Save oven space on the holidays with this easy Crock Pot Stuffing recipe. This hands off method is a real timesaver and creates the most delicious, classic bread stuffing for your Thanksgiving dinner.
More tried and true stuffing recipes include my easy Homemade Stovetop Stuffing and Cornbread Stuffing with Sausage and Apples.
I grew up eating my mom’s classic bread stuffing that she made each and every Thanksgiving and to this day it remains my favorite. I’ve modified her recipe over time, mixing up the spices a little (but only a little!) but the main difference between mine and hers is the method.
About 14 years ago, I came across the idea to cook the stuffing in a Crock Pot and I’ve done it that way ever since. It’s genius.
Table of contents
Why This Recipe Works
- Cooking stuffing in your Crock Pot frees up oven space for all your other Thanksgiving dishes.
- You can easily monitor the taste and consistency throughout the cooking time and make adjustments as needed.
- It makes a large batch of stuffing so you are sure to have leftovers.
- There is no loss in quality whatsoever. The flavor and consistency is fabulous.
- French bread – A loaf of soft French bread (some stores have it labeled as “sweet French”.
- Sliced sandwich bread – I use buttermilk or potato sandwich bread (like Oroweat).
- Diced yellow onion
- Carrot – I like to add a little bit of diced carrot for color and nice flavor.
- Minced garlic
- Fresh parsley
- Mushrooms – An optional ingredient, but I love what cremini mushrooms do for the flavor of this stuffing.
- Dried herbs – Sage, poultry seasoning, thyme, and marjoram.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Low-sodium chicken broth – You can substitute vegetable broth for a vegetarian stuffing.
How to Make Crock Pot Stuffing
This is a quick overview of the steps of this recipe. You’ll find detailed instructions and the recipe video in the recipe card at the end of this post.
Toast the Bread
- Slice the loaf of French bread, then tear the slices up into bite-size pieces and spread them on a rimmed baking sheet. Tear up the sliced sandwich bread and spread it on a second baking sheet. You can discard the end pieces or save them for another purpose.
- Transfer the baking sheets to a 325 degree F oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Reach in (carefully!) and give the bread a stir now and then. Next, remove the bread from the oven when it’s lightly toasted.
I like the rustic look you get from tearing the bread. If you’d prefer a more uniform look to your stuffing, you can slice the bread into cubes.
Prepare the Vegetables
- While the bread is toasting, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently for about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, parsley and mushrooms (if using) and cook and stir for another minute or two.
- Add the poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper.
- Mix well to combine. Remove from the heat.
Assemble the Stuffing
- Transfer the toasted bread pieces to a large roasting pan or a very large mixing bowl. Spoon the cooked vegetables over and mix well.
- Add the beaten eggs and stir to combine.
- Add just enough chicken broth to moisten the mixture, about 1 to 1½ cups. Reserve the remaining broth for later. Mix well and transfer stuffing to a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker.
The key to a good result is adding the correct amount of broth. Be conservative in the beginning and add more as it cooks down to reach the desired consistency. Add more for a “cooked in the bird” consistency and less for a looser stuffing.
Cook the Stuffing
- Mix the stuffing well to be sure the veggies and seasonings are distributed throughout.
- Coat a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and add the stuffing. It will be full to the brim but will cook down. Cover and set the slow cooker on low for 4 to 6 hours. Check on it now and then and add chicken broth throughout cooking time to achieve the desired consistency. Taste and add additional seasoning, if desired.
If you prefer crispy stuffing, transfer your removable oven-proof Crock Pot insert to your oven and broil it for a couple of minutes until nicely toasted and brown on top.
Conventional Oven Instructions
If you don’t want to cook the stuffing in your slow cooker, this recipe works very well in the oven too.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add as much of the remaining broth as desired and transfer the stuffing to a large baking dish that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake, covered, for 40 to 50 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
For a crispy topping, remove the foil during last 15 minutes of the baking time, or place it under the broiler for a couple of minutes before serving.
- Apple Cranberry Stuffing – Add about 1 cup of peeled, diced apple when cooking the vegetable mixture. Add it to the toasted bread with 1 cup of dried cranberries and 1 cup of chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts.
- Sausage Stuffing – Add ½ pound of cooked and well drained ground Italian or sage sausage to the toasted bread with the vegetables and then cook as directed.
- Giblet Stuffing – Chop the giblets and add them to the vegetables while they are cooking in the skillet. The giblets should be cooked through when you add them with the vegetables to the toasted bread. Follow the remainder of the directions as written.
