The struggle is real. 

By Grace Elkus
Updated November 21, 2017

As a food editor, I get asked a lot of questions, from how to use ghee (I like it in place of butter for cooking pancakes) to my thoughts on blenders versus food processors (food processors, hands down). But the questions really start pouring in come Thanksgiving, as my co-workers begin prepping dishes ahead of time. The number one dish that seems to cause the most stress is stuffing.

Here’s the honest truth: not every dish is worth making in its entirety ahead of time. Stuffing is one of them. I know, I know—you want to cross something off your to-do list. But hear me out.

You can assemble the stuffing the day before, you just don’t want to bake it until the day of. You’ll do all the hands-on work: cubing and drying out the bread, cooking the veg and the aromatics, and tossing them together with the eggs and broth. But instead of sticking the stuffing in the oven, cover it tightly with foil and set it in the fridge. On Thanksgiving morning, bring the stuffing to room temperature and bake as directed.

If you’ve already baked your stuffing (or someone else is bringing a finished stuffing to Thanksgiving), there’s hope for you yet. Bring the baked stuffing to room temperature so that it will re-heat evenly (this will take about 30 minutes). Then, warm it in a 350°F oven, covered, for 30-40 minutes until heated through. To re-create the crispy top that you'll find in freshly-baked stuffing, remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of the baking time. If the stuffing feels dry, add a splash of stock (or some of the turkey drippings) before re-warming.

RELATED: How to Make Classic Stuffing

One final note about stuffing: drying out the bread is crucial to prevent a soggy stuffing, especially if it’s sitting in the fridge overnight. You have two options: After cutting your bread into ½-inch pieces, spread it onto a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and set aside, uncovered, at room temperature overnight. Or, toast the bread in a 350°F oven and dry until just starting to brown, 25-30 minutes. Let cool, then proceed with the recipe.