Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing

Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing - Kosher Holiday Thanksgiving Recipe

Note: I have updated this recipe since originally posting it. I’ve added sausage as an optional ingredient, reduced the amount of olive oil, and improved the cooking method slightly. I highly recommend the sausage, which gives the stuffing a wonderful savory flavor– but if you’d prefer to keep it vegetarian, it’s still a great stuffing without it.

When Thanksgiving rolls around, we expect certain foods to be on the buffet. Like stuffing. Or dressing. Dressing, or stuffing? A stuffing by any other name…

Some people say that it should be called dressing unless it’s cooked inside the bird. But in our family, it’s always been called stuffing, so that’s what I call it. I don’t actually stuff my turkey, though. I follow the Alton Brown school of thought; he stuffs the turkey with aromatics, because he feels that stuffing draws moisture out of the bird (making the meat drier). But everybody expects a little stuffing with their Thanksgiving meal, whether you’re stuffing a turkey or not, so I like to prepare a batch in the slow cooker. This frees up oven space and makes the holiday prep just a little less manic. Knowing that the stuffing is slowly cooking, filling the air with delicious herby aroma, gives me one less thing to worry about.

I make my Thanksgiving stuffing with the ultimate Jewish bread– challah! When cubed and toasted, this eggy bread becomes the perfect sponge for savory chicken broth and herbs. This Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing doesn’t need butter or margarine (and those unnecessary calories) to taste great. It has plenty of flavor and mouth-watering aroma from fresh herbs, a good quality chicken broth, and sautéed vegetables.

Think of this stuffing recipe as a base; you can add unique touches to make it your own. Some people integrate different spices, dried cranberries or roasted turkey giblets. This year I’m thinking about adding some kosher Merguez sausage to mine for a spicy kick!

Tip: If you want an extra savory flavor in the stuffing, omit the 1 tsp salt added with the broth. Instead, dissolve 1 tsp of chicken consomme powder (or a bouillon cube) into the broth before adding to the challah cubes. Taste the stuffing and season with additional salt at the end of cooking, if desired– chicken powder can be quite salty, so be sure to taste and season with care.

So what do you call it… stuffing? Dressing? Or both?

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Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing - Kosher Holiday Thanksgiving Recipe

Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. turkey or chicken sausage, ground or removed from casing (optional)
  • 1 large challah (about 1 ½ lbs)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or 6 tbsp if not using sausage)
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. celery, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped (or 1 ½ tsp dried sage)
  • 1 tbsp fresh marjoram, chopped (or 1 ½ tsp dried marjoram)
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 tsp dried oregano)
  • 1 quart (4 cups) chicken broth
  • 1 lb. sliced white mushrooms
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper

