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- Why You'll Love this Sourdough Stuffing Recipe
- 🛠 Tools Needed:
- 🛒 Ingredients Needed:
- 👨🍳 How to Make Sourdough Stuffing with Fennel
- How to Store Sourdough Stuffing
- ❓ FAQs:
- Other Fall Sourdough Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Sourdough Stuffing with Fennel
There’s so much to love about this Sourdough Stuffing with Fennel. It’s the perfect Thanksgiving side, made with aromatic fennel, a medley of fresh herbs, and crusty sourdough bread with crispy, crunchy edges and a tender interior.
Stuffing, or dressing, is one of the most iconic dishes on any Thanksgiving table, so it was really important for me to get this recipe right. And while the recipe is easy and quite classic, the flavor that shines here is fennel.
Fennel imparts a delicate sweetness and subtle licorice-like flavor, lifting the otherwise hearty stuffing with a touch of brightness and herbal freshness. It takes center stage without overshadowing the other fresh herbs, crusty and buttery bread, and additional aromatics in the dish.
The fennel stuffing recipe guides you step-by-step through every aspect of the process. I hope you’ll give it a try at your Thanksgiving table!
👉 For other ways to use sourdough bread, check out my guide on how to make the best Sourdough Grilled Cheese, or this summer Sourdough Panzanella with Peaches & Burrata with crispy sourdough croutons.
Why You’ll Love this Sourdough Stuffing Recipe
- Sourdough Bread makes the best stuffing
- Crusty sourdough bread makes the best stuffing for many reasons: it can absorb more broth and flavors, it’s sturdy enough to hold its own without getting soggy, it has more flavor than sandwich bread, and it has an array of textures from crunchy to soft.
- It’s a versatile stuffing recipe
- This stuffing is versatile enough to make with whatever type of broth/stock you have around, any of your favorite fresh or dried herbs, and you can bake it to the level of crispiness that you prefer.
- Stuffing stores well
- While it’s best served warm, this sourdough stuffing stores very well- both before and after baking. You can mix it ahead of time for your Thanksgiving preparations, store in the refrigerator, and bake on Thanksgiving day. Alternatively, you can bake it earlier in the day and simply reheat in the oven.
- It has perfectly crispy edges
- For anyone that loves the tantalizing contrasts of soft, moist stuffing with crispy edges topping, this recipe is for you!
🛠 Tools Needed:
Click the links below for my favorite tool recommendations.
- Baking Dish
- I typically use a 2.5 quart baking dish (typically 11×7″), but your could use a 3 quart baking dish as well.
- A larger baking dish size means you’ll need to either increase the amount of bread and broth or take the stuffing out of the oven faster since it won’t be as thick.
Otherwise, you’ll only need some basic cooking tools, such as a large mixing bowl and skillet.
🛒 Ingredients Needed:
Click on the links below for my ingredient recommendations.
- The most important part of stuffing is the bread. Use stale, day-old sourdough bread for the best results. I use about 1 to 1 ¼ lbs of bread (or about 500 grams of bread). My Everyday Sourdough Bread Recipe is my go-to for homemade stuffing.
- If you don’t have sourdough, baguettes or another crusty French bread will work. This recipe isn’t the time for sandwich bread, brioche, or a loaf with a strong flavor like Sourdough Anadama Bread.
- Tear apart the stale bread for the best array of textures, instead of making bread cubes.
- Onions, garlic, and celery are the basic trio of vegetables here with fennel rounding it all out. If you don’t have fennel, I recommend using more celery (FYI sometimes fennel is labeled as anise in the produce aisles even through they’re technically not the same). You could also use another vegetable like leeks.
- I typically use fennel seeds, parsley, and sage. The fennel seeds help bring out even more anise flavor. You’re welcome to use other herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, chives, or marjoram in this recipe.
- Like making bread pudding, eggs help hold the stuffing together so it doesn’t completely fall apart.
