Traditional Bread Stuffing
Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving side dish? I think if we could only have two every single year, our family would most definitely choose large mounds of stuffing and mashed potatoes. We typically serve two different stuffings for Thanksgiving – a sausage cornbread stuffing (omg, my favorite!) and a traditional bread stuffing with just onions, celery and seasonings. Most of us take a little bit of each, while others aren’t a fan of the sausage, so they load up on the classic version. I shared a traditional bread stuffing quite a few years ago, but lately I have not been at all in love with it. I wanted a new, even more traditional version, and this one is absolutely a winner.
This stuffing is classic through and through… from the sautéed onion and celery in lots of butter, to the familiar scent of poultry seasonings and the combination of plain dried bread cubes and chicken stock. It all combines to make one of the best traditional stuffing recipes I’ve ever had. When I first mixed it together, I was a little skeptical that there would be enough liquid for all of the dried bread, but the stuffing baked up wonderfully moist and not at all dry.
If you like to forgo stuffings with sausage, dried fruit or other fancy adaptations, then this recipe is all you will ever need. Plus, you can assemble it the day before, which is a huge plus when it comes to holiday preparations!
Three years ago: Sweet Potato Pie
Five years ago: Fallen Chocolate Cakes
Watch How to Make the Best Stuffing:
Traditional Bread Stuffing
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing baking dish
- 2 medium stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, minced
- ¼ cup (15 g) minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) dried marjoram
- 21 ounces (595.34 g) plain dried bread cubes
- 3½ cups (840 ml) chicken stock
- 2 eggs, beaten lightly
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch casserole dish; set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the celery and onion and sauté until softened, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley, sage, thyme and marjoram, and cook until fragrant, about 1 additional minute. Transfer to a very large mixing bowl.
- Add the bread cubes, chicken stock, eggs, salt and pepper, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to distribute the dry and wet ingredients evenly. Turn the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
- Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 additional minutes. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Did you make this recipe?
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I MAKE THIS EVERY YEAR, for 3 years now. USE 4C Seasoned Bread Crumbs, please. Sets this recipe off.
I had been looking to recreate the stuffing my Mom used to make, and this is darned close. Thanks!
Great, a very freshly prepar, surely they will have lots of vitamins. Thank you for sharing the article very well
I used this recipe today. It was my best stuffing ever! It came out super moist and flavorful. The recipe was simple to follow and did not require a lot of ingredients.
If I cook half the amount. Do I bake for less time ?
re: sourcing the bread:/ making cubes:
Just get a whole uncut loaf (about 2#) of bakery white bread; not the soft stuff, but one with some structure to it & a firm crust.
use a long serrated knife & cut into 1-1/2″ or less cubes, put on a baking sheet in an oven overnight (no heat needed; though you could warm it a bit & turn it off) to dry it out. can do a couple days ahead. they should be sufficiently dry but not ‘crouton hard’ (croutons are fried)
Add a little extra stock if needed.
Don’t mix too heavily as it’ll turn to paste and be very dense.
You can cook covered for most of the time, but pull the foil off for the last 1/3 of the time to get a nice crust on top. (could even brush a little butter on top)
How many servings with this recipe?
This is the recipe we use , but we add a packet of onion soup mix . (Omit the salt )It adds wonderful flavor !!!!
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I was checking through comments to see if someone had asked how many cups is 21 oz. The question was asked 2 times that I saw. 1 time the response was 10 cups & the other time it was 4.5 to 6 cups. So I’m just verifying which measurement would be most accurate. Thank you!
It refers to weight.
A loaf of bread is 21-22 ounces. The number of ounces is on the bread’s label.
couldnt find plain bread cubes so had to buy already seasoned ones.. /any tips on how to adjust the spices to add to them?
