Stuffing? Dressing? I’m not sure what you call it, but I call it seriously delicious traditional sourdough stuffing. Technically stuffing is stuffed inside a turkey and dressing is served up in a casserole dish, but I grew up calling it stuffing and so here it is. Rich, savory sourdough stuffing. A loaf of sourdough bread makes the perfect stuffing because it’s soft on the inside and crispy/chewy on the outside. This gives the stuffing a delicious texture that will keep you coming back for more.
Important Ingredients in Traditional Sourdough Stuffing
Sourdough Artisan Bread: I use a loaf of bread from my favorite sourdough artisan bread recipe. The loaf needs to be dried out over the course of a few days (depending on the humidity) or baked until dry.
Sweet Onion: Sweet onion gives a delicious flavor to this traditional stuffing. You could substitute a yellow or white onion if desired.
Celery: Celery balances the flavors in this stuffing and gives good texture to the stuffing.
Butter: This recipe calls for butter. Quite a lot of butter. The butter is what makes this stuffing so rich and delicious. You can reduce the butter to 1/2-3/4 cup if you prefer.
Garlic: I love using fresh garlic in this recipe, but a teaspoon or garlic powder is a good substitute.
Fresh Herbs: I love the fresh herbs in this recipe. It makes the flavors pop. You can also substitute for dried herbs (about a teaspoon of each) if desired.
Poultry Seasoning: I love the combination of spices in poultry seasoning and it helps add flavor to the overall dish.
Chicken Stock: Chicken stock adds more flavor than broth, but broth can also be substituted. You can also substitute a few bouillon cubes mixed in water.
The Bread in Traditional Sourdough Stuffing
The star of the show in this stuffing is really the sourdough bread. A sourdough artisan loaf is the perfect bread for this traditional sourdough stuffing. It’s soft and tender on the inside and crusty and chewy on the outside. When the bread is re-hydrated with chicken stock and baked in the oven, it takes on the most delicious texture. Not at all mushy, just delicious soft bites of bread with some chewy pieces thrown in. I think a good loaf of sourdough artisan bread is the key to this recipe being a success.
Drying Out the Bread
One of the key steps to this recipe is drying out the bread. There are two methods you can use to do this. Both methods start with tearing the loaf into small bread crumbs. This is a great activity. to get kids and other family members helping out in the kitchen. I like to slice the bread into pieces and then tear them up into small bite-sized pieces.
- Air Drying: Prepare the bread crumbs a few days before you know you will need them. Layer the chunks of bread on a baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel. Let air dry until completely hard and dry. Store in an airtight container until ready to use. These can store for a couple days at room temperature.
- Baking: Bake the cubes of bread in the oven on your lowest setting, about 170-200 degrees F for about 45 minutes to an hour until cubes are completely dry. Let cool completely before using in the stuffing. If you want to prepare the bread cubes ahead of time, store in an airtight container for a few days until ready to use.
Mixing Up the Traditional Sourdough Stuffing
Over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add diced onion, diced celery, minced garlic, chopped rosemary, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Sautee for about 10 minutes until onions and celery are softened. Turn the heat off and remove the skillet from the heat. Add the dried bread cubes and toss with the butter/vegetable mixture. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and fresh herbs on top of the bread and mix together. The bread should be moistened but not overly soft. If you want a softer stuffing, add another 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chicken broth.
Baking the Stuffing
Pour the stuffing into the buttered baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. After 35 minutes remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve warm. Enjoy!
Some Thanksgiving Tips
Make Ahead: This stuffing can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 2 days. To bake remove from the refrigerator and bake according to the recipe directions. Add a few minutes of additional bake time to account for it being cold in the fridge. Add a little extra broth if desired.
Scale it Down: This recipe can easily be scaled down to an 8 by 8 baking dish. Just half the recipe ingredients if you’re feeding a smaller group.
Cooking in a Turkey: Traditionally stuffing is cooked inside the cavity of a turkey. We never do this and choose to serve stuffing on the side. Does that make this dressing? I suppose it depends. on the region you are from. If you choose to stuff a turkey with this, make sure it’s room temperature and stuff the turkey right before sticking the turkey in the oven. Make sure the stuffing registers 165 degrees F before serving it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does this stuffing fall apart or stick together?
This stuffing is somewhere in between. With the large crusty chunks and soft middle, it’s texturally delicious but doesn’t quite stick together like mushy stuffing. If you want it to stick together more, add an egg to the chicken broth and whisk it until combined. Pour over the stuffing and bake.
How do I store leftover stuffing?
We keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week and reheat. This stuffing also freezes well for up to. a couple months.
Eggs in the stuffing?
This stuffing does not have any eggs in it. Some stuffing recipes do and it can help the stuffing stick together more if desired (think bread pudding). If you want a stuffing that clings together more, add an egg to the chicken broth and whisk together.
I don’t have chicken stock. Can I use broth or bouillon cubes instead?
Yes. I find chicken stock has the most rich flavor, but you can substitute for broth or bouillon cubes mixed in water if that works better for you.
Can I add other flavors to this stuffing recipe?
Yes! This is delicious with some chopped apples, nuts, sausage or anything else that you’d love the flavor of.
Traditional Sourdough Stuffing
- 1 loaf sourdough artisan bread see recipe notes
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 medium sweet onions diced, about 2 cups
- 4 stalks celery diced, about 1 1/2 cups
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 2 Tablespoons rosemary roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 cups chicken stock vegetable stock can be substituted
- 2 Tablespoons fresh sage chopped (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsely chopped (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter reserved for greasing the pan
Preparing the Bread
- Drying the Bread: A few days before making the stuffing, slice a loaf of sourdough artisan bread into pieces. Tear the bread, making sure to have a good assortment of middle of the bread and crusts. Layer the chunks of bread on a baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel. Let air dry until completely hard and dry. Store in an airtight container for a few days until ready to use.
- Alternative Option: Bake the cubes of bread in the oven on your lowest setting, about 170-200 degrees F for about 45 minutes to an hour until cubes are completely dry. Let cool completely before using in the stuffing. If you want to prepare the bread cubes ahead of time, store in an airtight container for a few days until ready to use.
Traditional Sourdough Stuffing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 by 13 pan and set aside.
- Place a large skillet over medium-low heat. Melt the butter. Add diced onion, diced celery, minced garlic, chopped rosemary, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until onions and celery are softened.
- Take the skillet off the heat and add the dried, sourdough bread cubes to the skillet. Toss the bread with the onion/celery mixture. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and fresh herbs on top of the bread and mix together. The bread should be moistened but not soft. If you want a softer stuffing, add another 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chicken broth.
- Pour the stuffing into the buttered baking dish. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. After 35 minutes remove the aluminium foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve warm. Enjoy!