Once again, the winter holidays are upon us, but before we can worry about decking the halls, it’s time to set the table for the Thanksgiving feast . The turkey, the cranberry sauce , the cornbread dressing —we can practically taste it already.
As seasoned hosts, we’re constantly thinking up ways to prepare for the holidays ahead of time. The last place we want to be when guests start arriving is standing over the stove, sweating into the pot of gravy.
Over the years, we’ve devised a few easy, breezy tips to ensure the smoothest Thanksgiving meal yet. Sure, you know the basics, like defrosting the turkey well in advance of the big day. But over the holidays, freezing and reheating casseroles is one of our best tricks.
If you’ve ever participated in a meal train , you’re familiar with the concept of stashing a casserole in the freezer to reheat for a no-effort-required meal. We freeze breakfast casseroles to have ready for Christmas brunch ; we’ll pull that turkey-noodle casserole out of the freezer just in the nick of time for a hands-off dinner that guests will love.
Frozen casseroles have saved us so many times before—but can you freeze the Thanksgiving sides , too? Specifically, can you freeze dressing?
What Is Dressing?
Dressing is a classic Thanksgiving side with countless variations. In the South, we’re partial to cornbread dressing (which can easily be made gluten-free), but we’ve had sourdough dressing and even NOLA-style oyster dressing grace our tables.
No matter the variation, dressing always starts with slightly-stale bread, which steeps in butter, eggs, and buttermilk to rehydrate and transform into a savory bread pudding. (If your cornbread is fresh, you can dry it out in the oven .)
Most dressings are studded with veggies like onion, celery, and carrots, as well as fresh herbs such as sage. Don’t even get us started on the people who call it stuffing …
Can You Freeze Dressing?
Preparing certain components of the meal ahead of time is crucial to Thanksgiving success. You can make smart use of your freezer by preparing full dishes in advance and stashing them in the freezer. That way, when the big day comes, all you have to do is thaw the casserole in the fridge overnight and pop it in the oven the next morning.
Yes, you can freeze dressing in advance of the Thanksgiving feast. There are two ways to go about it: You can prepare the recipe up until the point of baking, then freeze. Or bake the dressing according to the recipe, allow it to cool completely, and freeze.
Whichever method you choose, remove the dressing from the freezer the night before you plan to serve it. Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating. If you froze the dressing unbaked, bake for the full allotted amount of time in the morning. If you froze the dressing baked, reheat in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Baked or unbaked dressing will last for 2 to 6 months in the freezer. That leaves you with plenty of time to make Grandma’s famous homemade cranberry sauce .
Save Oven Space With Slow-Cooker Dressing
If you want to skip the trip to the freezer, save valuable oven space by making your dressing in the slow-cooker. This recipe for Slow-Cooker Cornbread Dressing takes one more item off your prep list—simply set it and forget it.