- Use a dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc to deglaze the pan. It also helps carry the flavor of hte aromatics in the dish. However, you can substitute it with a bit of white wine vinegar, distilled vinegar, or lemon juice in ½ cup of water for a similar effect.
- I typically use a scoop of vegetable Better Than Bouillon in water to make broth. However, you can use vegetable or chicken broth or stock in this recipe.
👨🍳 How to Make Sourdough Stuffing with Fennel
Follow this visual and detailed recipe guide as you make this sourdough stuffing with fennel.
1. Tear Apart and Dry Out the Bread
Hopefully your 1 lb to 1 ¼ lb sourdough bread is already dried out, but if not, you’ll need to do that! Stale bread makes for better croutons and stuffing because it aborbs liquid better and will prevent sogginess.
There are two ways to dry out the bread:
- One method is to tear apart the bread into bite-size pieces and let it sit out overnight.
- The other method is more involved, but still simple. Plus, it’s better if you’re baking on the same day with fresh bread. Tear apart the bread into bite-sized pieces, put on a baking sheet, and bake at 300ºF (149ºC) until slightly crisp.
Why Tear Apart the Bread?: Tearing the bread adds varying textures to the stuffing, creating a delightful mix of crispy, crusty bites, and softer, more tender bites.
Cubed bread makes for a more uniform look and texture if you prefer that. Personally, I like the organic and artisanal appearance of torn sourdough bread!
2. Cook the Aromatics
Preheat oven to 375ºF (191ºC).
Heat ¼ cup of olive oil and 4 TBS of unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
Once the butter is melted, add one chopped onion, one large chopped fennel bulb (or two small fennel bulbs with the fronds reserved for topping), and 4 chopped celery stalks. Season with ½ tsp of salt and ½ tsp of black pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables soften and begin to take on some color. Stir in 4 minced garlic cloves and 1 TBS of fennel seeds and cook for a minute until fragrant.
Then, pour in ½ cup of dry white wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits. Continue cooking and stirring for another couple of minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
3. Whisk the Eggs and Broth
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk 2 eggs, 2 cups of vegetable broth, 1 tsp of salt, and ½ tsp of black pepper.
4. Mix the Stuffing
Add the slightly cooled vegetable mixture, ¼ cup of fresh parsley and 2 TBS of chopped fresh sage to the large bowl of torn sourdough bread. Stir until the bread is evenly coated.
Pour the liquid broth and egg mixture over the bread and gently fold the bread. At first some liquid may pool at the bottom of the bowl, but the bread should begin soaking in the liquid.
Let it sit for a minute or two and mix again until it’s all absorbed.
If you need to, add more broth to the bread if it seems unusually dry (every bread soaks up differently).
Dump the stuffing into a 2 ½ quart or 3 quart baking dish.
Dot the top of the stuffing with the remaining 4 TBS of unsalted butter. This will help the top get nice and crispy during baking! This is a trick I learned from Alison Roman.
Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 375ºF (191ºC) for 35 minutes.
Remove the foil, turn up the oven temperature to 425ºF (218ºC), and bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the top is as crisp to your liking.
Cool slightly on a wire rack, and optionally top with the reserved fennel fronds or other fresh herbs before digging in.
Note: The stuffing will quite certainly be done at this point, but if you ever want to double check, use an instant-read thermometer such as the Thermapen to ensure the stuffing is at least 165ºF (74ºC) to safely cook the eggs.
How to Store Sourdough Stuffing
While it’s best freshly baked, sourdough stuffing stores well!
You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and reheat before serving. If it dries out, you can add a splash of broth (or water) to the stuffing to keep it more moist.
Can You Freeze Stuffing?
You can freeze baked stuffing in an airtight container in the freezer for a month. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat before serving.
Can You Make Sourdough Stuffing Ahead?
