Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Stuffing


Thanksgiving is a big deal at the Cabrera residence.  The menu is planned weeks in advance to make sure everyone is satisfied with the side dishes and desserts.  My mom takes out her good silverware to be polished.  My dad spends the days prior to the dinner cleaning the house and making the backyard look pretty.  And somewhere my brother is running and working out to ensure he can feast to his heart’s content.

Over the years, through trial and error, we’ve finally got the prep work for Thanksgiving dinner down to a choreographed dance.


My mom and I used to fight over the oven.  She needs it to cook the turkey, while I need it to bake my pies and tarts.  And let’s not forget all the side dishes that either need to be cooked or reheated in the oven as well.

There will be no quarreling this year.  I found this amazing slow cooker stuffing recipe to give more oven room to our giant turkey.  I have also learned to make all my desserts the night before.  I’ve given my mom all reigns to the oven, since it’s her kitchen after all.

I plan on making this stuffing around lunchtime, giving me plenty of time to relax and enjoy the company before Thanksgiving dinner.  Not only is it super simple and easy to make- it smells wonderful as it cooks.  It fills the house with the most savory appetizing aroma ever.  Everyone will be seated around the dining table before you can even round them up.

*note: I use breakfast sausage in this recipe instead of the traditional Italian sausage.  I have dinner guests that are not fond of the fennel flavor found in Italian sausage.  Also, I buy a lot of breakfast sausage so I’ll have plenty to cook up for breakfast the following morning to serve to the all the overnight guests.


Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Stuffingserves 5-6, double as needed


1 pound good-quality white sandwich bread, cut into bite-sized cubes

8 oz breakfast sausage, removed from casing

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

3/4 cups celery ribs, split down the middle and chopped

1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp dried thyme)

1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped (or 1 tsp dried sage)

1 1/2 cup reduced (low) sodium chicken broth

1 large egg

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3/4 tsp black pepper

chopped chives, thyme, and sage, as garnish


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Place cut bread on a baking sheet.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until bread is stale and dried out.  Toss bread midway through baking to ensure even cooking.  Alternatively, cut bread ahead of time and leave out on counter for a day or two to dry out.  Place bread in a large bowl. Set aside.


2. Grab a long piece of foil.  Fold it a couple of time over itself to create a band.  Line the sides of the slow cooker pot with the foil.  Lightly coat with nonstick spray.

3. In a large skillet, heat about 1 Tbsp of oil.  Add breakfast sausage (removed from casing). Cook until sausage is brown and cooked throughout.  As sausage is cooking, break into small chunks using a wooden spoon.   Drain cooked sausage and add to bread.  Keep all the browned bits in the pan.


4. Using the same pan you cooked sausage in, add butter and set over medium heat.


5.Once butter has melted add onions and celery.  Cook until onions have softened.  Add chopped thyme and sage.  Toss to combine and cook until herbs are aromatic.  Add about 1/3 cup of chicken broth.  Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any of the browned bits of sausage on the bottom of the pan.  Cook until broth comes to a boil.  Remove from heat and pour mixture on top of bread-sausage mixture.


5. In another bowl, whisk together remaining chicken broth, egg, and salt and pepper.  Pour over bread mixture and gently toss to combine.  Make sure all the bread pieces are coated.


6. Transfer mixture to prepared slow cooker pot.  Cover and cook for 4-5 hours on low setting.  Make sure mixture has reached temperature of at least 165 degrees F to ensure egg is cooked.  Turn off slow cooker and remove foil.  Transfer stuffing to serving dish. Garnish with additional herbs.

*note: The foil ring is supposed to prevent the sides of slow cooker from burning the stuffing.  Depending on how hot your slow cooker gets, you may want to also line the bottom of the slow cooker pot with foil to prevent burning. ( I did not line the bottom the pot, and I had minimal burning.)

[recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution]


73 Responses to “Slow Cooker Thanksgiving Stuffing”

  1. Wendy

    I’m very excited to try this for turkey day, but have one question: you list onions to stir in with the celery step, but they aren’t in the ingredient list. Can you tell me how many onions? Thank you!

    • Maryanne Cabrera

      Hi Sami, the does stuffing get little bits of crunchy parts. The bottom of the pan, as well as the top layer of the stuffing dries out a little bit, making it crunchy. The middle of the stuffing stays nice and moist. Overall, the stuffing isn’t very wet.

  2. Daniel

    Hi Maryanne,
    I am going to try this recipe this week. It sounds really good. I am wondering how much it is a pound of bread? is it 1 loaf?

    • Maryanne Cabrera

      Hi Daniel, the weight of the bread is listed on the package. My loaf of bread was 1 pound 8 ounces (24 oz). I took out a couple slices to make it 1 pound. If you buy your bread from a bakery, they would be happy to weight it for you. I hope that helps!

  3. Anabel Ballard

    Any suggestions on making this meat-free? We’ll be serving a couple of vegetarians this holiday and although I adore the sausage flavor, they would not 🙁

  4. Angela Cooper

    Hmm – do you think the egg is critical? We have an egg allergy…may try it without. Is it kind of crumbly or does it hold together?

