Martha Stewart's Tip For Making The Best Thanksgiving Stuffing

Thanksgiving is a time for gathering, giving thanks, and gobbling up as much delicious food as we can stomach. No Thanksgiving is complete without a turkey, but for many people, the side dishes are the main event. According to Newsweek, Americans choose stuffing as their number-one side dish for the annual feast. 

It's clear that stuffing is well-loved, but that doesn't stop the age-old debate of whether it's called stuffing or dressing. Traditionally, stuffing was cooked inside the turkey, while dressing was cooked separately from the bird. Where you live in the country may also determine where you fall on the stuffing versus dressing terminology, as it's more common to hear "dressing" in the Southern states, per Food & Wine. No matter which term you use, your favorite stuffing recipe likely includes dry bread, veggies, herbs, spices, and broth.

For those who prefer pre-made stuffing, a Mashed poll found that 42% of people buy Pepperidge Farm's version. Packaged stuffing contains all of the herbs and dried bread, making it super simple and quick for those who want to focus their time and energy on other side dishes. If you want to make homemade stuffing, though, it's still pretty simple as long as you follow some tried and true tips. Martha Stewart is the queen of holiday hosting and cooking, so when she gives a stuffing tip, it's best to follow it.

The key is dry bread

Martha Stewart's trick for good stuffing of course makes perfect sense. Her tip involves drying out the small pieces of bread in the oven the day before making the dish. Baking the bread low and slow removes any moisture so the bread retains its shape and doesn't get soggy when baked with the other ingredients, giving the stuffing an overall crispier texture — a trick backed up by Serious Eats. Stewart prefers to tear the bread by hand — her recipe calls for an Italian loaf — for a more rustic look and feel.

According to the Bread Guide, the best bread to use for stuffing is white bread, such as challah, brioche, or sandwich bread. Breads that should be avoided are those with a strong flavor that would outshine the other ingredients, like pumpernickel or sourdough. For those living in the South, cornbread is often used in place of white bread, and even that must still be dried out in the oven before baking in the casserole, per The Pioneer Woman. Once your bread is nice and dry, simply add your mix-ins, bake, and enjoy!