Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Filling

Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Filling

This recipe for potato filling has been a staple in my family for as long as I can remember. Every holiday dinner, no matter what hunk o’ meat graced the table, included this filling. Although some people in some regions would call this “stuffing”, this is always “filling” to me whether it is a potato based one like this or a bread based one.

My family had a big stainless steel dishpan that never got used for doing dishes, but it served us well as the biggest mixing bowl we owned. My Nana prepped tomatoes in it for canning, my Dad made his pickles every year and soaked the cucumber slices in it, and my Mom — made her filling in it. Our holiday gatherings often included a couple dozen people, so she tripled or quadrupled the filling recipe.

I am not feeding so many these days, but my Yankee-born (Boston) husband loves this. It is a great way for me to use up potatoes that are at the end of a bag. I make this several times throughout the year to accompany many meals. I also make it in large batches, portion it into foil pans, tightly wrap it, and freeze for future use. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and simply place foil pan right in the oven to bake when desired.

You can use it to stuff a bird, but I always bake it in a separate well-buttered dish on its own. This potato filling makes a delicious substitute for other potato dishes. This recipe is forgiving and you can alter amounts of ingredients to your taste, but this is the basic “start”. You can brown the top and bottom, or cook it just until heated through. Personally, I love me some bottom browned “crust”!

The recipe calls for browning some bread cubes in a skillet with butter, but I have skipped this step many times; I just leave the bread out overnight to dry out some or pop some cubes in the oven to dry slightly. No one seems to care which way it is made, there are seldom many leftovers.

I make the leftovers into patties and fry them in a butter coated cast iron skillet until browned and crispy on each side – they are delicious!

Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Filling

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: SidesCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate

A traditional Pennsylvania Dutch side dish served throughout the year and also on holidays.


  • 5 – 6 medium potatoes (all-purpose white is fine)

  • 1/4 cup milk or more as needed to adjust the final consistency to your liking

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

  • 1 cup onion, chopped into small dice

  • 3 celery ribs, chopped into small dice, including some leaves

  • 4 – 5 cups cubed home-style white bread (day old store bakery bread works well for this)

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into bits


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Generously butter a 1-1/2 to 2-quart baking dish. Set aside.
  • Cook potatoes in water until soft enough to mash. Drain, mash and beat in milk, salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl.
  • Melt the 8 tablespoons of butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes or so. Add to potatoes, using slotted spoon.
  • Sauté bread cubes in same skillet until brown and crispy, adding more butter if needed. Transfer bread to potatoes. OR just cube the bread, let it sit out overnight or lightly toast in the oven and skip the butter-browning step.
  • Add the eggs, parsley, salt and pepper to potato mixture. Adjust with more milk, if needed, to get the consistency you like. Mix thoroughly; transfer to baking dish.
  • Dot the casserole with the 4 Tablespoons of butter bits.
  • Bake in oven until hot, about 35 – 40 minutes. Cover with foil if top browns too much. I like my filling to get a browned crust along the edges and bottom of the pan, so I bake it a little longer, just making sure it does not dry out.


  • Using some of the celery leaves kicks up the flavor in this dish.
  • I like my onions and celery cooked well and very slightly browned to bring out the flavors .