Dressing or Stuffing? What is your choice?

Dressing or Stuffing?  What’s the difference?  It seems there a ton of different opinions about this.  Some think  ‘stuffing’ isn’t stuffing unless it is cooked in the bird.  There was a time that I did stuff the bird, both ends of the bird!   *I stopped doing that quite a few years ago and we will discuss why in a little bit.   Let’s get back to the topic at hand.

  • There is Cubed Stuffing which are little cubes of seasoned dried bread, a little bit like croutons.  Which I believe is ‘stuffing’ even it is not stuffed in the turkey.
  • Then there is ‘Dressing’ which is course dried bread crumbs.  Very much like cubed stuffing but a very different texture.
  • Of course there is cornbread stuffing, of which I know little about but did call in a expert for the perfect recipe.

I have a couple of confessions. First, I don’t know the first thing about cornbread stuffing.  Fortunately, my friend Tina over at Touch of Modern Hospitality has the perfect recipe for ‘Southern Charm Cornbread Stuffing’.  After seeing Tina’s pictures of her cornbread stuffing, No Baking Papa now wants me to make it this year – in addition to our ‘regular’ stuffing.

Talk about a Carb Fest!  (Well, it is Thanksgiving!)

'Southern Charm Cornbread Stuffing' recipe and photo courtesy of Tina S of Inside My Bipolar Kitchen

‘Southern Charm Cornbread Stuffing’ recipe and photo courtesy of Tina S of Inside My Bipolar Kitchen

Now for my second confession.  My family really likes ‘Mrs. Cubbison’s’ cubed stuffing. (I know, I am hanging my head in shame.)   One look at the label is proof that this box stuffing contains several ingredients that we have cut out of our diet.  High Fructose Corn Syrup and Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil along with Calcium Propionate (a preservative).   Sorry, Mrs. Cubbison & other packaged stuffing mixes, you won’t be making an appearance on our table this year.

That said, I was on the hunt to make ‘Real’ cubed stuffing.  Marianne’s personal recipe for “Tip’s Turkey Dressing”  seemed like it would fit the bill perfectly.

These ingredients where exactly what I was looking for.

  • 3/4 of a 1 1/2-lb loaf white bread, cubed and dried
  • sausage links  cooked & chopped
  • Granny Smith apple, grated or minced
  • celery, finely diced
  • onion, chopped
  • dried parsley
  • ground sage
  • rubbed sage leaves
  • dried thyme
  • dried oregano
  • celery salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • broth to moisten

Marianne had said that the bread that they used to make this with is no longer available. While at Trader Joe’s I found some white bread that seemed as if would work well.  This isn’t the airy Wonder Bread. (Do they make that any more?)  This bread has some body to it but it isn’t as heavy as the whole grain breads I make.

Bread for Tip's Turkey Dressing

Bread for Tip’s Turkey Dressing

I used about 3/4 of the loaf, cut into cubes and dried the bread cubes in a 170° oven, next time I will probably toast them a little more at a little higher heat.   I also sprinkled the cubes of bread with a little poultry seasoning and ground thyme.  I cut back on the amount of seasoning added to the actual dressing.  Over all, this bread worked very well and the dressing was a real hit with very few changes.  Because I was cooking this as a side dish for only 30 minutes in the oven, rather than for hours in the turkey,  I sauteed the onions, celery and apples with a stick of butter.   I did have to use more broth, about 2 cups total.  You just have to eyeball the amount of broth, it depends on how dry the bread cubes are and how moist you like your stuffing.

Tip's Turkey Dressing

Tip’s Turkey Dressing

Thanks for a wonderful recipe, Marianne!  This is officially, ‘No Baking Papa’ approved and will be making an appearance on the Thanksgiving table for years to come.

Turkey Herb Dressing / Stuffing  – Here is my version of Marianne’s recipe, made in a covered casserole dish.

Check out Marianne and Tina’s  personal recipes.  You won’t be sorry!

Tip’s Turkey Dressing
Southern Charm Cornbread Dressing

* So now you are asking why I no longer cook the stuffing in the Turkey? For food safety reasons the internal temperature of the stuffing must be 160.  To get the stuffing that hot the turkey will overcook and dry out.  With a little extra broth, stuffing cooked covered with foil will be as good as the ‘real’ deal!

About Baking Nana

Each morning my granddaughter Sarah calls to ask, "Watcha doing, Nana? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my "name" Baking Nana. I am a mother to three wonderful children and a grandmother to 12 very hungry grandkids. I don't bake fancy cakes but I do make wonderful yeast bread and home cooked meals made with love.


Dressing or Stuffing? What is your choice? — 18 Comments

  1. Also wondering about using Al Fresco’s chicken apple maple sausage, diced and browned, instead of breakfast links? I just don’t care for sausage – but, tried the Al Fresco for Deb C’s recipe – and REALLY like it! Do you think that would work? Or just skip the sausage?

