How to Make Bread Stuffing (or Dressing) for Turkey
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Fully illustrated, easy directions
Stuffing (aka "dressing") is tradition at Thanksgiving and Christmas along
side the turkey! Here's an easy way to make the best stuffing you've had! Fully
illustrated, step-by-step recipe and directions you can print out and put on the
counter while you make it!
Ingredients and Equipment
- 3/4 cup butter or margarine
- 2 large celery stalks, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
- 9 cups soft bread cubes (about 15 slices) Slightly dried out works best.
If you leave the bread spread out on a tray or cutting board overnight, that
dries it out just right. Or warm the oven, turn it off and put the
bread in there for 30 minutes.
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt (I like Himalayan Pink salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Turkey broth or chicken broth (2 cups)
Optional: My guests rave when I make the stuffing with these three added,
in addition to the above:
- Diced, peeled, cored apples (2 large or 3 medium)
- 1 cup raisons
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts. I prefer pecans)
- Sauce pot
- 1 turkey sized oven bag
- Large bowl (biggest mixing bowl you have)
- Spatula to mix and stir
- Food processor or knives to chop
Step 1 - Chop the onion and celery
Carefully wash the celery (sand and gritty dirt sticks to the inside
of the stalks). Then dice the celery finely (I used a food processor or
chopper). You should use the leaves, as well as the stalks. Peel and
chop the onion.
2 - Cook the celery and onion
Melt the butter in medium pot (say, 4-quart). Add the chopped
celery and onion and cook over medium heat until they are tender, about 10
minutes, stirring occasionally. (you can chop the bread while it is
cooking). Then remove from the heat.
Step 3 - Dice the bread into 1/2 (1.25 cm) cubes.
I use a large serrated knife to take stacks of 5 or so slices of bread at a
time and slice them first one way, the rotate 90 degrees and cut the other
way to get cubes.
Step 4 - Dice the apples
Peel and core the apples, then gently slice or dice them into roughly 1/2
inch (1 cm) cubes) and add them to the bread crumbs
Step 5 - Mix the all the ingredients
Gently toss the celery/onion mixture, the bread cubes, spices and all remaining
ingredients (including the raisons, chopped
nuts and diced apples), using a spoon or large spatula, until it is evenly
Step 6 - Stuff da Bird? Or cook separately?
Most food experts (whether they are chef's, like Wolfgang Puck, or food
safety scientists) do NOT recommend stuffing the stuffing inside the turkey.
Safety is the primary reason - it is difficult to ensure that all parts of
the turkey and =stuffing reach at least 165 F to kill salmonella.
Taste and practically are also factors. The meat will tend to be
overcooked, if the stuffing is cooked to 165 F in the center. And an
unstuffed turkey takes much less time to cook!
So, I recommend baking the
stuffing separately, and I have a simple, foolproof, no-cleanup method for
you! All it lakes is a large casserole pan or rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2
inches or so; and a large oven cooking bag. I use a turkey cooking bag like
the one shown at right.
Simply put the stuffing into the bag (set the bag
in the baking dish), add the 2 cups of turkey broth (or chicken broth) and
close the bag. I don't tie the end super-tight, that allows pressure
7 - Cooking the stuffing
Place stuffing in the bag in the baking dish in the oven and bake at 350 degrees F
for about 90 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 165 F to 175 F in the
8 - You're done!
When you get to at least 165 F in the center, it's done.
Now, on to the fat-free, but super-tasty gravy!