Homemade stuffing in a casserole dish with a wooden spoon.
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4.8 from 5 votes

Best Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe

This DELICIOUS traditional Stuffing recipe is the easiest meal of Thanksgiving, can be made ahead of time, and includes step-by-step photos and a video.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Bread drying time:2 hrs
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Calories: 320kcal
Author: Lauren Allen

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf hearty white bread* , cut into 1/2' cubes (12 cups fresh or 10 cups dried)
  • 1/2 yellow onion , finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium carrot , grated
  • 3-4 stalks celery , finely diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • ½ lb ground sausage
  • 3/4 cup butter*
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh parley
  • 3 teaspoons finely minced fresh sage
  • 2- 2 1/2 cups Chicken broth* , or stock (you may need up to 2 1/2 cups total broth)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste

Instructions

  • Cut Bread Cubes. With a sharp serrated knife cut the loaf of bread in 1/2” cubes using 3-4 pieces of bread at a time. Try not to smash the bread too much as you cut.
  • Dry Bread. Spread bread cubes out onto a baking sheet to dry out. Leave them on your counter for 2-3 days, OR set your oven to 200 degrees F and place them in the preheated oven for 1-2 hours to dry, tossing them occasionally.
  • Cook Sausage. In a saute pan, brown the sausage breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Drain the sausage well and pour it onto a paper towel to soak up any excess grease.
  • Chop veggies. Finely dice the onion and celery. Grate the carrot and squeeze it out tightly inside a paper towel.  Mince the parsley and sage.
  • Pour the dried bread cubes into a large bowl. Sprinkle the fresh parsley on top, and add the cooked and drained sausage. Toss to combine.
  • Cook veggies. In a large sauté pan melt the butter on medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add the carrots and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the sage and gently stir in, allowing the sage to wilt and release its flavor.
  • Pour sauté pan with the butter and veggies over the dried bread cubes and sausage and toss to combine.
  • SLOWLY add chicken broth. Start with 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth and drizzle it very slowly all over the bread mixture, stirring gently as you go. It is important not to pour the liquid in all at once or it will make soggy spots in the bread. Add more chicken broth as needed, until all of the bread is lightly moistened, but the mixture is not overly wet.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add to casserole dish. Pour stuffing into a greased 9x13 inch pan or similar size casserole dish. Cover with tinfoil.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.

Video

Notes

Bread: For best results, use heavier white bread (possibly from the grocery bakery), not light and airy sandwich bread, like "Wonder bread". The bread cubes can be dried out and stored in a resealable bag at room temperature up to 2 weeks in advance. 
The time it takes for bread to dry on the counter will largely depend on where you live and the humidity of the environment (bread will dry much quicker in the dessert). Three days should be long enough for most locations.
Butter: Salted or unsalted butter will work. If using salted butter, use low sodium chicken broth, and add additional salt later, if needed.
To make ahead:  Stuffing can be made in advance, and in fact, I recommend preparing it one day in advance to give the flavors time to settle.  The bread for stuffing can also be dried out 2-3 weeks in advance. 
To make 1 day ahead of time, prepare as directed but don't bake it.  Store it in a covered casserole dish or ziplock bag in the refrigerator.  Before your Thanksgiving meal, remove the stuffing from the refrigerator and allow it to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes (as it comes to room temperature). Then bake at 35oF for 30 minutes.
Storing: Store leftover stuffing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  Reheat in the microwave or oven.
Vegetarian stuffing:  Leave out the sausage, no substitute needed.
Vegan stuffing: Omit the sausage, use 2/3 cup of canola oil in place of the butter, and substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth.
Add-in Ideas:
  • Dried fruit: I recommend dried cranberries, or raisins.
  • Nuts: Pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts are best.
  • Various types of bread: My personal preference is old fashioned white bread for traditional white stuffing, but you can use different flavors if you'd like. You could even use cornbread to make Cornbread Stuffing.

Nutrition

Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 835mg | Potassium: 242mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1368IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 169mg | Iron: 3mg