The BEST Dressing to Stuff your Turkey!!!

Delicious, Moist Thanksgiving Stuffing

Thanksgiving has to be my favorite holiday of the year…well, maybe it’s a tie with Christmas.  Anyhow, the reason I love it so much is not only do I get to spend time with friends and family but I also have a chance to give back via old-fashioned, made from scratch food that is comforting and delicious.  My Thanksgiving cooking schedule is pretty intense!  It takes me TWO days to put everything together and yes, it can be a little overwhelming but it is oh so worth it when I see the looks of satisfaction when my guests take their first bites!

My thanksgiving fares come from several family members.  The main course, the turkey and dressing, comes from a family recipe that has been passed down generations.  It is simple and easy but you have to use proper cooking time management to prepare it successfully.  Make sure you are ready to put some time into this!!!  This recipe feeds a big crowd, so if you need to divide the recipe for a smaller one, it is easy enough to do!

Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe

thanksgiving_stuffingCornbread (recipe below)
Baking Powder Biscuits (recipe below)
2 Heads of Celery
8 Medium Onions (Yellow)
4 Sprigs of Rosemary
4 Sprigs of Thyme
2 bundles of fresh Sage
Ground Sage
3 Large boxes of Chicken Stock
Drippings from your Turkey
3 Large Eggs


6 Boxes of Jiffy Cornbread Mix (follow directions on box, you will need 1 egg and milk for each box of mix you use)

Baking Powder Biscuits:

thanksgiving_2013_24 cups of Flour
2 Tablespoons of Baking Powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of shortening
1 1/2 cup of Milk

Mix all biscuit ingredients together and stir until thoroughly combined.  You do not have to roll these out, just make them as “drop biscuits” and bake them in the oven at 450 degrees until lightly browned.

Once these are finished, get a REALLY large bowl or pan and crumble the cornbread and biscuits.  The pieces can be as big or small as your prefer however I would recommend no pieces bigger than a quarter.  Cover bowl with a paper towel.  Do not seal it because you want the air to reach the breading and dry it out.

Also, you can chop your onions and celery the night before to cut down on prep time the day off.  I put in equal amounts of celery and onions.  It usually ends of being 2 heads of celery and however many onions it takes to equal the same amount of celery, about 6-8 depending on size.  I chop them up small, so it does take time!  Store in an air tight container or zip lock back overnight.

thanksgiving_2013*TIP* – If you are an onion crier, turn on the water faucet and cut your onions next to the running water.  It draws the fumes away from your eyes.

The next morning!

Now…if you are one of the lucky cooks with a double oven in your home, this process can be quite easy however, if you are like me and you have one lone oven, timing is of the utmost importance!  You need to wake your happy self out of bed EARLY on Thanksgiving morning.  Whatever time you have planned to serve your Thanksgiving feast, you need AT LEAST 8 hours before of prep/cook time.  I AM NOT JOKING!  Give yourself PLENTY of time so you do not have undercooked turkey or dressing.

OK…so I will go to great extremes to retrieve drippings from my Turkey to mix into my stuffing.  Which means, I cook the Turkey halfway first thing in the morning to get my drippings/broth, I remove it from the oven,  let it cool, transfer my turkey from roasting pan to a platter and place it in the fridge for save keeping until I am ready to finish cooking it with my stuffing.  Plus, cooking your turkey halfway before you stuff it is the best way to ensure it cooks all the way through once the turkey is stuffed with this delicious dressing!

*Tip – If you do not have a lot of liquid dripping from your turkey, as it cooks pour a little chicken stock over and inside your turkey.  It will soak up the turkey flavor and mix in with the actual turkey drippings so you have plenty of turkey tasting liquid to mix into your stuffing.

Next, combine your breading with your onions and celery in the roasting pan that you were cooking your turkey in (remove the rack).  Finely chop your fresh sage.  You do not want any big pieces because it can taste quite bitter if you bite into a big chunk of it.  Mix sage in well with your breading/veggies.

Beat your 3 eggs and gently fold them into your breading.  Do not over mix or  your stuffing will come out of the oven with the consistency of a loaf….not good!

You will realize that it is not “wet” enough and this is where the extra chicken stock comes to play.  I usually end up pouring in about 1-2 boxes of chicken stock, it just depends on how much liquid you were able to extract from your Turkey.  Again, you do not want to stir it too much because it will become too dense however make sure the liquid is evenly distributed.  You want it to be wet, sort of like a fully cooked bread pudding consistency.  I hope this makes sense to you!  If not, contact me and I can explain further!

After you have combined all ingredients add salt and pepper to taste.  Yes, you will need to taste your uncooked dressing to ensure you have enough rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and pepper.  If you feel you need more sage taste, sprinkle in a little of the ground sage.

*Tip –  Sage flavor enhances as it cooks.  When tasting uncooked dressing, you should feel like it needs a little more sage and it is probably perfect.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and cook in oven at 375 degrees for 1.5 hours.

Remove from oven, get your turkey from the fridge and get to stuffing!!  Once your turkey is stuffed to the max, place your roasting rack over the dressing and put your turkey back in the oven.

I fully cover my turkey with foil until the last hour of cooking so the dressing does not dry out.  Once I remove the foil, I baste my turkey with butter so that way there isn’t liquid to water down the stuffing and the skin is nice and crispy brown.  I do not want to go into how to cook a turkey this year, so here is a great link with several options… HOW TO COOK A THANKSGIVING TURKEY!

THANKSGIVING_2011You know your turkey and dressing is ready to come out of the oven when the turkey is fully cooked and your dressing is lightly browned on the top.  I remove the rack from the roasting pan, place my turkey directly on top of the stuffing in the pan and carve my turkey so that the juices flow down over the delicious stuffing!  I am getting hungry typing this!

Top your turkey and dressing with giblet gravy!  Try Paula Deen’s recipe here: Giblet Gravy

Enjoy and have a great holiday with your loved ones!


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