Stuffing and Dressing Cooking Tips and Hints

Kitchen Tip of the Day

stuffing (1)

Whether your family calls it stuffing or dressing, most likely the first thing that comes to mind is Thanksgiving. However, stuffing is not just for holidays and not just for poultry. Many varieties of seafood and vegetables are also prime candidates for stuffing.

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Expand your horizons and think beyond simply bread as a stuffing. Rice, barley, fruit, nuts, bulgur, couscous, vegetables, and seafood make excellent candidates as a stuffing base. Here are some cooking tips and hints for making stuffings and dressings:

  • For stuffings using bread, do not use fresh bread. Cut bread into cubes and dry in the oven at a low temperature (275 degrees F.) until dry, about 15 minutes. The same advice goes for making your own cornbread stuffing. If you are using old bread without drying it out, reduce the liquid in the stuffing recipe or you’ll end up with mush.
  • Bread end pieces are great to save for making stuffing, and don’t limit yourself to plain white bread. All types of bread are suitable, restricted only by your own particular tastes.
  • Any variety of rice also makes an excellent stuffing, but the rice needs to be cooked first. Vegetables such as onion, garlic, celery, and mushrooms can be lightly sauteed before adding to the mixture.
  • Stuffing should be prepared just before using, not in advance.
  • Toss stuffing mix gently so that it doesn’t compact. Spoon the mix in lightly; never push it down. Stuffing will expand during cooking, which could rupture the bird, fish or roast being stuffed.
  • Never use raw pork in a stuffing recipe. Be sure to saute pork first until no pink remains, cool slightly, and then add to your mix.
  • Rich, flavorful stuffings are best paired with foods that have a more mild flavor. Wild game and more flavorful meats, fish, or vegetables should be stuffed with a mild stuffing.
  • Sage is a time-honored spice for most poultry stuffings, but feel free to experiment.
  • For a very moist poultry breast, push stuffing between the skin and the breast meat and roast as usual.


How much stuffing do you need? Plan on 1/2 to 3/4 cup serving of stuffing per person. For amounts needed to stuff chickens or turkeys, refer to this Stuffing Chart.

Quantity of Stuffing Size of Bird to Stuff Number of Servings
1 pint 3-4 pounds 2-3
1-1/2 pints 5-6 pounds 4-5
1 quart 6-8 pounds 6
1-1/2 quarts 8-10 pounds 8
2 quarts 10-12 pounds 10
3 quarts 12-15 pounds 12-14
4 quarts
(1 gallon)
15-20 pounds 18-20

Excess stuffing can be placed in a greased baking dish and put into the oven about an hour before the rest of the meal is done. In fact, many prefer stuffing cooked separately from poultry.

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