UACES Facebook Dressing or Stuffing: What is the Difference
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Dressing or Stuffing: What is the Difference

map of United States showing the states that call it stuffing and those that call it dressing
This chart by Butterball shows the states that generally serve dressing versus stuffing


Both dressing and stuffing are side dishes served at most Thanksgiving tables. It depends on the part of the country you are from as to what you call it. Those in the south use the term dressing interchangeably; whereas those in the northern states generally refer to the dish as stuffing. Regardless of what part of the country you come from, you probably agree that it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.

Could the ingredients be the difference in what we call it? Traditionally Northern stuffing begins with sturdy white bread, while the most common Southern ingredient in dressing is cornbread. But that may not hold true either. While bread is the base for both dressing and stuffing, the rest may be as different as what you call it. You may find white bread mixed with saltine crackers, oysters in coastal communities, andouille sausage in Louisiana, or sourdough and mushrooms in California. Both likely have similar herbs such as sage and thyme, and vegetables, onions, and celery as a base.

Dressing or stuffing should not be prepared ahead of time. The dry and wet ingredients for stuffing can be prepared ahead of time and chilled separately; however, do not mix the wet and dry ingredients until just before spooning the mixture into the cavity of the bird, or into a casserole dish. The dressing should be moist, not dry, because heat destroys bacteria more rapidly in a moist environment.

The dressing should be placed immediately after preparation into an oven no lower than 325 degrees. A food thermometer should be used to ensure the stuffing reaches the safe internal minimum temperature of 165 degrees.

Regardless of whether you call it stuffing or dressing, chances are you look forward to this side dish all year long. Remember to keep the stuffing or dressing out of the “temperature danger zone” of 40 to 140 degrees. It is in this range that bacteria will grow most quickly. 

For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at

I love this crockpot dressing. It allows me to free up my oven of other foods and is always a favorite. 

Crock Pot Dressing

9x13-inch pan of cornbread                                       

4 eggs, beaten                                                

1 medium onion, chopped                                                     

1/2 cup celery, diced                                                                 

1 teaspoon salt                                                           

2 teaspoons sage

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 cans cream of chicken soup

2 cans of 4 cups chicken/turkey broth

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

In saucepan, sauté onion and celery in ¼ cup chicken broth. Spray inside of crock pot with non-stick cooking spray, or use crockpot liner. Mix all ingredients well in large mixing bowl and pour in crock pot liner, no more than two thirds full. Dot butter/margarine on top of dressing mixture. Cover tightly with the lid and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 3 to 4 hours, or until thermometer inserted into the center of the dressing reaches 165 degrees. Note:  Omit salt if you are using poultry seasoning.

By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609


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