Your freeze-ahead Christmas

  • Food
  • 21.12.21
Words Waitrose 21/12/21

Start preparing the trimmings now to make things easier on Christmas morning – and lazy days afterwards.


Freezing your roasties ahead not only cuts down Christmas lunch prep, some say it makes them extra-crunchy, too. Parboil your peeled potatoes for 5 minutes, drain and leave to cool. Spread out on a baking tray and freeze until solid, then tip into freezer bags for easy storage. On the day, roast them in hot oil straight from frozen.


Most stuffing recipes can be made ahead and frozen for up to three months. As a general guide, it’s best to shape uncooked stuffing into balls, open-freeze on a tray and then transfer to a freezer bag. You can bake from frozen, adding 10 minutes to the cooking time. Alternatively, freeze in a small oven dish, defrost overnight and pop straight in the oven in the day. Always make sure stuffing is piping hot throughout before serving.


Make your gravy ahead of time with fresh chicken stock, then cool and freeze for up to a month. Defrost and reheat until simmering – you can add the juices from your turkey just before serving for extra flavour. 


This essential festive condiment is a prime contender for making ahead and freezing. When your sauce is cooled, spoon it into a freezer bag, seal and flatten before freezing. On the day, defrost and heat until piping hot.

The freezer is definitely the cook’s best friend at Christmas – it saves any last-minute stress on the day.”

Spend an afternoon baking mince pies, then enjoy them warm from the oven on Christmas Day. Bake, cool and freeze, then defrost and warm them up when you’re ready. Alternatively, freeze them before baking. Open-freeze them in their baking trays, then tip the frozen pies out and store in freezer bags for up to three months. When you fancy a mince pie, take out as many as you need, put them back into their trays and bake as per the recipe, allowing an extra 10 minutes to defrost.


We all love a festive cheeseboard, but always end up with loads left over. You can grate or crumble any leftover cheese and freeze in tubs – houmous pots are perfect – and take out a couple at a time to keep in the fridge. It also means no hard cheese goes to waste because someone failed to wrap it properly, and you can quickly make a toastie or mac and cheese without having to get the grater out (or wash it up).


Make up a batch of cookie dough, shape into walnut-sized balls, then freeze on a tray lined with baking parchment. When frozen, transfer them to a plastic food bag. They bake really well from frozen and feels like a holiday treat for the kids to have a freshly baked cookie with their hot chocolate.

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