The Do’s and Don’ts of Stuffing a Turkey
Cooked is cool. Use only cooked ingredients in your stuffing. This means sauteeing veggies, fully cooking meat, using pasteurized products...etc. This reduces the risk of foodborne bacteria illnesses, which is generally a good thing if you ask us.
Immediate is ideal. Is it time to start cooking that delicious and juicy Thanksgiving turkey? That means it is time to stuff the bird with your warm (and fully cooked) dressing. Not the night before, not 3 hours before - you should stuff the turkey right before it goes into the oven.
Fluffy, not stuffy. Do not overstuff you bird. You want to allow about ½ - ¾ cup of stuffing per pound. If you make the mistake of overstuffing the neck and body cavities, the bird will cook unevenly and all your family will remember you as the one who got the whole family ill. Don’t be that guy. Make sure to loosely stuff your Thanksgiving turkey!
Cook it real good. Break out your thermometer and turn up your oven to 325°F. Keep the turkey in the oven until the center of the stuffing has reached 165°F. Need some tips on roasting the perfect Thanksgiving turkey? Click here!
Let it be. Once the bird and stuffing are thoroughly cooked to the right temperatures, give them a rest on the counter. We’d say around 20 minutes should be good. Then you can remove the stuffing and carving.
Refrigerator for the win. Within 2 hours after you’ve cooked the turkey and dressing, make sure it finds its way into the fridge in shallow, air-tight containers. Then use up those leftovers within 4 days!
Only Oven. If you’re planning to cook your Thanksgiving turkey using anything but an oven (i.e. deep frying, grilling, smoking), don’t stuff it. The turkey will be done far before the stuffing and it just creates a mess.
Procrastination is key. I know you’d like to prepare as much as you can for the craziness that is cooking on Thanksgiving day, however stuffing is not something you can make the night before. Do it the day of to prevent any bacteria forming!
Be patient. Don’t think that taking out the bird at 150°F is fine because the temp will rise will the turkey sits. Be patient and wait for that full 165°F. You can do it - just mix the potatoes or grab a glass of wine or something.
Check out these Blue Ribbon winning family tested and approved stuffing/dressing recipes: