This traditional homemade stuffing recipe is a classic. It’s an easy, traditional 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 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 easy stuffing 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 traditional stuffing. It’s totally basic. But its simplicity is exactly why I crave it year after year after year.
Homemade Stuffing Ingredients
There are only six ingredients, plus salt and pepper in this super easy stuffing recipe.
The best Thanksgiving stuffing recipe starts with basic dried sandwich bread. Dried bread does the best job of absorbing the seasonings and flavors.
The thing that makes Thanksgiving stuffing so good is the combination of onions and celery sautéed in plenty of butter. Just the aroma of these three ingredients sautéing on the stove is enough to send visions of turkey day memories flooding through my brain like a food memory time capsule.
In all, here’s what you’ll need to make this bread stuffing recipe:
- Dried bread cubes
- Butter (and don’t get stingy!)
- Chicken broth
- Dried poultry seasoning (more on this in a moment)
- 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. My stuffing seasoning is a combination of the following dried herbs:
- Black pepper
see more: 21 Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes
How to Dry Bread for Stuffing
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.
How to Make Stuffing
This truly is the best Thanksgiving stuffing recipe. To make it, simply melt the butter in a skillet, then add in the chopped onion and celery and cook until softened.
Add the dried bread cubes to a large mixing bowl along with the sautéed veggies. Drizzle with chicken broth and sprinkle with stuffing seasoning. Toss to mix, then bake either inside the turkey or in a baking dish.
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.
Stuffing Mix-Ins to Try
This traditional 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
How to Keep Stuffing Warm
Thanksgiving stuffing is one of the first side dishes to cool down once it’s been removed from the oven (bread just doesn’t hold heat well).
To keep this traditional bread stuffing warm until you’re ready to serve it, cover it tightly with foil and place it in the drawer underneath your oven (it should be fairly warm in there if your oven is still on), or in a 200 degrees F oven.
How to Reheat Stuffing
You can reheat leftover Thanksgiving stuffing on the stove or in the oven. Simply drizzle a tablespoon or two of broth over the stuffing, then either heat in a skillet on the stove or cover with foil and cook in a 350 degree F oven.
Tips for Making the Best Stuffing
The pungency of dried herbs is stronger than fresh herbs, and that’s why I use poultry seasoning every time. Plus, using dried herbs I already have in my pantry means there’s one less Thanksgiving ingredient I need to stock up on.
I like to make my own chicken or turkey stock to flavor this homemade stuffing recipe, 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.
What to Serve with This Stuffing Recipe: My Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
- How to Make the Best Juicy Turkey Brine
- How to Make the Best Mashed Potatoes
- Easy Glazed Carrots
- Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
- Easy Green Beans with Browned Butter Almondine
- Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
- 5-Ingredient Stovetop Creamed Spinach
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.
- You can reheat leftover stuffing in a 350ºF oven or in a skillet on the stove. Whichever method you choose, you'll want to drizzle a little chicken broth over the stuffing before reheating it to prevent it from drying out.
Main Dishes to Serve with Stuffing
- Juicy Roast Turkey Breast
- Herb Butter Rotisserie Turkey
- Roasted Turkey Breast with Lemon and Oregano
- Braised Pork Roast in Almond Milk
- Buffalo Roasted Turkey
- Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon Rosemary Garlic Butter
- Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken
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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