Brioche—in all its fluffy, eggy glory—is frequently used for French toast and bread pudding, and for good reason. The enriched soft bread lends the sweet dishes a tender interior and crispy edges along with a little extra richness.
For this savory Brioche Stuffing with Mushrooms and Bacon, it does the same, kicking the Thanksgiving side dish game up a notch. This recipe hovers somewhere in between a savory bread pudding and stuffing—meaning it’s a little bit decadent and a lot delicious.
This stuffing has crispy bacon and sautéed mushrooms to balance out the lightly sweet brioche with a hit of umami.
A healthy dose of fresh herbs (including stuffing essential, sage) add earthiness and lift. You can use dried herbs instead, but I highly recommend seeking out fresh herbs for the best flavor. You can use any leftover parsley, sage, and thyme to stuff into the cavity of your turkey or to flavor the gravy.
How to Make Brioche Stuffing
While making stuffing has a few steps, each is simple and many can be done ahead of time. Mostly it’s hands-off baking time, freeing you up to make other side dishes for Thanksgiving.
First, cut the bread into cubes and toast them until dry and golden. Toast the bread ahead of time to free up the oven and save time. Fry the bacon and use a little rendered fat and butter to sauté the onion, celery, garlic, and mushrooms. Toss in some fresh herbs, eggs, and stock (to moisten the brioche), and bake it until golden on top.
Planning Ahead for Thanksgiving Stuffing
Thanksgiving Day can be hectic, necessitating some next-level meal planning tactics. Luckily, this brioche stuffing can be made in stages to save valuable prep and baking time.
Up to Two Days Ahead: Cube and toast the brioche, let it cool, and store it in an airtight container or zip top bag at room temperature.
Up to One Day Ahead: Dice the onion and celery, slice the mushrooms, and mince the garlic. Store them in the fridge (onion and celery in one container, and the mushrooms and garlic in a separate container). You can also cook the vegetables up to a day in advance. Store them in the fridge and wait to add the herbs until just before assembling.
Up to a Few Hours Ahead: Fry and chop the bacon and keep it at room temperature. The entire stuffing can also be assembled up to a few hours beforehand. Cover and stick the baking dish in the fridge. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before baking while your oven preheats, then bake as directed.
Swaps and Substitutions
Stuffing is incredibly forgiving. Don’t be afraid to swap one ingredient for another to make this this recipe your own.
- Challah: If you can’t find brioche or simply prefer challah, you can swap the breads seamlessly.
- Sausage: This stuffing is delicious with cooked and crumbled Italian sausage instead of bacon. Use 1/2 pound of it, drain it well after cooking, and increase the butter to 6 tablespoons.
- Vegetarian: Make this recipe vegetarian by leaving out the bacon and using vegetable broth. Make up for the lack of salty bacon by adding an additional 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt.
- Dried Herbs: If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, you can swap them for dried herbs with slightly different results. You’ll want to use less since dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor. Swap for 2 teaspoons dried parsley, 1 teaspoon dried sage, and 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme.
How to Store and Freeze
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat it in the microwave or, for the best results, in a 350°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
You can also freeze stuffing for longer storage. Tightly wrap it in plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil and freeze it for up to a month. Defrost it in the fridge before reheating it in the oven.
More Stuffing Recipes to Try
- Mom’s Stovetop Turkey Stuffing
- Thanksgiving Stuffing with Sausage and Apples
- Wild Rice Stuffing
- Cornbread Stuffing with Green Olives and Pecans
- Sweet Potato and Pork Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Sausage, Sage, and Cornbread Stuffing
Brioche Stuffing with Mushrooms and Bacon
You’ll find brioche at any French bakery, but it’s also crept its way into the bakery section of major supermarkets like Trader Joe’s. Challah is a great substitute.
- 1 (14-ounce) brioche loaf
- 4 slices bacon
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 large stalks celery, diced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped and divided
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Toast the brioche:
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Cut the brioche into 1-inch cubes. Spread them out into a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake them, tossing once, until dry to the touch and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Set them aside to cool. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F.
Cook the bacon:
In a large cold skillet, add the bacon in a single layer. Set the heat to medium heat, and fry until the bacon is crisp, flipping them once, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the bacon onto a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Once the bacon is cool enough to handle, roughly chop it.
If needed, remove excess bacon grease from the skillet, leaving behind about 2 tablespoons. The rest of the grease can be stored for another use. Set the heat to medium heat.
Sauté the vegetables:
Add the butter, onion, and celery. Sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic, and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add all but 1 teaspoon of the parsley (it will be used for garnish) along with the sage and thyme. Toss to combine.
Assemble the stuffing:
Grease a 2 to 2 1/2-quart or 9x9-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, add the toasted brioche, chopped bacon, cooked vegetables, eggs, 1 1/2 cups broth, and salt. Scrape in any liquids left in the skillet too. Gently toss to combine. Add more broth as needed, 1/4 cup at a time, to hydrate the bread without making the mixture too soupy.
Bake the stuffing:
Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking dish and cover it tightly with foil. Bake it until the stuffing is puffed and bubbly, about 25 minutes, then remove the foil. Bake it uncovered until browned on the top, about 20 minutes.