This traditional stuffing recipe is made from scratch and is the best stuffing recipe, made with bread cubes, butter, onion, celery, and savory aromatics—perfect for a Thanksgiving feast or served as a side dish to chicken or pork.


If I were to stand at a table loaded with the classic 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.

The one dish I could never miss is a super simple, totally basic, homemade stuffing recipe I’ve been eating since I could put food in my hungry little mouth. It’s buttery, savory, and everything you could ask for in a classic stuffing recipe. Plus, it has minimal ingredients and is so simple to make.

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What’s is Traditional Stuffing Made Of

There are only six ingredients in this traditional stuffing recipe, plus salt and pepper. What makes this Thanksgiving stuffing so crave-worthy is the trifecta of onions and celery sautéed in more butter than you think you should use. 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.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this Traditional stuffing recipe:

  • Dry bread cubes
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Butter—don’t skimp on the butter here, it’s crucial for amazing flavor!
  • Chicken broth or turkey stock
  • Dried poultry seasoning (more on this in a moment)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Stuffing Seasonings

I season the stuffing the same way my mom always did, with dried poultry seasoning. I buy it already pre-mixed in the little red-topped spice jar. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Marjoram
  • Rosemary
  • Nutmeg
  • Black pepper

How to Make Traditional Stuffing

This truly is the best Thanksgiving stuffing recipe. Here’s how to make it:

Sauté your veggies. Melt the butter in a skillet, then add in the chopped onion and celery and cook until softened.

Drizzle, season, and toss. Add the dried bread cubes to a large bowl and top with the sautéed veggies. Pour in chicken broth and sprinkle with stuffing seasoning. Stir and toss to mix, tasting as you go, and add more seasoning to taste. Bake either inside the turkey or in a 9×13-inch casserole dish.

see more: 21 Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes


The Best Bread for Stuffing

The best Thanksgiving stuffing recipe starts with basic dried sandwich bread. You could certainly use artisanal bread, like sourdough, but I find that good old dried sandwich bread does the best job of absorbing the seasonings and flavors.

My mom always used boxed seasoned bread cubes, but I have fallen in favor of the dried bread cubes I purchase from my grocery store bakery. Or, you can make your own. A 1-pound loaf of bread will make about 12 cups of cubed bread.

  • To make your own 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 nights, 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 it into smaller pieces.


What is the Difference Between Dressing and Stuffing?

Though often used interchangeably (depending on what region you’re from), there is a small difference between dressing and stuffing. Historically, while the basic concept of the dish doesn’t change too much (a baked mixture of cubed bread mixed with sautéed veggies and herbs), “dressing” is more of a Southern thing, while “stuffing” tends to be more recognized in Northern states.

There are variations like sourdough bread or cornbread stuffing, ones made with dried fruits and nuts, sausage, rice, or even oysters. But no matter the ingredients, the biggest difference is whether you stuff your mixture inside the turkey to bake (stuffing) or bake it in a baking dish (dressing). Potato, po-tah-to, let’s call both delicious.

Should You Put an Egg in Your Stuffing

Some stuffing recipes call for eggs, so you may be wondering why you’d put an egg in stuffing. The eggs act as a binder so the stuffing holds together more. I don’t usually add eggs to my stuffing, but if you’d like to try it, whisk 2 eggs and add them to the cooled stuffing mixture so you don’t get scrambled eggs in with your stuffing.

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: Cooking the turkey unstuffed creates a more level cooking field so the white and dark meat will be done at the same time. Dense bread stuffing reduces airflow inside the bird and slows the cooking time. Dark meat cooks slower than white breast meat, and stuffing the bird compounds the issue. 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.

see more: 31 Days of Weeknight Chicken Dinners to Make Now


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°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°F oven.


How Do You Make Tasty Stuffing

It’s all about aromatics. The aromatics of dried herbs are stronger than fresh herbs, which is 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.

Homemade stock makes a difference. I like to make my own chicken or turkey stock to flavor this homemade stuffing recipe and use it for making my homemade gravy. I use my recipe for Homemade Turkey Stock or 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

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a altaltaltaltalt rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.


Main Dishes to Serve with Stuffing

More Easy Stuffed Recipes You’ll Want to Make Too

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