Bacon, Bourbon, Pumpernickel and Rye Stuffing

This pumpernickel and rye stuffing (on the right) were recommended to me by a sommelier friend that tweets for a local liquor store . We’ve done a fair amount of recipe sharing and when she said this was amazing; I trusted her. 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, so two stuffings weren’t out of the realm of possibility with two of us in the kitchen.

I love the cornbread stuffing (on the left) that I make with my all time favorite Maple Roasted Turkey and have to have it, but this just sounded AMAZING and it did not disappoint; it is now a ‘have to have’ stuffing for every Thanksgiving holiday meal!

Purists might insist I call this dressing as I cook it outside the bird in a pan but whether it’s in or out (and I favor out; thinking the bird cooks faster) it’s always been stuffing…maybe because I could stuff myself with it? It’s no secret cause I’ve said it before; I could do without turkey but not without stuffing 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!

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 and Swanson Chicken Broth; 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 table.

I probably spent as much time looking for the perfect bourbon as I did for my turkey and decided on Maker’s Mark. 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 made some modifications to the original recipe; adding some pecans which we loved!

Bacon, Bourbon, Pumpernickel and Rye Stuffing
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A truly amazing additional to your holiday table. The bread, the ingredients and of course...the bourbon!
Serves: 6-8 Servings
  • 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 was suggested; couldn't find it so used Makers Mark)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  1. Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels. Pour bacon fat remaining in the skillet into a bowl.
  2. 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


  1. denise says

    I’m making this for Thanksgiving, but I don’t see where in the recipe to add the toasted pecans…please help! ;)


    • Creative Culinary says

      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.

  2. iluvs2fish says

    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!

    • Creative Culinary says

      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!

  3. Tara says

    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!!!

  4. says

    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

  5. says

    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.

  6. says

    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……

  7. says

    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.

    • says

      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.

    • says

      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!

  8. says

    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.


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