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Classic Homemade Stuffing Recipe

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This easy Homemade Stuffing Recipe has been in my family for generations! It’s a light, fluffy and flavorful Thanksgiving turkey filling or vegetarian side dish that no one will be able to resist.

Looking for more Thanksgiving sides? Try this sweet and spicy green beans recipe.

A serving spoon lifting up a helping of homemade stuffing from a baking dish

The Best Homemade Stuffing Recipe

While many people look forward to Thanksgiving for the turkey, the cranberry sauce or the mashed potatoes, my mind goes straight to the stuffing. Both my grandmother and my mom have used this classic stuffing recipe for decades, and I can confirm that it never gets old. You get the perfect balance of soft and crispy, and the combination of herbs, spices and veggies will keep you reaching for more.

If you have any vegetarians at the table on Thanksgiving or Christmas, this festive dish will prevent them from feeling left out. With all the mouthwatering turkey and ham served on those holidays, it’s important to have an equally delicious option for family members and friends who can’t indulge in meat. Everyone will enjoy this recipe.

If you’ve been around here long enough you know that I love easy recipes, especially when it comes to cooking. I could bake all day long but cooking doesn’t come as naturally to me. So if you see me sharing a savory dish like this, I can guarantee it’s easy, but also delicious.

A white baking dish with handles full of homemade dressing

What is the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

While stuffing and dressing are very similar dishes, there’s a difference in how each one is cooked. Stuffing is cooked inside of the turkey cavity while dressing is cooked separately and served by itself.

But guess what? This recipe can be used for both! You can either cook your stuffing inside of the turkey or prepare it as its own standalone dish. Either way, it’s incredible.

A plate full of homemade turkey dressing with a second serving in the background

Ingredients You’ll Need

This versatile dish is made with minimal ingredients that provide maximum flavor. Here’s the fool-proof lineup that my family swears by:

  • Sourdough Bread: Sliced, cut into cubes and dried.
  • Onion: Finely chopped. You’ll need about 2 cups total.
  • Celery: This should also be finely chopped.
  • Butter: You’ll need 1/4 cup to sauté the veggies and another 1/4 cup to combine with the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Eggs: Beaten.
  • Milk: Every old-fashioned stuffing relies on milk for extra fluffiness.
  • Dried Herbs: This recipe uses equal parts parsley and sage.
  • Salt & Pepper: Added to taste.

What Kind of Bread Should I Use?

We prefer using sliced sourdough or whole wheat bread for our dressing, but really any kind of bread will do. You could even choose to use a combination of two different types. Have fun with it!

Milk, eggs, butter, salt, pepper, bread cubes and the rest of the stuffing ingredients arranged on a white marble countertop

How to make Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing

One thing to note about stuffing and dressing is that it must be made using day-old bread. However, there is a workaround for this. If you haven’t left your bread out a day ahead of time, you can simply dry it out in the oven according to the instructions below.

Dry Out Bread: Leave the cubed bread uncovered on a sheet pan to dry overnight. Alternatively, you can place it in a 200°F oven for approximately 60 minutes, or until the bread is dry.

A baking sheet full of sourdough bread cubes on top of a counter with a kitchen towel, a stick of butter and some chopped veggies

Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Sauté Veggies: In a large skillet, sauté the celery, 1 cup of the chopped onion and ¼ cup of the butter until the onions are cooked and fragrant. This should take about 5-8 minutes.

Chopped celery and onions being stirred with a wooden spoon on a countertop with eggs, spices and dried herbs

Combine Veggies, Bread & Seasonings: Combine the sauteed veggies with the bread in a large mixing bowl, then add the remaining onion, herbs, salt and pepper. Stir until combined.

Dried cubes of bread in a mixing bowl with chopped onions, celery, spices and herbs

Add Eggs & Remaining Butter: Next, melt the remaining ¼ cup of butter and pour it over the breadcrumbs together with the beaten eggs. Stir to combine.

Slowly Add Milk: Add the milk half a cup at a time, only until the breadcrumbs are moist but not soggy.

Uncooked turkey dressing in a glass mixing bowl with a wooden spoon stirring it together

Bake: Add the stuffing to your prepared turkey cavity and bake as usual. For dressing, bake the mixture in a greased 9×13-inch pan for 30 minutes, covered with tin foil. Remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes.

A bird's-eye view of a baking dish full of Thanksgiving dressing on a marble countertop

Tips for Success

There are a few important pieces of advice to keep in mind when you’re making homemade stuffing. Here are all the trade secrets for this family recipe!

