Classic Stuffing

bread stuffing or dressing for poultry meals
The Spruce / Diana Rattray
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Yield: 1 pan
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
314 Calories
17g Fat
32g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 314
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 9g 47%
Cholesterol 76mg 25%
Sodium 498mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 5mg 24%
Calcium 102mg 8%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 291mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Stuffing is a classic side dish found on holiday tables across the U.S., but you don't have to wait until Thanksgiving to enjoy it. This version is easy enough to prepare any day of the week, and it's an excellent side dish to serve with everyday meals. Serve this stuffing with chicken, game hens, turkey, or pork, or use it to replace potatoes.  

While the word "stuffing" implies it is stuffed into something, like a turkey, chicken, or pork chops, the word is also commonly used for casserole-style baked dressing. What you call it might depend on where you grew up. Southerners and Midwesterners tend to call it dressing if it's cooked outside of the bird, while Northerners call it stuffing regardless of how it's cooked. Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, everyone can agree that it's a delicious, comforting dish.

This version is made with dry, day-old bread, which gives the stuffing the best texture. Soft, moist bread will work, but the stuffing will likely be mushy with little texture. If you don't have time to let your bread cubes dry out on the counter, you can speed up the process by baking them. Cut the bread into cubes, spread them out on a large, rimmed baking sheet, and bake them in a preheated 250 F oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. 

"This rich, buttery stuffing is a wonderful addition to any holiday spread. Sage, rosemary, and thyme provide the familiar flavor characteristic of a classic stuffing while celery and onion provide an aromatic layer. Be sure to sneak some of those browned, crispy pieces from the top as a little treat." —Kayla Hoang

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Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus 1 teaspoon to grease the baking dish

  • 2 cups diced onion

  • 2 cups thinly-sliced celery

  • 12 cups day-old cubed bread, about 1 pound

  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus more for garnish if desired

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups low sodium chicken stock

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 350 F.

    ingredients for stuffing
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Butter a 3-quart baking dish with the teaspoon of butter and set it aside.

    buttered baking dish

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

  3. Melt the remaining 6 ounces butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

    saute the onions and celery in the butter
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cubed bread with the sautéed vegetables, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and continue to add until the bread is well moistened. At this point—before adding the eggs—taste the bread mixture and adjust the seasonings as needed. Add the eggs and stir until well blended.

    mixing bread stuffing ingredients
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish.

    stuffing ready to bake
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until it is hot and the top is lightly browned. It should register at least 165 F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the stuffing.

    stuffing baked, hot from the oven
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Tip

The recipe is easily scaled up or down. For a smaller amount—4 to 6 servings—cut the ingredients by half and bake it in a 2-quart baking dish. For a larger gathering, double the ingredients and bake it in a roasting pan or two baking dishes.


How to Use Leftover Stuffing

If you have leftover stuffing, there are lots of creative ways to use it. Here are some ideas:


Recipe Variations

  • For stronger sage flavor, add 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning or 1/2 teaspoon of ground sage to the stuffing mixture.
  • For a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth instead of chicken stock.
  • For a vegan-friendly stuffing, make it with vegetable broth and replace the butter with oil or dairy-free butter. Use your favorite egg alternative to replace the egg.
  • For sausage stuffing, add about 1 to 2 cups of cooked, well-drained sage pork sausage or sweet Italian sausage to the bread mixture.
  • Add 1/2 to 1 cup of dried cranberries or toasted pecans for extra texture and flavor.
  • Replace some of the fresh herbs with dried herbs in these proportions: 2 teaspoons of dried leaf sage, 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried crumbled rosemary, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried leaf thyme.

How to Store

  • Transfer leftover stuffing to a shallow covered container within 2 hours, and store it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
  • Freeze leftover stuffing in zip-close freezer bags or containers for up to 1 month.
  • To reheat leftover refrigerated stuffing, take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature. Put the stuffing in a baking dish and cover it tightly with foil. Add a sprinkling of chicken stock if it seems dry. Bake it in a preheated 350 F oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until it is heated through and the internal temperature reaches 165 F.
  • To reheat from frozen, cover the baking dish tightly and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F.

What kind of bread is used for stuffing?

For best texture, use a good quality loaf of bread or challah. Both have good flavor and do a good job of absorbing the butter. Feel free to experiment with your favorite French, Italian, or sourdough bread, or try making the stuffing with bagels or English muffins.

Is stuffing better with or without eggs?

For stuffing to hold its shape after cooking, it needs a binder. The most common binder used is egg, which keeps the stuffing light and fluffy while helping to hold it together. For vegan stuffing, you can use alternatives, such as tofu.