Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing is a classic recipe for stuffing made with bread cubes, sauteed onions, celery, and butter. This simple stuffing is easy to make, can be adapted to accommodate food allergies, and compliments any main course perfectly.
The Best Bread Stuffing Recipe
Anytime I smell celery and butter being sauteed, I immediately think of my Papa's Old Fashioned Stuffing.
For my entire life, Thanksgiving would not be complete without his simple, no-fuss, classic bread stuffing.
Just as Thanksgiving is rooted in memories and traditions, this stuffing recipe is rooted in tradition and memories for me.
I have had sausage stuffing, wild rice stuffing, and oyster stuffing, but NOTHING compares to my family's Bread Stuffing.
Sauteed celery and onions in butter and thick, hearty bread cubes are the base for this classic stuffing. This is a no thrills, simple recipe, yet it delivers all the classic must-have flavors.
Notes on Ingredients
- Bread: You can use any bread you like for this recipe. Wheat bread, white bread, or even gluten-free bread.
- Butter: For the richest, classic stuffing, butter is a must! Use unsalted butter so that you can control the sodium content in the stuffing.
- Celery and Onions: This is the classic base for bread stuffing. Use yellow or white onions, not red or sweet onions when making stuffing.
- Chicken Stock: I recommed using homemade chicken stock for the richest flavor, but any good-quality store-bought brand will work. You can also opt to use turkey stock or even vegetable broth.
- Seasonings: Salt and pepper are the only seasonings needed to make classic bread stuffing. However, I love adding fresh thyme leaves as it instensifies the flavor and pairs beautifully with roast pork, chicken, and turkey.
How To Make Bread Stuffing
Step One: Dry Out Bread
A key step to making the best stuffing is to allow the bread to dry out, or become a bit stale so that it can absorb all the liquid and seasonings.
To do this, I plan to cube my bread the night before I intend to make stuffing. Then I lay out the cubed bread on a sheet pan, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and leave it out on the counter overnight. The bread will dry out overnight, making it perfect to prepare the stuffing.
If you don't have the time, or maybe you have dogs or cats that would not leave your bread untouched, you can dry out your bread in a 300-degree F oven for about 15-20 minutes.
Step Two: Saute Onions and Celery
When you are ready to prepare the stuffing, melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add in the minced onion, diced celery, and thyme leaves if using, and saute for several minutes until the onions begin to soften. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
Step Three: Combine
Once the bread is dried out and the onions and celery are sauteed, it is time to mix up the stuffing.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread cubes, sauteed onion, and celery mixture. Add in a bit of stock, a little bit at a time, mixing to combine. Add in more stock as needed until the bread is fully moistened but not soaking wet.
Step Four: Bake
Transfer the bread mixture to a buttered baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden.
Prepare Stuffing in Advance
Especially during the holidays, it is wise to take the time to prepare as many dishes ahead of time. This stuffing recipe can be made up to 3 days in advance, making it the perfect side dish to prep early for Thanksgiving or a holiday meal.
Simply prepare the stuffing recipe as directed up to baking. Cover with foil and place the prepared stuffing in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in advance. When ready to bake, remove the dish from the refrigerator while the oven preheats and bake as directed.
Leftover Stuffing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze leftover stuffing in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 3 months in the freezer.
To reheat leftover stuffing, place individual serving on a heat-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 1-2 minutes until warmed through. Alternatively, bake leftover stuffing, covered with foil at 325 degrees F until warmed through.
While I love to eat plain leftover stuffing, it is also delicious featured in Thanksgiving Egg Rolls. Another favorite use for leftover stuffing is to break up the baked stuffing and toast under the broiler on a sheet pan. Use as flavorful croutons.
You can use just about any type of bread you like to make homemade stuffing. In fact, a variety of bread gives the stuffing added layers of flavor. One of my favorite money-saving tips is to freeze leftover pieces of bread, rolls, buns, etc in a large freezer-safe bag in the weeks leading up to the holidays. I can pull that bread out from the freezer the day before I intend to make stuffing, and let it defrost and dry out on a sheet pan overnight.
Typically, but due to family dietary issues and reader requests, I have created an Egg-Free Stuffing Recipe. You will not need an egg to bind together this bread stuffing as there is enough stock added, but feel free to add 1-2 whisked eggs and decrease the liquid by ¼ cup if you want to use eggs in your stuffing.
Absolutely! If you need Gluten-Free Stuffing, just use your favorite gluten-free bread. The results will be delicious.
Homemade Stuffing Video
For a step-by-step video process with my tips, check out my Stuffing Recipe Video on YouTube.
More Classic Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes
- Broccoli Cheese Rice Casserole
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Perfect Mashed Potatoes
- Cranberry Orange Sauce
- Homemade Applesauce
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Or check out my full collection of Thanksgiving Recipes to prepare a feast your family will love!
If you enjoyed this recipe for Classic Bread Stuffing, please be sure to leave a comment and rating below.
The Best Stuffing Recipe
- ¼ cup butter plus more for greasing pan
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 celery stalks chopped
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves stems discarded
- 1 pound bread cubed
- 2 cups chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and arrange it onto a baking sheet. Allow the bread to dry out for 3-12 hours.
- Grease an 8x8 or 2-quart baking dish with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt ¼ cup (or ½ stick) butter in a large heavy-bottomed skillet, over medium-low heat.
- Add onions, celery, and fresh thyme leaves to the skillet. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute veggies until softened slightly, about 7 minutes.
- Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl. Add in the sauteed veggies and another pinch of salt and pepper. Toss well.
- Add in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, and toss until bread cubes are moistened completely. You want the bread to be wet and softened, but not drenched in liquid or soggy. You may not use all the liquid.
- Pour the prepared stuffing into the prepared baking dish and cover with foil.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes covered. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden.