Purpose of eggs in stuffing?

kel3November 16, 2012

Can someone explain to me the purpose of putting eggs in stuffing? Does it change the texture or add to the flavor? In other words, is it necessary? I'm also wondering if the egg actually gets "done" in a large pan of stuffing baked in the oven.

Also, I am searching for a stuffing recipe that uses something like a pepperidge farm stuffing mix that you add to (although nothing with any kind of meat added). Anybody have a tried and true basic, very moist stuffing recipe they could share? I had some once that was delicious that I was told had cream of mushroom soup in it but didn't get the recipe.

Thanks for any help with this! :)

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My understanding, flawed though it may be, is that the eggs work as a "binder" so it can hold together and instead of being a bunch of loose bread cubes, onions, etc flopping around, it can come out as a piece, vaguely similar to pulling a cornbread or cake out of a pan. It's like the eggs and bread fillers in a meatloaf.

The best way to tell if the eggs are cooked is to use a thermometer and be sure it's at a safe temperature. Eggs don't need high temperature to cook but I'm more concerned about turkey juices and that in a stuffing getting to a high enough temperature.

Can't help you with the recipe request. I'm collecting different recipes but have none that fit your search. Someone here might have it. I'll do some looking though and see what I can come up with.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 4:16PM
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I think egg adds richness to stuffing....and I cook it before I add to the stuffing.

Sometimes I will make a stuffing like this....in a huge frying pan...
Sautee a cup of chopped onion and a cup of chopped celery in 2 sticks of butter until very soft.
Add a 16 oz package of pepperidge farms herb stuffing mix and 2 cups of your own bread crumbs( I use my french bread, grated and then dried to crispy) I add 1/2 tsp dried sage, 2 T dry parsley and 2 cups of chicken broth wisked with 3 eggs, add to the still cooking stuffing, cook and stir and keep adding more broth until it's the consistancy you like....may take more than a quart. Then I finish off with the juice os a small lemon and a fairly good amount of black pepper.
The stuffing should be hot enough to cook the egg....put it into the bird and pop it into the oven!!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 4:19PM
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Oh, and another thing about whether eggs are done, think of the breakfast casseroles, which, when you think about it, are similar to a stuffing. The bread, eggs, sausage, onion, etc, are cooked in a pan and the eggs set up nicely and are cooked plenty. I don't think you have any fear that way.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 4:19PM
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I would assume eggs are a binder in it. My grandma's recipe is one large loaf of bread tOrn onto Pieces and dried. Two wrap ks of celery one onion salt pepper and sage and an egg. Mom always ran everything but the bread and seasoning thru the blender. Put the dry bread in a large bowl. Salt pepper sage ( dried) then pour the milk egg celery onion mix over and mix. Add more milk as needed for the moistness you want. Stuff your bird or put in a pan and bake covered. For drier more crisp top remove cover for maybe 15-20 min before done. I have no idea for a temp for doneness for you. I usually bake it about an hour. Sorry for any typos. I'm on my phone.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 4:22PM
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You can use pepperidge farm stuffing mix in mine. I do it all the time. I buy the unseasoned. Also you can use chicken broth in place of the milk.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 4:27PM
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The eggs are definitely a binder and act similarly to the way they do in a souffle. The stuffing will be crumbly and fall apart without the eggs. I sometimes make a very quick stuffing using grits in place of cornbread, and my family likes it very much:

Grits Faux Cornbread Stuffing

2 tbsp vegetable oil or grape seed oil
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 cups finely chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
1 tbsp soup base, mushroom, chicken, vegetable, or a combination
1/8 tsp cayenne or hot sauce
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1-2 tsp dried sage (according to your taste)
3/4 cup quick grits (be sure not to use "instant") - can substitute polenta
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
2 cups dry bread, in small cubes

In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add the onion, celery, and garlic, and saute for a few minutes, or until the onions begin to be translucent. The celery must stay crunchy. Add the water (or broth, if you have it), soup base, cayenne, and herbs, and stir to combine. Take the pan off heat, and add the quick grits slowly while stirring. Stir for one minute off heat, and return to low heat. Cover and cook five minutes more (for a total of six minutes), stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the eggs with the 1/4 cup water, and then combine with the bread cubes. Transfer the bread to a 9x9 baking dish, add the cooked grits, and stir to combine.

Bake covered for about 10 minutes - longer if the grits have been made ahead and have cooled. If you like it less moist, you can bake it uncovered. If you want it more moist, add more chicken broth.

I frequently now make this recipe with cornbread instead of grits, but my method is similar. For a large group, I double the recipe. I bake the cornbread the day before in a cast iron skillet, and the recipe uses cornmeal, eggs, and buttermilk but has no sugar or wheat flour.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 5:10PM
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I have never put eggs in my stuffing and never had crumbly stuffing. I don't believe it's necessary.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 5:49PM
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I don't think it's necessary if you are stuffing the turkey, but if you are baking it separate it does help to keep it moist and less crumbly.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:29PM
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I don't get the eggs, either. Seems to me if the stuffing/dressing resembles the crouton bowl at a salad bar, it's simply too dry. Remoistened stale bread binds itself. And IMO a traditional Thanksgiving meal needs no help in the form of richness. Even sausage in stuffing is borderline criminal to me, much as I love it!

