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Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe (Oven and Slow Cooker)

This is the easy and traditional stuffing recipe everyone has come to love as a Thanksgiving side dish. It’s a tried and true classic recipe that uses ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now!

In fact, stuffing – or dressing – is made with bread (obviously), some aromatic vegetables, chicken broth and seasoning.

Who knew comfort food could be so easy?

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Stuffing vs Dressing

I know, I know….the stuffing is supposed to be what’s “stuffed” inside the bird on Thanksgiving.

Which would also mean, the dressing is the cubed bread side dish that is prepared as a side of your Thanksgiving turkey.

But in our family we call it stuffing no matter where it’s cooked!

Grandma Rood calls it stuffing in our family cookbook. Who’s gonna argue with Grandma???!?

So stuffing, it is.

This recipe used to be served at the Rollo Church turkey Supper in a little three home town near us called Rollo, Illinois. The turkey dinner is no more but the recipe lives on, with a few adjustments. And it’s the one Grandma always made.

But if it really bothers you, just sub dressing for stuffing every time I refer to it. Because it’s the holidays and we all just need to get along!

traditional stuffing recipe

Traditional Stuffing Recipe

I’m a sucker for classic recipes and this Thanksgiving side is no different.

It’s the recipe my Grandma made for years and years, and it’s the first stuffing recipe I made when I graduated from the world of boxed Stove Top dressing mix.

I don’t know why stuffing can seem intimidating, but I’ll agree with you that it is, a little bit.

But it’s really not hard to make.

Think of it this way….it’s bread, cut up, seasoned and doused in some broth. Then you bake it.

Pretty easy, right?

ingredients in classic stuffing

Ingredients in traditional stuffing

We like the classic stuffing at our house. And I suppose that means different things to different people.

Here’s what it looks like to us.

  • onions and celery – for flavor and aroma. In my opinion, the celery is key! Oh, and in case you’re a nerd like me, 2 stalks of celery is about 1 cup. But measuring isn’t so important here.
  • butter – to saute the onions and celery. And yes, it’s a whole stick.
  • bread – any kind you like or blend a few types. Don’t buy fresh, try to buy it a few days in advance. The bread at the bakery aisle has a better chance to dry out, which is a good thing for this recipe!
  • chicken broth – for flavor, binding and moisture
  • poultry seasoning – Poultry seasoning is a mix of dried herbs. If you don’t have a jar of poultry seasoning (or don’t want to buy one because we use it – what, twice a year?) you can use 1 tsp dried sage and 1/2 tsp dried thyme or marjoram.

What Kind of Bread Should I use for stuffing?

  • You can use any kind of bread you like or a mixture of several types. I’ll buy bread on clearance and stow it in the freezer for stuffing, or keep the bread ends/heels because I can’t for the life of me get the kids to eat them!
  • Wheat, white, sourdough are all winners.
  • If you’re dealing with a more sophisticated crowd you can sneak in some rye bread.
  • Sidenote: I can’t do the aforementioned rye bread or there would be an uproar, followed by a hunger strike. Our littles are not sophisticated!

How to dry bread for stuffing

I set my bread out overnight to let the air dry it out a bit. I also keep a loaf in my freezer and that is a little on the drier side.

If you have fresh bread, you can cube it and bake it on a jelly roll pan at a low temperature – about 275 degrees , stirring occasionally until it’s dried out.

More Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Yield: 12

Classic Stuffing Recipe

Classic Stuffing Recipe

This is the easy and traditional stuffing recipe everyone has come to love as a Thanksgiving side dish. It's a tried and true classic recipe that uses ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter
  • 3 loaves bread, cubed or torn
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

Instructions

  1. Cube bread that is several days old into bite size pieces. I like to set it out on a sheet pan the night before to help it dry out. Place cubed bread in the biggest bowl you have. Seriously, a big one! Add the poultry seasoning to the bread. Set aside.
  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add butter and melt. Add chopped onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Pour butter and vegetable mixture over the bread cubes and gently stir to combine.
  4. Pour half the chicken broth over the bread mixture, gently stirring to incorporate. Add more broth as you need it until the bread is just moistened but not drenched. We're going for a light wetness here, not soaked.
  5. Transfer to a greased baking dish or large oval slow cooker.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until cooked through and set. If making in the slow cooker bake on low for 6-7 hours.

Notes

  • 2 stalks of celery is about 1 cup
  • You can use any kind of bread you like or a mixture of several types. I'll buy bread on clearance and stow it in the freezer for stuffing, or keep the bread ends/heels because I can't for the life of me get the kids to eat them!
  • Poultry seasoning is a mix of dried herbs. If you don't have a jar of poultry seasoning (or don't want to buy one because we use it twice a year) you can use 1 tsp dried sage and 1/2 tsp dried thyme or marjoram.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 41Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 971mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g

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Susie Wittwer

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Could I substitute bags of stuffing/ cubed bread? If so, how many bags do you think it would require?

Deanne Frieders

Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Hi Susie, you could absolutely substitute bagged bread. They usually have some by the bakery counter, right? Depending on the size, I'd say you can do 2-3 bags of stuffing and adjust the amount of chicken stock. Just enough to moisten. Happy Thanksgiving!

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