About Cheesy Beer Bacon Stuffing
When it comes to comforting side dishes, this Bacon Beer Cheese Stuffing hits all the marks.
And by marks, I mean the three crucial flavor profiles that simply make any dish better.
First, there’s the bacon. Because, well… bacon. I don’t think I really need to sell you on the deliciousness of bacon, but if I do, just imagine everything amazing about savory meats in the form of a crispy culinary treat. It just makes everything better, and there’s a hefty portion of it in this stuffing.
Is there a difference between stuffing and dressing?
If you want to get technical, “stuffing” is supposed to refer to whatever is actually stuffed inside the main dish (such as stuffing the cavity of turkey or chicken). And by classic standards, a bread-based side that’s baked in a dish is usually called “dressing.”
But despite that, you’ll find areas all over the United States who will prefer to call this stuffing so that it isn’t confused with a liquid sauce dressing (like ranch, thousand island, etc). And then you’ll find whole pockets of the southern United States who will refuse to use the word “stuffing” because of how unpleasant it sounds.
So, what should you call a dish like this, then?
In the end, you can call it whatever makes the most sense to you. Neither is wrong and everyone will know what you mean. And this is exactly what I do when I cook stuffing for company: we all use our favorite word, multiple times a day, as if there’s a competition going on (there is) and whoever says their word the most wins (I will totally win).
Can you use precooked bacon?
Yes, you totally can!
The bacon in this Thanksgiving stuffing recipe is cooked within the dish, so it will heat and crisp up with the rest of the ingredients while in the oven.
However, if you’re concerned at all about the texture of the bacon, you could nuke it in the microwave (or even pan fry it for a few minutes) to take some of the moisture out and get it to a crispiness that you like.
How should you prepare the bread?
One of the keys to making delicious stuffing is a simple trick:
Cut the bread into bite-size pieces, then leave it out, uncovered, overnight.
This will allow the bread to dry out some, which is very important for the texture and flavor of stuffing. Even using slightly stale bread is okay. It gives the bread some crunch (but not too much) and encourages the bread to absorb flavors without becoming too mushy.
Can you make herb stuffing in advance?
Stuffing is typically made for big holiday dinners, and one of the keys to success is timing. With limited counter space and oven room, the more you can make in advance, the better.
You can make this recipe in advance, but it’s best to store it in parts. Such as:
- Store the bread separately. This should be the easy part, since you’re already leaving the bread on the counter overnight so that it dries out (see point above about bread). If the bread has dried out to your liking but it’s not ready to cook yet, just store it in a bag or sealed container until it’s time.
- Cook the veggie ingredients per recipe instructions (butter, celery, onion, beer, salt, pepper). Once prepared, transfer the ingredients to a sealed container, allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to move forward.
- If you’d like, cook and crumble the bacon in advance. Just keep in mind that refrigerated bacon can soften once chilled, which could make this an unappealing step to do in advance.
- Hold off on doing anything with the liquid ingredients (eggs, Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth). Those are mixed in just before baking, so there’s nothing you need to do in advance.
Can you freeze stuffing?
Yes, you totally can!
Once prepared and cooled to room temperature, herb stuffing can be stored in a sealed container or freezer bag for one to three months.
More great holiday side recipes
- Maple Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Waldorf Salad
- Maple Bacon Cornbread Muffins
- Cheesy Herb Stuffing
- Chicken Salad with Grapes
- Buttermilk Cornbread
notes & tips for this bacon stuffing
- For most stuffing recipes, you’ll need a trusty 9×13 baking dish. I like this one because not only is it good quality but it also makes a pretty serving dish.
- You’ll also need a large bowl for this recipe. I like this 13 quart mixing bowl because it’s light, easy to handle, and more than big enough for all the ingredients.
How to make cheesy beer bacon stuffing
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – Before you get started, make sure you’ve dried out your bread (see point above) and that you’ve cooked or crumbled your bacon (or you’re using precooked bacon).
Step 2 – Toss the butter in a skillet and allow it to melt. Add the celery, onions, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the veggies until tender.
Step 3 – Pour beer into the skillet and bring it back up to a simmer. Allow everything to cook until the liquid has reduced by half and it turns an opaque golden color. Remove the skillet from heat.
Step 5 – In a very large bowl (I like using a 13-quart mixing bowl), add the french bread, 1/2 of the bacon, 1/2 of the cheddar cheese, 1/2 of the thyme, and the sage. Pour in the cooked veggies, as well as the chicken broth mixture, then gently toss the mixture to coat the bread.
Step 7 – Cover with aluminum foil and bake. Remove the foil halfway through.
Step 8 – Serve and enjoy!
This post first appeared on The Slow Roasted Italian website (where I am a monthly contributor) and has been syndicated here.
Cheesy Beer Bacon Stuffing
This bacon beer cheese stuffing will kick your side dish game to the next level! Classic stuffing spiked with citrus beer, savory bacon, and cheddar cheese.
Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add celery and onions and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until veggies are tender.
Add beer to skillet and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is reduced by 1/2 and is an opaque golden color. Remove skillet from heat.
In a large mixing bowl, add French bread, 1/2 of the bacon, 1/2 cup mild cheddar, 1/2 tbsp thyme, and sage, then toss to mix. Pour beer buttery veggies and chicken broth mixture in the bowl and then gently mix until bread is thoroughly saturated.
Pour stuffing in prepared baking dish and gently smooth into an even layer. Garnish the top of the stuffing with the remaining bacon, mild cheddar, and thyme.
Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and cook for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until the top of stuffing is lightly crisp and golden brown.
Serve stuffing immediately.