The Traditional Thanksgiving Classic Stuffing recipe that the whole family loves. A deliciously easy stuffing made with simple ingredients and incredible flavor. A tried and true family favorite.
The BEST Classic Stuffing Recipe
This is the Classic Stuffing Recipe that’s served on our Thanksgiving table year after year. It has a soft, moist, buttery inside with deliciously chewy bits and a golden, crunchy top.
While I love trying new flavors and variations, Thanksgiving is all about tradition at our house.
This Classic Stuffing is simply flavored with veggies, (such as onion, celery, and carrot), a rich broth, and classic stuffing seasonings (sage, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary).
Dressing vs. Stuffing
Technically, dressing is cooked in a baking dish in the oven, and stuffing is cooked inside the turkey. Many people use the terms interchangeably, calling dressing stuffing.
Classic Stuffing Recipe with a secret ingredient
What sets this stuffing apart from the others? Milk.
Milk, combined with the eggs, makes the stuffing extra rich and gives it a wonderfully moist texture on the inside – along the lines of a savory bread pudding.
I learned this trick in the Amish Country. I grew up near the Amish Country in Holmes County, Ohio where they’re notorious for their family-style, home cooked meals. Always my favorite dish on the table was the stuffing – so moist and rich.
One of our favorite restaurants there, Der Dutchman, published a cookbook of their family and restaurant recipes. In it was the recipe for their dressing. It’s been our go-to Thanksgiving recipe ever since.
Two ways that Amish Country dressing differs from traditional dressing is the addition of carrot and potatoes to the vegetables, and the addition of milk. I think that carrot is the perfect addition to the usual onion and celery. I sometimes make it with the potato, and other times without. I’ve left it out of this recipe.
Ingredients for Classic Stuffing
- Bread – cut into 1-inch cubes and dried. I use country bread for the best chewy texture.
- Butter – for amazing buttery flavor and moistness. It also helps the bottom and top get crunchy.
- Onion, celery, carrot – sautéed veggies for a fragrant, savory flavor.
- Poultry seasoning – for that Classic Stuffing flavor with sage, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary. Use premade or click here to make your own.
- Broth – a good broth is essential to a delicious stuffing as it permeates every cube of bread. Use a good quality, rich broth – chicken, turkey, or even vegetable for a vegetarian version. I add bouillon to my broth for an extra boost of flavor.
- Eggs – act as a binder
- Milk – my secret ingredient. It combines with the eggs for a rich, moist stuffing
How to make the dried bread cubes for Classic Stuffing
Cut or hand tear your bread into 1-inch pieces. Allow it to set out to dry for a day or two. Alternatively, dry the bread cubes out in a 250° F oven for about 30 minutes until dry, but not browning.
How to make Classic Stuffing
Classic Stuffing is easy to prepare with just a few steps.
Prepare the veggies
I like to finely chop the onion, carrot, and celery in a food processor. The fine pieces cook quickly and meld into the stuffing without any big chunks. This makes a more uniformly flavored and textured stuffing.
Chop them into bigger pieces if you prefer, but be sure to sauté them long enough so that they are tender.
Sauté the veggies and herbs
Saute the veggies in butter until very soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the poultry seasoning.
Prepare the liquids
Whisk the eggs, then whisk in the milk and broth.
Combine the sautéed veggies, liquids, and dried bread cubes
Combine the sautéed veggies, liquids, and dried bread cubes gently so as not to break up the bread cubes. Let rest until all of the liquid is absorbed, then pour into a generously buttered 9 by 13 inch baking dish.
How to bake Classic Stuffing/Dressing
If you’re baking the dressing in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake in the middle or upper middle of a 350° F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and brush with an additional 2 tablespoons of butter and return to the oven until golden brown and crunchy, about another 30 minutes. You should see signs of the side edges browning as well.
To bake the stuffing inside the bird
Stuffing cooked in the bird is incredibly moist and flavorful, naturally basted with drippings from baking. Always stuff cooled stuffing into the turkey and use a food or meat thermometer to be sure the internal temperature in the middle of the stuffing hits 165°F.
How to keep Classic Stuffing warm
My trick to keeping dishes warm is to cover them with foil, then wrap them in a blanket. Well wrapped, this keeps the food warm for about 2 hours.
Make ahead for easy holiday entertaining
The components of this stuffing can be prepared in advance for a hassle free holiday.
- The bread crumbs can be cut and dried well in advance. As long as they are dried, they can keep for a few weeks.
- The vegetables can be sautéed several days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- The eggs, milk, and broth can be combined several days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- On the day of the dinner, combine all of the ingredients and bake.
Traditional Thanksgiving Classic Stuffing
- 1 1/2 lbs (680g) country bread cubed and dried (See Note 1)
- ½ cup (113g) plus 2 tablespoons (28g) butter divided
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot stick
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
- 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups (454g) milk
- 2 cups (454g) rich chicken broth (See Note 2)
- Preheat oven to 350° F with the rack in the middle or upper middle. Generously butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.
- Chop the onion, celery, and carrot fine in a food processor. Sauté in butter until very soft but not browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add poultry seasoning, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Turn off heat and let cool slightly before mixing with the eggs.
- Whisk together eggs, milk, and chicken broth in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl or large baking pan, combine bread cubes, sautéed vegetables, and milk mixture. Gently toss together with your hands or a spoon until combined. Don’t overmix and take care not to break up the bread cubes.
- Let the mixture stand for a few minutes until the bread has absorbed the liquid, then pour into prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil, brush the top of the dressing with melted butter, and return to oven.
- Bake until the top is a toasty, golden brown and getting crisp. For an extra crispy top, put under the broiler for a minute or two.
- Remove from oven and serve warm.
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