Ido a 20lb bird .I use 1bag stuffing croutons for the in bird stuffing and 1 pack for in the oven dressing. first bring 1 stick of butter 2 large white onions,1whole bag of celery,poultry seasoning, and sage with salt and pepper to taste,into a large pot and cook until celery is semi soft .refrigerate over night.in morning take 1 bag croutons half the reheated celery mixture and stir together. Slightly beat 2-3 eggs and por evenly over mixture. then with hands blend all together .Place into bird cavities and roast. repeat with bag 2 of croutons finishing celery mixture,adding eggs.Place in greased baking dish for baking later. this recipe doesn’t need any broth.ENJOY
I’m very confused,, is this 21 ounces of dried bread cubes by weight?? Or, by volume, which would be a bit less than 3 cups of bread cubes.
I’m making it right now, and I went by weight,, (I actually used a digital kitchen scale), and wow,, that’s a lot of stuffing. It barely fit into the 9 x 13 pan. Please let me know and thanks in advance.
Yes, absolutely by weight! You are definitely packing it into a 9×13-inch pan.
Hello, I went by weight,, (I have a good digital scale), and this was an absolute ton of stuffing, and too dry,, not enough liquid for that amount of bread. I love the smell and flavor, and will make it again, but I’ll be cutting way back on the amount of bread. BTW,, I used the store bought package(s) of those little dried cubes that is specifically for stuffing). Thank you for your web site!
I found this in a google search and sooooo glad I did. It’s easy AND delicious!! Thank you!!
I need help! I only have one oven and cannot fit everything in it and would like everything to be done at once. My question is, can your Traditional Bread Stuffing be made in a crockpot? If so, what do you suggest for time and temperature? I am planning a family dinner for 1/09/2021, and need to plan how to get everything cooked at once. Thank you! I love your recipes!
Cn you put this stuffing inside the turkey? eliminate the eggs?
My mother made her stuffing this way but without the eggs and she stuffed the turkey. I was curious if the eggs added any extra flavor.
If I halved the recipe should I use an 8 inch or 9 inch square pan to bake it?
Exactly like mine, except for the eggs. I suppose they change the texture, but how?
The eggs just help the stuffing to bind together
If you don’t have a scale, I found a loaf of cheap white bread, cubed and baked, with the added ingredients, fit a 9×12 dish perfectly.
Good morning, can I use cut up bread pieces for this recipe- something like a bagguet
Yes, that will work!
Do you weigh the bread before or after it is dried? Do you dry it entirely?
Hi Nikki, Weighed after drying, as this was developed with the packaged bread cubes. Yes, it should be dried entirely. Enjoy!
How many cups is 21 Oz for the bread? Would it be like three cups of bread?
It’s about 10 cups of ½-inch cubes.
Actually, for this measurement of 21 oz, a kitchen scale works nice, in this instance you’re going by weight, not volume. Hope that helps.
I will try this and add raisins and walnuts as that’s how my mom made her stuffing. Thanks.
Nice bread stuffing recipe, liked it very much, thanks for sharing this recipe will try this to make.
This is very close to how my Mom and I have made stuffing for our family for past 45 years. Wow did I just say 45 years…my Grandma taught my Mom and I by phone…how to make turkey and stuffing. It is the best stuffing I’ve ever had. We dont do anything fancy…several boxes of mrs cubbisons in different flavors , butter, some orange juice and milk…sounds weird but it was on the box and its sooo good. Lots of finely chopped celery onion and mushrooms and that’s it. Simple perfection😊 that same Grandma taught us how to make homemade gravy too. Which of course is amaaaaaaaaaazing.
About how many cups of bread cubes are in 21 ounces? Thanks
Can you substitute the chicken broth with vegetable broth.? I have IBS and chicken is a trigger.
this is how we made it my whole life ( I’m 60), but a few years ago my sister taught me a trick that is not only time SAVING but BETTER. Her trick is too chop the celery , onions, mushrooms, parsley small and then just toss them raw into the bread , then melt your butter , mix into the bread and spices, dd broth. The result is beautiful bright colors of the celery, onions, parsley etc. Instead of mush. Saves the saute process and the cleaning of the big saute pan.
