Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing Balls and Filling Balls

It wasn’t until I married that I was introduced to Stuffing or Filling Balls. I’ve never liked bread stuffing because it is so “mushy” in texture. With stuffing balls there is an element of crunch that has made me for the first time actually ask for “stuffing.” These recipes come from my mother-in-law. I prefer the first recipe.

My dh is from Altoona, Pennsylvania. The grocery stores during this time of year sell bagged cubed bread that has no spices. This is the step saver I use to make these balls. But I have to buy my cubes up in PA when we visit, as down in Virginia I haven’t found these items. Or resort to making my own. I buy Italian white bread loaves, cut into cubes and dry on low heat in the oven until very crisp. Air-drying isn’t as effective.

Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing Balls

1 cup chopped celery
1 medium onion, chopped
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 cups dry bread cubes (make sure hard and crunchy)
3/4 cup chicken broth or water

Mix together all ingredients except broth. Add broth and form balls. Dry an hour or overnight. (You might want to double the butter and seasonings to make the balls stick together better.)

Bake at 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Filling Balls

1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 small onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 eggs, beaten
12 slices stale bread (if using premade bread cubes, handful for each slice of bread)

Dice bread, add onion, celery, eggs, butter salt and pepper. Mix baking powder in hot milk, mix with bread mixture. Form into balls, dry an hour or overnight.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.


11 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing Balls and Filling Balls

  1. i make the first type of filling , however, you didn’t say if you grease the pan you bake them in, or do they get covered. i would like to bake some, so would appreciate a reply ASAP. Thanks

    • I supposed you could grease the cookie sheet. I cover them overnight, because I don’t feel comfortable leaving something uncovered. Leave them uncovered when baking.

      Slow cooker would make the balls into stuffing, and mushy, and defeat the purpose of having separate balls.

  2. I too am from Altoona. Moved away after high school, and I SO MISS filling balls at Christmas with my turkey dinner! Thanks for posting this recipe…..guess what we have having this year!! ❤ 🙂

    • Oh, that’s so nice! Thanks for visiting! I really am happy I know what a filling ball is! We haven’t been too successful in the past years keeping the bread together. I just read in Cook’s Illustrated that the best bread would be regular white bread and then toast it, so that’s what I’ll do. The pre-flavored bread cubes do not taste as good.

    • I make them about the size of baseball balls, and you really need to squeeze them together so they will stick. You could grease the pan, but I haven’t. If the balls feel too dry, just melt more butter and put with broth and seasonings and then pour a little at a time. You don’t want them soaked, but moist is good. And then give them time to set/dry out.

  3. I’m from Pittsburgh originally. I give total credit to my mother for our Thanksgiving tradition, what we call “Bread Balls”! *** It’s similar but not. I prepare my bread stuffing mix (no meat); form medium-sized balls immediately (no over night drying); gently place them into a large pot of turkey gravy (jar or canned); cook on low heat, uncovered, 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring frequently and VERY, VERY GENTLY. They absorb the gravy, almost double in size and are incredibly moist! It’s the one dish that I make double of so everyone has leftovers to take home. I wouldn’t be let my sister’s house orherwise! They’re that good!

  4. I am also from a small town in Pa, St. Michael, in fact. Have been making bread stuffing all my life, and grew up on it in my parents house. I learned the hard way, through my mother, to freeze any stale leftover bread or rolls to be used for the stuffing! Saves money!! I have to stuff a 22lb turkey for Thanksgiving, plus extra in a baking pan, either as a loaf or make into balls. The one extra thing I do is use 1 can each of cr. of mushroom and cr. of celery soup undiluted, into the stuffing mixture. Salt & pepper to taste!!YUMMY!!

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