This Thanksgiving stuffing recipe is one that my mother does perfectly–a really basic recipe that everyone should have in their repertoire. Every childhood Thanksgiving memory that I have starts out with the fragrant aroma of my mom sauteing onions and celery in butter for this dressing:
Classic Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe
- 1 stick of butter (1/2 c.)
- 2 c. chopped celery
- 2 large onions, finely diced
- 2 tsp. powdered sage
- 10 c. dry bread, torn into bite-size pieces or cut into 1″ cubes
- 2-4 c. chicken stock
In a large stock pot, melt the butter, then cook the onions and celery for several minutes until soft. Add the sage and stir for 1 minute. Add the bread chunks and stir into the onions/celery. Add the stock a little at a time, turning the bread constantly. The amount of stock will vary, depending on what kind of bread you use. I like to use a crusty French bread. When the bread is nice and moist, put the mixture into a large sprayed casserole and bake covered for 20 minutes at 375ºF, then 10 minutes uncovered at 400ºF.
You can do a quick and easy variation of this by buying the stuffing mix bags in the store–if you buy the “traditional sage” flavor, you substitute a bag of stuffing mix for the sage and bread above. It makes a FAST and hearty side dish for a quick dinner (or if you have chunks of chicken or turkey, you can heat those up and throw them in with the stuffing and call it a meal!)
We have edited this post to remove the recommendation to use the stuffing to stuff the bird. See Kate’s comment below, which reflects the prevailing thought on the safety concerns of that method. We grew up eating inside-the-turkey stuffing with no ill effects, but we both now keep the stuffing separate, not being fans of food-poisoning, or even the possibility thereof.
Note: If you use homemade stock that has no added salt, you will probably need to add a little salt to this recipe. Also, changing up the bread (to cornbread or sourdough) will yield very different, but tasty, results. This dressing is very easy to keep vegetarian. If you use vegetable stock, you’ve got it. In contrast, I have a friend who also adds cooked and crumbled sausage to her stuffing.
We’ll be posting two more stuffing (or dressing as it’s called in some parts) recipes today. We hope that by posting some of the traditional Thanksgiving recipes early, you’ll be able to make your shopping list early!