You can make the cooked vegetable mixture ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Once the stuffing is assembled, you can wrap it in foil and store in the refrigerator for a day. The bread can get soggy if it sits too long, so I recommend cutting back on the broth some and restirring it before baking.
Finally, another option is to bake the stuffing ahead of time, cover with aluminum foil, and reheat it in the oven at 350ºF until warmed through.
Can I double the recipe?
Yes. Double all of the ingredients and bake in a larger dish or two baking dishes.
What to eat with sourdough stuffing?
Stuffing, or dressing, is usually eaten on Thanksgiving day in the United States and served with other traditional dishes such as turkey, cranberry sauce, gravy, mashed potatoes, and other vegetable dishes.
Can you stuff this stuffing into a turkey?
This recipe was not created to actually stuff a turkey. Some people may call it a dressing, depending on where you’re from.
Could you use gluten-free bread to make stuffing?
Yes, you can use a crusty gluten-free bread to make this stuffing.
Can I add sausage to this stuffing?
You could add your favorite sausage to this stuffing if you’d prefer. Cook it with the aromatics.
Do you have other Thanksgiving recipes?
Other Fall Sourdough Recipes You May Enjoy:
Sourdough Stuffing with Fennel
- 1 Large Skillet
- 1 Large Mixing Bowl
- 1 lb Sourdough Bread, torn, day old
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 8 TBS Unsalted Butter, divided, 113 grams
- 1 Sweet Onion, chopped
- 4 Celery Stalks, chopped
- 1 Fennel Bulb, chopped, or two small bulbs, with the fronds reserved
- 1 ½ tsp Salt, divided
- 1 tsp Black Pepper, divided
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 TBS Fennel Seeds
- ½ cup Dry White Wine, or water with a squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 Eggs
- 2 ½ cups Low-Sodium Vegetable or Chicken Broth
- ¼ cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 2 TBS Fresh Sage, chopped
- If your sourdough bread is not already stale or a day-old, tear it apart into bite-sized pieces and let it sit out overnight.Alternatively, tear the pieces and place them on a sheet pan. Bake at 300ºF (149ºC) until slightly crisp.1 lb Sourdough Bread
- Preheat oven to 375ºF (191ºC).Heat the olive oil and 4 TBS of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.Once the butter has melted, add the chopped onion, celery, and fennel bulb. Season with ½ tsp of salt and ½ tsp of black pepper.Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables soften and just start to brown. Stir in the minced garlic and fennel seeds and cook for a minute until fragrant.Pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan and scrape up any brown bits. Cook for another couple of minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and set aside.¼ cup Olive Oil, 8 TBS Unsalted Butter, 1 Sweet Onion, 4 Celery Stalks, 1 Fennel Bulb, 1 ½ tsp Salt, 1 tsp Black Pepper, 4 Garlic Cloves, 1 TBS Fennel Seeds, ½ cup Dry White Wine
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, broth, 1 tsp of salt, and ½ tsp of pepper.2 Eggs, 2 ½ cups Low-Sodium Vegetable or Chicken Broth
- Add the slightly cooled vegetable mixture and chopped herbs to the bowl of torn bread. Stir until evenly coated.Then, pour the liquid broth/egg mixture into the bowl and gently fold the bread to absorb the liquid. Let it sit for a minute or two and fold again until all of the liquid is absorbed.¼ cup Fresh Parsley, 2 TBS Fresh Sage
- Scrape the stuffing into the baking dish and dot the top of it with the remaining 4 TBS of butter.Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375ºF (191ºC) for 35 minutes.Remove the foil, turn up the temperature to 425ºF (218ºC), and bake for another 25-30 minutes until the top is crispy to your liking.Cool slightly before serving and top with the optional reserved fennel fronds or more fresh herbs.
- Once mixed, if the bread has absorbed all of the liquid and it seems unusually dry, add more broth.
- Follow the guide for more detailed instructions, photos, storage, and make ahead tips for making this sourdough stuffing.