Easy Stuffing Recipe

This stuffing recipe has been a family tradition for generations and it’s just the best!

Easy Stuffing Recipe  
 You guys I’m sharing somewhat of a treasure with you today. I actually had to ask my mom permission who then asked her siblings if they thought it was OK for this family heirloom to be out on the inter webs. Luckily for you they all said it was fine, and Great Grandma Gerlach is hopefully in the heavens feeling pride at how much we all love her famous stuffing. 

Our family Thanksgiving dinner would never be complete without this homemade stuffing recipe that has been in my Mom’s family for years. It is so simple and delicious, never dry, perfectly textured and crisp around the edges, and just the best stuffing recipe you’ll ever try. (Don’t believe me? Read the comments!)

Easy Stuffing Recipe

The ingredients of this Thanksgiving stuffing recipe really aren’t out of the ordinary as far as stuffing recipes go, but it does contain a whole lot of one thing that we all know makes everything taste better- butter. More than one stick of butter. The original recipe actually contains an entire pound of melted butter and is amazing, but over the years my mom has realized it can still be delicious with a little less butter and a bit more broth.

The butter soaks into the bread and bakes up so amazingly and really creates something magical. If you aren’t stuck on a special stuffing recipe this year- I highly suggest you try this family favorite.

Easy Stuffing Ingredients

Ingredients needed for Easy Stuffing Recipe:

  • White bread cut into cubes (See notes on which bread to use below.)
  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Chicken broth or chicken stock
  • Parsley
  • Paprika

Supplies needed for this Classic Stuffing Recipe:

  • Large Bowl
  • Large skillet or dutch oven
  • Casserole dish

Stuffing ingredients ready to be mixed up.

How to make my Great Grandma’s Stuffing Recipe:

Prepare a baking dish by rubbing some butter around the bottom and sides.

Cube your bread into small pieces and add it to a large bowl. You can cut the crusts or leave them on- I have found I love this recipe both ways.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt about 4 tablespoons of butter and brown your onions. You want them clear and starting to brown but totally soft. Transfer them to your large mixing bowl with the bread and repeat the last step with the celery and 4 more tablespoons of butter. (I find it easier to brown them separately.) Add the browned celery to the bread mixture as well.

Stuffing ready for the oven
Ready to go in the oven

Add the rest of your butter (melted,) the broth, the chopped parsley, paprika and salt and pepper to taste. (I always try it before adding more salt because some broth is saltier than others.) Use your hands to really mix everything together well. You want the bread to really absorb the liquid.

Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish and spread it into the pan, raising it a bit around the edges with a bit of a well in the center of the stuffing. (This helps it bake more evenly.) If making in advance, cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and store in the fridge. On Thanksgiving day bring the stuffing out to room temperature for an hour and then bake.

Cubed bread ready to go for stuffing

What type of bread is best to use for this stuffing?

I like my cubes of bread from a basic sliced white bread from the grocery store that is sturdy. Something like “Country White” usually works well. Sourdough bread adds a nice flavor and also can work too, though sometime I find it a bit firm for this recipe. Ultimately though, use what you have. French Bread, hot dog buns, stale bread of any kind- all can work for this easy stuffing!

How do I store any leftover stuffing?

In an airtight container, leftover stuffing can be frozen for up to a month or stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Easy Stuffing Recipe

Optional ingredients to add:

  • Fresh herbs: sage or rosemary would be delicious, but dry herbs could work here too.
  • Ground turkey meat or Italian sausage (my great grandmother did put ground turkey meat into her sausage but over the years we decided we liked it better without it.)
  • Old Bay Seasoning– Do not sleep on this one folks! A reader commented that her grandmother always used Old Bay in her stuffing and so I tried it recently. It is SO good and a great alternative to paprika. 

Other favorite Thanksgiving Side Dishes:

If you make my favorite stuffing recipe and enjoy it- please comment and leave a review!

Easy Stuffing Recipe

Easy Stuffing Recipe

Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cups of celery, chopped
  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 32 slices of hearty white sandwich bread*
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth is fine too)
  • 2/3 cup chopped parsley**
  • 2 tablespoons salt***
  • 2 tsp paprika

Instructions

Either one at a time, or in two separate saucepans, brown the onions and celery separately in about 1 tablespoon of the butter each. (Over the years we've determined it's much easier not to brown them together- it takes way longer and they don't brown at the same rate.)

