It isn’t Thanksgiving without stuffing, and this old-fashioned bread stuffing is the perfect addition to your holiday table. It’s a simple stuffing of toasted bread, onions, celery, butter, stock, and a perfect blend of spices. This dish can be prepared ahead.
I’ve made many different stuffings for Thanksgiving in the past, but this is the one requested every year. Due to its simplicity, I’m happy to oblige. It’s also perfect for making ahead. I prepare this the day before, then on the big day, it’s baked until golden brown. However, you don’t have to make this stuffing just for Thanksgiving, it’s too good to only have once a year!
I don’t stuff my bird because we fry a turkey and frankly, I don’t want to further violate the poor thing. I also used dried herbs which makes this whole process super easy and still super delicious.
So what kind of bread should you use for stuffing?
The most important thing is this: If the bread tastes good, your stuffing will taste good. I prefer using the Italian style loaves because it dries out quickly which tells me there’s less “stuff” in it to keep it “fresh”. You’ll need a one pound loaf of Italian or French bread – the kind sold at the supermarkets in the bakery section. You know the kind I mean right?
To cut off the crusts or not to cut off the crusts?
Honestly, I used to cut the crusts off the bread then I realized it was a waste of time. First of all, it saves you time to not cut them off. Second, you’re not wasting said crusts. Third, the crust has a nice golden color to it so you are one step ahead of making the stuffing look golden. Hey, if you want to cut them off, by all means do it.
To tear the bread or to cube the bread?
Well, I used to take the time and cube the bread. Then I found it more satisfying to tear off the pieces. See, it’s Thanksgiving and that means family and drama. Tearing up the bread allows me to get my frustrations out on bread rather than family. Let me tell you, tearing each piece is therapeutic and it puts a smile on my face. Whichever you choose to do, just tear or cut the bread into bite-sized pieces and put them into a large bowl.
The onions and celery are cooked until they are soft and tender. We don’t want crunchy onions and celery. Their role is to provide a nice sweet flavor and the way you get that is to cook them in butter for at least 10 to15 minutes over medium heat until they are soft and delicious. Once the onions and celery are softened and begin to color, add the spices into the skillet and stir to wake them up. Once fragrant, pour in some of the stock to dissolve any deliciousness stuck to the bottom of the pan. Now pour all that over the bread in the bowl and pour in remaining stock. Stir and toss, toss and stir. Yes, some will start to look like mush. That’s going to be good so don’t worry about it. Transfer it into a casserole dish and drizzle with butter.
At this point you can refrigerate until ready you’re ready to bake. Otherwise, bake in a 350, 375, or 400 degree oven for 30 – 40 minutes. Why the range of oven temperatures? I’ve made the stuffing using these three different oven temperatures depending on what else I was cooking that day and it comes out perfectly fine. The ingredients in the stuffing do not require a specific oven temperature making it another perfect addition for your perfect day.
This Thanksgiving or any day, don’t stress. Make this simple delicious old-fashioned bread stuffing and I bet you will make it a tradition in your own home.
Try some of my other delicious sides:
- Roasted spiced acorn squash
- Rich creamy garlic mashed potatoes
- Silky smooth carrot puree
- Peas and Pancetta
- Perfect rice pilaf
- Perfect mashed potatoes
- Maple butternut squash
Life is too short for mediocre food.
Old-Fashioned Bread StuffingPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 pound loaf of bread Italian or French work great
- 1 large sweet onion about 3 cups, finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, including any leaves about 3 cups, finely chopped
- 12 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon of poultry spice recipe follows
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 ½ teaspoons sage
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Cut or tear up bread into 1” pieces and scatter onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until it dries out and starts to turn golden. Transfer into a large bowl.
- In a large saute pan, melt the 8 tablespoons butter and add the onions and celery. Sauté over medium heat until onions and celery are softened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Combine poultry seasoning ingredients. Skip if using store bought.
- Sprinkle in salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Stir to wake up the spices. Once fragrant, pour in some of the stock and scrape up any bits on bottom of skillet.
- Remove from heat and pour over the bread along with remaining stock. Toss thoroughly to combine and transfer to a casserole dish. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter and drizzle evenly over the top of stuffing. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes, until golden and browned on top. (See Note)
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