The BEST Stuffing Recipe
This easy homemade stuffing packs a punch of flavor thanks to fresh herbs, onion, garlic and butter. With perfect crispy edges and a soft center, this Stuffing Recipe is the best of all of the stuffing recipes I’ve tried!
How do you feel about Thanksgiving Stuffing? Is it the highlight of the meal for you, or do you take just a small portion, leaving more room on your plate for other side dishes, like Broccoli Casserole and Sweet Potato Casserole? I used to be in the former category, but then I perfected this stuffing recipe. Brad and I could not stop raving about how much we loved it, and we both went back for a second helping!
If you’re still a stuffing skeptic, you just have to try this recipe. It might become one of your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, too.
This stuffing is perfectly crispy on the edges and just soft enough in the center. And the flavor! There’s no mistaking that this easy stuffing recipe is made with fresh ingredients, including onion, celery and fresh herbs. The layers of flavor come together to make a stuffing so irresistible, you’ll want to make it year-round.
Secrets to the Best Stuffing Recipe
While testing this recipe, I found that a few small details make a big impact in the taste and texture of homemade stuffing:
- Dry the bread. Fresh bread is the enemy of a good stuffing. Drying out the bread before adding it to your stuffing will ensure that it holds its shape and doesn’t fall apart or become too soggy. The recipe below tells you exactly how to dry out your bread cubes.
- Plenty of butter. When it comes to stuffing, butter equals flavor. I’m all for making recipes healthier, but when making stuffing it’s not a time to skimp on the butter.
- Fresh herbs. You can’t beat the flavor of fresh herbs in homemade stuffing. They give it that from scratch taste that can’t be replicated with dried herbs. Fresh parsley, sage, thyme and rosemary are a classic combination for stuffing. You can use dried herbs or poultry seasoning if you really want to, but fresh herbs are best.
- Moisten to your liking. Everyone is different when it comes to how moist or dry they like their stuffing. I like mine on the drier side, but if you want more moisture in yours, feel free to stir in some extra broth.
- Bake it in a casserole dish. I know this may be controversial, but I always bake my stuffing outside of the bird. Which technically makes it dressing, not stuffing, but my family has always called it stuffing regardless. Baking stuffing in a baking dish in the oven is the best way to get the edges crispy and golden brown. Also, I’m a stickler about food safety and don’t want to worry about both the stuffing and turkey cooking to a safe temperature together.
What Kind of Bread is Best for Stuffing
To make the best stuffing, you want to use a hearty, crusty bread. My favorite bread for Thanksgiving stuffing is a French baguette. French bread and sourdough also work well. Although be aware that if you choose a sourdough, the sour flavor will really come through in the baked stuffing. If you’re really pressed for time, you can use store bought stuffing bread cubes.
Stuffing Recipe Ingredients
The stuffing ingredients list is short and simple!
- Bread: You’ll need 1 pound of bread, which for me was two French baguettes. You’ll cut the bread into 3/4-inch cubes and then dry it out. More details on that below.
- Butter: Butter brings rich, buttery flavor. I recommend using unsalted butter so that you can better control the amount of salt in the finished dish.
- Onion, Celery & Garlic: These create a base layer of flavor in a traditional stuffing recipe.
- Fresh Herbs: Fresh parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are a perfect combination.
- Salt & Pepper: Essential for seasoning the stuffing.
- Chicken Broth: To moisten the stuffing. I recommend using low sodium chicken broth so that it doesn’t turn out too salty. Feel free to use vegetable broth for vegetarian stuffing.
- Egg: An egg binds the stuffing together.
Find the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
How to Make Stuffing
This recipe is so simple to make, and the results will impress everyone at the table! Even my kids who don’t usually like stuffing asked for seconds!
- First, dry out the bread cubes. The fastest way, and my preferred method, is to lay them out on a baking sheet and place them in a 250° F oven for about 15 minutes. You want them to feel dry, but not look browned. Alternatively, you can place the bread cubes in a loosely covered bowl on the counter for about 24 hours to dry them out.
- Next, sauté the onion and celery in butter until soft.
- Add the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Whisk together the broth and egg.
