dressing! You can freeze cooked or uncooked dressing so that all you need to do on Thanksgiving Day is pop the stuffing in the oven and chow down!
Uncooked dressing can be frozen for up to 3 months and then cooked into perfect holiday delight!
How to Store Dressing
The delicious dressing is worth every tasty bite so you cannot let any go to waste! The freezing process not only saves the taste of the stuffing for the future but extends the shelf life of your dressing so you get more bang for your buck!
Here are some more specific tips on how to properly freeze uncooked and cooked dressing for future use:
Freezing Cooked Dressing
Cooked dressing can be stored in the pan or transferred to an airtight freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. It can be frozen for up to 3 months and then removed to be the showstopping side dish on the Big Day!
Freezing Uncooked Dressing
We have good news! Uncooked stuffing is just as easy to store as cooked dressing. Here are a few different ways on how to freeze it. Follow these simple steps, below:
- Whole Pan- If you want to prepare your Thanksgiving meal in advance so that all you have to do on the day of is crack a can of cranberry sauce and kick back, try freezing a whole pan of uncooked dressing! Be sure to use an aluminum pan or another type of freezer-safe dish; this will come in handy again for taking the pan straight from the freezer to the oven. Wrap the whole pan tightly in plastic or use a freezer-safe lid. Also, try pressing a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the dressing to lock out the freezer burn.
- Muffin Pan - If you want a fun pre-portioned twist on your favorite warm stuffing recipe then why not try freezing it in a muffin pan? Divide the uncooked stuffing into muffin tins and then wrap the whole pan tightly in cling film. Then wrap it again with aluminum foil. Freeze the pan and when you’re ready you will have delectable personal-sized servings of homemade dressing to woo your guests.
- Freezer Bag - If you want a simple way to freeze uncooked dressing, try this! Dump the dressing mixing into a large freezer-safe bag, press out the excess air, and freeze. When it’s time you use you can transfer the loose dressing into the bird or a baking sheet with ease!
When storing homemade stuffing, whether it's cooked or uncooked, always remember to use labels. Labels help us know what foods are once they’re frozen. Additionally, they help us cut down on food waste because when you see a food nearing the end of its shelf life, you want to use it!
How to Thaw Frozen Dressing
Thawing the frozen stuffing is a cinch! Before thawing the dressing, always check its quality. Look for obvious signs of spoilage, like color changes and unpleasant odors. A little freezer burn is probably okay, but if you thaw the dressing and it has a lot of excess liquid, just toss it out!
With many frozen foods, the best way of thawing is the easiest way and that is in the fridge! For best results, just place the frozen dressing in the fridge overnight to thaw. By morning, it will be soft and ready to use!
Another great way to thaw frozen dressing is by cooking it. If you froze the dressing in an oven-safe pan, you can take it directly from the freezer to the oven. Be sure to check the internal temperature of your dressing before eating. The dressing should read 165°F when cooked throughout.
For those wondering, "can you freeze dressing that is uncooked?" the answer is yes. Freezing uncooked dressing can be a convenient way to preserve its fresh flavors and ingredients, ensuring that you have a delicious and homemade option ready whenever you need it. By following the proper guidelines for preparation, storage, and thawing, you can confidently enjoy the benefits of this freezing process while still savoring the authentic taste of your favorite recipes.
Can you freeze canned pumpkin puree? Check out our guide that goes over this topic so you can streamline your holiday meal prep even more!
Dressing mixture is made using several perishable ingredients and often includes raw eggs, meat or meat stock. This makes it perishable so it must be handled with care to avoid becoming sick.
When you follow the steps to properly freeze and then cook the dressing, it should be perfectly safe; however, you should always be careful never to leave perishable foods out of temperature controls for longer than 2 hours, label frozen foods with their prep dates, and always check your food for signs of spoilage before eating.
Yes, some people prefer the term stuffing, while others favor the classic dressing. But a rose by any name would smell sweet and a dressing by any name would taste divine, so don’t sweat the name and just enjoy the pleasures of this tasty homemade side!