When brown, transfer the onion and celery into a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool slightly.

Trim the crusts of the bread (I've made it before not trimming the crusts and while it's still good, I like the crust-free texture better.) and cut it into cubes. Transfer cubes into the same bowl as the onions/celery.

Melt the remaining butter and pour it into the bowl along with the broth, parsley and paprika. Mix together with your hands thoroughly.

Add the salt- one tablespoon first, and then taste the mixture to see how much more you need. (If you are using extremely salty broth you may need a little less. I usually use the whole amount.)

Spread stuffing into a 9x13 or other similar sized baking dish. If the pan is too packed in the center it will be difficult to heat, so I like to made the middle of the dish a little bit scooped out so it bakes for less time.

At this point the stuffing can be covered air-tight and stored in the fridge overnight until you're ready to bake it and serve. When that time comes- bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pan. It is done when the top is crisp and the inside is hot.

Notes

*You don't want to use something flimsy like Wonderbread for this or the bread will disintegrate with all the liquid. Any heartier white sandwich bread will do- I like the kind called "Country White"

**Old Bay Seasoning is a wonderful sub for Paprika- I may even like it better if I'm willing to stray from the original recipe.

***I used to just add the full 2T of salt every time I made this, but this last time I used a new type of salt that happened to be "saltier" it made the result a little salty, so now I recommend adding it gradually and tasting to see how much you need.

Did you make this recipe?

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102 Comments

  1. I can’t wait to try making this. Thanks for sharing such a sentimental recipe.

  2. LOVE the look of this. My family is Chinese, so the homemade version of stuffing I know is a sticky rice version that is worlds apart from the bread-based Stove Top kind (the only other kind I’ve ever made!) I’ve been meaning to try a homemade bread-based one at some point because stuffing is far and away my favorite side dish — I think I’ll have to try yours ASAP. Love that it’s a family recipe — it’s amazing to think about how just a decade ago so many of these would not be accessible to people like me, whose families have recipes of a completely different culture. But at the same time I think it’s a valuable thing that they aren’t all out there for people to see (and that you checked with your family to make sure!) It keeps them special.

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us. :)

    1. It’s amazing to me too! I’m so glad that we can merge different types of foods- my Dad is Middle Eastern and I love to see his flavors on our Thanksgiving dinner table too!

  3. I love that this is your Great GREAT Grandma’s recipe.
    And I love that it has so much butter in it, because,
    well, everything’s better with butter. :D
    Thanks for sharing the recipe, Audra. I’m going to take
    it along to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner! xoxo

    1. Haha you know what is so funny- my Mom wrote me today to inform me it’s actually just my “GREAT” Grandma’s stuffing…I added the extra Great in by accident I guess…ah well it’s still amazing!

      1. Shannon Mancini says:

        Hi, my from Italy mother in law taught me how to cook and eve since I’ve been making her Sauage stuffing, my mom was never a good cook so she used to use the stovetop brand stuffing and was partial to the bread stuffing so one year I combined the bread (with fresh hearty bread (not stovetop) and the ground sausage stuffings which everyone enjoyed.
        I guess my question here is do u think I can combine your bread stuffing recipe and my sausage stuffing recipe?!?

  4. I am so torn right now! Do I make my beloved grandparents’ Southern dressing or break with nearly a century of family tradition and make your great great grandmother’s recipe? What to do, what to do? :) Thank you for sharing your heirloom family recipe! I think I may merge the two recipes by using half white bread and half cornbread.

    1. I’m sure it would be delicious with cornbread too! :)

      1. How much cornbread would you use with the amount of liquid you have specified in your recipe. Thank you.

  5. On the 4 cups of chopped celery, how big or small of pieces do you chop?

    1. I cut both the onion and celery into about 1/2 inch-sized pieces :)

  6. Stuffing is totally the best part of Thanksgiving, and I’m so tempted to make this! My grandma will be making her stuffing for family Thanksgiving, but I’m thinking I’ll volunteer to make stuffing for my friends Thanksgiving, and make this. Looks amazing. How could it not be, with all that butter?!

