For many folks, stuffing is one of the best parts of a turkey dinner, so having a great go-to recipe for bread stuffing is key to a successful holiday meal.
For some time now, food experts have been advising against cooking the stuffing inside of the turkey. In order to be safe to eat, stuffing needs to reach a temperature of 165°F, and getting it to that temperature usually results in dry, overcooked turkey.
Baking stuffing in a casserole is an easy solution to this dilemma, and with a good recipe and few simple tips, it turns out better than it would have if you’d cooked it inside the bird.
Tips for making old-fashioned bread stuffing:
- Choose the right type of bread: Soft, somewhat densely textured bread with a light crust is the best choice for stuffing. You want a bread that will absorb the moisture from the butter and eggs without getting soggy, yet be light enough to make a tender stuffing. We’ve found a sourdough from our local grocery chain that works really well for this.
- Moisten the bread: Before you combine it with your other ingredients, you’ll want to moisten your bread with water then squeeze it out like a sponge.
- Use real butter: Sauté your aromatic ingredients (onion, celery, mushrooms) in butter. It adds both flavor and moisture and is a key ingredient when making stuffing.
- Use fresh herbs: Fresh parsley, sage, and thyme are easy to find during “turkey dinner season” and the flavor they impart to the stuffing is mellow, yet distinctive.
- Make use of pan drippings: Put a finishing touch of flavor on your stuffing by drizzling some of the turkey pan drippings over the top and popping the casserole back in the oven for a few minutes while you carve the turkey.
More stuffing recipes:
While our old-fashioned family stuffing recipe is our go-to favorite to serve with traditionally roasted turkey or chicken, you may want to opt for a different flavor profile entirely.
Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing
- 1 pound loaf good quality, firm-textured, soft bread, cubed (see notes)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups sweet onion, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 6 ounces fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, stems removed
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
- 1/2 to 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- Butter or turkey pan drippings
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the bread cubes in a colander and moisten with water.
- Using your hands, gently squeeze out the water as you would a sponge.
- Place the moistened bread in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the celery and continue cooking for 2 minutes longer, then add the mushrooms and green onions.
- Continue cooking for another 2 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the sautéed vegetables, parsley, sage, thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper to the mixing bowl with the bread.
- Using your hands, combine thoroughly, and taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Stir in the beaten eggs and combine well then transfer the mixture to a greased 1-1/2 to 2-quart casserole.
- Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle the chicken broth over the top and allow it to soak in.
- Dot with an additional tablespoon of butter or drizzle some turkey pan drippings over top.
- Return to the oven for 10 minutes, uncovered.
- Remove from the oven and replace the cover to keep warm until served, up to 1 hour.