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What could be better than a super easy, moist, and flavorful slow cooker stuffing for the big Thanksgiving meal? But what exact ingredients go into the stuffing is a big debate.
There are so many different flavors, spices, bread choices, and various additions that can be added to this classic dish. And this recipe keeps it simple with herbal flavors including sage, rosemary,
The best part of the entire recipe: to make it easier and free up oven space, this is all cooked in the slow cooker!
What is stuffing as compared to dressing?
Anymore, the terms dressing and stuff are used interchangeably. Both are composed of a bread mixed with meat drippings, stock, and herbs to create a Thanksgiving side dish.
- Stuffing is prepared and then stuffed (literally) into a turkey cavity. After this, it’s cooked when the turkey goes in the oven.
- Dressing is cooked separately independent of the turkey. Cooking anything in the cavity of the turkey is tricky and a food safety concern.
Call this recipe stuffing or dressing. Either way, it’s made in a slow cooker and is delicious, which is all that matters.
How is Thanksgiving dressing made?
What I truly love about this stuffing recipe is that, with a small amount of prep, everything gets thrown into the slow cooker and can be entirely forgotten about! But there are a few things to remember:
- The bread needs to be completely dried in the oven. Leaving it out at room temperature to dry only dries the outer edges and never gets all the way to the center. If not properly dried, the bread will not absorb the liquid as well.
- Herbs are what give flavor to the dressing. Note: if using dried herbs, use only half the amount of the fresh herbs listed.
- The correct ratio of liquid to bread is crucial. Slowly adding the liquid to the dried bread and stirring often makes sure all of the bread is evenly receiving the liquid.
- Adding one egg to the liquid helps the dressing have a good texture.
- Chestnuts are a classic ingredient and give a subtle, soft, nutty flavor. If you don’t want to use chestnuts, add toasted pecans or dried cranberries at the end of cooking.
Watch how to make this slow cooker stuffing
Easy Slow Cooker Stuffing
- 10 cups bread (about 1 loaf) torn into irregular pieces
- 1 qt turkey/chicken/vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp sage freshly minced (1 tbsp dry)
- 1 tbsp thyme freshly minced (½ tbsp dry)
- ½ tbsp rosemary freshly minced (2 tsp dry)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 ½ cups chopped onion
- 1 ½ cups chopped celery
- ½ cup butter
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 ½ cups roasted chestnuts cut in half (if large)
- Preheat oven to 225°F.
- Place torn bread on two large sheet pans and put them in the oven to dry. Let dry for approximately one hour, switching racks halfway through. Once cooled on the counter, the bread cubes should feel very dry and brittle.
- Over medium heat, melt butter in a large skillet. Add chopped onion and celery. Sauté over medium heat until onions are translucent and slightly tender, 6-8 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Place cooled bread in a large bowl and add minced herbs, cooled onion mixture, chestnuts, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and add the egg to the stock. Pour half of the stock over the bread. No liquid should be sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Let the bread soak up the liquid and add the remainder.
- Pour into a 6-quart slow cooker and set to low. The stuffing will take 5-6 hours and become slightly puffed and set around the edges.