Oyster Dressing for Turkey

Oyster dressing for turkey in a white casserole dish

​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 10
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
284 Calories
8g Fat
44g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 284
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 644mg 28%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 9g
Calcium 121mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a classic, delicious bread dressing with chopped oysters, a nice choice for a holiday dinner. It's loaded with the flavors you would expect in a stuffing—lots of parsley, celery, breadcrumbs, and onion but with a little something extra special thanks to the addition of oysters. Oyster stuffing is a tasty complement to turkey, but it can also be served with chicken, duck, or goose. It also goes well with other traditional holiday sides.

For the breadcrumbs, you can make them yourself using day-old bread or buy the pre-cubed type at the grocery store. You can make this recipe separate from the turkey, or you can opt to stuff the turkey with this dressing. If you are cooking the stuffing inside the turkey, see the tips below the recipe for the safe minimum temperature and the safest way to handle the leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup onion (finely chopped)
  • 3/4 cup celery with leaves (finely chopped)
  • 1 pint small oysters (drained and chopped; reserve the juice if desired)
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup parsley (chopped)
  • 10 to 12 cups breadcrumbs (day old and softened)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (or stock or part oyster liquid)
  • 2 eggs (beaten)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for oyster dressing
    ​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion and celery. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes.

    Onion and celery cooking in melted butter in a pot
    ​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  3. Add the oysters, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and parsley, then cook for an additional 5 minutes.

    Oysters cooking with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, onions, and celery
    ​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  4. Add the breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup of chicken broth; stir to blend ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings. 

    Add breadcrumbs and chicken broth to oyster stuffing
    ​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  5. Add the beaten eggs and mix well, adding more broth to moisten, if necessary.

    Add beaten eggs to oyster dressing
    ​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt 
  6. To stuff a turkey, fill the cavity loosely with the stuffing mixture. Before taking the turkey from the oven, make sure the center of the stuffing has reached the minimum safe temperature of 165 F. The turkey might test done, but if there is dressing in the bird, it should also be checked.

    Stuff turkey with oyster dressing
    ​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  7. To cook the stuffing separately, heat the oven to 350 F.

  8. Spray a shallow baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or butter it lightly. Pack the stuffing mixture into the baking dish.

    Spray baking dish and fill it with oyster dressing
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  9. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer or until the stuffing registers at least 160 F.

    Cover with foil
    ​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  10. Serve and enjoy.

    Oyster dressing cooked and ready to be served in a casserole dish
    ​The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Where Did Oyster Dressing Originate?

If you've never had oysters in your dressing before, it may seem unusual. However, oysters were fairly abundant on the East Coast and Gulf Coast at the turn of the 20th century in America, and it was easy to use them in all kinds of ways in cooking—dressing included. But the practice of oyster dressing dates back to 17th- and 18th-century Britain, appearing in cookbooks dating to those times.

Tips

  • When stuffing a turkey, stuff it loosely, allowing about 3/4 cup per pound of poultry. About 9 to 10 cups should be enough to fill a 12- to 14-pound turkey.
  • As soon as the stuffing is prepared and moistened, stuff the bird. Don't cool the stuffing first. Roast the raw, stuffed turkey immediately.
  • Never cook a stuffed turkey at an oven temperature below 325 F. Do not remove the stuffing from the turkey before it has reached the minimum safe temperature of 165 F.
  • Let the roasted turkey rest for 20 minutes before removing the stuffing and carving.

How to Store Oyster Dressing

  • Refrigerate both the stuffing and the turkey within 2 hours after cooking.
  • Store leftovers in shallow containers in the refrigerator and use them within three to four days. Reheat leftovers to the safe minimum temperature of 165 F.