Stuffing vs. Bread Dressing:What's the Difference?

7 Eastern European Stuffing and Dressing Recipes

So you think stuffing and dressing are one and the same? You're not alone. But in my book, what you call it is where you put it!

How You Use It

While the National Turkey Federation says the terms can be used interchangeably, many define the terms based on how the dish is prepared. When a combination of toasted or stale bread cubes mixed with sautéed veggies moistened with broth is put into another food item like meat, poultry, fish or other vegetables, it's generally considered stuffing....MORE When it's baked in a pan, many call it dressing.

It's a matter of semantics but one that has created some unexpected and disappointing results for members of my household. So I have set some rules -- if you want dressing baked in the bird or some other protein, say "stuffing." If a drier dressing baked in a pan is what you want, ask for "dressing."

Rules for Stuffing

There are some hard-and-fast rules to follow, however -- don't stuff the object of your heart's desire and then store it in the refrigerator overnight where bacteria will accumulate and send you to the emergency room quicker than you can say "stuffing."

Origin of the Terms Stuffing and Dressing

Some food historians believe the term "dressing" arose during the Victorian Age because the word "stuffing" didn't sound genteel enough. The Oxford English Dictionary defines "stuffing," which dates to 1538, by the way, as "forcemeat or other seasoned mixture used to fill the body of a fowl, a hollow in a joint of meat, etc., before cooking." While the Oxford English Dictionary definition for "dressing" is "the seasoning substance used in cooking; stuffing; the sauce, etc."

Here are some favorite Eastern European stuffing and dressing recipes.

  • 01 of 02
    Polish Crab-Stuffed Salmon Pinwheels or Zrazy Losos i Krab
    Polish Crab-Stuffed Salmon Pinwheels or Zrazy Losos i Krab. © Barbara Rolek licensed to, Inc.

    This recipe for Polish crab-stuffed salmon pinwheels is known as zrazy łosos i krab. The crab stuffing would be delicious with any fillet of fish.

  • 02 of 02
    Stuffed Kohlrabi
    Stuffed Kohlrabi. © Barbara Rolek licensed to, Inc.

    I use this ground meat stuffing recipe for vegetables like kohlrabi.