  7. Stuffing are probably what I love the most when it comes to Holiday food! And, like you, I’m all about soft and scoop-able stuffing with a crispy top, so this will definitely make an appearance on my Christmas table! (sometimes I think it’s so unfair that we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Italy!!)

    xo, Elisa

  8. I’m definitely a scoopable moist stuffing kinda gal. My mom always makes it from a box. So…I think it’s time I took over with this!!

  9. This sounds SO good! I think I’m going to try it this year, instead of the sausage stuffing I usually make. Can you please tell me what kind of “hearty” white bread you use??? Thanks so much!! :)

  10. my family uses the same recipe, but replaces half the bread with corn bread. I like your idea of browning the onions and celery separately. I had never thought of doing that. I feel like duh! Makes good sense.

  11. I love seeing a plain bread stuffing recipe. My mom has always made a bread stuffing and when I tell people, t hey make faces! They act like cornbread is the only way to go. I don’t like cornbread stuffing!!! I am saying all this to tell you that I will be making this stuffing this year. Plain and simple and looks amazing!!

    1. Me too! I always have had this type of stuffing- it’s my favorite! :)

  12. Shari Brand says:

    Believe it or not, you’ve inspired even me to cook (quite the feat!). This is my first Thanksgiving without Tata or your mom to make it and thanks to you, I was reminded it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. The Brands are getting lucky this year. Love you and with we were with you all.

    1. Yay! I am sorry you are left to do it- but I hope it turns out well! Love you! xoxo

  13. So glad to see this recipe (and so glad to have discovered your blog — I came upon it recently through a link from another one!). I’ve been on the hunt for years for a bread stuffing recipe like my Mom’s (who never wrote it down). My husband loved hers best of all and I’ve never been able to recreate it. Yours might just be the one since I think her ingredients were the same. One quick question, though, do you dry the bread cubes or leave them out overnight to get stale? Most recipes I’ve seen call for that (but then, maybe that’s why I’ve never been able to make on that was just right!).

    1. Hi Emilie! I know lots of people dry out their bread cubes but we never have- I hope this comes close to the recipe you’ve been searching for! :)

      1. Hi Audra. I just wanted to report back that this stuffing was AMAZING (and I didn’t dry the cubes). It was exactly what my mom’s used to taste like. Since it makes a lot, I froze about 3 cups of it and then used it as topping for some chicken pot pie several weeks later. Yum! Thanks so much! (And good luck with your little one who’s almost here!).

        1. Thank you so much for the feedback! I’m glad you liked it as much as my family does!

  14. thanks for sharing your recipe!! If I want to do just half of the amount do you think it’ll still taste good When I cut the amounts in half?

    1. Yes if you divide everything in half it should be just fine :)

  15. Hi Audra (nice name!),
    I am wondering if you have a sense of how much the bread in this recipe weighs. Your recipe sounds perfect in texture and flavor, so I am going to veganize it, and want to use some mixed grain bread cubes that I already bought. Thanks so much, Audrey

    1. Hi Audrey! I am so sorry but I have no idea. Maybe look at the weight of a loaf of bread?

  16. Hello! I am super excited to make this! Will sunbeam bread work?

    1. Hi Annah! What exactly is sunbeam bread? If it’s a sturdy white bread or even sourdough it will be great!

  17. Krystal McCuan says:

    Hi, I am going to try and make this tomorrow! Looks amazing. I had stuffing recently that had mushrooms and olives. Do you think it would be good with this stuffing? If so should I sauté the mushrooms with the onions first?

    Thank you,
    Krystal

    1. Hy Krystal! We never put mushrooms in this stuffing but if you choose to add them, yes- you would want to sauteé them ahead of time!

  18. Michelle Dixon says:

    I prepared this tonight for our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. I will bake it tomorrow but had to try a little taste….. and oh my goodness it is the best I’ve ever had. EVER.

  19. Stuffing is in the oven!!! Drum roll hope it turns out as yummy as it looks! Thanks for sharing!

  20. Made this today for some really tough critics- they said it was their FAVORITE. Thank you for saving me on thanksgiving and for sharing!

  21. I’ve never made stuffing before. This was SO easy and tasted amazing!!!! I had so many compliments on it and recipe requests. I used half of the onions and celery and a loaf of Texas toast. Thanks for posting this!

