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Thanksgiving Stuffing in the Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Stuffing for Thanksgiving (or anytime!) | NourishingJoy.com

Stuffing might just be my absolutely favorite part of the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

The problem, however, is that even when you plan well, the oven tends to be needed for several dishes right before serving, stuffing being one of them.

So, considering that stuffing is really just a glorified bread pudding, why not move it to the slow cooker? We make bread pudding regularly in our slow cooker, and stuffing works beautifully!

And as an added bonus, if you are responsible for bringing the stuffing to this year’s gathering, just pack the prepped ingredients and your slow cooker and you’re golden. 🙂

This recipe is based both on the stove-top stuffing recipe in my book, The DIY Pantry, and the shortcut version I mentioned in our Sunday Morning Bread Pudding article. You’re certainly welcome to add other favorite stuffing items, such as cranberries, apples, or sausage, if those are ingredients you love – it’s versatile.

In fact, you can use any stuffing recipe you’d like – grain-free, gluten-free, an old family favorite, whatever you like! Just follow the cooking instructions below (and make sure any meats, such as sausage, are pre-cooked).

I hope you swoon as much as I do each time I scoop lovely, savory stuffing onto my plate, giving great thanks for the deep blessings in my life, which certainly includes the opportunity to feast with those whom I love dearly!

A very happy Thanksgiving to you all!

 

Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Stuffing
serves 6-8
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Ingredients
  1. 6-8 cups dried bread cubes, any variety, including grain-free varieties (from 1 pound of bread)
  2. 4 tablespoons butter
  3. 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  4. 1 onion, finely chopped
  5. 1 teaspoon dried sage, or 3-4 fresh leaves finely minced
  6. 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or the leaves from 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  7. 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh or dried rosemary leaves
  8. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  9. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock
Instructions
  1. If your bread is not yet stale, chop it into cubes and dry it in a 300°F oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring once. I prefer to leave the cubes out on the counter for a day or two to dry, if possible.
  2. Place dry bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside. Liberally butter the inside of your slow cooker insert and keep at the ready.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat until melted and the foaming has subsided, then add the celery and onion and sauté until translucent. (If using sausage, crumble and cook the sausage first and use the sausage drippings to saute the celery and onion.) Add the herbs and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the sauteed celery, onions, and herbs to the bread cubes, along with the salt, pepper, and 1 1/2 cups of the chicken stock. Toss well, adding more stock if the cubes are still very dry, then pour into the prepared slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
  5. When ready to serve, scoop stuffing into a serving bowl and top with additional herbs or fresh parsley, if desired.
  6. Alternatively, if you have a large slow cooker and would like to avoid any stuffing sticking or burning on the sides (slow cookers vary widely in their temperature settings), find a heatproof bowl that fits inside your slow cooker. Butter that bowl and pour the stuffing mix into it. Place the bowl in the slow cooker and add just enough water to the slow cooker around the bowl (NOT inside the bowl!) to come halfway up the sides of the bowl. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours.
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Comments

  1. says

    Hi there! This seems like a great way to make stuffing for Thanksgiving! Could you please clarify the amount of bread cubes to use? The recipe says “6-8 dried bread cubes,” Is that 6-8 cups? Thank you!

    • Kresha Faber says

      Yes, sorry! That is cups! Somehow that got deleted – I’m adding it back in now…

      Please let us know how the recipe worked for you! I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does. 🙂

    • Kresha Faber says

      I would either do the low setting and just turn it off after five hours or so (assuming you’re nearby) OR if a heat-proof bowl fits inside your slow cooker, follow the “alternative” directions above for cooking the stuffing in a bowl, in which case you can use either the high or the low setting, as the stuffing can sit for long periods of time without burning.

      And if neither of those options work, I would choose the low setting and just take it off the heat as soon as you can after it’s finished cooking.

      I hope that helps!

  2. Mary says

    Do you know if the slow cooker needs to be a certain size for this? I have a smaller one (3L) and I think all the ingredients will fit, but do you think I need to leave room for it to expand or anything?
    Thanks!

    • Kresha Faber says

      Yes, there may be some expansion, but depending on your type of bread, how dry it is, etc, it may vary. The most I’ve ever had a batch expand was about 20%, so not huge, but definitely need some wiggle room.

      I would say a general rule of thumb would be that no matter what the size of your slow cooker, to leave at least 2 inches at the top to allow for growth.

      I hope that helps!

    • Kresha Faber says

      Yes, it definitely can be made the day before! 🙂

      However, one caution: If you refrigerate it IN the slow cooker insert (the bowl part of the slow cooker that the food sits in), I would let it sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before turning on the heat on the slow cooker, just to make sure the slow cooker insert doesn’t crack by going from a very cold refrigerator to heating up quickly. Most inserts should be fine, but that would be a very frustrating problem to deal with in the midst of Thanksgiving preparations!

  3. Amanda West says

    Hi! I’m making this Saturday for a Christmas party and I just want to make sure I’m all prepared. All I have is the large oblong shaped slow cooker. That’s too big, right? Do you use like a small circular one? You may have already specified this somewhere and I’m sorry if you did already. Thanks for any tips regarding this recipe.

    • Kresha Faber says

      I use a big oblong one and that’s what I used when I wrote the directions! If you’re worried about it burning on the edges, see if you can turn it into a double boiler by putting the stuffing in a heat-proof bowl, putting water in the slow cooker insert, and then placing the bowl in the slow cooker to steam cook the stuffing that way. (It’s described better above.) So, you should be all good to go! 🙂 Have fun at your party!

  4. Amanda West says

    I actually really liked the slightly charred and crispy edges of the bread! Thanks for getting back to me in time. It really helped having a major side dish ready without having to do anything for it while cooking the rest of the meal.

  5. Lacey says

    This recipe looks amazing! I’m hosting my first holiday this weekend (Canadian thanksgiving) and want to give this a try! There are no eggs in this recipe right? Just making sure I’m not missing anything!

    • Kresha Faber says

      Yay! I hope it is a beautiful feast with much time for lingering with family and friends. 🙂

      And yes, you are correct – there are no eggs in this recipe. However, this method will work with any stuffing recipe, so if you have another (even if it uses eggs), feel free to use it!

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Jackie says

    Making this right now! It looks good. I’ve always made crockpot stuffing and this recipe is nice and easy and you can add any extras you like.

    • Kresha Faber says

      Yes, it can absolutely be doubled. Just be sure that the mixture doesn’t come up more than three-quarters when you fill your slow cooker, as the stuffing will expand as it cooks! 🙂 (This will be true of nearly any stuffing, no matter what recipe you use.)

      And yes, it will need extra cooking time, which will vary according to the total volume of stuffing and the size and dimensions of your slow cooker. I would plan on adding at least 1-2 hours to the cook time and maybe even stirring it once halfway through cooking, scraping the sides to minimize the amount that sticks to the sides.

      The stuffing will be finished when it is piping hot in the middle, which – if you have a thermometer – should be above 165F.

      I hope that helps! Happy Thanksgiving!

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