Some people turn into “Stuffing Police” on Thanksgiving Day. They expect the same stuffing every single year.
Normally, these stuffing police also require that the stuffing be actually stuffed in a turkey.
I don’t love this. For one, it almost always leads to an overcooked bird. By the time you heat up the bird and the stuffing to a safe temperature, some parts of the bird are completely toast.
So a few years ago I started moving to a stuffing version that’s cooked outside of the bird in a normal baking dish. I found this stuffing to actually be a lot more flavorful – and my turkey turned out better because I wasn’t worried about the bird/stuffing combo.
Of course, the problem then becomes oven space. With rolls, pies, casseroles, and a huge bird all needing their oven time, it can sometimes be hard to squeeze in the stuffing.
Enter crockpot stuffing
This is honestly the best stuffing recipe I’ve ever eaten. Sometimes I just bake it in a few large casserole dishes, but it works perfectly in the crockpot also.
To start this recipe, cube up your bread and lay it out on a few baking sheets. I recommend using a mix of white and wheat bread, but you can use anything really.
Toast the bread at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the pieces are lightly toasted. Give them a stir halfway through just to make sure everything is cooking evenly.
Meanwhile, add your sausage to a large skillet and get it nice and browned over medium-high heat. Once it’s cooked (about 10 minutes) then go ahead and add in your onions and celery.
Cook this for a few minutes until your veggies get soft and then add all your fresh herbs. The mix of rosemary, thyme, and sage completely make this stuffing and it’ll make your whole house smell like the holidays as soon as they hit the pan.
One reason I love this recipe is that it has a fair amount of fruit in it, which gives the final stuffing a slightly sweet flavor that goes great with all the other savory going on.
Apples and some dried fruit is pretty much all you need.
Once you have all of these pieces chopped and cooked, add everything to your crockpot bowl. I recommend adding the bread and pork mixture first and making sure you get every last dripping from the pork pan.
Then stir in the fruit and chopped parsley.
When it comes to the stock, you can use either turkey or chicken stock. You need a fair amount of stock to get the stuffing moist because the bread will absorb a lot of it.
You’ll probably need about 4 cups of stock, but I would start with 3 and see what your stuffing looks like after that. You want it to be moist, but not completely soggy. There shouldn’t be any puddles of moisture at the bottom.
Don’t forget to drizzle some melted butter over the top of the whole stuffing.
Once you get everything together, crank your crockpot up to HIGH heat and cook the stuffing for 30 minutes. Partially cover the stuffing so some of the moisture can cook off.
Then turn your heat down to LOW and continue to cook the stuffing for about 4 hours. If you start it in the morning, it’ll be ready just in time for dinner.
Pile it high and deep on a plate and you’ll be in for some of the best stuffing you’ve had.
I’ve converted at least three Thanksgiving feasts from the traditional stuffing to this variety. Once you try it, you’ll never go back!Nick thinks that it called stuffing because it stuffs
you not because you stuff
it. Check out his blog, Macheesmo, for two weeks of Thanksgiving recipes. Also, follow him on his Tablespoon profile!