  22. Christine says:

    I made this yesterday night for a thanksgiving dinner party and I got so many compliments! I am not a cook at all, but was able to easily make this! I only had 3 onions and about 3 cups of celery, so I adjusted the rest accordingly. That’s the main thing about this recipe, it’s very easy to adjust!

  23. Hi, How much bread chopped is 32 pieces…I always bake my own bread and cube up ends/leftovers to use at a later time. Just wondering how much cubed bread I need to make 32 pieces/?

  24. WOW! You weren’t exaggerating…this stuffing really did steal the show for Christmas dinner! This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thanks for posting :)

  25. This stuffing is AMAZING! Made it for Christmas this year and my family LOVED it! Thanks for sharing.

  26. You won me at BUTTER!!! My husband picks on me alllll the time about cooking with too much Butter! is it healty?mmmm…perhaps not, but having an Irish father an an Italian mother, I can’t help but use Butter with every single thing I cook or bake! it’s just how I was raised to cook! Now, I face the SAME thing other readers did.. I have a recipe that was passed in my family for nearly 100 yrs for our stuffing. When my relatives came here from Italy, they got jobs on the railroad and the cooks on the railroad cars gave my great uncle a stuffing recipe who then passed it to my Grandmother (now 86 yrs old) so a part of me is feeling guilty on trying something new. However, the Holidays are well over and my Husband (a butcher) brought home a turkey breast and we decided to make it this weekend thus why I am on pinterest. Looking for something a little different then what I am used to all my life. This recipe sounds great so I think I am going to try it. It’s not like I am offending since holidays are over! :) But thank you for sharing, I know what you mean. I accidentally posted a recipe on recipezaar.com years ago that was from my Grandmother and it was a hit on recipezaar and poor grammy whom I never thought would be upset, was kind of bummed that I did that! so thank you for sharing an old recipe with us! cant wait to try it!

  27. Just wondering how much butter is a stick??

    1. Trina Bruvold says:

      1 stick is 1/4 lb, or 1/2 cup

  28. Little tip: If you only have the “flimsy white bread” on hand, allow it to set out (uncovered) overnight to become stale. It should stand up to the batter then and it won’t effect the taste. My grandmas dressing recipe called for cornbread and a few slices of white bread and she always set the bread out the night before. Hope this helps! Sounds delicious!

  29. always make bread dressing for Thanksgiving. but I also use a few eggs for binding. I usually have 30 + family coming. your recipe will feed how many? I normally 4-5 loaves to make enough. Thank you. Wm

  30. I’m in charge of dressing this year, I’m using your recipe. Sounds great! Have you used spices like thyme, poultry seasoning, sage, etc?

    1. We never really do but I’m sure some would be great!

  31. I was wondering if I can stuff the turkey with this dressing? Will it turn out the same?

    1. Hi Michelle! We just cook it as a side dish but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work to stuff your Turkey too!

  32. This looks delicious! Butter makes everything better is my motto! Do I bake covered or uncovered? Thanks so much!

  33. Hi! I was wondering if this dish could be made in a crock pot instead of the oven?

  34. Sophie D'Agostino Diaz says:

    I had to say thank you to you and your great grandmother for sharing this recipe. Im Scottish married to an American living in Spain and cooked dinner for our group of international friends and family here for thanksgiving. I have never tried beber mind made stuffing before but picked yours as I loved the story behind it and it looked yummy! … what a success!! Everyone was raving about it – my American friends were blown away and the Spanish friends who had never tried it were asking for seconds! So a toast to your great granny! It’s going to become a favourite in my house now! Besitos x

  35. Do you think this recipe would be ok to make the day before, then reheat? I’m worried that it will not have the same texture.

    1. What I suggest is making it fully, covering and popping in the fridge but not baking until the day of. Take it out to room temperature for about an hour before you bake.

  36. Could you use boxed bread crumbs?

  37. This looks delicious and I can’t wait to make it for a Friendsgiving this week. Is it possible to spread it in the pan, and refrigerate overnight, then pop in the oven the morning before we leave? (Warning: I’m a rookie cook, so don’t hesitate to school me on this!) :)

    1. Yep! Make it the night before- spread in the pan and then chill overnight. Bake day of!

  38. This is the best stuffing I’ve ever had (don’t tell my mom!)!!!! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year and can’t wait to make this again!!!

