One place I like to look for Thanksgiving inspiration is my freezer. First, if I have something that’s been hanging around unused, well it might just be the inspiration for a new favorite Thanksgiving dish. Second, I definitely want as much freezer space available as possible because you’d better believe I’ll be freezing our amazing Thanksgiving leftovers for another day! #ThanksgivingInFebruary
One thing I usually have in the freezer is bread. Not just a tidy loaf, but often a bag of odds and ends. Maybe a few baguette slices from a restaurant bread basket. Or some rolls we didn’t eat from a takeout order. Or some buns. No matter. This bag of stale or -saved-from-becoming-stale bread is just what I need for an eclectic Thanksgiving stuffing (or dressing, if that’s the term you prefer).
My go-to is a highly flexible pumpkin stuffing, which you can read more about below. But if that’s not your speed, I’ve rounded up several other recipes from top food blogs. In each case the recipe developers promise that just about any bread–as long as it’s dried and prepped correctly–will do the trick. (But I will just caution to be a little careful with bagels as we’ve found they can get tough if not eaten soon after coming out of the oven. Of course, if you’ve had different experiences with bagels in stuffing, definitely let us know!)
And while, we’re here, if you’re making a stuffing recipe that calls for broth, try making a scrappy broth!
Thanks to the featured blogs for sharing photos for this post!
With aromatic herbs and veggies and apples and sausage, this stuffing is a classic with a twist says Bernice of Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen . She also says it’s super flexible on bread: “You can use any bread you like in stuffing as long as it has been properly dried,” she writes.
If your oven is high demand, this recipe works well in a slow-cooker. Marcie from Flavor the Moments gives guidance on prepping the bread, but says the exact type doesn’t matter: “I use country loaf but crusty french, sourdough, whole grain or even white bread would work as well.” Also flexible? The veggies. Marcie’s recipe breaks from tradition by using fennel and leeks, but if you want to stick with the usual celery and onions or add anything else you have around, go for it. “The fun part is that you can easily customize your stuffing with your favorite ingredients,” she writes.
Cheryl of Two Kooks in the Kitchen likes stuffing so much she devised this quick, weeknight-friendly stovetop version–no holiday required. She says her favorite type of bread to use is challah, but “Brioche, baguette, multigrain, whole wheat bread, sourdough, cornbread and even gluten-free bread are other options. I’ve even used hamburger buns in a pinch.” While onions and celery will give it the classic stuffing flavor, you can also toss in whatever needs using up. Cheryl usually adds red pepper for color and apples for sweetness.
Ok, so you definitely need cornbread to make cornbread dressing, but this take from Southern Cravings also calls for regular old bread, and isn’t picky about exactly which kind. That said, the recipe does nudge you toward neutral flavors, like white, wheat, sourdough, etc. The preparation is definitely more involved, but it certainly looks delicious!
This recipe from EatOrToss headquarters can handle just about any bread scraps. In fact, we often make it from bread we accumulate in our freezer in the months (ok, fine, sometimes the year, though you need to watch out for freezer burn) leading up to Thanksgiving. Adding canned pumpkin gives it a pudding-like texture and you can easily adjust the ratios based on what you have on hand. Have some random scoops of canned pumpkin leftover after making a recipe that didn’t require the whole can? That extra pumpkin can find a nice home here too!