This traditional Newfoundland dressing recipe combines simple ingredients and is an iconic dish that appears with almost every roast chicken or turkey dinner. With its unique herbaceous and buttery flavour, one taste and you’ll understand why this easy side dish is so very much loved.
Have you ever heard of Newfoundland dressing? Chances are if you’re not from Newfoundland, you haven’t. If you are from Newfoundland, well, of course you have.
In Newfoundland, it’s simply called “dressing.” And, no, it’s not dressing as in salad dressing. It’s a seasoned bread crumb mixture with the key flavour coming from summer savoury.
Growing up, dressing would be served whenever there was a roast chicken or roast turkey dinner. And if was Christmastime, then there would be two varieties of dressing served: one being the dry dressing (which is what you see here) and the other being the cooked dressing, which is the dressing that comes out of a dressing-stuffed chicken or turkey after it has been roasted. Basically, the main difference is that the cooked dressing (or “wet dressing” as my nan liked to say) includes the roasting juices of the bird.
Having dinner at my parents’ home on Christmas day is something I look forward to every year. Aside from the turkey, the dressing (along with a generous helping of homemade gravy) is something I always have seconds of. I just love it so much. It’s simple, yes, but so so good.
Newfoundland Dressing Ingredients
- Bread crumbs: Use either store-bought bread crumbs or make your own with some slices of sandwich bread (a food processor or blender is a great way to make the bread slices into bread crumbs). Don’t use panko bread crumbs. I often use plain white sandwich bread, whole wheat or a combination of the two. You definitely don’t need anything fancy here. As a matter of fact, the simpler the bread, the better.
- Yellow onion: You want your onion to be finely minced so you don’t get huge chunks of it in your dressing. A mini food processor is a great tool to use for chopping it. If you don’t have one of those, that’s okay (just finely mince the onion with a knife). If you want less of a pronounced onion flavour, you can sauté the onion until softened in a little vegetable oil or butter before using in your dressing.
- Dried summer savoury: I like to use about 2 tablespoons of savoury for 3 cups of bread crumbs. You can certainly use less savoury (or more), depending on your preference. If unsure, you can start with 1 tablespoon or so, then add more as desired. Remember, it’s easier to add than to take away.
- Salt and black pepper
- Melted unsalted butter: I try to always use unsalted butter in my dressing. If you use a salted variety or margarine, you may want to add less salt. If you want your bread crumbs more buttery or clumpy, feel free to add a little more melted butter.
How To Make It
Here is an overview of how to make Newfoundland savoury dressing (full details are in the recipe card below):
- Place the bread crumbs, onion, savoury, salt and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Drizzle over melted butter.
- Stir to combine until everything is well incorporated.
What Is Savoury?
Whenever someone refers to savoury here in Newfoundland, they’re more than likely talking about summer savoury (which is not to be confused with another variety, winter savoury).
Summer savoury (or simply “savoury” here in Newfoundland) is an annual herb popular in Atlantic Canada, especially Newfoundland.
Savoury is fragrant with an herbaceous flavour and it’s quite unique. It’s what gives this Newfoundland dressing recipe its iconic flavour. It’s also one of the herbs found in Herbes de Provence (which is probably why I enjoy it so much).
In this province, savoury is most commonly sold in its dried form. There is a farm here in Newfoundland (on Mount Scio Road in St. John’s) that grows savoury. As you can probably imagine, savoury is quite common in Newfoundland and people would pretty much consider it a pantry staple.
I understand that summer savoury may not be as readily available to everyone as it is here in Newfoundland. If you want to make a version of this dry dressing and don’t have summer savoury, you can substitute with either sage, thyme, marjoram or even some Herbes de Provence (my favourite option if savoury is not available). Of course, it won’t yield quite the same results but will still be delicious.
Can I Freeze It?
Absolutely! If you have leftover dressing, you can freeze it for later. Place the bread crumbs in a resealable freezer bag, label (with the name and date made) and freeze for up to three months.
When ready to use, the bread crumbs thaw pretty quickly in the refrigerator or on your countertop.
What’s It Used For?
Newfoundland dressing is commonly used as stuffing for poultry (like chicken and turkey) or even for stuffing a whole salmon or calamari.
It’s also served as one of the components on a cold plate (a Newfoundland classic), in turkey and dressing sandwiches, or used in fries, dressing and gravy (recipe coming soon).
More Newfoundland Recipes
If you make this Newfoundland dressing recipe, be sure to leave a comment below!
- 3 cups bread crumbs, about ½ of a 340-gram package
- ½ cup yellow onion, finely minced (about ½ of a standard size yellow onion)
- 2 tablespoons dried savoury, summer savoury
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- ⅓ cup melted unsalted butter, about 5 tablespoons
- Place bread crumbs, onion, savoury, salt and black pepper in a mixing bowl.
- Drizzle over melted butter, then stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
- If you use salted butter or margarine, you may want to use less salt.
- Speaking of butter, you can add a little more if you want your dressing a little more buttery and rich.
- Want more savoury flavour? Add a little more to taste.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
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Tried this recipe?
If you do make this recipe, thank you!! It would mean so much if you could leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed it, and it helps other readers too!
I have nothing against butter, but I do use a vegetable or chicken stock in the dressing and it does taste terrific.
Dawn, I love the simplicity of this recipe and the amount of flavor it packs. I will be trying this one for sure! 🙂 ~Valentina
I really need to make a trip out to Newfoundland one day! This dressing looks amazing, and I do love the flavour of savoury.
David @ Spiced
This sounds like an awesome side dish! I love the simplicity here…but the flavors still come together in a delicious way. I’m not sure how common savoury is here, but there’s always Amazon! 🙂
My Grandmother was from Nfld. and taught my mother a simple bread dressing. She used dried loaf bread soaked in water then squeezed dry. Sage, savoury, onion, salt, pepper. Stuffed in the turkey. I upgraded the recipe by using a little chicken stock instead of water and a baguette loaf crust and all. Fantastic.
Dawn | Girl Heart Food
Sounds wonderful, Thomas! Family recipes are the best, aren’t they?!