  39. I can’t wait to try this! Does it have to sit overnight in the fridge?

  40. Sophie D'Agostino Diaz says:

    Made your great grandmother’s stuffing for the second year in a row and everyone loved it again! Thanks!

  41. I was hoping to make this tonight (Thursday evening) then freeze and cook Saturday evening. Have you tried freezing it ahead of time? Any thoughts on how this could work?

    1. I think you can make it tonight and just cover tightly and keep in the fridge until you bake! No need to freeze :)

  42. HI Audra, This looks so good and can’t wait to try it. I do have a question. Do you know how many this will serve? Thanks for any help you can give me. :)

    1. I would say about 8-10 servings! We always double it because we love the leftovers :)

  43. Hi there – do you dry out the bread at all?

  44. Hi Audra – Do you dry out the bread at all?

  45. THE BEST STUFFING EVER! Period!
    Thank you to your beloved grandma, your mom, your aunts and to YOU!!
    I made this for the first time last Thanksgiving and it was THE STAR of the meal! Leftovers were just as yummy!

    1. AW thank you so much for this! I’m so happy you like it too!

  46. I’m so excited to try this! I do have a question though, how many cups is 4 medium onions?

    1. Sorry for the late reply- I somehow missed this last year I would say about 4 cups- but it doesn’t need to be perfectly exact.

  47. Hi Audra,

    Thank you for sharing Great Grandma Gerlach’s famous stuffing recipe. I have made this stuffing for 3 years running. I make thanksgiving for 6 – 24 every year and this is a hit. It is really easy to double or half depending on your crowd. I use one 2lb loaf of brioche from a local baker when I half the recipe.

    The first time I made this was the first time I hosted Thanksgiving for my in laws. When I told my mom after dinner that this was the first time I made this stuffing recipe she was shocked I would gamble with one of the staple sides. It really is the best stuffing I’ve ever had.

    Happy Holidays!

    Keri

    1. I am so glad you loved this last year and I’m sorry I never responded. It makes me family so happy!

  48. My mom has always been in charge of stuffing. She was sick last year, and I had no idea how to make. I tried this recipe, and I will never use any other!! Ir’a amazing! Ppl loved it so much! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I have one question, can I make ahead and freeze??

    1. I totally think you could! Make it- freeze it- let it fully thaw at room temp and them bake day of!

  49. Thank you for sharing your family’s recipe! This has been our go to stuffing recipe for a few years now and I can’t wait to have it again this Thanksgiving! It’s so delicious and I always have to make extra because it gets devoured by everyone!

  50. Ok….it’s about time I add a comment since I have been making this for my family Thanksgiving for 3 years now. It is sooooooooo good. One year I had a little bit of leftovers and it still knocked my socks off eating it cold the next day! Thank you for sharing, this has become a family tradition for me!

  51. Lisa Pierce says:

    This has been my go to stuffing recipe for about the last 4 years . It’s so delish !!
    Personally I increase the spices and also use dried sage . I also add cooked crumbled sausage and sautéed apples. But it gets rave reviews every year and is even delish cold as leftovers . It smells sooooo good !
    So glad I found this recipe .

  52. Adrienne. Dorsee says:

    I love, love this recipe. So much like my Mom’s. The only thing I Di, and learned from her when the “baton” was passed to me, is… she always used the crusts of bread, and possibly any bread we had, and Toasted it, before tearing apart and then adding the seasoning. Used salt, pepper, poultry seasoning , parsley flakes and a small amount of sage. Then mixed with the liquid and placed in a greased dish, covered and baked! Just our recipe, but I think you may like it, too!

  53. Judy Shiflett says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe with my grandmother’s touch! She accidentally used Old Bay seasoning in her recipe many years ago and it’s the only way we’ve been making it since. As a Maryland girl, it’s not “dressing” unless it has Old Bay!

    1. What a wonderful addition- please let me know how you like it!

    2. Judy I tried my stuffing over the weekend with Old Bay and it was so good! It’s a great addition- thanks for commenting.

  54. Your stuffing recipe is very similar to one I have been making for years, it’s like the one my Grandmother made years ago and it’s delicious. I am going to add some fresh herbs and Old Bay this time.

    1. Yes! This recipe seems to be similar to many family classic recipes. Let me know what you think of the Old Bay!

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