Save your oven space and try this easy Slow Cooker Stuffing recipe! It tastes delicious and doesn’t require a lot of effort, especially on your busiest day. There is no need to wait until Thanksgiving in order to have your favorite stuffing anymore!
Slow Cooker Stuffing for the Win!
Friends, family, colleagues, readers, and followers… I am OVER THE MOON with this stuffing recipe! I don’t say that often so please excuse me while I pat myself on the back 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 crock pot stuffing blew me away, as it did to everyone who tried it! It is sure to be the highlight of your next Thanksgiving dinner.
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED:
- Bread: Approximately 10-12 cups dry 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
1. Dry out the bread.
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.
There are several ways to ‘stale’ the bread. I personally tear it apart and let it air dry in a large roasting pan, but an aluminum pan, large bowl or baking sheet will also work. I place the bread on top of the fridge, out of the way.
If you don’t have time, you can bake it at a very low temperature (170°F) for 30 minute intervals, shaking and repeating until the bread has fully dried out.
2. Cook sausage, sauté vegetables and add berries/nuts.
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 family’s preference.
3. Add bread mixture to slow cooker.
The bread cubes, spices, eggs and chicken stock combine in the slow cooker. I recommend you spray it with cooking spray first so the bread doesn’t stick and burn. Add the broth in increments otherwise the bread will absorb it all and become quite mushy. 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.
4. Cover and cook.
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 the crockpot, etc. 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 of 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 classic Thanksgiving side dish 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:
Easy Slow Cooker Stuffing Recipe
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!
I am hosting Thanksgiving this year and a few “in laws” are squawking about the dangers of stuffing a bird even though my mom has done it for over 40 years and no one has died yet. Anywhoo, to keep peace I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it the other night (Halloween night to be exact) as a trial run. It was beyond my expectations. I never write reviews but this is one of those recipes that you just can’t ‘try’ on Thanksgiving. There’s too much at stake. So I wanted to encourage anyone who is looking for a great stuffing recipe that isn’t stuffed … this is IT !!!!!!! It’s easy and cheap enough to try any time of year with a chicken recipe and you can add more or less to your liking. Debi, this was a game changer and saved SO many fights in our house! Thank you!!!!!
Hi Tammy – your comment makes me laugh. I am a traditional bird stuffed myself but I always have more stuffing than fits in the bird so now I do both! I use the same recipe to stuff and I put the rest in the slow cooker that afternoon. It’s always the first thing to go!
How many people will this recipe serve? Another recipe you had included apples. Would that be a good addition?
Helen this makes quite a bit of stuffing, I’m not sure of the total amount of servings. I add 1-2 diced apples in my stuffing all the time. Thanks for your question 🙂
I am hosting Thanksgiving this year and there is never enough stuffing so I made this over the weekend just to make sure it was good and i CANNOT WAIT to serve it.