Everyone has their own Thanksgiving traditions and go-to recipes. The one I’m sharing today is dear to my heart. It’s my mama’s stuffing. This Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing recipe has been passed down from her mother. This stuffing recipe does not require cubed bread in a bag. In this recipe you actually make your own cubed bread! The simple flavors of butter, herbs, and chicken broth are what make this stuffing so savory. No need to add meat or seafood. It’s a meat-free stuffing, and maybe that’s just one of the many reasons why I love this stuffing so much!
The best part about this recipe is that it can be modified to accommodate friends and family with a gluten or dairy allergy. You can even make this stuffing recipe vegan. See my substitutions in the tips and tricks section below!
- Bread – This is obviously the key ingredient for this recipe.
- Butter – I like to use unsalted to control the amount of salt for this recipe.
- Onion – I always use a fresh onion and mince thinly.
- Celery – Try to dice the celery as small as possible.
- Seasonings – I use just salt, pepper, and dried parsley. You could also use a poultry seasoning or sage if you like those flavors.
- Chicken Broth – Just like the butter, I use a low-sodium chicken broth to control the sodium in the homemade stuffing recipe.
Toast the loaf of bread and set aside to dry out.
Cube toasted bread by slicing or tearing with your hands.
Next in a medium size pot add 2 tablespoons butter, and melt. Then add celery, onions, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well then add in a ¼ cup of the broth. Cook on medium-high heat until translucent (about 5 minutes). Then add in the remaining chicken broth.
Spray a large oven-safe dish with cooking spray. Add the cubed bread and the chicken broth mixture in the dish. I like to add half the bread/broth then mix and continue until all of it is used up.
Top with the remaining 2-3 tablespoons butter. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes with casserole dish lid on. Then take the lid off and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the stuffing is hot. Make sure you don’t burn the top of the stuffing. You just want the top to be crispy.
My traditional stuffing recipe consists of toasted bread that I cube, onion, celery, salt, pepper, and parsley. I like to use butter and chicken broth to moisten the bread to create the light and fluffy stuffing mix.
The biggest issue with stuffing the turkey cavity is that the internal temperature reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The stuffing needs to reach the proper cooking temperature to kill potentially harmful bacteria (i.e,. salmonella) that lurk in the meat and its juices if not cooked properly. In the past, stuffing a large turkey has been linked to salmonella outbreaks.
Here are a few things you can stuff inside a turkey besides stuffing.
–Herbs – Place a bundle of fresh herbs like Thyme, sage, parsley and a bit of rosemary are a great combination.
–Vegetables – carrots, celery, onions, shallots or even garlic works well. Make sure you put the smaller pieces of vegetables at the top and block the cavity by the larger vegetables so the garlic or shallots don’t fall through.
–Fruit – You can quartered apples, or even citrus like lemon, orange, grapefruit or lime. These fruits will keep your turkey moist and add an extra layer of flavor.
–Beer – Just like a beer can chicken you can place a can of beer in the turkey cavity. This helps keep the turkey nice and moist.
Tips & Tricks
Here are a few of my favorite tips and tricks I’ve found helpful when making bread stuffing.
- Make Ahead – You can make the stuffing up to 2 days ahead of time. Make sure you keep it sealed tightly and refrigerated until your ready to cook it. My mom always makes the stuffing ahead of time and it’s perfect on the day of cooking.
- Bread – I like to use either white or honey-wheat bread for stuffing. I find it’s the best bread for homemade stuffing!
- Stuffing in the turkey – If you do want to stuff the turkey please please make sure that you use an Instant Read meat thermometer and that the temperature in the thickest part of the stuffing and the turkey both read at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Substitutions: Looking to make this gluten free, dairy free, or even vegan? Here are a few substitutions you can make.
- Gluten Free – My mom makes this recipe every year for my cousin who has a gluten allergy. She uses Udi’s bread and gluten free chicken broth. She uses much less broth as the gluten free breads tend to be moister. Make sure that if you do want to stuff a turkey that you make a separate turkey breast that has it’s own gluten free stuffing. To ensure she does not cross-contaminate the stuffing mix she lines a baking sheet with aluminum foil and toast the bread in the oven. Keep this in mind if you have guest attending Thanksgiving who have a gluten allergy. They don’t have to miss out on baked stuffing!
- Dairy Free – Use a dairy free, vegan or plant based butter instead of the traditional butter. I did this the year I was dairy free and it turned out just fine.
- Vegan – Use vegetable stock instead of chicken broth. Use vegan butter instead of traditional butter.
If you are looking for other stuffing recipes I have a few including my favorite way to use up leftover stuffing in both mushrooms and soup!
If you make this bread stuffing recipe, I would be honored and love for you to take the time to leave a star rating and comment! I spend hours developing and testing these recipes, and always love to hear feedback and user experience!
Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing
- Stove Top
- Toast the loaf of bread and set aside.
- Next in a medium size pot add 2 tablespoons butter, and melt. Then add celery, onions, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well then add in a ¼ cup of the broth. Cook on medium-high heat until translucent (about 5 minutes). Then add in the remaining chicken broth.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cube toasted bread by slicing or tearing with your hands.
- Spray a large oven-safe dish with cooking spray. Add the cubed bread and the chicken broth mixture in the dish. Slowly add and mix. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes with casserole dish lid on. Then take the lid off and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the stuffing is hot. Make sure you don’t burn the top of the stuffing. You just want the top to be crispy.
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