New Orleans Oyster Dressing is a hearty dressing (stuffing) made with bread, cajun seasonings, veggies and oysters. It’s a great savory side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
I’ve always been a classic stuffing kind of girl. Celery, onion, bread and seasonings is all I need to enjoy a heaping spoonful of stuffing on Thanksgiving. But it’s common in the Northeast and south to add oysters to stuffing. Then it’s usually called dressing. Regardless of what type of bread you use and what you put in it, stuffing (or dressing) is a must for any Thanksgiving table.
I made this New Orleans Oyster Dressing to go along with a Cajun Roasted Turkey Breast when we decided to have a mini New Orleans style Thanksgiving last weekend. We all thought it was pretty tasty! But my aunt, who I invited over to grab a plate of leftovers, absolutely loved it.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STUFFING AND DRESSING?
Stuffing (or dressing) is a classic American side dish on Thanksgiving. It’s typically made from cut up pieces of bread mixed with cooked celery and onion. Seasonings usually include salt, pepper and sage. Sometimes thyme and rosemary are included. The mixture is soaked with a stock or broth and baked.
The difference between the two is mainly geographical. Those above the Mason Dixon line tend to refer to it as stuffing and those below refer to it as dressing. Dressing is always baked in a baking dish. Stuffing can either be baked in a bird or outside of the bird.
My family is the abnormality to all of this. We’re below the Mason Dixon line (barely, as it runs across the top of Maryland) but we call it stuffing. Even if we don’t stuff it in a bird to bake it. Baking stuffing in a turkey grosses me out to no end, so you’re never going to see that here on Cookaholic Wife. (In case you were curious)
DO YOU NEED TO USE FRESH OYSTERS?
Oysters are generally available year-round. But in Maryland, we say that they are the best in months that end in an “R”, meaning September through December. Since Thanksgiving falls in November, it’s pretty easy to find fresh oysters if you’re not in a land-locked state. That statement came back to bite me in the butt as I was buying ingredients for this recipe. The grocery store had fresh oysters but they needed to be shucked. Which I was not interested, nor did I have the time, to do. So, no, you don’t need to use fresh oysters in this recipe. If you can find them, go for it! If not, the canned ones work as well.
CAN YOU FREEZE OYSTER DRESSING?
Yes! Like any good stuffing or dressing recipe, it can be made in advance and either kept in the fridge (4 days max!) or frozen for up to a month. My make-ahead celery and onion stuffing is a huge time saver for Thanksgiving. A week or two before the holiday I make it, as well as my cranberry sauce and freeze them.
To cook stuffing or dressing from frozen, let it thaw in the fridge for a day, then bake it as stated below.
WHAT DOES OYSTER DRESSING TASTE LIKE?
The oysters add a slightly salty seafood flavor to the stuffing. Traditional stuffing can be plain unless you add a bunch of herbs to it for flavor. In this version, the oysters add the salt and amp up the flavor.
WHAT MAKES IT NEW ORLEANS STYLE OYSTER DRESSING?
The seasoning. This New Orleans Oyster Dressing is flavored with cajun seasoning as well as hot sauce. If you can’t find cajun seasoning, or don’t want to make your own, creole seasoning can usually be found in the spice aisle at the grocery store.
NEW ORLEANS OYSTER DRESSING INGREDIENTS
- cubed bread, lightly toasted (or slightly stale)
- green pepper
- oysters (fresh or canned), chopped
- chicken broth
- hot sauce
- cajun seasoning
HOW TO MAKE NEW ORLEANS OYSTER DRESSING
- Melt butter in a large skillet and cook celery, onions and green pepper until softened.
- Add in the oysters with their juice, chicken broth, hot sauce and cajun seasoning.
- Stir in the bread until coated.
- Press into a 2 quart baking dish.
- Cover with foil and bake 40 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake 10 minutes.
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New Orleans Oyster Dressing
- 3 cups cubed bread lightly toasted or slightly stale
- ½ cup celery chopped
- ½ cup onion chopped
- ½ cup green pepper chopped
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup oysters chopped (juice reserved)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 tbsp cajun seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the celery, onions and green pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until barely softened.
- Add in the chopped oysters and their juice, chicken broth, hot sauce and cajun seasoning.
- Cook for 1 minute more, then stir in the bread until fully coated.
- Taste and then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes to allow the edges of the bread to get slightly crispy.
Recipes on Cookaholic Wife are for information purposes only. Nutritional Data provided has not been evaluated by a nutritionist.