This Is The Only Stuffing Recipe You'll Ever Need (2024)

The best stuffing can mean something different to everyone, but here at Delish, this recipe is our perfect version of the Thanksgiving side. Let’s also clarify that when we say stuffing, we’re actually referring to dressing. Traditional stuffing should be stuffed inside the turkey and cooked in there, but that isn’t the ideal or even recommended way to cook your Thanksgiving turkey (or stuffing). We’ve found that you’ll achieve much better results by cooking them separately. By cooking your stuffing in a baking dish, you get crunchy, buttery pieces of bread on top and soft, bread pudding-esque pieces underneath.

Keep reading on for all of our top tips on how to perfect this side, and refer to our article on how to make the best stuffing of your life for even more of our golden rules:

The best bread for stuffing:
Our ideal stuffing is made with a crusty loaf of sourdough. The bread holds up well with all of the liquid and dries out beautifully to get the best results. Brioche is another option that will give stuffing a bit of a sweetness, which adds a nice balance to the heavy savory seasoning. If you’re looking to get a bit creative, cornbread stuffing (or our gnocchi stuffing 😉) is another great option.

How to make the best stuffing:
Do I have to use day-old bread? We want to use a dry loaf of bread here so it can soak up all of the added liquid we put into this dish. To achieve this, many recipes will call for using one or two-day-old bread that's grown stale. While you can follow that method, if you're in a pinch, you can also dry out your bread the day of. Simply bake your bread pieces, tossing halfway through, until the edges are just starting to turn golden, and the pieces feel dry and crispy.
Can I add meat to the stuffing? Sure! We debated adding Italian sausage to our stuffing recipe, but wanted to keep it as classic and simple as possible (checkout our sausage stuffing if that's more your thing). A few links of cooked hot or sweet Italian sausage crumbled in would amplify your stuffing and help the side serve even more people.
The key to a crispy top. Our ideal stuffing has crunchy, crispy top pieces and a soft middle. To achieve this, we suggest covering your stuffing at first while baking, for around 20 minutes. After, uncover and continue to bake until the top is that gorgeous golden-brown color and has a crisp texture, around 25 to 30 minutes more.

Can I make the stuffing ahead of time?
Stuffing is a great Thanksgiving side to prep ahead of time. The bread can be toasted up to 3 days ahead of time; once cooled, store it in an airtight container. You can also assemble your stuffing right before being baked and keep covered in the refrigerator overnight. If you're looking for more of a hands-off approach on the big day, checkout our crockpot stuffing.

How do I store leftover stuffing?
Keep any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat portions in the oven at 350° until crisp and warmed through. Looking for leftover ideas? Our Thanksgiving leftovers casserole and Thanksgiving potato skins are here for you.

Made this classic recipe? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

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Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 45 mins


  • 2 lb.

    crusty country bread (about 2 loaves), preferably sourdough, cut into 1 1/2" pieces

  • 6 tbsp.

    unsalted butter, divided, plus more for dish

  • 1

    large yellow onion, chopped

  • 2

    medium leeks, tough outer layer removed,thinly sliced into half-moons

  • 4

    cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 2 1/2 c.

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 1/2 c.

    whole milk

  • 2 tbsp.

    mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary, and/or thyme

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes


    1. Step1Preheat oven to 350°. Spread bread between 2 baking sheets. Bake bread, tossing halfway through, until crispy and feels dry and the edges are just starting to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
    2. Step2Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Cook onion and leeks, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute more; season with salt and black pepper. Let cool slightly.
    3. Step3In a medium bowl or large glass measuring cup, whisk eggs, broth, milk, herbs, and red pepper; generously season with salt and black pepper.
    4. Step4Increase oven temperature to 375°. Grease a 13" x 9" baking dish with a thin layer of butter.
    5. Step5Transfer bread to a very large bowl. Add onion mixture and egg mixture and toss to combine. Let sit at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.
    6. Step6Transfer bread mixture to prepared dish and spread in an even layer, making sure all liquid makes it into dish. Cut remaining 3 tablespoons butter into small pieces and dot over top. Cover with foil.
    7. Step7Bake stuffing 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until top is golden brown and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Makinze Gore

Senior Food Editor

Makinze is currently senior food editor at Delish, where she develops recipes, creates, and hosts recipe videos and is our current baking queen. She is our expert pie crimper, believes you should always have the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies on hand, and everyone needs to know a perfect roast chicken recipe.

This Is The Only Stuffing Recipe You'll Ever Need (2024)


Why put eggs in stuffing? ›

Broth: Chicken broth keeps the stuffing moist without making it soggy. Eggs: Two lightly beaten eggs help hold the dressing together and add moisture. Water: You can add a few tablespoons of water, if you'd like, to achieve your desired consistency.

