I’ve never dared share a recipe for stuffing yet because it’s one of those things that’s just, well, not very pretty. So what do you do? Toss in a carrot for color and sprinkle on the fresh herbs :). It’s still not pretty but it tastes amazing so who cares?
This has been more go to stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving the last few years and it’s likely going to stay my go to stuffing recipe for many years to come! I always hated stuffing growing up but that’s because we always had the boxed stuff. Once I tried it made from scratch I was hooked! I love all the fresh, real flavor it has when its homemade. This stuffing is packed with fresh herbs, it’s made from freshly dried bread cubes (I listed store-bought bread cubes as an option just in case you don’t have time to make your own) and has just the right amount of butter and veggies.
On Thanksgiving we all know how little oven space is available so it always helps to either be able to make some of it ahead of time or in the slow cooker, which is why I started making stuffing in the slow cooker. Plus, I love the way the slow cooker cooks the stuffing. You get a soft, moist center and deliciously crisp edges. I like to leave stuffing pretty basic but you can definitely add in some mushrooms with this (if doing so add in along with the garlic), or you could add in a pound of cooked sausage when tossing it all together. For this recipe I highly recommend drying your own bread cubes. Today I did a side by side comparison of the version I dried myself (which is that pictured here) and then one using the store-bought bread cubes. The homemade held up much better and just had a better flavor – so I say a day or two before Thanksgiving dry your own and they’ll be ready to use Thanksgiving day. It’s worth the extra effort.
I hope this recipe becomes a staple for your families Thanksgiving dinner too! It’s just one of those timeless classics so we all need a good recipe that will make Mom and Grandma proud.
Slow Cooker Stuffing
Yield: About 10 servings
- 2 lbs hearty white sandwich bread , diced into pieces between 1/2 and 3/4-inch thick, or 15 cups store-bought dried unseasoned bread cubes
- 2 - 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth , as needed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp salt , or to taste
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper , or to taste
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter , diced into 1 Tbsp pieces
- 2 cups chopped yellow onion
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrot (dice small)
- 1 large clove garlic , minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley , plus more for garnish
- 2 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage (or 2 1/2 tsp dried)
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh marjoram (or 1 tsp dried)
- 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp dried, crushed)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees (if using store-bought dried bread skip the drying in oven step). Spread bread cubes evenly onto 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven on alternating oven racks, until bread cubes are dried, while rotating baking sheets and also removing from oven and tossing bread cubes occasionally, about 45 - 55 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool (I recommend doing this step a day or two before and storing cooled bread cubes in a gallon size resealable bags).
In a bowl mix together 2 cups of the chicken broth with the eggs, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper until well blended. Pour dried bread cubes (I had 17 cups, but this will vary based on density of bread used. I listed to use less store-bought because the cubes are smaller) in a very large mixing bowl.
Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and saute until soft, about 8 - 12 minutes, adding in garlic during last minute of sauteing. Pour onion mixture, along with parsley, sage, thyme and marjoram over bread cubes in mixing bowl and immediately toss. Then evenly drizzle chicken broth mixture over top and immediately toss to evenly coat. Add in more broth just as needed to moisten bread (you don't want it soaked or it will end up soggy, the bread should hold it shape and doesn't need to be entirely moistened all the way through, I used about 2 1/2 cups).
Spray a 6-quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray then pour bread cube mixture into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat 30 minutes then reduce heat to low and cook 3 1/2 - 5 hours longer. Sprinkle top with more fresh parsley (about 1 Tbsp) and serve warm.