This Classic Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe is the best! So much better than the stuff from a box and so easy to make from scratch. The secret is melted butter and celery leaves.
Why You'll Love This Dish
For years, I have been making Thanksgiving stuffing from a box. It's just something about the flavor and aroma that just takes us back to holiday dinners of our childhood. But slowly, over the years, I have been working on my fail-proof recipes for each holiday dish. Now, I finally have my favorite, better-than-the-box Thanksgiving stuffing recipe! My secret ingredients? Celery leaves and melted butter!
- bread: French, Italian or sourdough;
- celery: both stalks and leaves;
- onion: adds flavor;
- butter: allows the stuffing to crisp up on top;
- poultry seasoning: sage, thyme and rosemary;
- broth: chicken, turkey or vegetable.
The purpose of this list is to help you create a shopping list or let you quickly see what is needed for this recipe. Detailed quantities of each ingredient are listed in the recipe box below.
How to make classic Thanksgiving stuffing from scratch?
- Start by preparing bread. If you are using fresh bread, cut it into cubes, then dry overnight or bake it in the oven. Detailed instructions are below.
- In a skillet, melt butter. Add onion and celery and saute until soft.
- Mix bread, sauteed veggies, herbs, seasoning and broth.
- Place in a buttered baking dish.
- Melt butter and pour over the stuffing.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake in 350 degrees F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, covered. You can remove the foil and bake it for 5 more minutes to crisp up the top pieces.
How to dry bread for stuffing?
It's actually very simple! Use fresh French bread loaf and slice it into 1/2" slices, then each slice into 1/2" cubes. Place bread cubes on a baking sheet (most likely you will need at least two sheets), in a single layer, then let it air-dry in room temperature overnight OR preheat oven to 250 degrees and bake bread for 30 to 35 minutes, shaking the pans every 15 minutes. Each method works great! Once dry, your bread is ready to be used in making stuffing OR you can place it in a brown paper bag and store until you need it.
Why celery leaves?
When you open a box of stuffing, the scent you get is actually from celery leaves. Check! They are listed in the ingredients on the back of the box. That's what gives the stuffing that signature scent and flavor. You can actually buy dried celery leaves. However, in this recipe, I use fresh ones. You will use the stalks for the veggie mix here, so why not the fresh leaves instead of parsley? One less ingredient to buy and we are using as much of the celery as we can. Win-win!
Why melted butter?
This is another secret ingredient in this recipe. It's an absolute must if you want the best flavor and texture! The melted butter is the last thing you add to the dish right before baking. It will soak into the bread and help it toast up the top layer in the last 5 minutes of baking. Delicious!
- bread: I recommend fresh French bread and drying it. See my instructions below.
- veggies: I always use celery and onion; you can add carrots too
- seasoning: I found the poultry mix of herbs the best for this recipe
- broth: homemade is the best; any flavor (except beef) works
- herbs: it may seem like one tablespoon of each herb is a lot but trust me, it's perfect in this recipe; you do not want baked bread here but a delicious, fragrant and flavorful stuffing!
Absolutely! Simply brown sausage in a pan (use the same one you sauteed veggies in) and stir in with all ingredients.
Yes! You can stuff the turkey with this stuffing. However, you will have to bake your turkey for at least 15 minutes longer. I prefer to bake them separately. This way the stuffing is baked perfectly and the turkey won't be overcooked.
For the best texture, bake the stuffing the same day you will serve it. You can prep everything the day before: dry the bread and saute veggies. The next day just assemble everything and bake!
I store any leftovers in a container with a lid, in the fridge. Reheat it in the microwave or the oven.
More Thanksgiving dishes:
If you like this recipe and make it, let me know in the comments below! Don't forget to rate it if you enjoyed it!
Classic Thanksgiving Stuffing
- 1 fresh French bread OR 10 cups dried cubed bread
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter divided
- 1 ½ cup chopped celery
- ½ cup celery leaves chopped
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 ½ cups broth chicken, turkey or vegetable
- If you are using fresh French bread: slice it into ½″ slices, then each slice into ½″ cubes. Place bread cubes on a baking sheet (most likely you will need at least two sheets), in a single layer, then let it air-dry in room temperature overnight OR preheat oven to 250° F and bake bread for 30 to 35 minutes, shaking the pans every 15 minutes. If using already dried bread, place 10 cups in a large bowl.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 13"x9" baking dish or 3 quart baking dish. Set aside.
- In a skillet, melt 1 stick (½ cup) of butter. Add chopped onion and celery. Saute until veggies are soft.
- Add veggies to bread.
- Add herbs, celery leaves, salt and pepper. Stir in.
- Add broth and stir in gently. Place in buttered dish.
- Melt remaining butter and pour over the stuffing.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. You can uncover it for the last 5 minutes to toast up the top pieces, if desired.
- Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve.
- For the best texture, bake the stuffing the same day you will serve it. You can prep everything the day before: dry the bread and saute veggies. The next day just assemble everything and bake!
- Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.