The difference between dressing and stuffing

the difference between stuffing & dressing

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, I posted a very brief chef’s rant on this subject a couple of days ago, and I was amazing to learn how many people actually didn’t know the difference between “stuffing” and “dressing”.


It’s only “stuffing” if you cook it INSIDE the bird. If you cook it OUTSIDE the bird, it’s “dressing” (A dressing is placed around the protein on a plate or platter, to “dress” the dish.)

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Typically, I do both…what doesn’t fit inside the turkey is baked in a dish. Then we mix the two together to spread the tasty flavor if the turkey drippings throughout.

Doesn’t stuffing from inside the bird make you sick?

Oh, and I had a friend on FaceBook ask: I always thought stuffing was the best way to give everyone salmonella for thanksgiving, what are your thoughts?”

My response:

Nah, but then I don’t think that Elvis was abducted by aliens and is still alive on the planet Zorb, either.

The stuffing myth is based on the stuffing staying in the “danger zone” for an extended period of time.

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The three rules of safe stuffing:

1. Never stuff a bird with cold stuffing, as the meat will dry out long before the stuffing is cooked. Always stuff with cooked (or at least heated) stuffing,

2. Stuffing should be COOKED in the bird, not LEFT in it. Remove stuffing from the bird while still hot, and serve separately.

3. Not quite as important as the first two, but not a bad idea…once you remove the stuffing from the bird, spoon it into a casserole dish and pop it under the broiler for 10-15 minutes (watch closely so it doesn’t burn) or until it reaches an internal temp of 165F.

The added bonus to this step is you get a lovely, golden, breadcrumb crust across the whole surface.

Thanksgiving stuffing in muffin pans

If you want to fancy this up a bit, brown the stuffing in a muffin pan, and serve individually.

So, no…I’m not concerned with the “no stuffing” myth, follow the safety rules, and you’ll be fine.

Personally, I’d be more worried about getting sick from a grocery store turkey! 😉

A better way

By the way, there is a third option, which I feel…in my not-so-humble opinion…trumps both of the aforementioned styles. Check it out in yesterday’s “Perfect Turkey” post!

This has been a public service announcement, we now return you to your regularly scheduled political griping and Starbucks bashing… :)

Chef Perry

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