At my house, there is always a battle for more stuffing during the holiday feast, so we started making a lot of it! But now, we often have too many leftovers. So you might be thinking, after packing it up, how long does stuffing last in the fridge?
In a sealed, airtight container, you can keep leftover stuffing in the fridge for between three to four days. You will need to check for signs of spoilage before reheating. Throw it out if you see any bad signs.
Keep reading to learn more about the shelf life of stuffing and tips to ensure your stuffing stays fresh for as long as possible.
Should You Put Stuffing In The Fridge?
Yes, you should always put leftover stuffing in the fridge as soon as possible to keep it fresh and keep it safe to eat later.
If you don’t plan to use it within a few days, you can freeze stuffing for up to two months. It actually freezes pretty well if your stuffing isn’t too wet.
How Long Can Stuffing Sit Out?
According to the USDA, either boxed or homemade, cooked stuffing can sit out for up to two hours at room temperature and only up to 1 hour if the room temperature is above 90°F.
When your stuffing has sat out beyond those time frames and temperatures, it is no longer safe to consume and must be tossed out.
It doesn’t matter if your stuffing was made with meat or only vegetables. The time frames are the same. Once the temperature drops after cooking, spoilage bacteria multiply quickly and can cause food poisoning.
It should not be eaten if you left your stuffing sitting out overnight or for several hours. Bacteria can double their numbers in as little as 20 minutes, so you can see how quickly they can get out of control.
Depending on how moist or dry your stuffing is will also affect the internal temperature of your stuffing as it sits.
While it may not change the time that you need to pack up your leftovers, including turkey, it’s best to keep it covered after serving to keep it warm for second helpings.
How Long Is Stuffing Good For In The Fridge
Stuffing is good for up to four days in the fridge, but best if used the following day.
There are many things that can spoil stuffing as it sits in the fridge, such as other odors or lack of humidity, causing it to dry out, so it’s important to put it in an airtight container.
It’s best to store stuffing separately from other leftovers, but if you have to store it in the same container, consider wrapping the stuffing in plastic wrap before placing it inside.
When stored against other leftovers without protection, the moisture and flavors from other leftovers can cause your stuffing to take on a new taste and texture. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but just not even half as good as the day it was made.
After a day or two, if you still have any stuffing left in the fridge, you should check for signs of spoilage. Any indications that something isn’t quite right are cause enough to throw it all out. Don’t take a chance.
And then, when it’s time to reheat your stuffing, you should always heat it to a minimum internal temp of 165°F. That should help knock down enough bacteria to make it safe to consume as long as you’re using it within the first few days when it was made and stored correctly.
Unfortunately, once spoilage bacteria rise to dangerous levels, no amount of heat can make it safe to eat.
How Long Can You Keep Uncooked Stuffing In The Fridge?
You should never keep uncooked stuffing in the fridge. Doing so gives the bad bacteria, which are already everywhere, a better chance to thrive because refrigeration doesn’t stop them from multiplying, it only slows them down.
Boxed stuffing that is still in the box should be kept in the pantry and not in the fridge. Moisture from inside the fridge can ruin the box and possibly the contents, depending on how it’s packaged. And you probably don’t have much space anyway.
Frozen stuffing that is bought frozen should remain frozen until you’re ready to use it. Follow the directions on the tube or bag. Once thawed, it should not be stored in the refrigerator.
The takeaway is don’t mix stuffing ahead of time and don’t buy uncooked premixed stuffing to help avoid getting you or your guests sick.
The only exception might be if you’re buying a fresh turkey from the grocery store that has been stuffed the same day and refrigerated.
But, it takes away part of the fun of holiday preparations and will probably be low-quality stuffing.
Why take a chance with premixed stuffing? Make your own stuffing! It will give you the peace of mind of knowing exactly how it was handled and what has gone into it.