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Crockpot Stuffing

5 from 10 votes
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posted: 11/05/22

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Crockpot Stuffing frees up your oven while still giving you the best Thanksgiving stuffing recipe you could ask for. This is going to become a family favorite!

overhead photo of crockpot stuffing in a slow cooker

If I’m being honest, the only real Thanksgiving recipe that I ever need is stuffing. I typically, shamelessly, go back for thirds because I can’t resist. And I’m not alone in this. This stuffing recipe is requested by my family members and there is never any left.

This year, I decided to take my amazing Homemade Stuffing recipe and make it for you in the slow cooker for some Crockpot Stuffing. The beauty of this is that you can make it the night before and pop the base of the slow cooker right in the refrigerator. Additionally, it will free up oven space for all the other great sides you have going on once that bird is done.

Reader Review

This recipes is so delicious. I will be making this all during the year. Thanks for sharing your recipes.

How to Make Crockpot Stuffing

  1. Sauté vegetables in a large frying pan. We are going to throw an entire stick of butter (8 tablespoons) in a frying pan before adding in onions, celery, apples, and seasoning. (No wonder I like this so much.)
  2. Cook the sausage. In a separate skillet we are going to brown up a pound of Italian sausage. Cook until broken up and browned and then drain the grease.
  3. Coat the dry bread. Right in the base of your greased slow cooker, combine the bread with the eggs so that the bread is coated.
  4. Bring it all together. Now mix in the sautéed vegetables and meat. Make sure it is well combined. Finally pour chicken stock over all of the ingredients.
  5. Cook the stuffing on low for 4 to 5 hours.

Using Dry Bread for Stuffing

The key to any recipe that involves bread, eggs, and baking them together is to use dry bread. This allows the bread to fully soak up the egg and the other liquid in the dish making for a much better result.

There are a few ways you can make this happen:

  • Cut up your bread the night before you are making stuffing and leave it sit out on the counter.
  • After cutting the bread, place it on a baking sheet and bake it at 250 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until it has dried out, flipping it at least once during baking.

Do not worry about over drying your bread. I’ve made this with completely dry bread and it still turned out perfect.

Alternatively, you can make this dish the night before with fresh bread. The bread will have lots of time to soak up the flavors even if it isn’t dried out.

side view of a bowl of stuffing recipe

Stuffing vs. Dressing

In my house growing up, we always called this recipe stuffing, and thus I have named it so. That being said, you wouldn’t be the first person to tell me this is actually dressing, as stuffing is something you stuff in a turkey. More on that below.

Making Stuffing in the Crockpot vs. The Turkey

While it is possible to cook your stuffing inside of the turkey safely, for optimal safety, I recommend cooking your stuffing separate from the turkey in a casserole dish or a slow cooker. There are just so many steps in stuffing a turkey where things can go wrong. I always opt for erring on the side of food safety.

In addition to food safety issues, adding stuffing to a turkey can really impact cooking time. A turkey that is stuffed full will take a lot longer to cook and the center of it might be rare when the outside is over done. You can see my perfect roast turkey recipe here and it comes with a detailed video explaining how to make it.

The bottom line is that no matter how you decide to cook your stuffing, it should reach a temperature of 165 degrees before you serve it. I highly recommend investing in an instant read thermometer for this recipe and so many others on Simple Joy.

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side view of a crockpot with a slow cooker stuffing recipe

Cooking Time

You will notice that this recipe calls for four to five hours on low. Please keep in mind that all slow cookers vary. Four to five hours on low should work with your slow cooker. If you double the recipe or cut it in half, the cooking time will change and you should test the recipe before the big day. Additionally, some slow cookers run very hot, and your stuffing might be done before four to five hours is up.

What Slow Cooker to Use

I made this stuffing in a 6 quart slow cooker. You can see the exact model below. I love it so much that I actually own three. As you can see from the photos, it fills this slow cooker up about half way. In theory you can double this recipe, but I definitely suggest you test it before hand so you know exactly how long it will take to cook in your slow cooker.

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FAQ

Can stuffing be made the night before?

Absolutely! I love making this recipe the night before. Follow the recipe through step 5, and then put it in your refrigerator. It is very important that the recipe be kept at 40 degrees or below until you are ready to cook it.

When is stuffing done?

Stuffing is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Why do you add cheese to your stuffing?

Because cheese makes everything better. Truthfully, this recipe was inspired by an article I read a million years ago in a magazine that gave dozens of different ideas for stuffing. This is what sprang from that, and I fell in love, vowing never to change it.

How can I make gluten free stuffing?

This recipe can easily be made gluten free by swapping the bread out for gluten free bread. I suspect that if you are already eating gluten free, you have a favorite brand. If you are making this for a gluten free guest, ask them!

