Stuffing and Dressing Cooking Tips

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Stuffing and Dressing Recipes and Tips. © 2014 Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images, licensed to, Inc.

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.

Think Outside the Box

Expand your horizons and think beyond simply bread as a stuffing. Rice, barley, fruit, nuts, bulgur, couscous, vegetables, and seafood all make excellent candidates as a stuffing base.

Stuffing / Dressing Cooking Tips and Hints

Here are some cooking tips and hints for making stuffings and dressings the best they can be:

  • For stuffings using bread, do not use fresh bread. Cut bread into cubes and dry in the oven at a low temperature (275 F) until dry, about 15 minutes.
  • 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.
  • If you are using bread without drying it out, reduce the liquid in the stuffing recipe or you'll end up with mush.
  • 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 sautéed 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 sauté pork or pork sausage first until no pink remains, cool slightly, and then add to your mix.
  • 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 the stuffing chart below.
  • Excess stuffing can be placed in a greased baking dish and put into the oven about 1 hour before the rest of the meal is done. In fact, many prefer stuffing cooked outside of the bird.
  • 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.

Stuffing Calculation Chart

This chart will help you determine how much stuffing or dressing to use for chicken, turkey, and other poultry. 

Quantity of Stuffing

Size of Bird to Stuff

Number of Servings

1 pint3 to 4 pounds2 to 3
1 1/2 pints5 to 6 pounds4 to 5
1 quart6 to 8 pounds6
1 1/2 quarts8 to 10 pounds8
2 quarts10 to 12 pounds10
3 quarts12 to 15 pounds12 to 14
4 quarts
(1 gallon)
15 to 20 pounds18 to 20