Ina Garten's Tip For Turning Stuffing Into A Savory Bread Pudding

The argument regarding the best dish served at Thanksgiving dinner is always a yearly debate among families, and there's no question that "team stuffing" is usually one of the top contenders. If you think about it, it really does make sense as to why — stuffing is essentially an empty canvas waiting to be embellished with whatever seasonings, fruits, vegetables, and fillings fit your own personal liking. There are a million ways to make stuffing, but one thing most of us can agree on is that there's always a way to make it better.

One fantastic tip to consider when it comes to enhancing stuffing comes from Ina Garten. Per the cook's Instagram, Garten recommends making a savory stuffing bread pudding casserole instead of stuffing the turkey with regular dressing. By doing this, you're preventing dryness in both the turkey and the stuffing and are left with stuffing that has a warm and crispy crust and a creamy, custardy bottom. On the other hand, turkey actually cooks slower when it is stuffed, so cooking it without stuffing inside cuts down on oven exposure time and the risk of drying out the turkey.

This tip works much like the way a traditional bread pudding is made: Pouring a creamy custard mixture over pieces of dry, shredded bread. However, instead of a sweet custard, it should focus on savory ingredients.

Turning leftover stuffing into bread pudding

If Thanksgiving has come and gone and you're left with dry, boring, cold stuffing in the following days, you can still put Ina Garten's bread pudding tip into action. The only difference here is that you would add the custard mixture onto your already-made stuffing, as opposed to pouring it over dry pieces of bread. This brings a new life to leftover stuffing, and the bread is still able to absorb the liquids from the custard, canceling out any dryness it may have attained from being in the fridge. Just to be on the safe side, though, we recommend adding in a few more extra pieces of stale, shredded, dry bread to soak up any excess liquid and prevent sogginess.

You can definitely play around with what ingredients you make the custard out of. Traditional ingredients for savory custard include heavy cream and melted cheese, so working with various cheese options like cheddar, parmesan, provolone, or other variations that melt well is all fair game. Start by spreading out your leftover stuffing in a baking dish along with extra pieces of dried-out bread. Then, in a saucepan, whisk together your cheese of choice, eggs, heavy cream, and salt and pepper. Heat this on low until everything is melted and combined into a creamy custard. Pour that over the top of the stuffing, and bake until the casserole is puffed and the custard is set — about 65 to 75 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.