This Easy Bread Stuffing is savory, flavorful and quite simply the best stuffing recipe worthy of any Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner celebration.
Simple and easy to follow homemade bread stuffing stands apart from other recipes because the bread used is fresh, not dried! The fresh bread absorbs the aromatics of butter, celery and spices then is either baked as dressing or stuffed into the turkey cavity and cooked with the turkey. It’s so delicious served warm with turkey, gravy, and all the fixings.
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Stuffing vs Dressing
Stuffing: Stuffing, as the word suggests, is a bread mixture that is stuffed into the cavity of a turkey (or other poultry or fowl) and then cooked with the bird. It needs to be cooked to a specified temperature since it is cooked inside of the turkey.
Dressing: This is usually prepared with similar ingredients as the stuffing, however is cooked in a pan in the oven. Dressing cooks much quicker than stuffing does (around 10-15 minutes). It can be altered to fit a vegetarian diet by simply substituting an oil for the butter.
Savory Stuffing Recipe
- Fresh bread is soaked with a mixture of tasty aromatics like herbs, celery, and onions that are sauteed in butter. It’s a delicious combination of flavors!
- This recipe can be made as stuffing or dressing.
- Pecans and cranberries are optional add ins that taste great. They give the stuffing a more complex and sweet flavor.
Stuffing Ingredients & Variations
AROMATICS: Celery, onions, and some fresh herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary, or a poultry seasoning are sautéed in butter. This is a flavorful base to add to the cut bread.
THE BREAD: Use fresh bread for this stuffing cut or torn into bite-sized cubes. Alternately, use cornbread in place of the white bread, giving it a more Southern flair.
VARIATIONS: Add some mushrooms or cabbage to the stuffing mix for a little variation. Or try cooked sausage, shredded pork or chicken breast for added flavor and texture.
How to Make Stuffing with Fresh Bread
- Sauté the aromatics.
- Toss with cut pieces of bread.
- Add broth and mix. Toss in pecan and cranberries.
- Bake in a baking dish (as per the recipe below) or stuff into a turkey.
How to Make Ahead, Store, and Freeze
A Thanksgiving meal is a lot of work and requires planning and preparation. There are always dishes to wash, and usually a lot of people to contend with. So to simplify matters, try to prepare as many dishes in advance.
Make Ahead Suggestions
Prepare this Easy Bread Stuffing up to 30 days ahead of time, spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze. Break it apart and place in zippered bags for storage. The day before you plan your meal, thaw it in the refrigerator and then set it out at room temperature for about 1 hour before stuffing into the turkey. If cooking in a pan as a dressing, it will not need to come to room temperature. Just increase the cook time for dressing by about 15 minutes.
Alternately, chop all the ingredients beforehand and toss together just before the turkey is ready to be stuffed, or before the dressing is to be cooked in the oven.
Keep any leftover stuffing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Or freeze it for up to a month and use at a later date. Reheat covered in a low temp oven or even a crockpot.
Or create a whole new dish! Combine leftover turkey with mashed potatoes and cheese, then stuff cooked pasta shells. Layer a baking dish with gravy, the stuffed pasta shells, and sprinkle the leftover stuffing over the top. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.
Delicious Recipes Served With Stuffing!
- Oven Roasted Turkey – the best with stuffing!
- Roast Turkey Breast – so easy to make!
- Turkey Gravy From Drippings – so yummy with stuffing.
- Easy Turkey Pot Pie – creamy and delicious.
Fresh Bread Stuffing
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 stalks celery sliced (about 1 cup)
- 1 small onion diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh herbs (sage, rosemary (finely chopped), thyme, parsley), or 2 teaspoons dry poultry seasoning
- salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
- 16 slices fresh bread cut into cubes (crumbs) (1 loaf)
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 cup pecans chopped if desired, optional
- 1 cup cranberries dried or fresh, optional
- Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9x13 or similar casserole dish.
- In a large skillet, melt butter on medium-low heat. Cook celery and onions until cooked through and onions are translucent, about 10-12 minutes. Add fresh herbs and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Remove from the heat. If skillet is too small to fit all bread cubes, transfer mixture to a large bowl.
- Add bread crumbs and mix through. Add 2 cups chicken broth and mix. Add ½ cup chicken broth at a time until stuffing is fairly moist, but not mushy, to your liking. Fold in pecans and cranberries if using.
- Add to casserole dish and cover. Bake covered for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20 minutes, or until done to your liking.
- Alternatively, add the stuffing to the turkey cavity and bake for the time it takes to cook the turkey.* Add leftover stuffing that did not fit into the turkey, to a small greased casserole dish. Bake covered in the casserole dish for about 25 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.