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Dressing vs. Stuffing: What's the difference & best recipes

What you call the bread-based side dish is more than a regional thing.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Dressing versus stuffing. Really, what is the difference? You may call it what you call it because that is what you heard all your life, but that really isn't the difference. 

Food & Wine magazine wrote about this. For the most part, stuffing is a mixture that is designed to be stuffed into another food item, mostly poultry while dressing is cooked in a pan outside the turkey cavity. 

Now, what the mixture is made of is another discussion. For some, it includes breadcrumbs or cornbread. While others add in sausage, oysters, or rice. 

If you have questions about whether it is safe to cook your turkey with the stuffing inside it (versus just putting the stuffing into the cavity afterward for presentation) the Butterball hotline can help. 

2WTK texted the hotline at 844-877-3456 to ask if stuffing the bird to then cook it was ok. The answer: Yes, it is safe to cook the stuffing in the bird, but it will take longer. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer to know for sure the turkey is done. Turkey is done when the inner thigh registers 180 degrees, the breast 165-170 degrees and the center of the stuffing registers 165 degrees.

You can also call the Butterball turkey talk line at 1-800-BUTTERBALL.


Nikki Miller-Ka's Andouille Sausage & Oyster Dressing

(Recipe in the link above) Ingredients list:

  • 1 ½ lb andouille sausage, diced
  • 1 stick salted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 1 (8-inch-square) yellow cornbread
  • 6 cups sliced and diced white or wheat bread, toasted
  • 1 cup white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 2 3.75 oz tins of smoked oysters
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce, preferably Crystal
  • ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Neese's Sausage Dressing

What you will need:

  • 1 lb. Neese's Extra Sage Sausage
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 can condensed mushroom soup
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cans chicken broth + 1 can of water
  • 2 (8oz.) packages herb seasoned stuffing mix
  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning

 Brown sausage in a frying pan, stirring to crumble; drain.  Return sausage to the frying pan and add celery and onion, sautee over low heat until vegetables are crisp-tender.  Add soup and bring to a boil.  Reduce to low and add stuffing mix and remaining ingredients to the frying pan.  Stir well.  Lightly stuff 2 cups of dressing into the cavity of the turkey.  Spoon the remaining dressing into a 12 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  If baking all dressing and not stuffing the bird, increase the size of the baking dish.  Yield: about 9 cups.  

The Pioneer Woman's Dressing

 (Directions in the main heading link) Ingredients list:

  • 1 loaf cornbread (see my skillet cornbread recipe)
  • 1 loaf Italian bread, such as ciabatta
  • 1 loaf French bread
  • 1 whole large onion or 2 medium onions, diced
  • 5 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
  • 6 c. low-sodium chicken broth, more if needed for moisture
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground thyme
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper

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