This traditional stuffing recipe is a homemade classic. It’s an easy, basic stuffing made with simple ingredients to make for a Thanksgiving turkey, or served as a side dish to chicken, pork, or just about any comfort food craving any time of year.
The Best Easy Stuffing Recipe
If I were to stand at a table loaded with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner dishes, and have to choose just one to eat for the rest of my Thanksgiving dinner days, it wouldn’t be the turkey, it wouldn’t be the mashed potatoes, and it wouldn’t even be my grandma’s ambrosia salad that would make the cut. Nope.
The one dish I wouldn’t want to miss out on at Thanksgiving is this super simple, totally basic, bread stuffing I’ve been eating since I could put food in my hungry little mouth, and will still eat hot at the table or cold straight from the fridge. It’s my side dish kryptonite and the one I can never say no to.
I’ve shared other stuffing recipes that are more unusual with more ingredients, but I’ve never shared my favorite. I always thought it was just too basic, and not unique enough. But because it’s the same one I make year in and year out, and it’s the same recipe my mom made every year that I would more than happily taste test for seasoning, I figured it was high time to post it here where it proudly belongs.
There’s nothing fancy about this classic stuffing. It’s totally basic. But its simplicity is exactly why I crave it year after year after year.
What Is In This Classic Stuffing Recipe
There are only six ingredients, plus salt and pepper in this super easy stuffing recipe.
My stuffing starts with basic dried sandwich bread. Dried bread does the best job of absorbing the seasonings and flavors. My mom always used boxed seasoned bread cubes, but I have fallen into favor of the dried bread cubes I purchase from my grocery store bakery.
Or, you can make your own. A one pound loaf of bread will make about 12 cups of cubed bread.
To prepare dried bread for stuffing, cut a loaf of white or French bread into 1/2-inch slices and place on a baking sheet or rack to sit out overnight, or for two night, until dried. Cut into smaller pieces if desired.
To prepare bread stuffing in the oven, place the sliced bread in a 225°F oven for 30 minutes or until dried, and cut into smaller pieces.
see more: 21 Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
How to Make Stuffing
The thing that makes the stuffing so good is the combination of onions and celery sautéed in plenty of butter. Just the aroma of these three ingredients sautéeing on the stove is enough to send visions of turkey day memories flooding through my brain like a food memory time capsule.
- Dried bread cubes
- Butter (and don’t get stingy!)
- Chicken broth
- Dried poultry seasoning
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
This is one time of year and the one dish I don’t skimp on the butter because it adds loads of flavor.
I season the stuffing the same way my mom always did, with dried poultry seasoning.
Poultry seasoning is a combination of the following dried herbs:
- Black pepper
The pungency of dried herbs is stronger than fresh herbs, and that’s why I use poultry seasoning every time.
I like to make my own chicken or turkey stock to flavor this stuffing, and use for making my homemade gravy. I use my recipe for Homemade Chicken Stock.
If I’m making the stock recipe for turkey, I usually sub in the carcass after making my juicy roasted turkey breasts (because I always want extra white meat) and a few roasted turkey wings. Or, simply use chicken stock for turkey stuffing instead.
Ingredients to Add to This Simple Stuffing to Make It Special
This basic stuffing recipe can be the building block base to all your stuffing cravings by adding other ingredients to take it from simple to special:
- Sausage, ham, or bacon. Plain sausage, mild Italian or apple sausage all add a savory bite
- Nuts like pecans, pine nuts, walnuts
- Dried fruit like cranberries, currants, raisins, dried apricots or cherries
- Chopped apples, mushrooms or fennel
- Roasted vegetables like butternut squash or caramelized onions
- Smoked oysters or water chestnuts
The Best Temperature to Cook Stuffing
Stuffing cooked outside the bird: To be sure there’s no contamination for your stuffing, cook it in a baking dish prepared with butter as noted in the recipe instructions below. When cooking outside the bird, drizzle with ¼ cup more stock and dot with 1-2 tablespoons more butter, so the stuffing doesn’t dry out in the oven. Bake covered with aluminum foil.
Stuffing cooked in the bird: Personally, I love my stuffing cooked in the bird with all the drippings adding incredible flavor to the stuffing and keeping it moist as it cooks. If cooking the stuffing inside the bird, it’s VERY important to use a food or meat thermometer to be sure the internal temperature in the middle of the stuffing hits 165°F.
What to Serve with This Classic Stuffing to Make a Meal
- Juicy Roast Turkey Breast
- Braised Pork Roast in Almond Milk
- Buffalo Roasted Turkey
- Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon Rosemary Garlic Butter
- Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Bookmark this recipe and leave a comment below, or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats
The Best Easy Stuffing Recipe
Keep it basic or doctor it up, make this stuffing inside or outside the bird for an easy side dish everyone loves.
- 9 tablespoons butter reserve 1 tablespoon for preparing the baking dish
- 2 cups celery chopped (about 4-5 ribs)
- 2 cups yellow onion chopped (1 large)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 10 cups dried bread cubes 1 pound package dried
- 2 teaspoons dried poultry seasoning
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or use homemade turkey or chicken stock
Melt 8 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat in a large, high sided skillet or Dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 6-7 minutes. Season with the kosher salt and black pepper and remove from the heat.
Add the dried bread cubes to a large mixing bowl with the sautéed onion and celery. Sprinkle with the dried poultry seasoning and drizzle with the chicken broth. Gently toss until the ingredients until mixed.
To bake outside the bird, prepare a baking dish with the 1 tablespoon reserved butter and spoon the stuffing in the dish. Drizzle with an additional 1/4 cup of chicken broth and dot with and additional 2 tablespoons of butter to keep moist, cover with foil and bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
To bake inside the bird, spoon 3-5 cups of the stuffing into the bird's cavity, stuffing it loosely but not overfilling, then follow your bird's cooking directions. Be sure the internal temperature of the stuffing comes to 165°F on an instant read meat or food thermometer before serving.
More Easy Stuffed Recipes You’ll Want to Make Too
- Stuffed Pork Chops Plus 10 More Ways To Use Leftover Stuffing
- Cranberry And Walnut Stuffing
- Farro, Butternut Squash, Sausage And Dried Cherry Stuffing
Are you a basic stuffing fan or do you like it best with more stuff added to the mix? Leave a comment below and tell us your favorite stuffing to make now.
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