      • missy

        I have egg issues and i have found with dressing if i use a can of mushroom or cream of chicken soup it binds nicely

  5. Aldo

    This turned out great! It was a huge hit, was so simple to prepare and using a slow cooker really freed up some precious space in the oven. I did not line the bottom of my slow cooker with foil and had no issues with the stuffing burning. The only modification I made was to add some roasted chestnuts which turned out to be a nice addition.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Linda W

    I was so excited to see your recipe, as it’s very similar to the one my grandmother made & I continue to make every year. I will definitely try it next Thanksgiving. Who would have thought to use a crock pot for dressing. Ingenious!

    • Rachel Hollis

      Hi Carl,

      I believe cornbread would be a great substitute… and if you like more sage, go for it! It’s all about adjusting it to suit your own flavor faves. ~Rachel

  7. Lisa

    This is so close to my family ‘s traditional recipe. I’m going to try cooking it like this! We add mint instead of sage and thyme, and we add raisins or craisins. We also used the chopped gizzards and hearts from the turkey.

  8. Barb

    Instead of buying the bread and cutting it up, could packaged plain stuffing be substituted?

    • Rachel Hollis

      I haven’t tried it that way Barb but I’d guess it would be fine… Maybe just shoot for pre-packaged stuffing with thicker bread pieces like a cornbread stuffing etc. ~Rachel

  9. Joan Olsen

    What would I do different iIf using smaller pre-packed bread cubes (which I just bought)?

    • Rachel Hollis

      I think the flavor would still be great Joan, you may just have a mushier texture. I’ve never made it with smaller cubes or prepackaged so I’m not sure. ~Rachel

    • Rachel Hollis

      Hi Lauren,

      Since your sausage is already cooked I don’t think you need to add more cook time, 4-5 is enough time to properly cook the egg in the mixture but use your best judgement. ~Rachel

  10. Roxy

    This sounds great. I want to make it for thanksgiving but I hate celery. What’s a good substitute?

  11. Sharon

    Is the bread to be dried in oven like traditional stuffing or left out over night or just cut up from the bread bag?
    I can’t wait to use your recipi! Thanks from NC

  12. AliceAlice

    What size of slow cooker did you use for this recipe and if doubling what size would I need?

    • Rachel Hollis

      Hi Alice,
      I believe this was made in a five quart slow cooker and as you can see the stuffing only takes up the bottom half. If you wanted to double it you should be ok with a six quart option (just to be safe). 😉 Rachel

  13. Joan Olsen

    Rachel, I have 13 adults and 7 children coming for Thanksgiving. If I quadruple this recipe, do think it would taste the same?

    • Rachel Hollis

      Hi Joan,
      I think it would taste the same I would just suggest you mix the cooked sausage and all the ingredients EXCEPT the eggs and taste it to ensure the flavor is right BEFORE you cook. If you think it’s seasoned well then add in your eggs and set to cook. ~Rachel

  14. Katie Tapper

    Can I cook this half way and finish when I get to my daughter’s house (30 minutes away)?

  15. Renee

    I plan on making this tomorrow! Can I toast my bread the night before and store it in a sealed container?

  16. Mary

    Hi Rachel,

    In case you actually read this today:), I just bought the boxed 1 lb. Focaccia Stuffing mix from Williams-Sonoma and would like to try it with your recipe. My question is that the WS directions call for 3-1/2 to 4 cups stock (oven recipe). I’m thinking I’ll start with your 1-1/2 cups stock (though maybe the denser focaccia may need more) then adjust up during the last hour or two of cooking time if the stuffing seems too dry….. Would you do anything differently to start? Thanks for your recipe and your time! Happy Thanksgiving:)

    • Rachel Hollis

      Hi Mary,
      I’m so sorry I’m just seeing this! Did you end up trying it with a pre-packaged mix? I’m so curious how it turned out because I’ve never made it that way before. Let me know! ~Rachel

      • Mary

        Hi Rachel,
        Yes, I did make the stuffing with the WS box mix. It was sooo good and is already on the menu for Christmas! It did need more liquid (maybe because it was a focaccia mix?). I also added a dose of dried cranberries in at the beginning and some pan drippings at the end. Yum:).
        Thank you again for the recipe. I’ll never make stuffing any other way again!

  17. Joan

    Hi Rachel, I made your stuffing for Thanksgiving and it was fabulous. I did do add a few items: t thought I would share. I added chopped dried apricots and cherries to the mix. After it had baked for a of number of hours in the crockpot, I transferred it to a baking pan to put into my toaster oven to brown it. . But first, i tossed some packaged and roasted chestnuts that I had cut in half, in a little bit of maple syrup and put those on the top. Best stuffing I’ve made in years! Thank you so much!.

  18. Meghan Costella

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it was DELICIOUS! I have passed the recipe along to family members and will absolutely make it again! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Victoria Drye

    I used your dressing recipe this Thanksgiving. I was pretty nervous since I didn’t test drive it first but prayed for the best. It was delicious! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. I will definitely use it again! I hope you have a great 2015 Thanksgiving!

Hey, we'd love to hear what you think, drop us a line below...
  • (will not be published)