Bacon Chestnut Dressing

Nov 6, 2019 | Food, Holidays, Side Dishes & More, Thanksgiving

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Have you ever wondered what the difference between dressing and stuffing is? You could chalk them up to being the same thing, except that technically speaking dressing is cooked in a side dish while stuffing is cooked in some kind of protein, like a turkey or hen. For me, I use the term interchangeably but I do cook my dressing on the side for Thanksgiving. I do this for 2 main reasons: firstly, my favorite turkey recipe is stuffed with herbs, citrus, and more to keep my turkey moist and the drippings flavorful, secondly, I love being able to start the turkey first thing in the morning and then worry about everything else. This stuffing only bakes for about 45 minutes so that gives you plenty of relaxing time (or a second cup of coffee time) before you have to start putting this together.

So why do I love this recipe so much? It’s simple, delicious, and not your run of the mill dressing. We use bacon, roasted chestnuts, leeks, and thick Texas toast to make this dressing that you will leave you going back for seconds! Don’t forget to top it with your favorite gravy recipe (like this Turkey Neck Gravy perfect for Thanksgiving)!

Bacon Chestnut Dressing

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Servings: 12
Calories: 276kcal


  • 1 loaf Texas toast
  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 8 oz bacon thinly sliced
  • 8 oz leeks about 2 medium leeks
  • oz shallots minced
  • 5 oz chestnuts roasted, peeled, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme stems removed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • cup chicken stock


  • Preheat oven to 300°F. Line bread in a single layer on baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes or until bread is well toasted and dried out. Let cool.
  • In a medium size saute pan, cook bacon on medium high heat until fat starts to render, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and shallots, continuing to cook for 3 minutes, then add leeks and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside.
  • Cut bread into 3/4" cubes and put in a large mixing bowl. Add any crumbs that are created when cutting the bread as they will help keep the stuffing together. Add bacon mixture, chestnuts, rosemary, sage, thyme, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Add 2 cups of the chicken stock and mix well (I usually use my hands for this step). Add up to ½ more so all bread is moist all the way through but not soggy. You shouldn't have any chicken stock at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Spread stuffing into a lightly greased baking dish and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes or until the stuffing is heated through, the top has crisped up, and is a nice golden brown. Enjoy!


For this recipe you can either use pre-roasted and shelled chestnuts or do it yourself.  I typically lean towards fresh for everything, but since we moved to Texas it’s next to impossible to find fresh chestnuts.  This recipe just isn’t the same without chestnuts, so I’ve had to go the pre-done route.  Trader Joe’s and Costco both sell a good ready to use chestnut option. 
If you are lucky enough to live in an area where you can get chestnuts, this is how you can roast your own chestnuts:
Simple cut a cross on the top of the chestnut’s shell and soak in hot water for 1 minute.  Pat dry and put on a baking sheet with the cut side up, then roast for 25-30 minutes at 350°F.  You’ll know they are done when the shell starts to curl where it is cut.  As soon as you can handle the chestnuts, peel shell off the nut.  They can be stored up to 3 days in the refrigerator so I suggest if you are going to home roasted route, do this a day or two before Thanksgiving since it is a time consuming process to peel the chestnuts.


Calories: 276kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 676mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 356IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 9mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About Me


Hello everyone! My name is Angie Mallery, and I’m the proud founder of Wicked Handy. This blog is my playground for sharing everything that makes life more joyful and practical—from crafting and cooking to gardening and DIY projects. I’m thrilled you’re here and hope you find inspiration and enjoyment in what I love to do. Thank you for visiting!

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