It’s called “stuffing” if it goes IN the turkey, and “dressing” if it is cooked outside the bird in a pan. There are as many recipes for stuffing/dressing as people. Your favorite recipe may include chestnuts, apricots, cornbread, bagels, even White Castle hamburgers.
How you cook your preferred bread-based side can be an epic success or fail. Here are some easy tips to keep in mind:
- Set out bird and stuffing for 30-60 minutes prior to allow all to come to room temperature
- Stuff the bird right before you're putting it in the oven
- Use a "stuffing bag" or cheesecloth as a holder for the stuffing while it cooks in the bird and making it easier to remove the stuffing when serving.
- Test your bird. Stuffed birds take 30-60 minutes longer to cook in the oven (and may dry out the turkey more). So if you’re tight on time, dressing is the way to go.
- DO NOT stuff your bird if you’ve brined it or plan on deep frying or smoking it.
- Cover the pan in the oven
- Place the pan in a larger pan and add 1" of water. This keeps moisture in the oven and ensures your dressing doesn't dry out.
- Put the dressing in the oven when the turkey comes out to "rest" after cooking.