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Stovetop Stuffing (quick, easy, homemade)

Need a change from potatoes? Try an easy homemade stovetop stuffing, loaded with healthy veggies and way better than a stove top stuffing mix. Ready in 22 minutes.

There’s no reason to wait for a holiday dinner when you can whip up this stuffing from scratch for a simple weeknight family dinner with chicken, pork chops, fish or vegetarian mains.

stovetop stuffing in skillet top view

Stovetop stuffing is essentially an unbaked version of a traditional dressing or stuffing recipe. It doesn’t brown on top, but you can do that too if you like. Just tuck it under the broiler for a few minutes.

Stuffing is my favorite part of a Thanksgiving turkey dinner. This quicker version is great because it allows me to enjoy it more often for a casual family meal.

If you’re looking for a more traditional holiday turkey stuffing, try our best make-ahead stuffing. Or how about a healthy vegetable quinoa stuffing for a vegetarian stuffing with quinoa instead of bread.

Why make homemade stovetop stuffing

It’s easy and adaptable to whatever you have on hand – a great way to use up those wilting veggies in the fridge. Sauté veggies and add bread, broth and seasonings. That’s it. The best part is measuring doesn’t matter in this recipe. Just taste and adjust.

Homemade stuffing is much healthier than boxed stuffing because of the high ratio of vegetables to bread (less carbs, more nutrition). For 3-4 people, you’re only consuming 4-5 slices of bread for instance. Box stuffing also contains high levels of sodium, a lot of additives (see FAQ) and no fresh ingredients.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

onions, celery, apples, garlic, butter, seasonings, garlic, parsley, toasted bread cubes, broth
Ingredients: chopped onions and celery (red pepper optional), garlic, parsley, broth, apple (optional), toasted bread cut up, seasonings (salt, poultry seasoning, thyme and pepper)

Bread: Almost any bread is fine. Experiment to find your favorites. My favorite is challah. Brioche, baguette, multigrain, whole wheat bread, sourdough, cornbread and even gluten-free bread are other options. I’ve even used hamburger buns in a pinch.

Vegetables: Onions and celery are classic. I usually add red pepper for color and apples for sweetness. Other good options are mushrooms, snap peas, frozen corn niblets, finely diced carrots. I sometimes stir in chopped fresh baby spinach at the end (it wilts quickly) because it’s packed with healthy nutrients.

Broth: Use chicken broth or vegetable broth if making a vegetarian stuffing.

Seasonings: I stick with traditional flavors of poultry seasoning and savory herbs like parsley and thyme. If you like a bit of smokiness, try adding some smoked paprika. If you don’t have poultry seasoning, use any combination of thyme, sage and marjoram.

Extra add-ins: Chopped apple, raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, chopped canned chestnuts for crunch (love these). You can also add chopped smoked hotdogs or cooked pork sausage to infuse a wonderful smoky flavor.

Tips

  1. Toast the bread well. This help it to absorb the broth and also adds nice color since you’re not baking this stuffing.
  2. Add broth a little at a time, waiting until the bread absorbs the liquid. Keep adding until you get the consistency you like.
  3. Broil for added color and crispiness: I know this is a stovetop stuffing – and this is completely optional – but if you like your stuffing browned and crispy on top, put it under the broiler for a few minutes before serving.

Step by step instructions

chopped veggies sauteeing in pan with seasonings and apples added

Sauté onions, garlic, celery and any other veggies you’re using in skillet. Stir in apples and seasonings.

stovetop stuffing in skillet

Toast bread and tear or slice it into small pieces. Add bread, parsley and enough broth to moisten stuffing to the consistency you like. Taste and adjust seasoning.

stovetop stuffing in skillet browned under broiler

OPTIONAL: If you want to brown and crisp up your stuffing, dot it with butter (optional but good) and broil it for a few minutes in the oven.

Shortcut

  • Use packaged toasted bread cubes instead of making your own.
  • Buy pre-chopped vegetables – often sold for stir fries –  and just give them a finer chop. Alternatively, throw your veggies in the food processor and pulse a few times to chop.

Make Ahead

  • Make the stovetop stuffing and store it in the fridge, covered (if making for the next day). To reheat, put it in the microwave covered until hot – about 1-2 minutes.
  • Store leftover stuffing in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

What to serve with stovetop stuffing

The perfect pairing I think – aside from turkey – is a roast chicken breast and gravy or one pan roast chicken and vegetables. Another great one is boneless roast pork with gravy or pork roast sous vide.

To make a full chicken and stuffing dinner, try our chicken stuffing bake (one pot). You just top the stuffing with chicken and bake.