  • Make Sure the Bread is Dry: If you’ve left your bread out overnight and it still doesn’t seem quite dry, pop it into a 200°F oven. Keep it in there only as long as needed to dry it out.
  • Mind the Milk: You may not need the full 2 cups of milk that this recipe calls for. The amount needed will vary based on how dry your breadcrumbs are. The bread should be moist but not soggy, and there should be no remaining liquid on the bottom of the mixing bowl.
  • Double the Recipe: This recipe makes enough stuffing for a 10-12 pound turkey. If you have a large bird, go ahead and double the recipe. If you’re doubling it as a dressing, use two 9×13-inch pans. You could even double the recipe and serve it as both a stuffing and a dressing!

Variation Ideas

This classic homemade stuffing is a great jumping-off point for all sorts of yummy variations. Check out the ideas below for inspiration.

  • Sausage Stuffing: Adding sausage to this stuffing is super easy. Simply cook the sausage and drain off the fat. Add the meat to the bread along with the cooked veggies.
  • Garlic Herb Stuffing: Try sautéing 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic with the onion and celery to compliment the flavors of the dried herbs. So yummy!
  • Apple Stuffing: Want to incorporate some festive sweetness into your homemade stuffing or dressing? Add 1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped.
  • Substitute the Milk for Chicken Broth: As long as you’re not catering to any vegetarian eaters, you can substitute the milk for chicken broth. You could also use a combination of the two!
An overhead shot of a plate of Thanksgiving stuffing with one bite on a metal fork

How to Store Leftover Turkey Dressing

On the off chance that you have leftovers, they should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge once they’ve cooled completely. Enjoy your leftovers within 3-4 days. Warm-up your dressing in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes, covering it with foil if it’s browning too quickly. If you’re warming up stuffing inside of a turkey, let it come to room temperature before reheating.

Can I Freeze This?

The freezing process for stuffing and dressing is the same across the board. Place your cooled leftovers in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw out frozen stuffing/dressing in the fridge before reheating it, bringing it to room temperature if needed.

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A white baking dish with handles full of homemade dressing

Classic Homemade Stuffing Recipe

  • Author: Julianne
  • Prep Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings

Description

This easy Homemade Stuffing Recipe has been in my family for generations! It’s a light, fluffy and flavorful Thanksgiving turkey filling or vegetarian side dish that no one will be able to resist.

Ingredients

  • 1lb (24oz) sliced sourdough bread, cut and dried
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 3 stalks of celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • ½ cup butter, divided
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop the sliced bread into cubes and leave uncovered on a sheet pan to dry overnight. Or dry in the oven at 200°F for approximately 60 minutes or until bread is dry.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. In a large skillet, sauté 1 cup chopped onion, the celery and ¼ cup butter until onions are cooked and fragrant, approximately 5-8 minutes.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sauteed veggies together with the bread, then add the remaining onion, seasonings, salt and pepper and stir until combined.
  5. Next, melt the remaining ¼ cup butter and pour over the breadcrumbs together with the eggs and stir to combine.
  6. Slowly add the milk, ½ cup at a time only until the breadcrumbs are moist but not soggy.
  7. Add to prepared turkey cavity and bake as usual. Alternatively, bake in a greased 9×13-inch pan for 30 minutes, covered with tin foil. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 15 minutes.

Notes

  • Milk: You may not need the full 2 cups of milk that this recipe calls for. The amount needed will vary based on how dry your breadcrumbs are. The bread should be moist but not soggy, and there should be no remaining liquid on the bottom of the mixing bowl.
  • Servings: Makes 8-10 servings or enough to stuff inside a 10-12lb turkey. Once all the ingredients are combined, stuff inside the bird and bake accordingly. 
  • Make a large batch: whether you have a larger bird or need to serve a crowd, this recipe can easily be doubled for two 9×13″ pans. 
  • To Store: Refrigerate cooled leftovers in an airtight container and enjoy within 3-4 days. Warm in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes, covering with foil if browning too quickly. If warming up stuffing inside of a turkey, bring to room temperature before reheating.
  • To Freeze: Place leftovers in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating, bringing to room temperature if needed.
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: homemade stuffing, stuffing for thanksgiving, vegetarian stuffing

More Thanksgiving Dishes to Try

Need more easy recipes for your Thanksgiving feast? I’ve got just the dishes!

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