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How to Stuff a Turkey

Pilgrim with Turkey, Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving is approaching and you've pulled out the cherished family turkey stuffing recipe. Now, you must decide whether to bake it in a separate dish, or to put the stuffing inside the bird, to bake inside the turkey.

If you stuff your turkey, it is recommended that you do so in the morning, immediately before putting it in the oven. This minimizes the risk of harmful bacteria growing in a stuffed turkey overnight. You can make the stuffing the night before and refrigerate it separately, to save time in the morning.

Tip: Plan  to make about 3/4 cups stuffing for each pound of turkey.

Here are the steps for safely stuffing a turkey:

  • Prepare the stuffing using your favorite family recipe.
  • Wash the turkey
  • Stuff the body and neck cavities lightly, as stuffing expands during cooking.
  • You can bake extra stuffing separately.
  • Close the neck cavity, using long poultry roasting needles.
  • Stuffing in the body cavity is usually contained when the leg bones are put back in place.
  • Leaving a little stuffing exposed, creates a traditional, picture perfect look to the finished turkey.
  • Leftover stuffing can be baked separately in a glass baking pan. Cover it with aluminum foil,  and place it in the oven next to the turkey, an hour before the turkey is expected to be done. For a browner appearance, take uncover it about 20 minutes before it is done.  

Important: To eliminate the risk of harmful bacteria, use soap and water to wash hands, utensils, sink, and all work surfaces.

Did You Know? There is about 190 calories per cup of stuffing, a mere fraction of what you will consume on Thanksgiving!

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