Dressing or Stuffing? There’s Still No Definitive Answer!

You can count on some debates to go on without an end. One of them is the fight over whether that famous Thanksgiving side dish is dressing or stuffing.

With Thanksgiving Day just days away, people are up in arms again, fighting over dressing or stuffing.

I wrote about this years ago and said this:

What’s funny to me about it is the passion people feel for what to call the concoction. If you grew up calling it dressing, that’s what it’s called, no matter what. If your family called it stuffing, nothing else will do.

That’s still very much true.

There have been theories introduced over the years, but none ever fully hit the mark.

One of the most common suggests that northerners say stuffing while southerners say dressing. But a 2017 study by Butterball found that only eight southern states prefer the name dressing over stuffing. Believe it or not, Nevada and Washington state also prefer it that way. That shoots down the geographical theory as a definitive explanation. 

Others suggest that stuffing contains bread (or bread crumbs) as a primary ingredient while cornbread is the key ingredient for dressing. This one might be as good an explanation as any: my grandmother’s dressing recipe had a base in cornbread, not bread crumbs.

But the most common — and often, the most obnoxiously-delivered — theory suggests that it’s stuffing if it’s cooked inside the turkey and dressing if it’s cooked separately

On the surface, that explanation makes sense.

Until you see boxes of Stove Top Stuffing — not Stove Top Dressing — in the grocery store. Stove Top is cooked in a pot, not inside the bird.

You’ll have to take up that fight with them.

No matter what you call it, I hope you enjoy it and the other delicious recipes as you spend quality time with your family and friends! 

1 Comment

  1. Many folks born and raised around here call it filling. (central Pennsylvania) I call it stuffing, though. More people understand what I mean when I use that word.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.