The USDA recommends that once the wet and dry ingredients have been combined, stuffing should be baked immediately for food safety concerns. But, you can get some of the prep out of the way a day or two in advance to save time on Thanksgiving Day.
- Toast the bread pieces, as directed, allow them to cool, and transfer them to an airtight container (plastic storage bags work great).
- Dice the onion, celery, and carrot and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make the stuffing.
FAQ and Valerie’s Tips
You’ll need two loaves of bread for this Crock Pot Stuffing recipe. I use a sliced sandwich bread, either buttermilk or potato. I also add in a loaf of soft French bread (not super hard and crusty) that I get from the bakery section at my local grocery store. If you love sourdough dressing, you can use a loaf of sourdough bread instead.
If your stuffing is ready before the rest of your menu is ready to serve, just switch your slow cooker to the Keep Warm setting for up to an hour. Even on the lowest setting, the stuffing will continue to cook so I don’t recommend allowing it to go much longer than this or the texture will begin to change. Instead, just unplug the slow cooker and keep it covered until ready to serve. Don’t allow any menu items to sit out for more than 2 hours before you pack up and refrigerate any leftovers.
Eggs add moisture and body to bread stuffing recipes. The eggs and broth work together as a binder to help the stuffing hold together.
To be sure your stuffing is fully cooked, check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. It should register a minimum of 165 degrees F regardless of whether it is cooked in a slow cooker, casserole dish, or in the bird.
Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate within 2 hours. Leftover stuffing should be consumed or frozen within 3 to 4 days.
Create the perfect menu with these classic Thanksgiving recipes.
- Herb Roasted Turkey
- Easy Turkey Gravy
- Broccoli Pearl Onion Casserole
- Honey Roasted Carrots and Brussels Sprouts
- Very Berry Cranberry Sauce
- Sweet Potato Rolls
Check out my entire collection of Thanksgiving Recipes for more!
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Crock Pot Stuffing
- 1 pound loaf soft French bread, (some stores label it as sweet French)
- 1 pound loaf sliced buttermilk or potato sandwich bread, (I use Oroweat)
- 1 cup butter
- 3 cups diced yellow onion, (about 2 onions)
- 3 cups diced celery, (about 1 bunch)
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 4 or 5 cremini mushrooms, diced (optional)
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 2 teaspoons salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided (can substitute vegetable broth)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Slice the loaf of French bread and then tear the slices of both the French and the sandwich bread into bite-size pieces. Discard the end pieces or save them for another use. You should have about 20 cups, give or take, of torn bread. Spread the pieces of bread between two rimmed baking sheets and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly toasted, tossing with a spatula about halfway through.
- While the bread is toasting, melt the butter in a large skillet over MEDIUM heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrot. Turn the heat up to MEDIUM-HIGH and cook, stirring frequently for about 7 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic, parsley and mushrooms (if using) and cook and stir for another minute or two. Add the poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Remove from the heat.
- When the bread is nicely toasted, transfer it to a large roasting pan or a very large mixing bowl. Spoon the cooked vegetables over the bread and mix well. Add the beaten eggs and stir to combine. Add just enough chicken broth to moisten the mixture, about 1 to 1½ cups, reserving the rest for later. Mix well.
- Coat a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and add the stuffing. Cover and set the slow cooker on LOW for 4 to 6 hours. Check on it now and then and add broth throughout cooking time to achieve the desired consistency. Taste and add additional seasoning, if desired. Set the slow cooker to the KEEP WARM setting, if it has one. Alternately, unplug the slow cooker and keep it covered until ready to serve.
- If you prefer a crunchy topping, transfer your removable (oven-safe) Crock Pot insert to your oven and broil for a couple of minutes until nicely toasted and golden brown.
- Toast the bread and transfer it to plastic storage bags.
- Dice the veggies and store in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
This post was originally published on November 17, 2011. It has been updated with new images and text but the recipe is and will forever remain the same!
Questions and Reviews
I use sliced Italian bread and add canned chopped clams and cream of mushroom soup.. Delicious!!
Sounds delicious, Lorraine!
How important are the eggs to the end result?
Hi KJ. I think they are quite important to the end result as they act as a binding agent and add moisture. If you have an allergy or sensitivity I would of course recommend you go with whatever substitute you typically use.
Thanks! Guess someone needs to go to the store tomorrow morning lol. Enjoy.