Those opinion aside, I agree with cynic, when it comes to food safety I'd be a million times more concerned about the turkey and its juices than the eggs.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 6:53PM
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If your stuffing contains a lot of cornbread (and especially cornbread made without flour), it will be crumbly without eggs, but if you omit cornbread, you can get away with not using eggs. I personally have never made stuffing without cornbread.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 7:21PM
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Tami, that's much like my Grandma's stuffing. She'd melt a chunk of butter, then saute a couple of onions and some chopped celery in it. She'd "save" stale bread and the "heels" of loaves, cube them and toast them and keep them for the stuffing. The melted butter and seasoning mix went over the bread cubes with salt and papper, a couple of eggs were added, then enough broth to make the stuffing sufficiently moist. Stuff that into the turkey and bake the whole she-bang. She said the eggs helped the stuffing to stay moist, my family likes it very moist so I put them in.

elery grew up on cornbread stuffing and his version also has eggs. As cynic stated, I'd be more owrried about the turkey juices cooking thoroughly than the eggs. I would assume that salmonella is the concern with the eggs, and that's killed at 165F, if it was ever present to begin with.

kel, I don't see any reason why Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix couldn't be used in place of the bread, I've just never done it that way.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 8:41PM
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Somewhere I read. . . but then I could have made it up, that if you put eggs in a precooked dish it should not go into the freezer.

I would like to make my stuffing, haven't decided on the egg or not yet, and sweet potato casserole, with an egg, and freeze them before baking. Do you see any problem with this?

Due to physical problems I need to do things early and in steps. If they're not frozen, how long would they keep in the refrigerator? We're having our Thanksgiving on Saturday.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:22AM
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The only time I've seen using eggs in a stuffing recipe is when I was searching for a slow-cooker stuffing recipe.

After making the recipe the first time, 2 years ago, it's the only way I make dressing now.....in the slow-cooker. It calls for an egg.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 1:00PM
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There are lots of stuffing/dressing recipes, and many do not call for eggs. Just check our different recipes if the eggs have you concerned. And I think worrying about the eggs being "done" is like worrying about the eggs in a cake being done. Not an issue.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 2:07PM
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I have never added eggs to stuffing.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 5:25PM
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One of the best turkey dressing I ever ate had cooked pork sausage, mushrooms, chopped hard boiled eggs, the usual assortment of sage and thyme and parsley, corn bread and dried bread....celery and onions and who knows what else.
It's long process but is the best stuffing I have ever eaten.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 5:46PM
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I have never added eggs to stuffing.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 6:36PM
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Never added eggs to stuffing but for some reason, was just thinking about doing so this year to see what happens.

And I always make cornbread for the stuffing and it's never crumbly. Just moisten it with some broth. If you marinated your turkey, you can also use some of that but be careful because a little goes a long way and you'll also be using some in your gravy if you use the pan drippings. Same thing if you're going to use cut up pieces of bread. If you're using something from a box, I have no clue.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 7:43PM
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Thank you all so much for your thoughts and responses! Gosh, you guys/gals are the best! :)

So, it sounds like the eggs are just for a "binder" and not flavor etc. Think I might try it just to see if I notice any difference. And like one of you said, it's really not any different than eggs getting "done" in a cake--hadn't thought of it that way.

Tami and Annie-- your recipes sound like they are what I was looking for.

Jasdip--would you mind sharing the slow cooker recipe? That would be such an oven space saver. I would really like to try that!

Thanks again to each and every one of you that took the time to respond!

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 11:46PM
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If you use cornbread made with wheat flour, you will get different results than if you use cornbread made without flour, which is what I prefer. This is the recipe for cornbread that I use when making stuffing. It's very typical for Texas but may not be as common in the North.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 4:26AM
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Kel3, here is my slow cooker recipe. My mom and I have always added leftover cooked rice to the dressing, so I toss that in there as well.

The first time I made it, everyone raved about it, and I've cooked it this way ever since.

Slow-Cooker Stuffing/Dressing

1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
12 cups dry bread cubes
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 1/2 cups chicken broth, or as needed
2 eggs, beaten

Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Cook onion, celery, and parsley in butter, stirring frequently.

Spoon cooked vegetables over bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl. Season with poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram, and salt and pepper. Pour in enough broth to moisten, and mix in eggs.

Spray slow-cooker with non-stick spray and transfer mixture to slow cooker.
Cook on High for 45 minutes, then reduce heat to Low, and cook for about 4 hours.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 7:41AM
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Publickman that's the real deal. A few years ago I started adding the stuffing ingredients directly to that - fried up some onions, added sage and thyme and such from the garden. You get more intensity of flavor in the stuffing that way. And this year I kept some sweet corn from the last ears of the season - cut the kernels off and froze them. Can't stand the frozen corn you buy in the supermarket - I tried it once but ended up throwing it out into the compost pile.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Thanks jasdip! I think I'm going to try this!

My sister was originally hosting Thanksgiving this year but is now unable to so it is now going to be at my house. She brought over 3 bags of the pepperidge farm herb seasoned stuffing mix that I would really like to use if I can. Do you think I could use this for the stuffing? If so, would I just cut back on the seasonings? It feels (haven't opened one) that its more like crumbs rather than bread cubes--any problem with that?

Thanks again! :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 7:39PM
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