I’ve been making this homemade stuffing for over 30 years. By adding a few extras to the basics, the stuffing is a superstar in our Thanksgiving dinner.
The recipe is the same one my mother used for so many years with a few tweaks. For instance, I now use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth so my daughter, kook Jenna the vegetarian, can eat it. I love stuffing. I love it with turkey, with chicken and with pork. And gravy of course.
For Thanksgiving, I always prep the homemade stuffing the day before and bake it the day of.
A basic stuffing includes bread, onions, broth and savory seasons like sage and thyme. This recipe adds celery (and other vegetables like mushrooms or peppers if you want) as well as chopped water chestnuts for crunch and chopped hot dogs for smokiness. For Jenna’s vegetarian version, I put aside a portion before I add the hotdogs, but come to think of it, I think next year I’ll try adding vegetarian hot dogs instead. I also often add a chopped apple for a bit of sweetness. A drizzle of pan drippings while baking (or dotting with butter) adds extra richness if you like (as if Thanksgiving dinner is not rich enough as it is!).
In any case, play around with the ingredients to your taste, adding and subtracting what you and your family like best. And don’t forget to pass the gravy! Here’s are a couple of options: Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy and Make-Ahead Vegetarian Gravy.
- You can eliminate the step of cutting, toasting and ripping up the bread by buying plain toasted bread cubes, often available in grocery stores during holiday periods.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Add chopped mushrooms and/or red peppers
- Add chopped nuts
- Use vegetable or chicken broth
- Try various kinds of bread – Challah, white, whole grain, French, Italian.
- Replace hot dogs with cut up cooked sausage
- Add red chili flakes for heat.
Make Ahead Homemade Stuffing
- The stuffing can be prepared ahead, kept well covered in the fridge, then baked the next day. If you’re adding apples, add them just before baking. I bake the stuffing while the turkey is resting before carving.
Savoury Stuffing Recipe
- 14 slices bread (challah, french, italian, plain white, etc). Day old bread is great. (for shortcut, use store bought toasted bread cubes)
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth, or more if needed
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) (or neutral olive/canola oil)
- 1 large sweet onion (or 2 medium)
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 cup red peppers and/or mushrooms (optional)
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning or sage
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1 small can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
- 2 hot dogs any kind (including vegetarian), cut into 1/2 inch pieces (optional, but adds a nice smokey flavour)
- 1 apple, chopped, skin on (optional) (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- extra butter or drippings from turkey a few tablespoons
- PREPARE BREAD CUBES: Toast bread slices in 350F oven for 5 minutes on each side until nicely toasted., Rip or cut toast into 1/2 inch pieces.
- PREPARE VEGETABLE MIXTURE: Cut celery, onions and any other vegetables you are using into large chunks and place in food processor. Process until finely chopped. Melt butter in medium skillet on medium high. Add vegetables and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in seasonings.
- ASSEMBLE: Place bread cubes in large bowl. Add vegetable mixture, water chestnuts, hot dogs (if using), parsley and apples (if not making ahead). Add enough broth to moisten well. Stuffing should be quite moist but not mushy. Mix until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. (I often add more poultry seasoning). Note 1 to make ahead.
- BAKE: Heat oven to 350F. Grease a large casserole dish or 9 x 13 pyrex dish. Pour stuffing into dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, drizzle with turkey drippings or dot with butter if desired. Bake uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until lightly browned on top. ALTERNATIVE: add stuffing loosely into the turkey cavity before roasting turkey.
- Make Ahead: If not making the stuffing immediately, cover and place in fridge until needed the next day. Mix in chopped apples if using before you bake the stuffing.