This traditional bread stuffing recipe is a holiday classic with the savory flavors of fresh herbs, onion, and celery. It's moist on the inside with a crunchy golden brown top. It's the perfect stuffing to pair with your Thanksgiving turkey! In this post, I'll provide simple step-by-step instructions and tips to help you make this classic bread stuffing perfectly every time!
If you're looking for a classic bread stuffing recipe, this is it! This simple stuffing combines diced onion and celery that is cooked in plenty of butter with fresh sage, thyme, rosemary, and parsley. It's all mixed with dried white bread and chicken stock and baked until it's crispy on top, but still moist on the inside.
This old fashioned stuffing is just like Grandma used to make and is perfect for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Why this Recipe Works
- Easy - This stuffing recipe uses simple ingredients and is easy to make.
- Traditional Flavor - Fresh herbs combined with sautéed onion and celery and rich, flavorful stock give this stuffing the familiar flavors everyone loves.
- Perfect for Thanksgiving - this classic stuffing pairs perfectly with your Thanksgiving turkey
- Bread - I use white bread in this stuffing recipe. You can substitute or mix in other varieties like sourdough, wheat, and French bread to change the flavor of the stuffing. If you're in a pinch, Pepperidge Farm cubed stuffing will work.
- Chicken or Turkey Stock - For the best flavor, it's important to use stock and not broth in this dish. I highly recommend making a homemade stock for this recipe. If using store-bought, use low sodium or unsalted stock to control the salt level of the dish.
- Herbs - Fresh herbs add most of the flavor in this classic turkey stuffing, but you can substitute dried herbs by using half of the amounts called for in the recipe.
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of ingredients and measurements.
What is the Best Bread for Stuffing?
Classic white bread is my go-to, but French, Italian, and most other bread with a fine, dense crumb will work. Rustic bread with a large, open crumb will not work well.
I recommend getting freshly baked bread from a bakery instead of mass-produced pre-sliced sandwich bread for the best Thanksgiving stuffing. Fresh bread will dry better because it does not have added preservatives.
Some recipes call for stale bread, but I recommend drying your bread in the oven. The bread will get dryer and will better absorb the flavorful liquid.
Around Thanksgiving, bakeries will typically offer stuffing bread cubes, which are already dried for you and are a real time saver.
- Dry the bread - Cut the bread into cubes and bake in a 300℉ oven for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the bread is very dry. Remove and let the bread cool.
- Preheat - Preheat your oven to 400℉ and butter a 9 by 13 baking dish.
- Cook the veggies - Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onions and cook for 7-8 minutes until softened. Stir in the parsley, sage, and thyme and cook for another minute. Transfer to a very large bowl.
- Mix the stuffing - Add 3 cups of stock, the eggs, salt, and pepper to the vegetables and stir to combine. Then add the dried bread cubes and toss to combine. If the mixture seems too dry, stir in the remaining stock.
- Bake covered - Pour the mixture into the buttered baking dish and gently press down to flatten into an even layer. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and finish - Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes longer. Cool for 10 minutes, then garnish with additional parsley before serving.
- A rich, flavorful homemade stock helps recreate the flavor of stuffing cooked in the turkey.
- The dryness of the bread will determine how much stock is needed. The mixture should be very moist but not mushy.
- Gently fold the bread when mixing the stuffing to avoid breaking up the bread cubes.
- If the stuffing is too dry after baking, add additional stock or some of the drippings from your turkey to moisten it before serving. If the stuffing is too moist, spread it on a baking sheet and bake until it reaches your desired texture.
Make Ahead Instructions
One of the best things about stuffing is that you can make it ahead. Assemble the stuffing up to 2 days ahead, then cover and refrigerate. Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking, then bake as directed.
Storage and Reheating
Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. The stuffing can be frozen for up to 3 months.
To reheat, place the stuffing in a baking dish, pour a splash of stock over the top, and cover with foil. Then bake in a 350℉ oven for 10-12 minutes until warmed through. Smaller portions can be reheated in the microwave.
Frequently Asked Questions
This stuffing will work to cook inside the turkey, but I do not recommend it. The stuffing must reach at least 165℉ when cooked inside the turkey to be safe to eat. But by this time, the turkey itself will be well beyond that temperature and will be overcooked and dry.
If you want to add more flavor, you can add sausage to the stuffing. Cook 1 pound of ground pork sausage in the skillet before cooking the vegetables and transfer to a plate. Reserve the drippings in the pan and use 2-3 tablespoons less butter. Then proceed as directed, combining the sausage in with the stuffing mixture.
Adding diced apples, or dried cranberries is another option to add sweetness to the dish. And chopped nuts are a good addition to add more crunch.
You can make this stuffing without eggs, but it will have a looser consistency because the eggs help to bind it together.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
Traditional Bread Stuffing Recipe
- 1 loaf white bakery bread, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 stick, plus 1-2 Tbsp more for greasing the dish
- 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, minced, plus more for garnish
- 2 Tablespoons fresh sage, minced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
- 3 to 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Cut the bread into cubes and bake in a 300℉ oven for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the bread is very dry. Remove and let the bread cool.
- Preheat your oven to 400℉ and butter a 9 by 13 baking dish.
- Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onions and cook for 7-8 minutes until softened. Stir in the parsley, sage, and thyme and cook for another minute. Transfer to a very large bowl.
- Add 3 cups of stock, the eggs, salt, and pepper to the vegetables and stir to combine. Then add the dried bread cubes and toss to combine. If the mixture seems too dry, stir in the remaining stock.
- Pour the mixture into the buttered baking dish and gently press down to flatten into an even layer. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes longer. Cool for 10 minutes, then garnish with additional parsley before serving.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.