This Classic Stuffing Recipe is made with simple ingredients. It’s perfect for stuffing a Thanksgiving turkey or enjoying it as a side dish.
*Originally published November 2016. Photos, text, and recipe updated.*
Classic Stuffing Recipe
Ahhh, stuffing or dressing whichever you prefer to call it. Actually, it’s called dressing if you don’t stuff the bird and stuffing if you well, stuff your bird.
No matter what you call it this traditional stuffing recipe is easy to make and uses simple ingredients. It’s perfect for stuffing your bird or as a side dish.
Classic Stuffing Ingredients
- Dry bread cubes: You can make these yourself (it’s so easy) or buy them from the store. I always make them because I can never find plain bread cubes.
- Onion, celery, and garlic: these add so much flavor.
- Poultry seasoning: yes, I am using that little jar of seasoning instead of fresh herbs. Why….. because my mom always did.
- Chicken broth: I like to use a really good quality broth or you can make your own ahead of time.
- Butter: don’t skimp on the butter!
How do you dry bread for stuffing?
This is pretty simple. Cut your bread into 1/2 inch cubes and lay on a baking sheet. Be sure not to overcrowd too much.
For this recipe, I divided the bread between 2 baking sheets. And a little larger than a 1 pound loaf will give you about 10 cups of bread cubes. Choose whatever bread you like white or wheat or a combo of both.
Now you can leave the baking sheets to sit out for 48 hours stirring occasionally until the bread is dry OR place them in a 200 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until they are completely dry.
Is it safe to stuff a turkey?
Yes, so long as you cook it correctly. If you plan to stuff your turkey be sure to use a meat thermometer.
The USDA doesn’t recommend against stuffing a turkey (although it frowns on pre-stuffed turkeys prepared by stores and restaurants) but warns that home cooks should use a thermometer to make sure the stuffing has reached 165 degrees F before serving. If the stuffing is any cooler, it’s a potential source of foodborne illness.
Use a meat thermometer and insert in the center of the dressing. If it reads 165 degrees F it is done. My mom would always stuff her turkey and also make a small pan on the side. Then she would combine the two making a stuffing that was full of flavor and not too wet or dry.
How to stuff a turkey
- Remove the giblets from the turkey.
- Prepare your turkey according to your recipe’s directions. (rubbing it with seasoning, putting an herb butter under the skin, or injecting the bird for example)
- Stuff the neck cavity. Do this by loosely spooning the prepared stuffing into the neck cavity. Then pull the skin over the stuffing and pin to the turkey’s back using a metal skewer.
- Stuff the body cavity of the bird loosely. (in other words, don’t pack it with stuffing!) Now, it’s ready for roasting!
- As a guideline use about 3/4 cup of stuffing per 1 pound of turkey.
- For safety reasons don’t stuff your bird ahead of time but rather just before roasting.
How to make stuffing ahead of time
Option #1: Prepare the stuffing according to recipe’s directions, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator 15-20 minutes before baking. If you plan on stuffing your bird make the stuffing just before stuffing your turkey.
Option #2: Let the stuffing cool completely after baking. Cover well with foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw completely in the refrigerator, remove from refrigerator 15-20 minutes before baking and reheat by baking in a 375 degree F oven, covered, for 20ish minutes. You may need to add a little broth if it’s dry.
Thanksgiving Menu Idea
- Beer and Butter Turkey
- Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
- Homemade Turkey Gravy
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Streusel Topping
- Homemade Green Bean Casserole
- Crescent Rolls
- Triple Berry Pretzel Salad
- Classic Pumpkin Pie
Also, if you are new to planning for Thanksgiving be sure to check out my Thanksgiving Menu for Beginners.
Homemade Thanksgiving stuffing, there's nothing better! This classic stuffing recipe is easy to make, uses simple ingredients, and can be made ahead!
- 10 cups (415g) dry bread cubes
- ¾ cup (90g) finely chopped celery
- ½ cup (75g) finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2-2½ cups chicken broth
- 6 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add celery and onion and cook until onion is soft. Stir in garlic. (season with salt and pepper while cooking the celery and onion)
In a large bowl combine the bread cubes, sauteed vegetables, poultry seasoning, and chicken broth. Gently toss to combine.
Spoon into prepared baking dish and dot with remaining butter. Cover with foil. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. If you would like to have a crispy top remove foil and bake for 5-10 minutes.
- Be sure to read the post about how to dry your own bread, stuff a turkey, and make ahead options.
- Nutrition Facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.