Recipe FAQ

How wet should the stuffing be?

Most people like moist stuffing, not soggy or wet. If the stuffing is too wet, add a bit more bread to soak up the extra liquid. Alternatively, broil the stuffing for a few minutes.

Can I turn stovetop stuffing into a traditional baked stuffing?

Yes. Just moisten the stuffing a little more with broth. Dot with a tablespoon of soft butter or drippings from a roast, place in a greased baking dish (if you don’t have an ovenproof skillet) and bake at 375F/190C for 15 minutes, covered. Uncover and bake an extra 10 minutes to brown the top.

What is poultry seasoning made of?

Poultry seasoning is wonderful for chicken, pork and stuffing. The blend varies and typically includes thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary and black pepper. Sometimes nutmeg, celery seed, ginger and celery salt as well.

Is a store-bought box stove top stuffing unhealthy?

EWG (a healthy food and environment information site), suggests you skip the brand packages or at least read the ingredients for yourself. They contain high salt, high sugar and chemicals. Here’s the ingredients for one popular brand:

Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B 1], Riboflavin [ Vitamin B 2 ], Folic Acid), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Onions*, Salt, contains less than 2% of Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Cooked Turkey and Turkey Broth, Yeast, Celery*, Parsley*, Potassium Chloride, Spice, Caramel Color, Sugar, Turmeric, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Silicon Dioxide as an anticaking agent, Maltodextrin, Natural Flavor, with BHA, BHT, Citric Acid, and Propyl Gallate as preservatives. *Dried. Contains: Wheat, Soy. Source: product packaging on Amazon.

stovetop stuffing in skillet

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Stovetop Stuffing (Quick, Easy, Homemade)

Need a change from potatoes? Try our homemade stovetop stuffing, ready in about 20 minutes. Easy, loaded with healthy veggies and way better than the store-bought stove top stuffing mix.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time22 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 3 -4
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces bread, Note 1 (about 5-6 slices bread, 170 grams or 3 cups toasted bread cubes)
  • 2 tablespoon butter or olive oil (or combination)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1/4 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped (optional), Note 2
  • 1 apple, cored and diced (optional) (no need to peel)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth plus a bit more if needed

seasonings, Note 3

  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 to taste kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/4 to taste black pepper or to taste

Instructions

  • MAKE BREAD CUBES: Toast bread to golden brown (alternatively bake in oven for 5-8 minutes, turning once). Cut or rip into 1/2 inch/1.3 cm pieces/cubes.
  • SAUTE VEGETABLES: While bread is toasting, heat 2 tbsp. butter (or oil) on medium in a skillet or non stick pan. Add onion, celery, garlic (and pepper or other veggies you're using). Sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add diced apple, poultry seasonings and thyme and sauté another 1 minutes.
  • FINISH STOVETOP STUFFING: Add bread cubes and parsley. Mix in 1/2 cup/118 ml broth a little at a time to moisten. Let bread absorb it. Add more broth if needed to get the consistency you like (more if you like stuffing moist, less if you like it drier). Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Lower heat to low, cover and let it sit for 5 minutes to allow bread cubes to absorb flavors. Stir and serve.
    Optional for a browned, crispy top: Place oven rack in top third of oven. Put skillet under the broiler (or transfer to an ovenproof baking dish) and broil for 3 minutes until golden brown.

Notes

  1. Bread: Most breads will do. I like challah. Other options are brioche, baguette, multigrain, whole wheat bread, sourdough, rye, cornbread and even gluten-free bread.
  2. Other variations and substitutes
    • Vegetables: In addition to onions and celery, I usually add red pepper for color and apples for sweetness. Other options are mushrooms, snap peas, frozen corn niblets, finely diced carrots. I sometimes stir in chopped fresh baby spinach at the end (it wilts quickly) as it’s packed with healthy nutrients.
    • Extra add-ins: raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, chopped canned chestnuts for crunch (love these). You can also add chopped smoked hotdogs or cooked pork sausage to infuse a wonderful smoky flavor.
  3. Seasoning: If you like a bit of smokiness, try adding some smoked paprika. If you don’t have poultry seasoning, use any combination of thyme, sage and marjoram.
  4. Make ahead:
    • Make the stovetop stuffing and store it in the fridge, covered (if making for the next day). To reheat, put it in the microwave covered until hot – about 1-2 minutes.
    • Store leftover stuffing in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
 
Nutrition values are estimates and depend on vegetables used as well as ratio of vegetables to bread. Optional apple is included in values. 

Nutrition

Calories: 296kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 564mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 584IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 3mg
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