As with every other recipe, make sure that all of your other ingredients (look especially at prepackaged sausage) doesn’t sneak in any gluten.

Can I make this diabetic friendly?

Unfortunately, no. While there are many recipes that have great ideas for swapping to low carb, stuffing really isn’t stuffing without the bread (in my extremely humble opinion).

Can I make this stuffing recipe vegan?

You bet! Swap the butter for vegan butter, leave out the cheese (consider adding a dash more salt), swap the chicken stock for vegetable broth, and swap the sausage for vegan Italian sausage crumbles. (Morning Star sells it in the freezer section by the bag.)

overhead of a bowl of homemade stuffing

Other Amazing Thanksgiving Side Dishes

If you make this sausage stuffing or any of my other recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

overhead photo of crockpot stuffing in a slow cooker
5 from 10 votes

Crockpot Stuffing

Serves: 10 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 30 minutes
Crockpot Stuffing frees up your oven while still giving you the best Thanksgiving stuffing recipe you could ask for. This is going to become a family favorite!

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 4 celery stalks diced
  • 2 small apples peeled and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 cups dried French bread cubes (read about drying bread for stuffing here)

Instructions

  • Spray a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onions, celery, and apples to the butter and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the celery and onion are translucent, about five minutes. Mix in sage and thyme. Remove from the heat.
    8 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 medium yellow onion, 4 celery stalks, 2 small apples, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • In a separate pan, cook the sausage, breaking it up until no longer pink. Remove from the heat and drain the excess grease.
    1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • In the base of the slow cooker, coat the bread with the eggs. Mix in both the meat and the veggie butter mixture. Then mix in the cheese. Pour the chicken stock over it.
    2 eggs, 8 cups dried French bread cubes, 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. (Read about how slow cookers vary here.)
Calories: 468kcal (23%) Carbohydrates: 36g (12%) Protein: 30g (60%) Fat: 22g (34%) Saturated Fat: 12g (75%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 94mg (31%) Sodium: 1418mg (62%) Potassium: 276mg (8%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 5g (6%) Vitamin A: 550IU (11%) Vitamin C: 2.5mg (3%) Calcium: 590mg (59%) Iron: 3.1mg (17%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
overhead photo of crockpot stuffing in a slow cooker

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Crockpot Stuffing

I’d love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Linda Parsons says

    I am making your crockpot stuffing recipe! So glad I happened to come across it as my daughter said “oh just do stove top stuffing” oh heck NO. I will let you know how everyone enjoyed it as it smells delightful already

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope it was a huge hit!

  2. Kathleen says

    I am making this for the first time. I plan on making it the night before, so should I wait to add the chicken stock until the next morning.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I always add the chicken stock the night before.

  3. Bonnie Kausner says

    I hope to make this the day ahead. Does starting out cold require increasing the cook time, or starting on high for 30 min & then dropping to low for 4-5 hours? Thanks

    • Lisa Longley says

      There are directions for making it in advance under the FAQ. I hope you enjoy it!

  4. shirley says

    ever thing looks good except for salt. 2 much salt for me. i am on a very low salt intake because of my kidney problem.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Shirley! To make this for someone on a low sodium diet, I would suggest cutting out the salt, using low sodium chicken stock, and cutting the Parmesan cheese in half or cutting it out completely.

  5. Rhonda says

    What kind of apples? Does it need to be tart like green apples or sweet like a red delicious or gala? Thank you!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Whatever you like will work here. I like to use a little sweet because the rest of it is savory, so I usually go with a gala.

  6. Chris M says

    I am definitely going to try it this year. In our area, available only in the Cincinnati vicinity, we have a breakfast meat called goetta (pronounced getta) made with sausage, pinhead oats and many spices. I make a goetta stuffing every year, so I am going to try this recipe using goetta instead of the Italian sausage.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Sounds like it will be delicious!

  7. Jeanie says

    Could i use the stuffing in the plastic bag (like Pepperidge farms etc..)instead of french bread

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m sorry, I haven’t tested that with this recipe.

  8. Cheryl says

    I’m trying this recipe for the first time, sounds so good! the only thing is someone said in the comments that it was mushy would you suggest not adding so much chicken stock and leaving the lid off the last hour on low as you had mentioned also?
    Thanks

    • Lisa Longley says

      I love the recipe exactly as it is written and have never found it to be mushy, so I wouldn’t actually suggest that. I think the issue is that crockpots vary and perhaps theirs does not run as hot and needed a little more time.

  9. Mark Anderson says

    I really appreciate your honest (aka warning) about how crock pot cook times vary! Most recopies believe their “times” are golden and I burned mine last year. I’m giving your recipe a ‘go’ (but with my own mixture)… After it’s done, I’ll add my turkey/stuffed stuffing to the mixture for a rich flavor! Thank you!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope it turned out well!

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