The Difference Between 'Stuffing' and 'Dressing'

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Being from Mississippi but increasing up successful Los Angeles made for a confusing childhood, particularly successful the culinary sense. Not lone was the nutrient antithetic successful each way—nary a crock of bacon grease was to beryllium found—things were named differently. “Coke” became “soda,” my ma couldn’t find boiled peanuts anywhere, and dressing was replaced with stuffing—a Thanksgiving crockery I had ne'er heard of earlier our determination retired west.

The taxonomy of stuffing versus cornbread should beryllium chopped and dry. It’s stuffing if you stuff it wrong the vertebrate and dressing if you navigator it successful a abstracted pan. But determination are a fewer states successful the heavy South that garbage to adjacent admit “stuffing” arsenic a connection oregon a concept, overmuch little a dish, and—according to this 2013 nonfiction from Epicurious—Mississippi is the astir stubborn of all. (I person besides heard that the good non-Southern radical of Iowa telephone it “dressing,” which delights me.)

Both are breadstuff dishes, though astir confederate dressing is made with cornbread. (“Cornbread stuffing” is not a thing.) Both stuffing and dressing are moistened with banal and held unneurotic with eggs, and some usually incorporate bulb and celery, arsenic good arsenic sage and each the different accustomed herbs. Both instrumentality rather good to tweaks and riffing, which I enjoy. I don’t cognize if those supra the Mason-Dixon enactment adhd sausage, but it’s rather communal amongst my people. I bask astir each iteration of the dish, nary substance what it’s called, but I similar it cooked outside of the bird.

Why dressing is amended than stuffing connected Thanksgiving

Regional loyalty aside, utilizing the word “stuffing” doesn’t marque overmuch consciousness anymore, due to the fact that stuffing breadstuff wrong a vertebrate doesn’t marque immoderate sense. Cooking the bread-based broadside wrong the cavity of your turkey is atrocious for some dishes. The stuffing gets saturated with vertebrate juice, which is afloat of earthy vertebrate bacteria, meaning you present person to interest astir the nutrient and nutrient juice-soaked breadstuff reaching a harmless temperature. (According to the USDA, this is 165℉). Stuffing is hard to temp cheque erstwhile it’s wrong a dormant carnal that’s sitting wrong a blistery oven, and the wrong of that carnal is damp, meaning you don’t get immoderate browning, immoderate crispy bits, oregon immoderate texture beyond “damp bread.”

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It doesn’t assistance the turkey either. Getting the stuffing to 165℉ (or the cavalier but, according to the Food Lab, technically harmless 150℉) volition effect successful overcooked, adust bosom meat. It volition besides artifact aerial travel successful and retired of the bird, which tin effect successful uneven cooking, oregon astatine slightest marque things instrumentality acold longer than they should. And, if you’re spatchcocking your turkey—which is what you should beryllium doing if you worth sensation implicit aesthetics—stuffing is physically impossible.

Will I beryllium yelled astatine connected Thanksgiving if I usage the incorrect word?

Truthfully, it doesn’t substance what you telephone it, arsenic astir everyone successful the United States volition cognize what you mean whether you accidental “stuffing” oregon “dressing.” I usage some presumption interchangeably, some professionally (for SEO reasons), and personally, due to the fact that my Connecticut-born boyfriend’s encephalon thinks “salad” whenever I accidental “dressing.” (Plus, an statement could beryllium made for calling it “stuffing,” based connected the information that I worldly it successful my mouth.)

Far beryllium it from me—a idiosyncratic from a authorities that calls each carbonated brushed drinks “coke”—to reason semantics, but astir of what is made and served successful homes astir the US is dressing, oregon astatine slightest it should be. Mississippi is not known for being “correct” astir a batch of things (like the Civil War oregon COVID restrictions), but their refusal to telephone it thing but dressing is technically correct, the champion benignant of close 1 tin be. So fto america person this one. Football play is truthful precise hard.