I have never used eggs in my dressing and our family recipe is nearly identical. However, I found this site because I wanted to try a crock pot recipe instead this year. Thanks Valerie! I am adding apples instead of mushrooms this year though…we’ll see! Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m sure it will be delicious with apples. Happy Thanksgiving, Julianne! I hope you and your family enjoy the stuffing.
Hope this isn’t a dumb question but when using the crockpot do I cook it on 4-6 hrs on the low setting or high? Just don’t want to ruin it 🙂
Hi Monica. There are no dumb questions here! Put your slow cooker on it’s LOW setting. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope it turns out fabulous for you!
Just wondering if the dressing will brown while cooking.
It’s going to look just like it does in the photos. If your Crock-Pot has a removable insert, you can place it under the broiler for a few minutes at the end of the cooking time to crisp it up or brown it a bit but I think it is wonderful as is.
Just a tip I spray my crockpot with pam before adding ingredience. My stuffing that is touching the sides usually gets crispy
Great tip, Lorie!
I have tried several crock pot recipes but this one is the winner hands down! Nothing but positive reviews from all; this will be my traditional dressing moving forward.
It’s wonderful to hear that it worked out so well for you. Thanks so much for coming back to let me know! Have a wonderful holiday season 🙂
I was wondering how many people does this serve?
Hi Denise. That would depend on a lot of factors – how many other dishes you will be serving, do you have big eaters, etc. The recipe states it serves 16 but I think it’s safe to say it would be plenty to serve at least 12 with leftovers.
Made this for thanksgiving and it was perfect! I received so many compliments. Thank you!!
Thanks for the feedback Lauren! I’m so happy to hear it worked out well for you.
Hi Valerie, Started to make this now (Wed. night) for Thanksgiving. Got all the veggies sautéed and seasoned. This way, all I have to do is add and mix all the ingredients. I would like to use the seasoned stuffing bread mix (Mrs. Cubbison’s) How many cups would that take? This recipe sounds so wonderful. Hope that I don’t mess it up. Thank you
Hi Darcy. Use the same measurements as the recipes states and just sub the packaged stuffing cubes. The key is to add the liquid gradually so be very conservative in the beginning and add more through the day till it is just how you want it. I’m sure it will be great! Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving 🙂
Hi Valerie, I used 2-12oz. boxes of Mrs. Cubbison’s dressing to your recipe. Mixing every hour. It turned out wonderful. This will be my go to recipe for stuffing for now on. Thank you so much. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
This is so good to hear, Darcy. I’ve had several others ask about using the packaged bread cubes so it’s helpful to know that it worked well. Thanks so much!
My stuffing, although our family has always referred to it as dressing, has been so dry ever since I stopped cooking it in my turkey. I have a crockpot so I thought I’d see if there were any instructions on how to cook dressing using the crockpot since I assumed my dressing would stay moist. So glad I found this and can’t wait to try it. I am one of those people who always grind up the giblets and use them in my dressing. That shouldn’t change anything should it aside from perhaps the taste? Our traditional way to make dressing was always to grind everything up then mix it all together along with your eggs and seasoning. It’s always such a pain to pull out the big grinder so this method sounds like it will be so much easier.
One more question. I’ve seen crockpot cooking bags in the grocery store. Could you use them to save on clean up?
This recipe is very versatile and you can add anything you like. I think you’ll be pleased with how you can control the moisture. I have not used the cooking bags so can’t comment on that. If you try it, let me know!
I’ve used the cooking bags and found that they are a pain.
I love this idea. But I need to travel for an hour and then will be there 4 hours or so before dinner. Any suggestions about the timing?
Four hours is just enough time, Alyson. I would do as much ahead as possible. Cut up and toast the bread and then package it up in plastic storage bags. Dice the veggies and bring those in bags as well. When you arrive, get it going in the Crock-Pot right away and it should be perfect timing for the meal.
Hi…could you make it all up..then travel with it for 1/2 hour, then turn crockpot on to cook
Hi Marla. I’d recommend following the Make-Ahead Instructions at the bottom of the recipe card but would probably omit the egg if it won’t be refrigerated for a little while. When you get to your destination you can go ahead and add the egg and proceed as directed with the recipe.
Hi! Love this idea as my oven space is so very limited! Can I use the bag of stuffing made by Pepperidge and just add veggies, broth egg mixture etc. ?
I think it would work, as long as the amounts were the same. Just measure it out and you should be fine!