Pumpernickel and Rye Dressing with Bourbon
This Pumpernickel and Rye Dressing with Bourbon and Bacon is so unique and delicious, it’s my absolute favorite of all time. I don’t reserve it for Thanksgiving either…it’s a great side dish for lamb and beef too!
A sommelier friend recommended that I try this Pumpernickel and Rye Dressing with Bourbon and Bacon several years ago and I was totally hooked. We’ve done a fair amount of recipe sharing and when she said this was amazing; I trusted her. I also included it on my blog then…back in 2010 so it was time for a huge redo. One little photo was not doing the trick!
The first year I prepared it, my BFF was coming for Thanksgiving dinner with her family and she asked if she could come over early that day and cook with me. I normally make a cornbread dressing that we love, so with two of us in the kitchen I didn’t think both of them were outside the realm of possibility.
Purists might insist I call this dressing and others opt for naming it stuffing, but whether it’s in or out (and I favor out; thinking the bird cooks faster) it matters little; call it whatever you want, just call it good! As if adding bourbon wasn’t enough, this Pumpernickel and Rye Dressing with Bourbon also has bacon…you see why I love it SO much!
It’s no secret because I’ve said it before; I could do without turkey but not without stuffing/dressing or other side dishes we love on this day when we celebrate the bounty in our lives. I think maybe the turkey is the dressing and this is my idea of a main course!
While I do love the cornbread stuffing that I make with my all time favorite Maple Roasted Turkey show above, this dressing sounded AMAZING and it did not disappoint; it is now a ‘have to have’ for every Thanksgiving holiday meal and I love it so much I often make it for Christmas too!
I’m always keen on keeping food costs down but there are some times and some dishes I’m not going to mess with…so for me it’s absolutely necessary to use Kerrygold Irish Butter. I’m lucky I can get both at my local Costco but if I couldn’t, this would not be the dish I would scrimp on. So unique, so fabulous and now certainly a required element for our Thanksgiving and Christmas Day table.
I probably spent as much time looking for the perfect bourbon as I did for my turkey and finally found the Basil Hayden Bourbon my friend had suggested. I had no idea the differences in bourbons when I embarked on this journey but had just been told it needed to be a smooth and light variety; it needed to add to the dish, not become the dish. I’ve always used Basil Hayden but use your favorite if you have something you love.
I’ve made one modification to the original recipe by adding some pecans which we loved. This is not a difficult dish; unless eating the whole pan all by yourself constitutes difficult. It’s simply the best!
PIN IT! ‘Bacon, Bourbon, Pumpernickel and Rye Stuffing’
- ½ lb thick-cut bacon chopped
- ½ cup butter Kerrygold Irish Butter recommended
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
- ½ loaf day-old pumpernickel bread cubed
- ½ loaf day-old dark rye bread cubed
- 4 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup toasted chopped pecans
- 1 quart chicken stock more as needed Note: I get Swanson Chicken Broth by the case at Costco!
- ½ cup good quality bourbon whiskey Basil Hayden suggested
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 9x13 inch baking dish.
- Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels. Pour remaining bacon fat in the skillet into a bowl.
- Using the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onions, celery, garlic, and rosemary, and cook until onions are soft and transparent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved bacon fat.
- Meanwhile, place the pumpernickel and rye bread cubes into a large bowl. Stir in the cooked bacon pieces, eggs, thyme, sage, pecans and onion mixture, and toss to mix evenly.
- Stir the chicken stock and bourbon together in a bowl. Pour the chicken stock mixture over the bread mixture, adding more stock to reach desired consistency. Use your hands to evenly mix the ingredients together. Spoon stuffing mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish and pat down lightly.
- Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. If you wish to have a darker crust on top, bake for an additional 10 minutes.
This looks wonderful, I’m sad I did not even know about this! everyone does like it i will have to make it out there next year!
How much of this can be made a day or more ahead of time?
I havent done it but I think to make it ahead I would do everything except add the stock, you don’t want the bread to fall totally apart.
I’m making this for Thanksgiving, but I don’t see where in the recipe to add the toasted pecans…please help! 😉
Oops…they get added in with the bacon and herbs and I’ve added them to the list on the recipe; thanks for the heads up. I’m not making this today because we just aren’t having enough guests and now I”m sad. It is so good; hope you love it too.
I’m in the minority I’m sure but I really don’t like to taste bourbon in my cooking. Does most of it cook out as it usually does leaving a little residual flavor or is it full in your face? Sounds amazing…just wish I could change my taste buds where alcohol is concerned. Tx!
If you don’t like it I would suggest just substituting it with some chicken broth. I like the flavor…not the taste of alcohol per se but think bourbon imparts a sweetness to the dishes I add it to. This is a FABULOUS stuffing…I’m sure it would be great without the booze too!
I am making this and I am not sure what to do with my reserved bacon? Do I just mix it all in?
Hello. I’m going to be trying both of these stuffing tomorrow and just notice the “1/5” measurement. Please explain what 1/5 of butter and fresh sage is. Thank you!!!
Ahhh, the drunken holidays:) everything’s better the boozier it is, lol.
On another note, just wanted to let you know that I think you are a wonderful person and I’m happy you are in my life, albeit in a “virtual” capacity. xo, linda
Thank you…such a sweet comment; yes, it made my day!
Hmmm…beginning to see a trend here with the bourbon. Not that I can say much, since I’ve turned into the classless cocktail maker. But if there was bourbon in the dressing more often, I’d probably eat it.
Guilty as charged. Between wine, bourbon and rum, it’s evident I like my holiday foods with a bit of a kick!
I didn’t grow up eating stuffing (wasn’t done in our house!) but this looks wonderful -I love rye bread and pumpernickel – with the addition of bacon and bourbon I don’t know if it could get any better.
Funny, as I was reading this recipe I could just about taste this… and I know it is going to taste fabulous. We’ve got room for one more dish……
This was a leap of faith because I’ve never really loved stuffing that always taste like too much dried sage, but it did not disappoint and I’m not even that crazy about rye bread!
I love stuffing and both of these look soooooo good. As for bourbon, have your tried Woodford Reserve? I’m not a bourbon, scotch or whiskey fan myself, but Woodford was introduced to me, and now it’s the only hard alcohol I drink straight.
I haven’t tried that brand. To be honest, I typically just keep a bottle of Seagram’s 7 on hand for recipes that call for bourbon and I’ve been read the riot act about that! I’ll have to look for it.
Wow… That sounds like a fabulous new stuffing recipe to try! By the time I get around to trying all of the amazing recipes I’ve seen lately, I’m still going to be having Thanksgiving dinner in January!
I know that feeling; I try to include at least one or two new dishes each year to freshen things up a bit but we all look so forward to some traditions too…we need a whole week, not just one day!
This looks ABSOLUTELY delish!!!!! Thanks for this….can’t wait to try it!!!! YOU’RE SO WONDERFUL!!!!
Well thank you, wish you were here!
I’m loving your T-day favorites section, but I have to say my eye was drawn to this – thanks to the bourbon. Yes, even more than bacon! I bet it’s scrumptious.