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This is my favorite (and wildly popular) bread stuffing recipe updated with make-ahead instructions. It’s a great way to get a jump-start on the holiday!

Bread stuffing on a plate with a fork.

This classic stuffing is my mom’s recipe and my favorite part about Thanksgiving. Add in the advantages of make-ahead convenience and you’re officially out of excuses not to make it!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient notes
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Make Ahead Stuffing Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for make ahead stuffing.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Chicken broth: I keep jars of homemade chicken broth in the freezer (it’s a delicious by-product of poaching a chicken), but store-bought is also good. Or use turkey broth if you have that.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs taste the best in this stuffing, but dried work too. I rarely find fresh marjoram and almost always substitute dried.
  • French bread: You can also use brioche, challah, or Italian bread. Dry the bread up to 3 days in advance (keep it covered with a dry kitchen towel on counter, or slice and dry in a 300-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes).

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Coat a 9″ by 13″ baking dish with butter. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter until foaming. Add onion and celery and sauté until translucent, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Onions and celery cooking in a skillet.
  1. Meanwhile, whisk eggs in large bowl. Stir in broth, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
Melted butter and spices in a glass measuring cup for make ahead stuffing.
  1. To skillet, add parsley, sage, thyme, and marjoram and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with eggs and mix well.
Onions and celery with fresh herbs cooking in a skillet.
  1. Add bread cubes and toss to combine. Transfer to buttered baking dish and cover with foil. Freeze until ready to bake.
Bread stuffing in a baking dish before being baked.
  1. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Keep stuffing tightly covered with foil and bake until mostly heated through, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake until crispy edges form, about 10 to 20 minutes longer.
Baked bread stuffing in a baking dish.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe will serve at least 10 as a side dish.
  • Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Classic bread stuffing: If you need it now and not tomorrow, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Proceed with the recipe until you cover it with foil in Step 4. Bake covered until mostly heated through, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake until crispy edges form, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. 
  • Small batch: Stuffing for two is perfect for a couple and can be made ahead following the method in this recipe.
  • Stuffing a turkeychicken, or hen: For food safety reasons, and for a more evenly cooked bird, most modern recipes don’t encourage stuffing a turkey. If you decide to stuff your turkey, make sure the stuffing is warm when it goes in so it has a head start in cooking (either because you just finished making it, or because you made it in advance and reheated it). Use a large spoon or your hands to loosely stuff the body and neck cavities (do not pack it tightly because the stuffing expands while it cooks). Truss the main cavity with trussing pins to keep the stuffing inside. The stuffing must register 165 degrees on an internal thermometer to be safe to eat.
A plate of roasted trukey, stuffing, vegetables, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cranberries.

A Complete Make Ahead Thanksgiving

The most important feast of the year just got easier with my menu for a Complete Make Ahead Thanksgiving. Make the turkey ahead, make it all ahead, make your life easier with these great recipes!…

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More make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes

Bread stuffing on a plate with a fork.

Make Ahead Stuffing

This is my favorite (and wildly popular) bread stuffing recipe updated with make-ahead instructions. It's a great way to get a jump-start on the holiday!
4.99 from 106 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 10 servings (1-cup each)
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 241

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup butter plus more for buttering baking dish (1 stick)
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 4 celery ribs sliced lengthwise and chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups chicken broth (see note 1)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley minced (see note 2)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage minced, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme minced, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram minced, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 large loaf French bread about 1 pound, cut into 1/2" cubes and dried overnight on counter (see note 3)

Instructions 

  • Coat a 9″ by 13″ baking dish with butter. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter until foaming. Add onion and celery and sauté until translucent, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk eggs in large bowl. Stir in broth, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
  • To skillet, add parsley, sage, thyme, and marjoram and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl with eggs and mix well.
  • Add bread cubes and toss to combine. Transfer to buttered baking dish and cover with foil. Freeze until ready to bake.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Keep stuffing tightly covered with foil and bake until mostly heated through, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake until crispy edges form, about 10 to 20 minutes longer.

Recipe Video

Notes

  1. Chicken broth: I keep jars of homemade chicken broth in the freezer (it’s a delicious by-product of poaching a chicken), but store-bought is also good. Or use turkey broth if you have that.
  2. Herbs: Fresh herbs taste the best in this stuffing, but dried work too. I rarely find fresh marjoram and almost always substitute dried.
  3. French bread: You can also use brioche, challah, or Italian bread. Dry the bread up to 3 days in advance (keep it covered with a dry kitchen towel on counter, or slice and dry in a 300-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes).
  4. Yield: This recipe will serve at least 10 as a side dish.
  5. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  6. Classic bread stuffing: If you need it now and not tomorrow, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Proceed with the recipe until you cover it with foil in Step 4. Bake covered until mostly heated through, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake until crispy edges form, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. 
  7. Small batch: Stuffing for two is perfect for a couple and can be made ahead following the method in this recipe.
  8. Stuffing a turkeychicken, or hen: For food safety reasons, and for a more evenly cooked bird, most modern recipes don’t encourage stuffing a turkey. If you decide to stuff your turkey, make sure the stuffing is warm when it goes in so it has a head start in cooking (either because you just finished making it, or because you made it in advance and reheated it). Use a large spoon or your hands to loosely stuff the body and neck cavities (do not pack it tightly because the stuffing expands while it cooks). Truss the main cavity with trussing pins to keep the stuffing inside. The stuffing must register 165 degrees on an internal thermometer to be safe to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 7gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 459mgPotassium: 187mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 787IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 2mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

  1. Never in my 73 years have I made stuffing except when I bought a bag of it in our local store. When I saw Megan’s recipe ( a fan) for this make ahead stuffing I thought I might give it a try. Very happy I did. I used a half loaf of country white bread and half a loaf of brioche. Cut it in 1/2 cubes and let it sit for 3 days. I did use home made chicken broth and added a lb of pork sweet Italian sausage. SautΓ©ed onion, sausage, and celery together and did a mix and sit. Heated up as directed and it was fantastic. Wife even had some for breakfast. Ok….I had a couple bites. Printed out the recipe and it’s a shoo in when I need stuffing. Thanks Megan for putting it out there.5 stars

  2. USDA recommends that you never refrigerate uncooked stuffing. Why? Remember, stuffing can harbor bacteria, and though bacteria grow slower in the refrigerator they can cause problems because stuffing is a good medium for bacteria growth, therefore a higher risk food in terms of cooking safely.

    It is safe to freeze uncooked stuffing; however, the ingredients must be combined, put into a shallow container, and frozen immediately. To use it, do not thaw before cooking. Cook from the frozen state until the stuffing reaches 165Β°F.

    1. