With crisp bacon, savory mushrooms, and rosemary, this Chestnut Stuffing is a special Thanksgiving side dish on our family’s holiday table. We’ve been making it for nearly 10 years!
Thanksgiving is a BIG DEAL in my family.
We pull out the good china, agonize over which pumpkin dessert to make (my vote is Pumpkin Pecan Pie), and disagree over whether to serve Homemade Scalloped Potatoes or Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes (we usually make peace by preparing both).
One recipe that never ever changes is the stuffing.
It’s unique without losing the classic Thanksgiving touch that makes the holidays so special.
5 Star Review
“I never tire of creative dressing recipes, and this is delicious.”— Eileen —
My stepdad gets the credit for this recipe. Like my mom’s Glazed Sweet Potatoes, this stuffing is a little savory, a little salty, a little sweet, and a whole lotta YUM.
Chestnuts (which you can find in a can at most grocery stores this time of year) are peppered throughout, giving it rustic stuffing vibes.
A healthy sprinkling of fresh rosemary rounds off this stuffing and gives it that traditional Thanksgiving taste and aroma everyone loves.
(The only dish smelling better on Thanksgiving might be Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler baking in the oven.)
How to Make Chestnut Stuffing
This rustic chestnut stuffing with mushrooms, bacon, and prunes will quickly become a new favorite Thanksgiving side dish.
- Bread. Choose a hearty, crusty artisan-style loaf for the BEST thanksgiving stuffing. Sourdough, French bread, or whole grain wheat are all excellent options.
- Chestnuts. Unlike other nuts, chestnuts are loaded with vitamin C. They also contain healthy fats and antioxidants too.
- Mushrooms. For an earthy flavor that compliments the salty, savory bacon.
- Bacon. Choose thick-cut bacon for the meatiest, smoky flavor.
- Prunes. Don’t let their bad PR freak you out. Prunes (a.k.a. dried plums) add a chewy, sweet counterpoint to the boldness of the salty bacon and earthy mushrooms.
- Onions + Celery. Aromatic veggies that add flavor and depth.
- Chicken Stock. Necessary for keeping the stuffing moist while it bakes.
- Eggs. Helps bind everything together.
- Rosemary + Parsley. Gives the stuffing a little color, freshness, and that signature woodsy rosemary flavor.
- Toast the cubes until lightly golden.
- Sauté the mushrooms. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Cook the bacon pieces until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Sauté the onion, celery, salt, and pepper until softened, add some chicken stock, and then bring to a simmer.
- Pour the skillet contents over the bread cubes.
- Fold in the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a greased baking dish. Bake chestnut stuffing at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes. ENJOY!
Make-ahead stuffing tips
Get ahead on your Thanksgiving cooking with these make-ahead tips!
- Toast the Bread Ahead. The bread cubes may be toasted up to 1 day in advance. Store them in an air-tight container at room temperature.
- Cook the Mix-Ins Ahead. Sauté the mushrooms, crisp the bacon, and sauté the onions and celery the day before. Store in separate containers and refrigerate.
- Finish Up. On Thanksgiving Day, pick up at step 4 of the recipe directions. You’ll want to warm the chicken stock on the stovetop with the sautéed onions and celery and then finish as directed.
- Make the Recipe Ahead. Really crunched on the big day? You can make this chestnut stuffing 1 to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerate it. See the “Reheating Tips” box below for directions on warming.
- To Store. Leftover chestnut stuffing can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze. Chestnut stuffing may be kept in the freezer in an airtight storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To Reheat. Cover with foil and warm in a 350 degrees F oven until heated through. You may also microwave until steaming if reheating smaller, individual portions.
If you plan to make your chestnut stuffing ahead of time, here is the best way to warm it:
- Rehydrate. If the stuffing looks or feels dry, add a splash of stock before reheating to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
- Reheat. Remove it from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature so it will cook more evenly. Cover the pan with foil, then place it in a 350 degrees F oven and reheat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Crisp It. You can breathe life back into the crispy stuffing topping by uncovering the stuffing for the last 10-15 minutes of reheating. Alternatively, you could place it under the broiler for a few moments. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Sheet. For toasting bread, baking Dark Chocolate Cookies or others for dessert, and making amazing sheet pan dinners.
- Skillet. Investing in a quality cast-iron skillet was one of my best decisions ever.
- Mixing Bowls. I love this glass nesting set because it doesn’t take up too much cabinet space.
Salty, earthy, a little savory, and a little sweet, chestnut stuffing is a Thanksgiving side dish your entire family is sure to gobble. #sorrynotsorry
Frequently Asked Questions
Certainly! Swap in your favorite sturdy gluten free bread. Alternatively, this Crockpot Wild Rice Stuffing is a great gluten free option.
You can typically find chestnuts at your local grocery store during the holidays. Look in the produce section or the canned goods area. Otherwise, they’re typically readily available online on Amazon or specialty food retailers.
Eggs are important for stuffing because they help bind the ingredients together. However, if you need to omit the eggs due to allergy or dietary needs, you could do so. Just note that the texture and consistency of this stuffing will be slightly different (more crumbly). Add extra stock as needed for moisture.
- 1 loaf artisan-style bread such as sourdough (not sandwich bread), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/4 pounds or 12 cups cubes)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 pound sliced cremini baby bella mushrooms
- 8 ounces thick-cut bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 4 celery stalks thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3-4 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- (7- to 8-oz) jars peeled cooked whole chestnuts halved (4 cups)
- 1 1/2 cups prunes pitted and quartered
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes in an even layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until the cubes are lightly toasted, about 12 minutes, stirring twice during the baking to ensure they toast evenly. Let the cubes cool, then place them in a very large mixing bowl. Increase the oven’s temperature to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch dish with baking spray and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium. Saute the mushrooms until browned and they have given up their juices, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Return the skillet to the heat, then add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the bacon pieces and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 7-10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pieces to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet. Increase the heat to medium-high, then add the onion, celery, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and soft, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Once the stock is hot, pour the skillet contents over the bread cubes.
- Let the bread mixture cool for a few minutes until it is no longer hot, then add the mushrooms, chestnuts, prunes, beaten eggs, parsley, and rosemary. The mixture should be very wet, so add additional chicken stock as needed.
- Transfer the stuffing to a prepared baking dish. Coat a large piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray, then use it to cover the stuffing, spray side down. Bake the stuffing for 20 minutes, remove the foil, then bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and fairly dry. Let cool for 10 minutes, then enjoy.
- TO STORE: Leftover chestnut stuffing can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- TO FREEZE: Chestnut stuffing may be kept in the freezer in an airtight storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- TO REHEAT: Cover with foil and warm in a 350 degrees F oven until heated through. You may also microwave until steaming if reheating smaller, individual portions.
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