Buttery brioche stuffing is a savory vegetarian stuffing for the holidays and a delicious side dish any time of year. Serve it with vegetarian meals or with turkey, roasted chicken or sausage.
Stuffing just might be my favorite dish on the Thanksgiving table. But you don't have to wait for Thanksgiving to make this brioche stuffing!
The fluffy, buttery texture of brioche makes stuffing that is rich in the middle and delicately crispy around the edges. The slightly sweet flavor is just so perfect with the savory additions of leeks, celery, and seasoning.
As much as I love this vegetarian stuffing, I have to admit that the savory flavor of sausage, turkey or roasted chicken are really delicious alongside brioche stuffing. Veggie sausages are great served alongside this stuffing too!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Brioche: Made with butter and eggs, brioche is both rich and fluffy with a slightly sweet flavor. It really makes this stuffing special. But you could substitute challah or white sandwich bread.
Leeks: Leeks have a milder, more delicate flavor than regular onions. They lean towards sweet instead of sharp, which is why leeks are so good in this stuffing. If necessary, you can substitute a sweet onion.
Celery: It's hard to pinpoint what celery adds to stuffing, but I never make stuffing without it!
Olive oil and butter: Olive oil is used to bake the brioche into crunchy croutons and butter is used to saute the veggies. I suppose you could use olive oil for both for a slightly less rich stuffing.
Thyme: I use fresh thyme, which has more flavor than dried. You could substitute minced fresh sage.
Poultry seasoning: This seasoning has all the quintessential flavors of stuffing. It's a blend of finely ground dried thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper and nutmeg. If you can't find poultry seasoning (sold at most grocery stores) you can use dried sage and/or rosemary.
Final Step: Bake the brioche stuffing for 25 minutes covered in foil. Bake another 25 minutes without foil until nicely browned on top.
Best bread for stuffing
The best bread for stuffing depends on the type of flavor you want the stuffing to have. Challah, brioche and cornbread give stuffing a slightly sweet flavor. Sourdough bread gives stuffing a tangy flavor. Regular white sandwich bread, French or Country Bread have a more neutral flavor and let the other ingredients in the stuffing stand out.
No matter what type of bread is used, it's important to dry the bread out before making stuffing.
How to dry bread for stuffing
Many recipes dry bread out on the counter overnight before starting a stuffing recipe. I've found that this extra step isn't really necessary. Instead, just lightly toast pieces of torn bread in the oven, to dry the bread out and lightly toast it. Seriouseats.com agrees with me!
The reason that dry, toasted bread is used for stuffing is that it absorbs all the moisture (and therefore flavor) in stuffing without getting soggy.
*the information below about stuffing and food safety can be found on the USDA.gov website under "Tips for Handling Stuffing with Care"
Not really. What you can do is prepare the dry and wet ingredients separately but do not mix the dry and wet ingredients together ahead of time. Wait until right before you are ready to bake the stuffing. This is because uncooked stuffing is a moist environment that makes it easier for bacteria to grow, even in a refrigerator.
Yes. I usually reheat individual servings in the microwave. A pan of cooked stuffing can be reheated in the oven, covered with foil, at 350 degrees until warmed (20 to 30 minutes).
If the leftover stuffing seems dry before you reheat it, you can drizzle ¼ cup of broth over the stuffing before putting it in the oven.
For food safety, stuffing should be reheated to 165 degrees (use a digital thermometer to test the middle of the pan)
Baked stuffing should be eaten within 2 hours if kept at room temperature. Or, it can be baked up to 24 hours ahead of time, cooled and kept in the refrigerator, then reheated before serving.
To reheat, tightly cover the stuffing with foil and put it in a 350 degree oven. You can take the foil off for the last 10 minutes to crisp up the top, just keep an eye on the stuffing so it doesn't burn. Brioche burns more easily than other types of bread.
For food safety, the stuffing should reach a temperature of 165 degrees (use a digital thermometer to test the middle of the pan).
Cooked stuffing, kept in the refrigerator, should be eaten within 3 days.
Cooked stuffing can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. It's best to freeze it in a dish that can go directly into the oven. Frozen stuffing can be reheated directly from the freezer, covered with foil, in a 325 degree oven until warmed.
I haven't tried cooking this stuffing inside of a turkey. If you do, loosely fill the turkey cavity with stuffing - don't pack it in. Put the stuffing in the turkey right before the turkey goes into the oven. The oven should be set at a minimum of 325 degrees, according to the USDA. The bird and stuffing must both reach a safe temperature of 165 degrees before they are safe to eat.