- Stir together the bread cubes and the onion and herb mixture.
- Pour the broth/egg mixture over the bread and stir.
- Transfer the stuffing to a baking dish and cover with foil.
- Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15-25 more minutes, until the stuffing is browned on top and at least 160° F in the center when tested with an instant read thermometer.
- Add Sausage: After sautéing the onion and garlic, remove sausage from casings, crumble and brown in the pan. Then continue with the recipe.
- Apple Cranberry: Before transferring to the baking dish, stir in 1 diced apple and/or dried cranberries.
- Add Bacon: Stir in cooked, crumbled bacon before transferring to the baking dish. To cook bacon, try my Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon.
- Mix up the Bread: Try using a combination of French bread and sourdough.
- Halve the Recipe: You can prepare half of this recipe and bake it in an 8×8-inch baking dish.
- Double the Recipe: To feed a crowd, you can double this recipe and bake it in two 13×9-inch baking dishes. You’ll need an extra large mixing bowl if making a double batch. Or divide each of the components in half (bread cubes, onion/celery mixture and broth/egg mixture) and mix in two large bowls.
Make Ahead Tips
When I make stuffing for a holiday meal, I like to do as much prep work ahead of time as possible. Here’s a plan of action to save you time on the big day:
- One day ahead: Cube and dry the bread. Then sauté the vegetables, followed by the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Let the vegetable mixture cool and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Store the bread at room temperature.
- The day of: Mix together the bread and the sautéed veggie/herb mixture and then stir in the egg/broth mixture right before baking.
Alternatively, you can prepare the stuffing up to 2 days ahead and bake it at 350° F, covered, for 30 minutes, or until it reaches 160° F in the center. Cool and then cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve the stuffing, bake it at 350° F, uncovered, until heated through and browned, about 30-40 minutes. If it is browning too much yet not hot in the center, cover the dish with foil.
More Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- Mashed Potatoes
- Green Bean Casserole
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Butternut Squash Salad
- Apple Spinach Salad
- Cranberry Sauce
- 1 pound day old French baguette or French bread*, cut into ¾-inch cubes, about 16 cups bread cubes
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups chopped yellow onion
- 1 ½ cups chopped celery
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 250° F. Place the bread cubes on two rimmed baking sheets. Place bread in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring and rotating the pans halfway through the cook time, until bread cubes are dried out but not browned. Remove from oven and set aside. (Alternatively, you can let the bread cubes sit in a loosely covered bowl on the counter for 24 hours to dry them out.)
- Increase oven temperature to 350° F. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish.
- Place the butter in a large Dutch oven or large skillet over medium high heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onion and celery to the pan. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 6 minutes.
- Add the garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat.
- In a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the broth and the egg.
- If the bread cubes will fit in the pot with the onion, celery and herbs, add them to the pot and stir to combine. If not, place the bread cubes in a large bowl and add the contents of the pot to the bowl; stir.
- Pour the broth/egg mixture over the bread cubes and stir. The bread should be moist but not soggy. If it is still very dry, stir in a little more broth, until all of the bread cubes are lightly moistened. If you like your stuffing more moist, you will want to add more broth than the 1½ cups listed in the recipe, as this amount yields a drier stuffing.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover and continue baking for 15-25 more minutes, or until stuffing is browned on top and at least 160° F in the center when tested with an instant read thermometer.
- You can also use store-bought stuffing bread cubes, which are already dried out.
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the stuffing up to 2 days ahead and bake it at 350° F, covered, for 30 minutes, or until it reaches 160° F in the center. Cool and then cover and refrigerate. When you're ready to serve the stuffing, bake it at 350° F, uncovered, until heated through and browned, about 30-40 minutes. If it is browning too much yet not hot in the center, cover the dish with foil.
- Alternatively, you can do some of the prep work one day ahead and then mix everything together right before baking. One day ahead: Cube and dry the bread. Then sauté the vegetables, followed by the garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Let the vegetable mixture cool and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Store the bread at room temperature. The day of: Mix together the bread and the sautéed veggie/herb mixture and then stir in the egg/broth mixture right before baking. Bake as directed in the recipe.