Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Stuffing

Thanksgiving stuffing is my favorite part of the meal and it always seems to be the first dish to disappear. So this recipe makes a ton of stuffing in a slow cooker, leaving your oven available for all the other dishes needed on the day. Plus you can prep this part of the meal a day ahead of time and then let it cook unattended in your slow cooker while your turkey roasts in the oven.

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I think I’ve always loved Thanksgiving stuffing because it has so many different qualities. (Yes, I know it is called “stuffing” when it’s stuffed inside a turkey, and called “dressing” when it comes on the side, but I’m going to call it stuffing just because it’s easier and then can’t be confused with the sauce you might put on your salad!) A good stuffing is moist and tender, but it has crunchy or crispy toasted edges; it has a well-seasoned savory flavor, but also a sweet component that contrasts nicely. A great stuffing has everything to do with the ingredients you put in it.

Ingredients on a wooden cutting board - sausage, chestnuts, mushrooms, stuffing croutons, onion, parsley, chicken stock.

This slow cooker Thanksgiving stuffing includes salty sage sausage, two types of bread crumbs, the usual vegetables like onion and celery, and also mushrooms and sweet roasted chestnuts. It’s seasoned with salt and pepper (of course), but also has grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley too. All these delicious ingredients are bound together with eggs and some really good quality chicken stock. 

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Raw slow cooker stuffing in a slow cooker, ready to cook.

It’s true that you do need to cook many of these ingredients on the stovetop first before you can put it all in the slow cooker, but there’s no reason why you can’t do this a day ahead of time so that all you need to do on the day is add the eggs and chicken stock before “stuffing” everything into your pre-heated slow cooker. Yes, that’s what I said – “pre-heated slow cooker”. By letting your slow cooker warm for 30 minutes, you give the cooker a real head start. It’s much easier for the cooker to warm up when it’s empty than when it has to heat the stuffing ingredients too.

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Cooked Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Stuffing in a slow cooker with a serving spoon.

Then, 3 or 4 hours later, as you have been preparing the roast turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and everything else your family loves,  this delicious slow cooker Thanksgiving stuffing is finished. You might even have forgotten that you made it!

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A white bowl with stuffing in it, with a green napkin and a slow cooker in the background.

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Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Stuffing

  • Prep Time: 35 m
  • Cook Time: 3 h
  • Roasting Chestnuts: 20 m
  • Total Time: 3 h 55 m
  • Servings:
    15
    12 to 15

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large loaf white bread (about 12 cups cubed)
  • ½ pound whole chestnuts
  • ½ pound pork sausage with sage
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups chopped celery about 6 ribs
  • cup chopped onion (about 2 small)
  • ¾ pound mushrooms chopped
  • 1 14 ounce package dried herb seasoned stuffing mix
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the loaf of bread into ½-inch cubes. Spread them out in one layer on a baking sheet and toast at 350ºF for 5 minutes, until lightly colored. Set aside.
  3. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.
  4. Using a sharp paring knife, place the flat end of the chestnut on a cutting board and carefully cut an “X” on the top of each one, just cutting through the shell. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 400ºF for 25 minutes until the skin curls up away from the nut. (Alternatively, you can air-fry the chestnuts at 370°F for 12 to 15 minutes.) When the shells of the chestnuts are darker in color and the cut skin has peeled away from the center, remove them from the oven. The shell should peel away easily at this point. If it doesn’t, continue to roast for a few more minutes. Allow the chestnuts to cool so that you can handle them and then peel away the shells and chop the nuts into small pieces.
  5. While the chestnuts are roasting, heat a large skillet. Brown the sausage until it is no longer pink. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Melt the butter in the same pan along with any leftover fat from the sausage. Add the onions and celery and sauté for a few minutes, until they start to soften. Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables have cooked through.
  6. Place the bread cubes and the dried stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the cooked sausage, sautéed onions, celery and mushrooms, roasted chestnuts and parsley. Toss everything to evenly combine the ingredients. Mix the eggs and the Parmesan cheese together in a small bowl and stir into the stuffing mixture. Gradually add 2 cups of the chicken stock, stirring to evenly combine. Add more of the remaining stock as needed – the stuffing should look and feel moist. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (If making ahead hold this mixture in the refrigerator and bring everything to room temperature before proceeding.)
  7. When you are ready to cook, pre-heat the slow cooker on HIGH for 30 minutes. Rub the inside of the slow cooker with butter. Spoon the stuffing into the slow cooker. (If you made the stuffing mixture ahead of time, pour another ½ cup of chicken stock evenly over top the stuffing in the cooker.

  8. Slow-cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Check the stuffing after 2½ hours and if it starts to dry out, add a little more chicken stock. Switch to the warm setting until you are ready to serve.
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Comments (15)Post a Reply

  1. If prepared ahead , when should you add the eggs, when preparing or before you add to crockpot the day of?? I have never added eggs to my stuffing, I felt the butter and sausage fat binded it enough

    1. Hi June. You can add the egg and cheese when you prepare it, adding the chicken stock as well. Just make sure you refrigerate the stuffing overnight before you cook it.

  2. A whole loaf of white bread = a pound of white bread ??
    Unfortunately Lowes is coming so many sizes now. But if you have time to answer it would be great🙂

    1. Hi there. You could substitute white wine for part of the stock, but since you are putting this in a slow cooker, the alcohol from the wine will not burn off – there is not enough intense heat. That’s not a problem if you don’t mind a bit of boozy flavor, but I would add no more than 1 cup – ½ cup might be enough to give you a wine flavor.

    1. You could use this recipe and place it in a casserole dish or in a baking pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the stuffing has a browned nicely and is warmed through.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday for thanksgiving dinner. I had no idea that you could make stuffing in a slow cooker that would taste as good as in the turkey. Delicious, easy to make and loads of compliments.

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