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Ina Ditches Regular Stuffing For This Savory Side, and Now We Are Too

Ina Garten is gearing up for Thanksgiving!

Over the past week or so, the Barefoot Contessa has been sharing her top Thanksgiving tips and tricks in a series of Instagram posts. As huge Ina fans, of course, we have been gobbling them all up—and we were fascinated to learn where she falls in the age-old debate of cooking your stuffing in your turkey or baking it in a dish on the side (we won’t even address whether it should be called stuffing or dressing).

In a post that has gotten more than 30,000 likes, she revealed that not only does she not stuff her turkey but she sidesteps traditional stuffing altogether: “While it may be traditional to put the stuffing in the turkey for Thanksgiving, I prefer to bake it separately as a savory bread pudding so it’s crispy on the top and creamy on the bottom,” she says. “The best part is the turkey cooks faster without stuffing, so it comes out moister and more delicious,” adds the famous hostess.

Related: Ina Garten’s Mac and Cheese is the Greatest of All Time

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What’s the Difference Between Savory Bread Pudding and Traditional Stuffing or Dressing?

Ok, so first—actually, maybe we will get into the dressing versus stuffing debate after all.

While stuffing and dressing both use the same ingredients—a mixture of dried bread, herbs, and other flavorful mix-ins—it’s stuffing when you put it inside the bird and dressing when you bake it in a dish separately. (Don’t @ us—this is the truth! But if you want to call it stuffing even when you bake it in a dish, you go right ahead. No judgment!)

Think of savory bread pudding as dressing’s luxe cousin. Dressing typically gets its moisture from broth, while bread pudding (sweet or savory) gets its richness with a luscious mix of half and half and eggs, which creates a custardy base. Although bread pudding is often sweet, rich egg custard can easily be made savory, a la breakfast casseroles

“Bread pudding is my go-to alternative to traditional stuffing, which tends to dry out your turkey,” says Ina. She also says that when you skip stuffing your turkey, it “roasts more quickly and the stuffing comes out crunchy on top and moist inside.”

Related: Try This Two-in-One Top Chef-Approved Stuffing

Ina’s Favorite Savory Bread Pudding Recipes

In her Instagram post, Ina shares three of her favorites: her Mushroom and Gruyère Bread Pudding, Mushroom and Leek Bread Pudding and Herb and Apple Bread Pudding, which has all the classic stuffing ingredients and she calls “the best of both worlds.”

Now that we’ve learned this about one of our favorite culinary goddesses, we’re pretty sure we’ll be upgrading from stuffing this year—to one of these delicious-sounding savory sides!

Next up: How Much Stuffing Do You Need for Your Thanksgiving Dinner?

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