What is traditional stuffing made of? ›

Classic stuffing made with bread cubes, seasonings, and held together with chicken stock and eggs. A holiday staple!

What is stuffing called when it is not stuffed? ›

Some people make the distinction that dressing is the proper name for the dish when it has been prepared outside of the bird—that is, when it has not been stuffed and cooked inside.

Why do Southerners call it dressing? ›

But for the Thanksgiving side dish in the South, the term dressing was adopted in place of stuffing, which was viewed as a crude term, during the Victorian era. Although dressing and stuffing are interchangeable terms, the signature ingredient of this Thanksgiving side dish in the South is cornbread.

What can you use as a binder instead of eggs in stuffing? ›

16 egg substitutes
  1. Mashed banana. Mashed banana can act as a binding agent when baking or making pancake batter. ...
  2. Applesauce. Applesauce can also act as a binding agent. ...
  3. Fruit puree. Fruit puree will help bind a recipe in a similar way to applesauce. ...
  4. Avocado. ...
  5. Gelatin. ...
  6. Xanthan gum. ...
  7. Vegetable oil and baking powder. ...
  8. Margarine.
Mar 30, 2021

What can I substitute for eggs in stuffing? ›

Best Egg Substitutes
  • Flaxseed Meal. Flaxseeds have an earthy, nutty flavor and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. ...
  • Chia Seeds. ...
  • Mashed Banana. ...
  • Applesauce. ...
  • Silken Tofu. ...
  • Aquafaba. ...
  • Starches. ...
  • Vinegar + Baking Powder.

What country invented stuffing? ›

Purportedly ancient Roman, or else Medieval, cooks developed engastration recipes, stuffing animals with other animals. An anonymous Andalusian cookbook from the 13th century includes a recipe for a ram stuffed with small birds.

What is the best bread to use for stuffing? ›

Sourdough, Italian, and white bread are standard choices for stuffing; however, journeying beyond your comfort zone can produce excellent results.

What is British stuffing made of? ›

Stuffing consists of a mixture of savoury ingredients such as breadcrumbs, herbs, fruit, nuts, sausagemeat and onion which are bound together with egg or liquid to form a semi-solid mixture. It is usually cooked with roast meat such as chicken, pork or lamb and is served as an accompaniment to the sliced, cooked meat.

What is stuffing called in the South? ›

Dressing Is For Southerners

As a black woman from the South, dressing is the only name I've ever known for the hallowed Thanksgiving side dish.

Is stuffing better in or out of turkey? ›

Some people feel that stuffing has a better taste and is moister when prepared in the turkey. If the turkey is stuffed, the stuffing should also reach the minimum internal temperature of 165 F in the center of the stuffing.

What do the French call stuffing? ›

The word “stuffing” dates back to 14th Century English, when it was used synonymously with the more uncomfortable sounding forcemeat. Soon after, Anglos borrowed the slicker French word, farce (from the Latin verb facire or “to stuff”).

What do Texans call stuffing? ›

Dressing is more commonly used to refer to the dish in the South, while stuffing is the more frequently used term in the North, Southern Living reported.

Is stuffing the same as dressing black folks? ›

The stuffing mixture may be cooked separately and served as a side dish, in which case it may still be called 'stuffing', or in some regions, such as the Southern US, 'dressing'. This is from Wiki. Basically, everyone except a tiny percentage of Black people with family in Alabama calls it stuffing.

What do they call stuffing in Pennsylvania? ›

Although most people in America debate on whether the dish should be called stuffing or dressing the people of Pennsylvania call it filling. Essentially filling is the same as stuffing or dressing. The name suggests that it will fill something like stuffing does.

Why use an egg as a thickener? ›

Creamy desserts such as crème brûlée also benefit from eggs' ability to emulsify and produce smooth, satiny, hom*ogeneous mixtures. Their ability to hold up to four times their weight in moisture makes eggs a good thickener for sauces, custards and curds. The proteins in eggs coagulate or set at different temperatures.

Why is egg yolk used in dressing? ›

Boiled egg yolks can thicken a dressing without breaking or clumping while creating a silky consistency that thoroughly coats your salad ingredients. Plus, the buttery richness of the yolk can help temper overly acidic or spiced dressings without muting them.

Why do we need to apply egg yolk in some dressing? ›

Egg yolks are especially recommended for their emulsifying and thickening properties in mayonnaise, salad dressings, ice cream, and baked goods, combined with their coloring properties.

How do you keep stuffing moist? ›

Typically, baking the stuffing inside the bird helps keep the mixture moist. “I prefer stuffing (in the bird) to dressing (outside of the bird) because all those delicious drippings that come off the turkey gets absorbed right into the stuffing,” Bamford says.


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