Treat your family to this Classic Bread Stuffing recipe! This traditional, homemade stuffing is made with simple, tasty ingredients .. it’s so easy!
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Did your dad do a lot of cooking?
In typical dad mode, mine was a grill master. If you could grill it, he did. But Dad also had some other dishes up his sleeve … he made the best breakfast, for one thing!
My favorite recipe of my dad’s has to be his classic bread stuffing though. He made it every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it is sooo good!
If you are looking for a traditional Thanksgiving stuffing recipe, then I know you’re going to love this one just as much as I do!
Dad’s Classic Bread Stuffing Recipe
My dad’s stuffing recipe is a true classic. It has all those warm, comforting flavors you think of around the holidays. Nothing fancy or complicated here, but so delicious.
This simple recipe is combination of my dad’s and my grandmother Nona’s dressing recipes, along with my own little twist. I have copies of both of their recipes, and they are very similar (although slightly different). That’s them in the photo below, by the way!
Both of their dressing recipes are kind of vague, although my dad’s version has a few directions at least … aren’t all old family recipes that way though? Or maybe it’s just my family who doesn’t want to share the details.
Don’t worry though, because my version of this classic stuffing recipe is easy to follow … keep reading for the step-by-step instructions below!
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Meal Plan
Before we jump into the recipe details, I wanted to share my vegetarian meal plan with you. We definitely didn’t eat vegetarian when I was growing up, but I do now. And the holidays can be kind of tricky for vegetarians, you know?
So whether you are vegetarian, or there’s a vegetarian attending your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, you’re going to love these recipes!
Get all the recipes here:
- Dad’s Classic Bread Stuffing (You’re here!)
- Mom’s Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes
- Mushroom Gravy
- Roasted Vegetables
- Mushroom Wellington
Bread Stuffing Ingredients
So what goes in this easy stuffing recipe? The ingredients are actually very simple … you may even have them in your kitchen already!
- Firm White Bread
- Unsalted Butter
- Fresh Italian Parsley
- Vegetable Broth (I make mine from bouillon.)
- Salt (I prefer Kosher salt.)
- Pepper (Make sure to use fresh-cracked pepper.)
I don’t eat meat, so this is a vegetarian stuffing recipe … it still tastes exactly like my dad’s though. The only difference is that he would throw in the giblets from the turkey. But honestly, I always hated those bites with little pieces of liver / gizzard anyway (yuck). So no loss there!
Want to jazz this recipe up a bit? I’m sharing four easy ideas that will take your stuffing game up a notch. Look for them right before the recipe card.
Want to make vegan stuffing? Simply replace the butter in this recipe with your favorite butter substitute (or use olive oil) and skip the egg.
Best Bread for Stuffing
With such a simple recipe, choosing the right bread is key.
You want to use a firm white bread. When you’re shopping, give the bread a little squeeze … it should have a little give, but it shouldn’t be super smooshy.
The best bread for stuffing from scratch is more of a country or bakery-style white bread (nothing too crusty though), so skip the cheap $1 loafs. I used Nature’s Own Perfect Crafted White, and it was indeed perfect for this recipe!
How to Make Stuffing
So let’s talk about how to make this classic stuffing recipe. It’s very easy and straightforward.
Preparing the Bread
The first thing you need to do is cube your bread. I like my stuffing a little chunky, so I cut my bread into 1-inch cubes. If you prefer, you can definitely go smaller though.
Next, you’ll toast the bread in the oven. Toasting the bread ensures that your stuffing has some structure and doesn’t turn into a soggy, clumpy mush.
The bread doesn’t need to be browned, just kind of crunchy on the outside.
Prepping the Veggies
While the bread is toasting, you’ll work on the vegetables. Almost all of the flavor in this dressing recipe comes from the onions and celery. So we’re going to use lots of them.
Start by melting a generous hunk of butter in a large skillet (I have this 12-inch Calaphalon skillet and it’s ideal). Add the onions and celery, then season them with salt and pepper.
Keep cooking this mixture until your veggies are tender, stirring occasionally. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes. For extra flavor, continue sauting the veggies until they are browned.
Next, you’ll mix in the parsley. At this point, taste the vegetables and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Mixing the Stuffing
Place your toasted bread cubes in the largest bowl you have, then top them with the sauteed veggies. To this mixture, you’re going to add an egg and just enough vegetable broth to hold everything together.
Adding the broth is the trickiest part of this bread stuffing recipe. You want to add just enough to moisten the bread, but not so much as to make it soggy.
To get the texture right, add a little broth at a time. Stir the stuffing mixture well, then keep adding more broth (stirring after each addition) until you have the right texture.
