This Is The Only Stuffing Recipe You'll Ever Need (2024)

The best stuffing can mean something different to everyone, but here at Delish, this recipe is our perfect version of the Thanksgiving side. Let’s also clarify that when we say stuffing, we’re actually referring to dressing. Traditional stuffing should be stuffed inside the turkey and cooked in there, but that isn’t the ideal or even recommended way to cook your Thanksgiving turkey (or stuffing). We’ve found that you’ll achieve much better results by cooking them separately. By cooking your stuffing in a baking dish, you get crunchy, buttery pieces of bread on top and soft, bread pudding-esque pieces underneath.

Keep reading on for all of our top tips on how to perfect this side, and refer to our article on how to make the best stuffing of your life for even more of our golden rules:

The best bread for stuffing:
Our ideal stuffing is made with a crusty loaf of sourdough. The bread holds up well with all of the liquid and dries out beautifully to get the best results. Brioche is another option that will give stuffing a bit of a sweetness, which adds a nice balance to the heavy savory seasoning. If you’re looking to get a bit creative, cornbread stuffing (or our gnocchi stuffing 😉) is another great option.

How to make the best stuffing:
Do I have to use day-old bread? We want to use a dry loaf of bread here so it can soak up all of the added liquid we put into this dish. To achieve this, many recipes will call for using one or two-day-old bread that's grown stale. While you can follow that method, if you're in a pinch, you can also dry out your bread the day of. Simply bake your bread pieces, tossing halfway through, until the edges are just starting to turn golden, and the pieces feel dry and crispy.
Can I add meat to the stuffing? Sure! We debated adding Italian sausage to our stuffing recipe, but wanted to keep it as classic and simple as possible (checkout our sausage stuffing if that's more your thing). A few links of cooked hot or sweet Italian sausage crumbled in would amplify your stuffing and help the side serve even more people.
The key to a crispy top. Our ideal stuffing has crunchy, crispy top pieces and a soft middle. To achieve this, we suggest covering your stuffing at first while baking, for around 20 minutes. After, uncover and continue to bake until the top is that gorgeous golden-brown color and has a crisp texture, around 25 to 30 minutes more.

Can I make the stuffing ahead of time?
Stuffing is a great Thanksgiving side to prep ahead of time. The bread can be toasted up to 3 days ahead of time; once cooled, store it in an airtight container. You can also assemble your stuffing right before being baked and keep covered in the refrigerator overnight. If you're looking for more of a hands-off approach on the big day, checkout our crockpot stuffing.

How do I store leftover stuffing?
Keep any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat portions in the oven at 350° until crisp and warmed through. Looking for leftover ideas? Our Thanksgiving leftovers casserole and Thanksgiving potato skins are here for you.

Made this classic recipe? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

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Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 45 mins


  • 2 lb.

    crusty country bread (about 2 loaves), preferably sourdough, cut into 1 1/2" pieces

  • 6 tbsp.

    unsalted butter, divided, plus more for dish

  • 1

    large yellow onion, chopped

  • 2

    medium leeks, tough outer layer removed,thinly sliced into half-moons

  • 4

    cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2 1/2 c.

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 1/2 c.

    whole milk

  • 2 tbsp.

    mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary, and/or thyme

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes


    1. Step1Preheat oven to 350°. Spread bread between 2 baking sheets. Bake bread, tossing halfway through, until crispy and feels dry and the edges are just starting to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
    2. Step2Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Cook onion and leeks, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute more; season with salt and black pepper. Let cool slightly.
    3. Step3In a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk eggs, broth, milk, herbs, and red pepper; generously season with salt and black pepper.
    4. Step4Increase oven temperature to 375°. Grease a 13" x 9" baking dish with a thin layer of butter.
    5. Step5Transfer bread to a very large bowl. Add onion mixture and egg mixture and toss to combine. Let sit at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.
    6. Step6Transfer bread mixture to prepared dish and spread in an even layer, making sure all liquid makes it into dish. Cut remaining 3 tablespoons butter into small pieces and dot over top. Cover with foil.
    7. Step7Bake stuffing 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until top is golden brown and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Makinze Gore

Senior Food Editor

Makinze is currently senior food editor at Delish, where she develops recipes, creates, and hosts recipe videos and is our current baking queen. She is our expert pie crimper, believes you should always have the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies on hand, and everyone needs to know a perfect roast chicken recipe.

This Is The Only Stuffing Recipe You'll Ever Need (2024)


Why put eggs in stuffing? ›

Broth: Chicken broth keeps the stuffing moist without making it soggy. Eggs: Two lightly beaten eggs help hold the dressing together and add moisture. Water: You can add a few tablespoons of water, if you'd like, to achieve your desired consistency.

What is stuffing called when it is not stuffed? ›

Some people make the distinction that dressing is the proper name for the dish when it has been prepared outside of the bird—that is, when it has not been stuffed and cooked inside.

