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Turkey Stuffing Recipes

Is It Stuffing or Dressing?

Some people say if it is made inside of the bird it is stuffing and outside of the bird is dressing. So what about Stove Top Stuffing?

Others say it is stuffing if it is made from white bread and dressing if made from cornbread.

Others say dressing is just a nicer word. But when you search for dressing you mostly find salads.



No matter what we call it, for many of us it is second in importance only to the turkey for our holiday turkey dinner.

Making a dinner for a large group of people takes a lot of time.

And, there are stuffing products in boxes and bags that make stuffing preparation convenient, quick, and easy and the results are very good.

They provide the dried flavored cut up bread. Using these products will not diminish your holiday meal in the least. And by using your own stir-ins you are truly making it your own.

Dressing or Stuffing in a bowl

Should you cook the dressing inside of the turkey?

We want to talk you out of cooking stuffing inside of the turkey.

First lets look at the advantages to cooking the dressing in the bird.

  • It is traditional and it looks good.
  • It helps to flavor the turkey with its aromatics
  • It captures flavor from the turkey juices

This sounds great, so why not do it?



Disadvantages to Stuffing a Turkey.

  • It can be unsafe. It gives dangerous organisms too much time at perfect growing conditions.
  • It dries out the turkey.  To get the stuffing to a safe temperature (165 degrees F or 74 degrees celsius) the breast meat heats well beyond that temperature and that dries out the breast meat.
  • The stuffing picks up flavors you might not want. If your turkey is wet brined, dry brined, or labeled basted, self basting, enhanced, or kosher it has salt that will be expelled during the cooking process. So your stuffing will not only pick up turkey juices but will pick up fat and salt water.
  • As far as aromatics are concerned if all of the space inside of the turkey isn't taken up with stuffing, you can add the herbs, spices, and aromatics that will make a difference to the turkey flavor.

But, what about tradition and presentation?

If it matters enough it is easy to spoon some very good safely cooked stuffing into a very good not overcooked turkey. Both products will be better than if they were made together.

So what about the turkey flavor that comes from the turkey drippings?

They can be incorporated into the stuffing with turkey stock where it is added in place of chicken stock or water.

And, the turkey gravy imparts the turkey flavor into the stuffing.  

You can often find turkey stock in stores around the holidays, and if you have made a turkey or part of a turkey it is easy to make your own turkey stock to freeze and use in your turkey stuffing for this occasion. But, if you don’t have a turkey stock, a good low sodium boxed or canned or better yet a homemade chicken stock will work fine.

Quick and Easy Stuffing Recipe

Among the easiest turkey stuffing recipes is the use packaged stuffing with some additions of your own.

Follow the directions on the package

Add flavors and stir-ins (There are suggestions on the package or check our list below).

Pepperidge Farm Stuffing is among our favorites for a packaged stuffing. Just follow the package directions. Where the directions call for “broth or water”, use broth unless you don't have any..  If you have homemade broth, use that. And, don’t forget the “stir-ins” either the ones recommended on the box or bag or your own.

If you are looking for a Cornbread Dressing Recipe Click Here


Turkey Stuffing From Scratch

Do you have time and space to make turkey stuffing recipes from scratch? The big difference between from scratch stuffing and packaged stuffing is the bread. Most of the flavors and stir-ins that you add can, and probably should, be added to packaged stuffing mix as well.

By using good quality homemade or store bought bread you can cut out preservatives, but the trade off is time and space. If you decide to use bread you will need to cut it into half inch cubes and dry it out by putting it out at least the night before you are planning to use it. Place the cubed bread on sheet pans or on towels. It could take two to three days before it is perfectly ready depending on the bread that you are using. You can cut this drying process from days to minutes by placing the bread in the oven at 225 degrees F.(107 degrees celsius) for 20 to 40 minutes.  This will also dry out the bread so that it will absorb the liquid that will be added.

The best turkey stuffing recipes depend on taste and tradition. If you have always had cornbread stuffing, chestnut stuffing might not seem right. Our family has at least two and sometimes more stuffings, just because people have different preferences.

Here is a recipes for stuffing using your own bread crumbs, but check our list of “flavors that go” below for your added flavors and stir-ins.  Just choose the ingredients that you prefer and make it your very own best turkey stuffing ever.

Traditional Recipe

Serves 10 - 12
  • ¼ lb. butter
    3 medium onions, diced
    1 ½ cups diced celery
    1 ½ lbs. of dried bread crumbs  (about 12 cups)
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    ½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
    2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
    2 ½ cups turkey stock, chicken stock, or water
    2 fresh eggs
    ½ cup parsley

Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the onions, and celery. Cook over medium heat until tender 7 to 8 minutes.

Mix these cooked vegetables into the bread crumbs. Add the turkey or chicken stock and the remaining ingredients.  Mix well and spoon into a greased casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. (177 degrees celsius). Bake it covered for more moist stuffing, uncovered for a more crispy stuffing.

Flavors That Go and Stir-Ins to Add to Turkey Stuffing Recipes

This is a list of some common additions to stuffing. If you have your own favorite that we have missed please let us know by clicking here.

Fresh Fruit - such as apples and pears, bell pepper.. (If adding fresh fruit saute until softened then stir into the stuffing).

Dry fruit like apricots, raisins, cranberries, apples, figs, cherries.





Nuts and seeds: for the above recipe you can add about ½ cup. Consider almonds, walnuts, chestnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds.

Meat and Fish: Sausage {casing removed}, bacon, shredded chicken or turkey,giblets, oysters.

Spices included in many traditional turkey stuffing recipes: marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper.

For a Cornbread Dressing Recipe: Click Here.

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Copyright © 2009 - 2019 The Perfect Turkey
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