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Stuffing or Dressing for Thanksgiving?

Stuffing or Dressing for Thanksgiving?

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – With every Thanksgiving meal comes the age old question, “Do you eat stuffing or dressing?”.  Depending on where you live, one of these dishes may be more popular than the other. Do you know what the difference is between these dishes?

Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing

Some might be confuse as to what the difference is because they are essentially the same ingredients. Both dishes contain a large amount of carbohydrates because of the amount of the bread or cornbread found in them. When it comes down to it, the main differences between these dishes are the methods of cooking and the areas in which they are eaten.

Stuffing is the bread component baked inside the turkey. That is why it is called stuffing. Dressing, however, is cooked by itself in a separate dish with or without meat inside. A cornbread base is more commonly found in the southern United States.

“The major difference between the two dishes is that stuffing is more popular in the North, dressing is more common in the South,” said Darlene Minniefield, an Alabama Extension agent in Human Nutrition, Diet and Health.

Add Vegetables for a More Balanced Meal

To make either dish healthier, cooks can add vegetables to their recipe. Adding chopped bell peppers, corn, carrots or even celery can add variety and a new flavor to the dressing or stuffing. The combination of turkey or ham and stuffing or dressing with added vegetables results in a well-balanced meal.

The best part about dressing or stuffing is that you have a one-deal meal when it comes to nutritional value. You can find your protein in the meat and carbohydrates in the dressing or stuffing. Vegetables bring in an added source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Corn Bread Dressing


4 cups crumbled corn bread

2 cups dry bread crumbs

1 cup skim milk

3 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups defatted chicken stock

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup chopped celery

Medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning or sage

Vegetable cooking spray


Mix together corn bread, bread crumbs and stock until well blended. In a medium bowl, beat eggs slightly; add milk, salt and pepper. Add to bread mixture. Then, add celery, poultry seasoning and onion. Stir until well blended. Add more broth if the mixture seems dry. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray. Pour mixture into pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes.

Makes 16 servings (1/2 cup per serving).

Dry Bread Stuffing


3 cups fine dry bread crumbs

6 tablespoons melted reduced calorie margarine

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons onion juice

1 1/2 teaspoons parsley flakes

Vegetable cooking spray


Put bread crumbs in a shallow pan, place in a slow oven (250 degrees F), and brown them. Combine margarine, salt, pepper, cayenne, onion juice and parsley. Add bread crumbs and stir until thoroughly mixed. Use for stuffing the bird. Or, add enough broth to moisten dressing and bake in baking pan coated with cooking spray at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes.

Makes six servings (1/2 cup per serving).

These recipes come from The Auburn Cookbook, a publication of Alabama Extension.


About Ashton Wilkes