Hope u see this query Linda. When u pour in the melted butter and stock, do u give the whole mixture a stir or u don’t? Thks. Kim
Can you freeze homemade dressing
Hi Diana, I’ve never tried freezing it, so I honestly have no clue!
This is almost exactly the recipe that my mom made and that I continue to make. I don’t use fresh parsley or the marjoram but everything else is basically the same. I usually don’t measure but I will pass this recipe on to my DIL who asks how I make it. Thanks!
Ooops – forgot to mention I add diced carrots to the onions and celery.
This stuffing was really good, it tasted like my grandmas stuffing.
Hello! Looking forward to making this for my expat “friendsgiving” this weekend.
I’d like to make ahead, but am a bit concerned about the raw egg sitting over night. This really isn’t a problem?
Hi Johanna, Not an issue at all, it will be refrigerated.
What type of bread do you use?
Hi Rachel, I like using Challah!
This looks really yummy. I have a question. Isn’t this recipe for a Dressing as opposed to a Stuffing? Stuffing goes in the Turkey, this doesn’t. Right?
Hi Elaine, I think this is a “tomato/tomahto” question and a lot of people have strong feelings about it, ha! Some say that yes, stuffing is when it’s IN the bird, and dressing when it’s cooked separately, while others say that stuffing is a northern term no matter where it’s cooked (guilty here) while dressing is the common nomenclature in the south.
When you make it ahead do you add the broth ahead or wait until right before you put in oven to add the broth?
Hi Kathy, Yes, add the broth ahead.
Trying some stuffing recipes that use dried cubes that are dried in the oven. Wondering about this since a 1 pound loaf of bread after cutting into cubes and dried in oven weighed just a little over 8 ounces. Big difference so now wondering if quantities need to be adjusted depending on type of bread used?? Thank you this stuffing sure does look perfect!
Hi Meredith, I think if you still go by weight, it doesn’t matter what type of bread you use. Enjoy!
This sounds delicious! I’ll defintely be trying it this year.
I just have one question. I have a small oven, so I’ll be getting creative to be able to make everything. I was wondering if you (or anyone reading) has ever tried cooking the stuffing in a crock pot as opposed to the oven? If so, how did you modify it and how did it turn out?
Hi Kory, I’ve definitely seen recipes for stuffing in the crock pot… I’ve never done it myself so I would suggest “crock pot stuffing” and see what jumps out at you!
I use potato scallion bread from a local bakery and this year (our Thanksgiving in Canada is in October) used fresh herbs, same combo as in your recipe…..lots of great comments on the dressing. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American neighbours and friends.
this sounds like I love, but usually do it in the turkey or crock pot will have to try this, I use half white bread and half whole wheat and also put in mushrooms. but I do not like crispy stuffing just soft, can I just leave it covered the whole time? Please send a reply to my email as I am a senior and not computer smart thank you
My bread stuffing is very similar to yours.
I bake mine in my bundt pan. It’s a pretty presentation & makes slicing a breeze.
so clever; have to try next year!
From Central Pa, and pretty close to my family recipe…..except sage…ugh! And always known as filling in my family….whether it’s in the bird or in a dish…..always…..filling.
Looks good! I’d like to try this dressing for Easter. Love that it can be made ahead. I will likely have to bake it while my turkey breast is roasting at 325 F (instead of the 400 F called for). Do you think that will work, if I just increase baking time? Thanks!
Hi Mary, You can cook it at 325 for a longer amount of time, but you may still want to give it about 15 minutes at the higher temperature at the end to get it to crisp up on top a bit.
There are hundreds of stuffing recipes on the web, but I have yet to see one that uses mashed potatoes in it. This one is close, but no potatoes. They add density and moisture , and are essential in my recipe that has been handed down through the family for over 100 years.