What type of bread is best for stuffing? ›

The best bread for stuffing is a sturdy loaf with a tight crumb. Bakery French bread, Italian bread, Challah, and Sourdough are all good choices. When you cut up a 1-pound loaf into cubes, it should fit in an even layer on a single half-size rimmed baking sheet.

In what did recipes did people originally use stuffing? ›

So how far back can we find stuffing used in cooking? Some time between the 2nd century BC and the 1st century AD, a chef by the name of Apicius created a cookbook entitled, “Apicius de re Coquinaria.” In its pages are recipes for stuffed chicken, rabbit, pig, and even dormouse.

What can you use as a binder instead of eggs in stuffing? ›

16 egg substitutes
  1. Mashed banana. Mashed banana can act as a binding agent when baking or making pancake batter. ...
  2. Applesauce. Applesauce can also act as a binding agent. ...
  3. Fruit puree. Fruit puree will help bind a recipe in a similar way to applesauce. ...
  4. Avocado. ...
  5. Gelatin. ...
  6. Xanthan gum. ...
  7. Vegetable oil and baking powder. ...
  8. Margarine.
Mar 30, 2021

How do you keep stuffing moist when cooking? ›

Typically, baking the stuffing inside the bird helps keep the mixture moist. “I prefer stuffing (in the bird) to dressing (outside of the bird) because all those delicious drippings that come off the turkey gets absorbed right into the stuffing,” Bamford says.

What do British people call stuffing? ›

In England, a stuffing is sometimes made of minced pork shoulder seasoned with various ingredients, such as sage, onion, bread, chestnuts, dried apricots, and dried cranberries. The stuffing mixture may be cooked separately and served as a side dish. This may still be called stuffing or it may be called dressing.

What do Southerners call stuffing? ›

But for the Thanksgiving side dish in the South, the term dressing was adopted in place of stuffing, which was viewed as a crude term, during the Victorian era. Although dressing and stuffing are interchangeable terms, the signature ingredient of this Thanksgiving side dish in the South is cornbread.

Is stuffing better in or out of turkey? ›

Some people feel that stuffing has a better taste and is moister when prepared in the turkey. If the turkey is stuffed, the stuffing should also reach the minimum internal temperature of 165 F in the center of the stuffing.

Should you toast bread before making stuffing? ›

Follow this tip: Stale, dried-out bread makes the best stuffing. Either dry out your bread starting a few days before you plan to make the stuffing by letting it sit out or, if you don't have the extra time, cut the bread into cubes, and then toast over a low heat in the oven until dry.

What is the flat bread with pocket that is perfect for stuffing called? ›

Pita, also Pitta, breads, also called Arabic bread, balady, shamy, Syrian bread, and pocket bread, are circular, leavened double-layered flat breads that originated in the Middle East. It is prepared with flour, water, baker's yeast, and salt.

Why can't you make stuffing ahead of time? ›

You haven't said whether you are going to cook the stuffing inside the bird or out, but it's fine to make almost any stuffing a few hours before you'll need it. The important thing is to keep it properly chilled so that bacteria won't have a chance to grow in it.

Do you eat stuffing at Christmas? ›

There is no particular reason why stuffing is eaten at Christmas, other than it is a traditional accompaniment to turkey, the most popular Christmas meat.

Who made stove top stuffing before Kraft? ›

The late Ruth Siems, a 1953 home economics graduate, is credited with the invention of Stove Top stuffing.

What is Christmas stuffing made of? ›

Starting with dried sourdough bread, celery, onion, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, chicken broth and eggs. A whole stick of butter goes in the pan adding onions, herbs and garlic (sausage is optional). Eggs combine everything together before going in the oven on a baking dish.

What is the purpose of adding eggs? ›

What Eggs Do in Baking Recipes. Eggs play an important role in everything from cakes and cookies to meringues and pastry cream — they create structure and stability within a batter, they help thicken and emulsify sauces and custards, they add moisture to cakes and other baked goods, and can even act as glue or glaze.

Why do we add egg to dough? ›

besides the nutritional benefits there are a few other good reasons to use egg in breadmaking. It makes the bread lighter and fluffier. The reason for that is the fat in the yolk that inhibits gluten formation just as any other fat would. This results in a looser dough that can expand and puff up more.

Why do people put eggs in flour? ›

When combined with flour, they add to the structure and texture of cakes, cookies, and breads. Egg wash is the secret ingredient for beautifully caramelized pie crusts and challah; it can even be used as a kind of edible glue for slivered almonds or sesame seeds.

What does putting a lid over eggs do? ›

The lid traps the heat and steam from the egg, and helps it cook on both the bottom and on the top. Without a lid, the bottom cooks too quickly and the top takes longer, so you're more likely to end up with an overcooked, hard egg white by the time the yolk is done.


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