Don't Ignore This Temperature Rule For Thanksgiving Stuffing

One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the stuffing. It's savory, it's comforting, and it really ties the whole meal together. But if you're not careful, your stuffing can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, effectively putting a damper on your whole holiday.

Every year, thousands of people are sickened by food poisoning from E. coli, salmonella, and other bacteria. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not have specific statistics for Thanksgiving food poisoning, it does report that about 1 in 6 Americans (which equates to roughly 48 million people) get sick from foodborne illnesses each year. With Thanksgiving being such a food-centric holiday, it's important to take extra care when preparing your Thanksgiving feast and to avoid any risky cooking shortcuts.

If you're cooking it by putting it inside your turkey, stuffing can be especially prone to contamination. However, with the right cooking techniques, you can help minimize the risk.

Be proactive with your Thanksgiving food safety

It's important to make sure your stuffing is cooked to the right temperature before serving. You also need to be sure that you put the stuffing in the turkey just before cooking and avoid pre-stuffing your bird. TheĀ CDC recommends cooking stuffing to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any harmful bacteria.

To ensure the stuffing is safe to eat, use a food thermometer to check that its center has reached the correct temperature. If it hasn't, germs could still be alive in the stuffing, risking you and your guests getting food poisoning. Once your stuffed turkey is done cooking, wait 20 minutes after taking the bird out of the oven before pulling the stuffing out and plating it on a serving dish. This allows it to cook for a little bit longer and kills any potential remaining bacteria.

Being proactive about food safety on Thanksgiving will help ensure that you and your guests have a happy, healthy, and, of course, delicious holiday meal!