So delicious! Spice mix was perfect and it was so easy! I substituted 8 oz mushrooms for the celery and needed closer to 4 cups broth, but overall this recipe was absolutely great. Lots of compliments… and not nearly enough leftovers because people liked it so much!
Hi Katie, So awesome to hear this was a hit! Thanks for stopping back to share your review, as well as your substitutions!
Hi Michelle, I decided to make my Thanksgiving dressing from scratch for the first time this year. Your recipe, and all the detail added, made it a great experience. This being my first shot at it, I realized how one hangs on every piece of advice, suggestion or thought provided with the recipe. I added sauteed onions and sweet italian sausage to this recipe, saving and using the juices from each in the recipe. I have a HUGE question for you that may seem a no-brainer for most, but really had me scratching my head. It would seem to me that there are at least different 3 terms that can be used when pertaining to fresh herbs, 1) fresh, 2) dried, and/or 3) ground. I found myself, asking myself, if dried and/or ground were one and the same. I regularly purchase “dried” herbs from my nearest Farmers Market. They are literally fresh herbs that are dried, the leaves removed and preserved in bags. Ground herbs are something I’ve always purchased at any ‘ol grocery store, such as those by McCormick, etc. What type sage, thyme and marjoram are you calling for in your recipe?
Hi Carla, Brands from the grocery store like McCormick also sell dried herbs and that’s where I buy my dried herbs. Ground herbs are definitely different and would be labeled as such. I think that the “dried sage” is technically labeled “rubbed sage” on most packaging. I hope that helps!
Served this yesterday for Thanksgiving – oh my! Absolutely delicious. The most commented on dish on the table. Flavors and texture were totally from my childhood. The only change I made – I baked a loaf of KA white bread 4 days before assembling, cubed it and let it go stale. I assembled the stuffing a day ahead of Thanksgiving and baked it as directed on the day of. I will be making this stuffing for years to come.
Hi Linda, So happy to hear this stuffing was so well received! Thanks for sharing your experience with the recipe!
Can this stuffing be made in a 2 qt. dish?
Hi Linda, I don’t think a 2 quart dish will be big enough for this particular recipe.
Love this idea, what would be the cooking option if this was made in a crockpot rather than the oven? Trying to save space this year.
Hi Samantha, I’ve never made stuffing in a crock pot before, but I just did see a recipe a few days ago for one here – you might be able to adapt this recipe to that method? https://www.howsweeteats.com/2017/11/slow-cooker-stuffing/
So…my wife is always beaming when another husband or man says they cook. With that said my challenge was to let me cook Thanksgiving dinner. Relax I told her…I have yummly and the Brown Eyed Baker. But lots of questions. Would it be better to add the chicken stock and eggs before the bread crumbs that way I can make sure the eggs and stock and spices are blended together well. Then add the bread cubes. Anybody have a thought on that.
Hi Bill, Kudos to you! I’ve always added them after, as long as you mix well to ensure everything is evenly distributed I think you’ll enjoy! Have a great dinner!
This recipe looks perfect to serve with my Christmas turkey. I’d love to make it ahead more than just one day though. Would it be possible to freeze it raw and defrost and cook on the day? Thank you.
Hi Margaret, I’ve never tried freezing prepared stuffing before baking it; I’m not sure how it would turn out, but if you try it, let me know!
Thanks Michelle, I’m not brave enough to try it without someone else going before me! So I will stick to the ‘correct’ instructions this time for Christmas and if I ever make it in the future when there’s no company coming I might give it a shot. Thanks!
Made the stuffing day before Christmas. I used fresh sage instead of dried and home made chicken stock. The stuffing was delicious! It’s a keeper and I will make it every time I’m having turkey! Loved it – thank you Michelle!