You will also need

  • Large sauté pan, large skillet, mixing bowls (including one very large size), 5 to 6 quart crock pot or slow cooker
Prep Time: 35 Minutes
Cook Time: 4 Hours 30 Minutes
Total Time: 5 Hours 5 Minutes
Servings: 8-10 servings
Kosher Key: Meat
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the challah into ½ inch cubes. Spread the cubes out across two baking sheets.
  • Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing - Kosher Holiday Thanksgiving RecipePlace the trays in the oven for about 12 minutes, switching trays on racks halfway through cooking. The challah cubes should be toasted and slightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high. Add sausage to the pan and cook until browned. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon and reserve for later. If you are not using sausage, see note at the end of this recipe.
  • Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing - Kosher Holiday Thanksgiving RecipeAdd the onions, carrots and celery to the same pan and sauté for 5-6 minutes until softened and fragrant. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing - Kosher Holiday Thanksgiving RecipePour 2 ½ cups of chicken broth into the pan along with 1 tsp of salt and ½ tsp of black pepper. Remove from heat. Reserve remaining chicken broth.
  • Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing - Kosher Holiday Thanksgiving RecipeHeat the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a clean skillet over medium high heat. Add sliced mushrooms to the skillet. Sauté for 10 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to brown and shrink in size. Remove from heat. You may need to cook the mushrooms in two batches depending on the size of your skillet.
  • Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing - Kosher Holiday Thanksgiving RecipeIn a very large mixing bowl, combine challah cubes, sausage, vegetable/chicken broth mixture, mushrooms and herbs. Stir to blend all ingredients, making sure the challah cubes are evenly moistened. Add the beaten eggs to the mixture and stir until they are fully incorporated into the stuffing. The mixture may seem dry now, but wait to add more broth until it’s had a chance to cook—the liquid will slowly be absorbed by the bread.
  • Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing - Kosher Holiday Thanksgiving RecipeSpray the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray; then pour in the challah mixture.
  • Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing - Kosher Holiday Thanksgiving RecipeSet slow cooker on high heat and cover the pot. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and stir to redistribute the liquid throughout the stuffing, then check the stuffing for dryness. If it still seems dry, drizzle a little more broth over the top of the stuffing and stir again. Return the lid and reduce heat to low.
  • Let cook on low for 4 hours, checking and stirring every hour to make sure the stuffing isn’t too dry. If it is, add more broth—carefully, as it can easily go from the right texture to overly wet and mushy.
  • After 4 hours, stir, taste, and add more salt or pepper, if desired. Switch to warm setting until ready to serve.
  • Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing - Kosher Holiday Thanksgiving RecipeVariation: If you prefer to make your stuffing without sausage, skip that step and begin by first sautéing the onions, carrots and celery in 6 tbsp of olive oil, then continue the recipe as written, omitting the sausage.
  • Challah Slow Cooker Stuffing - Kosher Holiday Thanksgiving Recipe

Comments (117)Post a Comment

    1. Hi Barbara, I’m not sure about the pumpkin challah– the spices and slight sweetness might clash a bit with the savory broth and herbs here. That said, it might be excellent! I’m just not sure and it’s difficult to imagine all of those various flavors together. If you try it will you please report back and let us know how it goes?

  1. With the callah, I prefer to user my toaster over rather than my regular oven, besides my turkey will be in the oven. With a toaster over the bread will toast a few minutes faster. The second thing here is I like to use turkey stock/ broth in my stuffing.

    1. Hi Lisa, I wouldn’t make all of it ahead due to the fact that eggs are added to the warm mixture, which can cause a food safety concern if not cooked right away. If you want to make some elements of the stuffing a day ahead, toast the challah cubes and chop up your veggies in advance. This will cut the prep time down to only 15-20 minutes.

  2. I love this idea and plan to use my slow cooker. I don’t love sage; any suggestions for other spices.
    My mom used to make the stuffing and put it in the bird. I will cook it on the side, but since she is no longer with me, I need to invent it myself. Never got that recipe.
    thanks

  3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi Tori this looks great and I’d love to try but is the sausage optional? or did you just mean it;s option to take it out of the casing. I have a lot of trouble finding chicken or turkey sausage that isn’t in pork casing :(
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Martha, the sausage is optional. If you’re having trouble locating non-pork sausage, try a kosher market, where all of the sausage sold will be non-pork (both sausage and casing).

  4. Well, just made your challah dough, both for Shabbat tonight and TDay. Using your recipe with about 5.5 C of flour – a mix of bread flour, regular and some Whole wheat. My plan is to put one aside to then use for the stuffing.
    Should I freeze the challah whole today, then defrost Tues. nite in order to make the challah cubes on Wednesday? Will put the stuffing in slow cooker on Thursday.
    Also, did you use a raw type of sausage versus the smoked/sort of pre-cooked chicken sausages? I have never put meat in stuffing but this sounds interesting if it is chicken sausage.
    I am planning on using this challah and some real rye bread for the bread cubes. BTW, this stuffing is my favorite…..other than one that I grew up with, a sort of matza meal, potato, oats strange sort of kishke like taste, but have not been able to tastily make it outside of the bird. Have you ever made a kishke stuffing? Thanks, probably too many questions…..

    1. Hi Sharon, sorry for the delayed response. For future reference, freezing the challah ahead of time and defrosting before using it would be fine. I used raw turkey sausage links and removed the meat from the casing before browning in the skillet. You could use any kind of kosher sausage including Merguez for a spicy kick. I have not made a kishke stuffing.

