This easy oyster stuffing is made with smoked oysters, and is an easy, affordable, and delicious twist on classic oyster stuffing.
I did not grow up eating stuffing.
If stuffing (or dressing) was on the menu, it always-- ALWAYS-- lost out to mashed potatoes. (Even as a child, I only wanted one carb-licious item per meal.)
And then I got married.
And my husband's eyes light up at the mention of stuffing.
When boxes of pre-made stuffing begin to be featured in tall pyramids in grocery stores each fall, they also begin mysteriously showing up in my pantry-- stocked by a carb-eager hubbie.
He loves stuffing.
And so, when my friend Cynthia mentioned that she was making her grandmother's oyster stuffing-- I knew I needed the recipe!
This is her family recipe-- with a few adjustments.
I also checked in with my friend Amanda-- the stuffing-master over at Striped Spatula-- for help when the family recipe was unclear.
Smoked Oyster Stuffing vs. Fresh Oyster Stuffing
The biggest change I made to her family recipe was to swap fresh oysters for tinned smoked oysters.
Mostly because fresh oysters are almost impossible to find where I live. And if I can find them-- they're pricey.
Also, I happen to adore smoked oysters.
If you have easy access to fresh oysters, check the recipe card notes for directions on how to use them.
What Kind of Bread Should I Use?
I used a country Italian loaf-- which is a fancy way to say I used a whole wheat Italian loaf.
You could also use a white Italian loaf, a French loaf, or cornbread.
Can I Add Extra Veggies?
If you want fluffy stuffing, I don't recommend adding more than the recipe calls for.
If there are too many add-ins, they don't incorporate well, and you'll end up with heavy pockets of veggies.
Can I Cook this Inside a Bird?
I'm not sure if you've noticed, but we don't cook a lot of poultry around here!
For in-bird stuffing directions, check out this Cranberry Pecan Stuffing recipe from Striped Spatula.
Can I Make This Ahead of Time?
Absolutely. Check the recipe card for directions.
How to Make Smoked Oyster Stuffing
Start by toasting some bread in the oven.
Cook it until it feels dry to the touch (about 10 minutes).
While the bread toasts, cook onions and celery along with some spices.
Cook the veggies until the onions softens.
Next, add the bread cubes and the cooked veggies, along with smoked oysters, an egg, and some herbs to a mixing bowl.
Toss them together.
Slowly pour broth into the mixture, and stir until the bread absorbs the broth.
Finally, transfer the stuffing mixture into a casserole dish and bake the oyster stuffing until it's golden.
Smoked Oyster Stuffing
- 12 ounce country Italian loaf (whole wheat Italian loaf)
- 8 ounces smoked oysters (2 tins), packing oil discarded
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 egg
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stems
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable broth, divided
Toast the Bread:
- Preheat oven to 325ºF.Dice the bread into small cubes (½ inch - ¾ inch).Set breadcrumbs onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake about 10 minutes, or until the bread is toasted, and no longer feels moist to the touch.
Cook the Veggies:
- While the bread toasts, melt the butter over medium heat.When the butter melts, add the onions, celery, paprika, nutmeg, and salt to the pan. Cook until softened (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat.
Make the Stuffing:
- Increase the oven temperature to 375ºF.
- Optionally, roughly chop the oysters.Tip: Leave the oysters whole for larger bites of oyster. Chop to distribute the oysters more evenly throughout the stuffing.
- Add the oysters, bread cubes, veggies and butter, egg, and thyme to a large mixing bowl. Stir to incorporate.
- Slowly pour 1 cup of the broth into the mixing bowl, stirring as you pour. Add broth until the bread has absorbed most of the liquid. (This may take a few minutes.)
- Scoop the stuffing into an 8"x8" casserole dish.
- Drizzle the remaining ¼ cup of broth over the stuffing.Tip: If you're planning on cooking the stuffing inside a bird, skip this step.
- Cover the dish with foil, and bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake another 15-20 minutes, until the top is crispy and golden.
- Leftovers:Refrigerate and use within 2-3 days.Make Ahead + Freeze:Wrap dish tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat at 325°F for about 15 minutes (or until warm).
- Use fresh oysters instead of smoked + canned oysters. Reserve the liquid from inside the oysters, and use it instead of (or instead of part of) the broth.
- Swap whole milk or cream for the broth (or for a portion of the broth).