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Sourdough Stuffing is fluffy and moist with lots of crispy edges. Made with sourdough bread, sausage, vegetables and aromatics, it's herbaceous, richly flavorful and the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving and Christmas tables.
Baked separately from the bird, this sourdough stuffing recipe is similar to a traditional dressing. But if you prefer a more traditional stuffing, you can bake it inside the bird instead. Either way it's a dish that's sure to keep your dinner guests coming back for more.
Ingredients You Need to Make Sourdough Stuffing
- Sourdough Bread: white sourdough or whole wheat sourdough
- Olive Oil: good quality, extra-virgin olive oil
- Pork Breakfast Sausage: or Italian sausage (hot or mild)
- Button Mushrooms: feel free to use your favorite type of mushroom or a combination
- Leeks: substitute green onions if leeks aren't available
- Celery: use the tender, crunchy inner ribs from the celery heart
- Fresh Sage: or rubbed sage
- Fresh Thyme: or dried thyme
- Chicken Broth: or turkey stock
- Butter: salted or unsalted butter
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Sourdough Bread vs. Regular Bread
Sourdough bread is an excellent choice for stuffing because of its signature tangy flavor and pleasantly chewy texture. It differs from regular bread because of how it's leavened. Regular bread is leavened with packaged yeast / commercial yeast.
Sourdough bread, on the other hand, is leavened with wild yeasts and Lactobacillus bacteria, which is a type of probiotic ("good" bacteria) found naturally in flour. Together with water, several days at room temperature, and several "feedings" these ingredients form a sourdough starter that, when combined with the final dough mix, results in a more complex, flavorful dough.
Day Old Bread or Fresh Bread
Making this holiday stuffing is a great way to use up stale sourdough bread (store bought or homemade sourdough bread) that has started to lose some of its moisture. However, a fresh batch of sourdough also works well. Either way you'll need to dry it out before incorporating it into the recipe.
Dry your bread first, here's why.
Drying the sourdough bread before assembling the stuffing helps prevent sogginess, particularly if you are preparing this recipe in advance. It's a simple, but crucial step that takes less than 30 minutes in your oven. (See specific directions in the post below and in the recipe card.)
The best way to dry your sourdough bread is in the oven. Cut the crust from your loaf, then tear the bread into bite-size pieces. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake in an oven preheated to 300˚F until very dry and lightly toasted, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow dried bread to cool before assembling stuffing.
Stuffing should be moist, but not wet or soupy before baking. Keep in mind that the vegetables will release some of their moisture as the stuffing bakes, and you can always add more liquid if needed.
As the name suggests, stuffing refers to a mixture that is used to fill the cavity of another food before cooking, often referring to poultry like turkey or chicken. This method helps to retain moisture of both the bird and the stuffing while enhancing the flavors of both.
Dressing recipes use similar ingredients to stuffing, but are prepared outside of the poultry, in a separate baking dish. With this method, you can achieve crispy edges and a fluffier, less dense dish which some prefer.
Note: When using this recipe to stuff poultry, the internal temperature of the stuffing must reach 165°F on an instant-read thermometer before it is ready to serve.
Make Ahead Option
You can prepare this homemade stuffing recipe, up to the point of baking, up to 2 days in advance. Plan to bake it the same day you'll serve it to avoid any dryness that can come with reheating. However, if you've already baked your stuffing, it can still be delicious when reheated properly.
How to Reheat Stuffing
Remove stuffing from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes, to help it reheat evenly. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Cover stuffing with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until just heated through. Remove the foil and bake 10-15 minutes more to recreate that crispy top that comes with freshly baked stuffing.
More Holiday Sides
How to Make Sourdough Stuffing
Toast torn bread pieces in an oven preheated to 300˚F until dry and lightly toasted.
Brown sausage in a skillet over medium heat; remove from pan. In the remaining fat, cook mushrooms, leeks and celery, seasoned with salt and pepper. Stir in sage and thyme. Season to taste with more salt and pepper and remove from heat.
In a large bowl, gently combine dried bread with sausage juice, mushroom mixture and broth. Spread into a buttered baking dish, drizzle with melted butter and bake until hot and golden brown.
- 1 pound loaf sourdough bread crust removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ pound pork breakfast sausage
- 8 ounces button mushrooms coarsely chopped
- 2 large leeks trimmed, halved and thinly sliced (~3 cups)
- 3 ribs celery diced small
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1 ½ teaspoons rubbed sage
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups chicken broth or turkey stock, or more
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- Preheat oven to 300˚F.
- Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish (3-quart) and set aside.
- Spread torn bread pieces in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until very dry and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and let cool. Increase oven temperature to 375˚F.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage; cook and stir, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned and just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a clean bowl, leaving the fat in the pan. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper to pan; cook and stir until mushrooms are tender and their juices have mostly evaporated, 7 to 8 minutes. Add leeks and celery; cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in sage and thyme; check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
- Add sausage with accumulated juices and mushroom mixture to toasted sourdough in bowl; drizzle chicken broth over and gently toss to combine. (recipe note #2)
- Transfer bread mixture to prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer; drizzle evenly with melted butter. (recipe note #2) Bake uncovered until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve.
- If you prefer very moist stuffing, add 1 to 1 ½ cups more broth, but not so much that the mixture looks soupy.
- At this point you can tightly cover and freeze if desired for up to 1 month and bake from frozen, making sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165˚F before serving. You can also refrigerate after cooking for 3 to 4 days and reheat or freeze for up to 1 month. To reheat refrigerated stuffing, remove from refrigerator and let stand 30 minutes at room temperature. Reheat in a 350˚F oven, covered with foil for the first 25 to 30 minutes, and then uncovered until hot all the way through with crispy edges, 10 to 15 minutes more.