In the Library with Toni Tipton-Martin: Dressing versus Stuffing

In this video, Toni Tipton-Martin tackles the age-old question: What (exactly) is the difference between Thanksgiving dressing and stuffing?

Published Nov. 16, 2023.

The practice of stuffing birds and other meats with a seasoned bread mixture is an ancient one. Archeologists in Iraq uncovered a 3,700-year-old clay tablet that was inscribed with several poultry recipes, one of which was for a roasted bird served with softened bread. 

A more modern topic is a question that’s been hotly debated around many Thanksgiving tables: What exactly is the difference between dressing and stuffing?

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One theory sparked by a clue in a James Beard cookbook is that stuffing is cooked inside the bird, whereas dressing is prepared outside the bird. 

There is also a regional debate. No matter how the dish is prepared, the term “dressing” is more commonly used in the South. And in other parts of the country, the terms seem to be used interchangeably. 

Cooks Countrys Editor in Chief Toni Tipton-Martin gives a more detailed story in the video below. 

No matter what you call it, the stuffing/dressing on your Thanksgiving table is part of a long culinary tradition.

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