  2. Good morning, and Happy [~gulp~ ;)] Thanksgiving! I actually prepped a box of Mrs Cubbison’s last night. [I grew up with “stuffing” in the bird, and “dressing” on the side. But, usually, out of habit, just call it all “stuffing (=] I had never “made” stuffing before last Thanksgiving. But, my friend was not in AZ with me. She makes the boxed with onions, celery and dried cranberries. So that is what I made for babyxray last year. Except I made it into muffins (= We liked the stuffin’ muffins so much that I made leftover Thanksgiving stuffin’ muffins, too – adding diced turkey and frosting them with mashed potatoes. Yum! After reading your post, I feel like I could handle making Tip’s Stuffing – wait! – Dressing. Maybe next year – or maybe for leftovers (= Last night, I couldn’t find my muffin tin, so I made stuffing balls. We’ll see . . . The only problem with the muffings, is that my favorite part of Thanksgiving is the stuffing sandwich at midnight. Yep – give me bread with my bread (=

  3. I always wondered the difference between Stuffing and dressing? Makes sense. “Stuff the Bird”. I will never give up stuffing the bird! It’s just too good. Neither has my Mother. She is 84. Now if she hasn’t had food poisoning after all these years, and neither have I at 52, I ain’t going to worry about it. Now, I always have both. Stuffing in the turkey, the extra (there is ALWAYS extra) in a side dish. So my guests can decide. Oyster cornbread is my favorite, my Mom’s recipe. To us, it just isn’t Thanksgiving without stuffing, and/or dressing!! Thanks BK, love the site, LOVE the picture!

    • Hi Peggy. For me it isn’t just about the food safety issues, it really is about the length of time it takes to cook a stuffed turkey. Although someone suggested that they make a cheesecloth stuffing bag and remove the stuffing early and finish it in the oven. That sounds like a good solution. I agree though, stuffing in the bird is just something special!

  4. Great blog BN, in my house only dh and I eat stuffing, my 2 boys don’t. Dh loves his stuffing with very little poultry seasoning and just for him I cook it in the crockpot. I make stuffing almost every Sunday so it isn’t a once a year dish in my house. Thanks for sharing the recipes. I might have to try the cornbread recipe just to see if dh would like something different, knowing him he won’t lol!

    • Hi Denise. I like the crockpot idea. I didn’t grow up with cornbread of any kind, in fact I have a funny story regarding cornbread muffins that my father tried to make – subject for another blog. The thing I like best about stuffing is that it is easy customize. My family are all creatures of habit. They aren’t big on change or new things. They loved Marianne’s stuffing though! Score!

  5. BN: I’m not sure if I use the appropriate name, but Stuffing is my very favorite part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal!

    I believe some of these foods are regional items. I once had what I believe to be Dressing. The person that was responsible for that particular dish raved about how popular it was. Well, I think maybe I was born too far North and too far West to truly appreciate it.

    • LOL, Bikerfamily! I understand…. I really do! Call it Stuffing or Dressing, it doesn’t matter! We should name this dish by region! There are so many kinds! My family would just like to call it GOOD! (no oysters allowed!)

  6. I had to wipe my chin when I saw those delicious pictures! I love oyster dressing, but I’m the only one. The kids are all about Stove Top (why?). Very well done. I don’t measure ANYTHING when I make dressing, LOL!! But who doesn’t like dressing???

    • Hi Carla! Nobody here will eat oyster dressing / stuffing. There are very few things that we all agree on – one thing is for sure – everyone LOVES dressing. I think turkey is really just the ‘dressing’ for the stuffing!

  7. Great blog on Stuffing Baking Nana! Er, um I mean Dressing! Oh, I’m so confused. What I like about either is their versatility. I don’t think we’ve ever had it the same, ever! Dressing with oysters, dressing with sausage, dressing with apples and cranberries, dressing made with cornbread… And one year Orange made it with roasted and chopped peanuts. To this day it is my favorite. Today I was talking to Lisa, number 3 daughter, about the Thanksgiving Menu and she said, “Mama, our favorite dressing is Stove Top. Can we please have that?” So, you can imagine why I chuckled when you mentioned Mrs. Cubbison’s above. No doubt I’ll make Stove Top for her and Dad will make ??? Dressing. Maybe I’ll call one dressing and the other stuffing. Either way, we’ll happily eat it along with our Turkey.

    • Oh Candice, Stuffing with roasted peanuts? NB Papa would HIGHLY approve!
      My daughter in law does not like onion or celery in anything, for her I make a batch of apple/sausage stuffing. Then my son (her husband) decided that he wanted the best of both worlds with dried cranberries too!
      The variations keep expanding, including Stove Top for some! Soon it will be 5 varieties of stuffing with a little turkey on the side!

  8. OMG! I’m so honored to have had you make this dish! My family will be so impressed! As a matter of fact, I went to TJs today to buy a turkey and some bread—like the one above. Thank you for immortalizing my father-in-law! He would have been proud of your results! And I know my family will!

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