There is no need to wait until Thanksgiving (or to stuff a turkey) in order to have your favorite stuffing anymore! This slow cooker stuffing recipe does all the work for you. It tastes delicious and doesn’t require a lot of effort even on your busiest day.
Friends, family, colleagues, readers and followers…. I am OVER THE MOON with this recipe! I don’t say that often and I am going to gloat with all I’ve got because this recipe is worth it!
There is an ongoing debate in our house between stuffing that came out of the turkey or the crockpot. This says a lot, considering one is made with minimal effort in a slow cooker and the other is stuffed inside a turkey and roasted for hours.
I didn’t think it was possible to recreate the texture, feel, taste and smell of Thanksgiving stuffing without actually stuffing it into the actual bird. Well I was wrong.
This stuffing blew me away, as it did to everyone who tried it!
GATHER THE INGREDIENTS:
- Bread ~ Approximately 10-12 cups bread torn apart ( I used a combination of white and whole wheat)
- Meat ~ Sausage (if you can find sausage flavored with sage, grab it!)
- Binders ~ Eggs, butter and broth
- Veggies ~ Celery and onions
- Extras ~ Dried cranberries & pecans
- Aromatics ~ Garlic, parsley, poultry seasoning, rosemary, sage, thyme, salt & pepper
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST SLOW COOKER STUFFING
- Stuffing recipes require stale bread. Bread has moisture in it which gives it that nice chewy bite. However, for a stuffing recipe we want the opposite. If there is too much moisture in the bread the liquid that is added will make nothing but mush. So drying the bread out is a necessary step.
- You can either break the bread down in a large roasting pan, aluminum pan or baking sheet and let it air dry for a few days. I put mine on top of the fridge, out of the way. Or if you don’t have time, you can bake it at a very low temperature (170°F) for 30 minute intervals, taking it out and letting it cool down in between. Either way, we need the bread to be stale on the INSIDE not just the outside.
- Once the bread is stale and broken down into small breadcrumbs the next step is to cook the sausage and sauté the onions, celery and spices in some butter. The cranberries and pecans are added to the mix. You can choose to chop these ingredients very finely or coarsely depending on your families preference.
4. All of this gets added to the slow cooker with eggs and chicken stock. I will give you some warning ~ if you add ALL the chicken stock at one time you can end up with mush. In other words if you add too much liquid it will absorb it all and it won’t recover. Adding it a little at a time gives the bread time to plump up, dry out and reabsorb. You can always add MORE, you can never add LESS.
5. The overall cooking time will have many variables … the type of bread used, how dried out it is, how much liquid is used, the age/size of crockpot, etc. So my suggestion is to check on it every 30 minutes and give it a stir to see if more liquid is needed. Prepare for approximately 2-3 hours cooking time.
NOTE: If you like your stuffing a little on the crispy side, just take the lid off 30-45 minutes before it’s done and the outer edges should dry out a bit for a crispier bite.
Here is a little secret ~ in the event you are making this on Thanksgiving day, suck up some of the juice from the turkey with a baster and add that to the slow cooker with the broth. You will get the most incredible flavor that will make this stuffing taste like it just came out of the bird itself !
A lot of moisture is lost through the seal of slow cookers.
Placing a kitchen towel over the slow cooker as the stuffing is cooking will help keep the moisture in resulting in a moister stuffing.
CLICK TO VIEW A VIDEO ON HOW TO MAKE THIS STUFFING:
There is no need to wait until Thanksgiving or to stuff a turkey in order to have your favorite stuffing anymore! The condensation inside the slow cooker creates the perfect atmosphere for the moistest stuffing you’ve ever had!
6 Cups White Bread
5 Cups Whole Wheat Bread
8 oz. Sausage
6 Tablespoons Butter
3 Stalks Celery (approx. 1 ½ cups), diced
1 Medium Onion (approx. 1 cup), diced
½ Cup Dried Cranberries
½ Cup Chopped Pecans
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
1 teaspoon Poultry seasoning, rosemary, sage & thyme
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Eggs, beaten
2–3 Cups Chicken Broth
NOTE: The bread must be completely dried out and stale. Break the bread into bite sized pieces and place on a baking sheet to dry out. How long this will take will depend on the type of bread used. It is recommended to plan for at least 2 days. This can be expedited by placing the bread in the oven at 170°F for 30 minutes, remove to cool and repeat until the bread is completely dried out.
- Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium/high heat. This may require a teaspoon of oil to prevent burning or sticking. Try not to move the sausage until it begins to brown and caramelize, then break up into small bits. Remove the sausage from the skillet.
- Add the butter to the skillet. When melted, add the onions and celery and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat, stirring often. Add the spices and garlic. Stir.
- Return the sausage to the pan. Stir to combine all ingredients.
- Add the dried cranberries and pecans. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Add the mixture to the slow cooker along with the bread.
- Add the eggs. Stir to combine and add 1 – ½ cups of the chicken stock. The stuffing should be moist but not wet. If all the liquid is added at once the stuffing can become soggy. Cook on low for anywhere between 2 and 3 hours, checking every 30 minutes or so and adding chicken broth until most of it is used. This will depend on your stuffing and the type of bread used.
TIP: Place a kitchen towel over the crockpot. This will help keep the moisture inside. Taking the lid off the last 20-30 minutes will crisp up the top layer if desired.
MORE THANKSGIVING RECIPES!
If you’re looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration, then you’ll want to check these out:
- Pumpkin Cheesecake WITHOUT a water bath! What? We have a die hard cheesecake girl in the family and if she approves, well .. then it’s a winner!
- There’s a reason these beans are named Not Your Mama’s Green beans!
- Most sweet potato casseroles are so full of sugar that it’s more like a dessert than a side dish, but not ours!
Find even more Thanksgiving ideas here!