How much broth will you need?
The amount broth you end up needing will depend on your bread, as well as your texture preference. Aim for stuffing that’s starting to stick together, but not one homogeneous clump.
I prefer my stuffing a little “looser”, as you can see from these pics, and I ended up using 2 cups.
Generally though, heavier bread = more broth, while lighter bread = less broth. If you do like stuffing that sticks together more, add more broth … and you could even add an extra egg, too.
Baking the Stuffing
Next, you’ll transfer this stuffing to a baking pan, then bake it until it’s golden and hot. Doesn’t it look delish? I kind of want to dive into that bowl right now … I’m telling you, this is the BEST stuffing recipe!
One note on oven temps: in the recipe card below, I recommend cooking the stuffing at 350 degrees. Depending on what else you are cooking for Thanksgiving or Christmas though, you can cook the stuffing at a higher temp, if needed. Just make sure to keep an eye on it, and to cook it for less time than indicated.
This recipe makes a lot. So feel free to cut it in half if you’re serving a smaller crowd.
Honestly though, what is Thanksgiving without all the leftovers? One of my guilty pleasures is sneaking bites of cold stuffing from the fridge … hello, total carb / stuffing lover here!
Easy Stuffing Recipe Variations
I love a unique stuffing, but it wasn’t always the case. One Thanksgiving my dad dared to add apples to his classic recipe, and my sister and I revolted. Ha ha … thankfully, my taste buds have matured a bit over the years!
So now that you know how to make this basic stuffing recipe, let’s talk about how you can zhoosh things up a bit. Here are four stuffing ideas that are just as easy, but a little extra creative:
- Apple Stuffing: The perfect combination of sweet and savory! Saute two chopped apples along with your onions and celery (use 1 1/2 cups celery, not 3). Optional: stir in 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh sage along with the parsley.
- Herb Stuffing: I love this fragrant variation on the classic recipe. Instead of using all parsley, use a mixture of fresh herbs. Sage, thyme, rosemary, taragon, etc. would all work. Just keep in mind that some herbs (like thyme and rosemary) are quite strong-tasting … go easy on them.
- Cranberry Stuffing: Another sweet-savory combo that’s so tasty! About halfway through sauteing the onions and celery (use 2 cups celery instead of 3), add 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Then, continue cooking until your veggies are tender. Add 2 tablespoons chopped sage along with the parsley. When stirring the veggies and bread together, add 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans to the mixture.
- Mushroom Stuffing: This version is a fave of mine! Cook your veggies just until they start to turn translucent (using 2 cups celery instead of 3), then add 1-pound sliced or chopped mushrooms. You can use white, brown, wild, etc. … whatever you prefer. Cook the mixture until any liquid released from the mushrooms has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves along with the parsley.
Okay, who else is starving right now? Check out my dad’s classic bread stuffing recipe below, and let me know if you try it. I’d love to hear what you think!
Dad’s Classic Bread Stuffing ... the BEST Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe made with simple, fresh ingredients!
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 (22-ounce) loaf firm white bread, cubed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cups chopped celery (about 6 large stalks)
- 2 cups diced onion (about 1 large onion)
- 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray; set aside.
Place bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer (use two sheets, if necessary).
Bake bread cubes for 10 minutes. Flip, then cook another 5 to 10 minutes, or until bread is crunchy on edges. Set aside.
While bread is cooking, melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.
Add celery and onions to pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally (about 15 to 20 minutes).
Remove pan from heat. Stir in parsley, then adjust seasoning to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
Place bread cubes in a large bowl. Top with vegetables and egg.
Add broth, a little at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add just enough broth so stuffing is moistened, but not soggy.
Transfer stuffing to baking pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until stuffing is hot and lightly browned on top.
Serve stuffing hot. Enjoy!
Adjusting the oven temperature: if you're cooking something else at a higher temperature, it's fine to cook the stuffing at the same temp, too. Just keep an eye on the stuffing, and cook it for less time than indicated above.
To prep this recipe ahead of time: cook the veggies and toast the bread, then refrigerate the veggies and store the bread in an airtight container until ready to use. On the big day, mix the veggies and bread together, along with the egg and broth. Bake according to directions above (it may take a little longer since everything is cold).
Loved this Traditional Stuffing Recipe?
If you’re looking for more yummy thanksgiving recipes, here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Butternut Squash Lasagna
- Dijon Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
- Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower Gratin
- Creamy Wild Rice Soup
- Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
- Layered Pumpkin Mousse
Looking for more ideas? Check out all of my Thanksgiving recipes here!
What is your favorite Thanksgiving recipe?