I have made and frozen our Thanksgiving stuffing ahead of time without issues. The only thing I did was make sure that as it was baking I like to after about 15-20 minutes into the baking time to add an additional layer of a can of condenced milk and fresh Turkey/Veg broth on top and seal back up with foil unit last 15 minutes. Then bake uncoverd to get a crisp skin ontop of the dessing. Our Family recipe uses 1 large can of Campbells Cream of Cellery Soup, and 1 large Cream of Chicken, to also help stop it being so dry. I have a story about an Ex who would activly avoild going to his Family meals due to the way his Mother, and Aunts made such dried out nasty dressing closser to over-mixed brownies that were also over baked\burnt beyond recognition. One of our buggest arguments one Thanksgiving was I didnt want “Stov-top” on the table. So I comprimiced, made them both. My Grandparents Traditional Dressing with a couple small variations and Stove-top. I ended up having to teach 36 Women and young Ladies from that Family all before X-mass how to make eddible dressing not burnt foam-rubber! Several did try my patience but in the end they could all make a passable imatation. I even heard several times that my dressing was was and has been the hit of their Church’s Holiday meals. LOL. By the way that stov-top never did get eaten by us, but the animals did a number on it. Stay safe and have a great rest of the year, who knowes whats ahead. Something better for all not just a few I hope and pray. Magnus THM.
A few questions. I was going to make my own simple French bread a couple days early-should I toast or at all bake the cubes before mixing? Will dried parsley work? Your posting says something about poultry seasoning, is the combination of seasonings you have equivalent to the actual poultry seasoning? I’m trying to save money but I would have to buy a couple new seasoning for this if I can’t substitute the poultry seasoning for what you have listed. Also I usually stuff my bird, can I do that with this? Would stuffing need to be done before or after the baking? I don’t like. Mushy stuffing and yours doesn’t look that way are my assumptions correct? This is my first time making my own stuffing so sorry for all the questions! Thanks in advance for answering!
Hi Sara, You can make your bread ahead of time and just let it sit out and stale. You can substitute poultry seasoning if you’d like. I’ve never stuffed the bird, only made stuffing separately, so I couldn’t say how long it would take or what the texture would be. I hope you enjoy!
Sara, I make my stuffing almost exactly like this..sometimes with, sometimes without eggs. I do stuff my bird and that is what cooks the stuffing. I don’t bake it at all. The stuffing stays compact in the bird but definitely not mushy. Good luck!
I plan to bake this stuffing for Christmas day. I’m a novice at cooking and appreciate so much knowing how many cups of bread cubes to use.
Hi Carol, It would all depend on how large the cubes of bread are, as it could vary significantly. I definitely recommend just going based on weight, either with a loaf of bread you’re cubing on your own (the weight should be right on there), or with a store-bought bag of bread cubes (again, weight should be marked).
Do the eggs become scrambled or do they only act as a binder for the rest of the ingredients?
Hi Cassie, They definitely do not scramble; they are a binder.
I’m sorry if you already answered this question. About how many cups of bread is 21 ounces? Thank you in advance!!! I definitely PREFER this recipe over all the others I saw.
Hi Jessica, It’s about 4.5 to 6 cups, depending on large the cubes are.
Hi Michelle! Thanks for posting this recipe. I am hoping to make this for around 50 people on Thanksgiving. When you say 2 stalks of celery are you referring to two ribs of celery of two heads of celery. Many people (including myself) use them interchangeably and I was not sure which you intended. Thanks!
Hi Abby, Two ribs :)
Stuffing is always the winning side at our thanksgiving dinner too :)
Nothing beats classic stuffing for thanksgiving!
Remove the eggs and add a little garlic powder to make my “traditional” dressing .
I also need homemade cranberry sauce to accompany each bite! Can’t wait! ( NC )
So it works okay without the eggs? I’m not able to eat them right now, but this sound delicious! Would I need a little extra broth to compensate, maybe?
Thanks for posting–I’ll definitely try a version of this! We’re taking Thanksgiving to my grandma this year who doesn’t cook, so I’m doing almost everything and I’ve never made stuffing before ;)
Michelle, what kind of bread should I put? Thank you.
