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.
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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).
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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!
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- 6-8 cups dried bread cubes, any variety, including grain-free varieties (from 1 pound of bread)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried sage, or 3-4 fresh leaves finely minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme, or the leaves from 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh or dried rosemary leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, turkey stock, or water
- 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 OR leave the cubes out on the counter for a day or two to dry, turning occasionally.
- When ready to cook, generously butter the inside of your slow cooker insert and keep at the ready. (Alternatively - and I *highly* recommend this - line the slow cooker with 2-3 overlapping pieces of parchment paper. I love this eco-friendly parchment paper and have used it for years. It makes clean-up SO so so much easier!)
- Melt butter over medium heat and reserve.
- Place dry bread cubes, celery, onion, herbs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. If you're customizing the recipe, add all other ingredients at this time. (Safety note: if you're adding ingredients such as sausage or bacon, be sure they are precooked before adding to the mixture.)
- Pour over the melted butter and toss briefly, then drizzle over 1 1/2 cups of stock and toss again. At this point, the cubes should feel moist and slightly soft but not wet. If they still feel dry, add more stock as needed, tossing well after each addition.
- Scrape into the prepared slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 3-5 hours.
- When ready to serve, scoop stuffing into a serving bowl and top with additional herbs or fresh parsley, if desired.
- As another cooking option if you have a large slow cooker, 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.