    1. You can omit them Joy. I’ve never enjoyed sweet stuff in my stuffing personally, but if you like that sort of thing then the apples might be nice. Totally a personal preference here. :)

  5. Hi Tori!
    So I’m once again stalking this site daily, preparing for our community thanksgivukuh dinner. I’m so excited to try the recipes I’ve chosen so far (and I’ve been doing some trial-runs – those curry veg latkes, mmm!!). What do you suggest for doing larger amounts? I’m cooking for about 50 people, and though I was initially attracted to this slow-cooker stuffing recipe, I wonder if it’ll take too many batches in my crock-pot to be worth it. Should I rather go for an oven-baked version? And does this stuff keep well? I’d love to be able to do SOME things in advance, but for turkey and latkes that’s obviously out of the question…

    1. Hi Batya, here’s an oven baked version if you prefer: link to theshiksa.com I don’t recommend making stuffing ahead, in my experience it tastes so much better freshly cooked. Maybe you can borrow a slow cooker or two to have several batches going? That’s a big group you’ve got there!

  6. I just made my first batch of dressing. I’ve always had dressing made from seasoned bread crumbs, so I think I’ll add the appropriate seasoning to my challah dough before baking next time. Today is our Thanksgiving pot luck at work, so I took advantage of the opportunity to do a test run! Truly homemade dressing – I made the challah AND chicken stock! Just not the sausage, although I’ve done that before. Looking forward to lunch – I have the crock pot on my desk so I can stir occasionally, and the smell is about to drive me nuts! It’s all I can do not to pick at it, like I would do at home.

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks so delicious! Can’t wait to try it out. Just wondering, have you ever sautéed the veggies a day before? I’m thinking of sticking them in the fridge with chicken broth to save time?

    1. Hi Caitlyn, I haven’t but I actually might do that myself this year. I’m trying to cut down on prep the day of as much as possible. I don’t think it will be a problem at all. Good luck!

  8. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Love many of your recipes and your thoughts. As you share so much I would be pleased to share the secret ingredient in my stuffing, that is always a requested and crowd pleasing dish
    always moist and delicious

    I also have a few other additions that I alwayss add to you basics.
    Grated apple, chopped pecans
    Less carrot and celery
    For years I have used challah. An d I Also mix breadss.

    Optional additions. fruit. I have used craisins, Or chopped apricots, and yesterday I had dried cherries so chopped and used them. At thanksgiving I roast and add chestnuts
    . Also have used waterchwstnuts they give great texture

    As to cooking I have a heavy rectangular ceramic terrine. I use this. A loaf pan can be used. I bake this. For serving turn out you have a loaf that allows you to slice and serve, and makes a beautiful presentation Feel free to share these thoughts if you would like.

    The zucchini suggestion was mad to me when I was a young newly we’d. In those days we still stuffed our birds. That was over 40 years ago. Once stuffing the bird went out of favor it took me several years to come up with the terrine I have to say over the yearsvitnhas been a great investment.

    Enjoy

  9. Made this yesterday, and it was fabulous! I toasted the challah and chopped everything on wednesday and put it all in the crockpot on Thanksgivukkah. I left out the mushrooms and used veggie broth because of a vegetarian in the fam. I think everyne liked it. All I know is my husband loved it! I don’t really like stuffing, and I loved it. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    1. Also, i sauteed the veggies and put them in the broth the day before. I did keep the herbs separate though.

    2. I made it yesterday too– it is my favorite way to make stuffing now. I love that it frees up the oven for other things, and the results are consistently delish. The only trouble was I kept snacking on stuffing as we cooked, and I barely had room for dinner!

  10. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This stuffing was unbelievable. All through the cooking process the smell of the herbs was just delicious. When I served it at our thanksgivukkuh dinner people were raving about my ‘turkey dish’. Not being an American crowd they aren’t used to turkey any more than they are to stuffing… but were shocked to discover that it was meat-free! (I opted out of using sausages simply because I forgot to buy any :) )
    I did a double recipe, which just-just fit into my slow-cooker, but it cooked like a dream and was simply yum!

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