Hi Ela, You can use whatever type of bread you’d like. Any will work.
I have tried all the bags of cubed bread you see at this time of the year and have never liked my stuffing, it always seems dry no matter how much stock I add, maybe the eggs were the missing key? I think I will follow the advice of the commenters and just slice and dry out my own bread.
I did end up using my own cubed bread – one loaf of Italian bread (would probably do 1 1/2 of closer to two next time). This was outstanding! It’s the recipe I’ve been looking for and for the first time – I (and my family) enjoyed the stuffing. Thank you so much for sharing.
I use Fran’s western hazelnut bread. It adds a crunch
You can also fry this stuffing in butter or margarine on the stove. It gets crispy on the outside and it’s soft on the inside. It’s really good.
Grew up in Western PA and this is exactly how I make mine.
If I could have a Thanksgiving with just sides, I would. Turkey? Ehh. It’s fine, but mashed potatoes and corn and bread? Yummmm! I didn’t like stuffing until I met my husband, and tasted his family’s stuffing recipe. It grows on me more and more every year!
I feel the same way! I only take a small piece of turkey at dinner because I want to load up on sides!
My mom makes a similar bread stuffing but shapes it into balls prior to baking. If there are new people around our Thanksgiving table, inevitably, someone always say, “I’ve never seen stuffing made into balls before.” Is this more common in certain parts of the country? I’m in WV.
Hmm, I’ve never heard of it shaped into balls! (I’m in Pittsburgh)
In the UK my mom always shapes it into balls but I don’t because I’m always too flustered and would probably over cook it.
This sounds amazing! I’ve been looking for a classic homemade stuffing recipe and can’t wait to try it!!
Wow! Your traditional recipe is our family recipe EXCEPT I brown & drain pork sausage before adding it to the stuffing/dressing (guess what you call it depends on where you live, too?!)
For my family –it’s the best of both worlds!!
Happiest of Thanksgivings to you & yours!
Peace & blessings!
I always use three or four different types of bread in my stuffing. and tear it into small pieces instead of cubes. I also use a cup of really good white wine along with the chicken stock to add to the depth of tastes.
It looks wonderful – very similar to our very SOUTHERN cornbread dressing! I just can’t do the bread dressing – but my mother did always add bread to hers. I have a very good friend that is from Pennsylvania and I HAVE tried his with just bread, by the way, so I’m not just talking without experience. I know that we all love what we were raised with!
I have to have some cornbread in mine to with the bread. Lots of celery and onion.
Do you make your own dried bread cubes, or do you buy a packaged brand of bread cubes? If you make your own, what kind of bread do you use and for how long do you allow it to dry out? I’ve used a packaged brand of bread cubes, but the nostalgia of drying bread & making my own bread cubes gets stronger every year . . . there’s just something about preparing for the holidays in every way that is maybe more special and exciting than the actual day which always seems to fly by all to quickly.
I make stuffing just like this and learned to do it from my Mom. We toast two loaves of plain white sandwich bread (store brand is fine) and then tear into pieces into a large bowl. That was mine and my sister’s job when we were young and helping my mom make TDAY dinner!
Hi Michelle, The bakery at my local grocery store sells bags of dried bread cubes from their leftover bread – that’s what I buy.
It’s got to be made with cornbread at my house or it’s not dressing. But it’s one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving, that’s for sure.
While this looks scrumptious, German pork sausage bread stuffing all the way! I’ll even sheepishly admit that I still have friends in MN deep freeze and ship me one particular brand of sausage every year because I cannot find anything close to it here in MA :) Love the traditions!
It looks ñam..ñam..
this is wonderful. Dave (my bf) asked for stovetop stuffing lol. Since that clearly isn’t going to cut it, I think a recipe like this with classic ongredients would be perfect. Thanks for sharing!