You will love this easy and flavorful chestnut stuffing, whether you stuff your Thanksgiving turkey with it or bake it on the side.
Bursting with different flavors, this roasted chestnut stuffing will be perfect on your Thanksgiving table – or any time you’re craving some comfort food.
This recipe is loosely based on the one in the “Nourishing Traditions” cookbook. It is my hope that you will use this as a launching pad to create your own family’s new favorite stuffing recipe just like I did! It always is the first dish to disappear from the Thanksgiving table or buffet.
Best of all, it is very easy to make. That is always a winner in my book!
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.
Why you’ll love this recipe
There is no shortage of stuffing recipes once you start looking. Maybe you already have an heirloom recipe handed down from your mother or grandmother. Or maybe you created your own.
This recipe includes roasted chestnuts that add a bit of sweetness but also a subtle nuttiness and different texture. With fresh herbs like sage and thyme and vegetables like celery and onions you already get a lot of different flavors and textures. You will also hit all the major flavor components: sweet and salty, chewy, crunchy and soft, with lots of butter and bone broth.
Even though I will give you exact amounts to get you started, don’t be too concerned with them. Stuffing recipes are typically very flexible. You can also taste it as you make it and adjust the ingredients or seasonings. Also, the amounts will depend on the number of people you will be serving. You can easily double this recipe or only make one half!
What are the ingredients for this chestnut stuffing
Obviously, the star in this recipe is the roasted chestnuts. You can either buy them fresh, cut their skins with a sharp knife in an X pattern, and roast them until done. Alternatively, you can buy them already roasted and peeled. These are the chestnuts that I like.
Next, you will need some bread. We always love using our homemade sourdough bread. Lots of it, if you ask my kids.
For seasoning, we are using fresh thyme, sage, salt, and pepper.
Useful tools and equipment
For a number of reasons, I like making this roasted chestnut stuffing in a 12 inch cast iron skillet. With the lid, you can control how crisp and brown it gets on top. But you can also use any casserole or baking dish that you may have.
If you don’t have a lid or cover for your dish, you can also use aluminum foil.
How to make the chestnut stuffing
If you’re using fresh chestnuts, you will need to roast them beforehand: with a very sharp knife, cut only the skin of each chestnut in an X pattern. Then roast them at 350˚ -375˚F for about 25-30 minutes. The skin should spring open. I recommend testing one chestnut for doneness before pulling them all out. Let them cool down and set them aside.
If you’re using ready-made chestnuts, all you need to do is open the bag and measure them out.
Cut the bread into cubes. The original “Nourishing Traditions” cookbook calls for breadcrumbs that you can either buy or make yourself. We, however, like the texture of the bread cubes so that is what we always do. You can also roast the bread cubes in the oven until golden brown to get an even deeper flavor. Set them aside.
Clean, peel (if necessary), and dice the onions, carrots, and celery. Bonus tip: keep the vegetable scraps in a ziplock bag or other container for making bone broth.
Slowly melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the chopped vegetables. Stir to make sure they are not browning too much on the bottom and saute the vegetables until they are soft and translucent.
In the meantime, chop the chestnuts and herbs. Add them when the vegetables are very soft. Pour the bone broth over the vegetables and chestnuts.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Now add the bread cubes to the vegetables and mix until all the ingredients are well-combined. The bread should be moist but not soggy. If it is too dry, add some more bone broth or stock.
Put the lid on the cast iron skillet or dish you are using. If you don’t have a lid, you can use aluminum foil. Put the roasted chestnut stuffing into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Then, take the lid or foil off and bake for another 10 minutes. The bread cubes should be golden-brown and crunchy.
Can you make the chestnut stuffing ahead of time?
In one word: yes! Depending on your timing and schedule, you can make this roasted chestnut stuffing ahead of time and simply reheat it before dinner.
I have an entire blog post that explains 5 different methods to make your Thanksgiving stuffing ahead of time. That way your stuffing will be done and it’s one dish off your list.
Chestnut stuffing substitutions and variations
As I mentioned before, this basic recipe is a great launching pad for more creative recipes:
- vegetables: you could leave out the carrots and/or add some other vegetables that you happen to have or really like.
- bread: you can get very creative here! Basically, you can use a variety of different breads such as baguette, country loafs, sourdough or not, brioche, cornbread or any of your favorite breads!
- herbs: we like sage and thyme because they are reminiscent of fall. Rosemary is another classic herb for Thanksgiving stuffing but parsley would work well, too.
- fruits and nuts: those would taste great in stuffing. Cranberries are a classic as well as roasted pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts.
Should you stuff your turkey or not?
That is a very good question and really depends on who you ask. I will give you some pros and cons so that you can decide for what method works best for you:
- stuffing inside the turkey: this is the traditional way to do it. That way, your stuffing will be moist and infused with turkey flavor. However, your turkey will take longer to roast than an unstuffed turkey. Depending on the size of your turkey, your oven, the number of people you are feeding, and other side dishes that would have to go into the oven that might work for you. Here’s a good guideline for roasting times: how long to roast a turkey. The USDA does not recommend stuffing your turkey.
- bake the stuffing separately: there are many upsides to this method. Both your turkey and your stuffing will take less time to roast and bake. You also have a little bit more control over the stuffing as you can test it as you bake it. And you can make the stuffing ahead of time to take the stress out of the holidays.
Other recipes you might like
Shop this post:
Roasted and peeled chestnuts: https://amzn.to/3qe6oay
12 inch cast iron skillet with lid: https://amzn.to/2ZZlBS3
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon: https://amzn.to/3mOlL7z
Roasted Chestnut Stuffing
- 2 cups roasted chestnuts, chopped
- 6 cups bread cubes
- ½ cup butter
- 1 whole onion, diced
- 2-3 whole carrots, diced
- 1 bunch celery, diced
- 1 ½ cups bone broth, stock, or bouillon
- 2 TBSP sage, chopped
- 2 TBSP thyme, chopped
- 1 tsp salt (to taste)
- fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Melt butter in a large skillet.
- Add chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until soft and translucent, stirring to keep from browning.
- Add chopped chestnuts, herbs, and bone broth. Mix to combine the ingredients.
- Add bread cubes and incorporate well. If the stuffing is too dry, add more broth however, it should not be soggy.
- If stuffing your turkey: stuff turkey and roast for the appropriate time and temperature.
- If baking the stuffing separately, bake the stuffing in the large cast-iron skillet with lid or any other baking dish with cover (you can use aluminum foil) for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, take lid or foil off and bake for another 10 minutes uncovered.
- Pro tip: if you are baking the stuffing separately you can drizzle turkey drippings over it to get a better flavor.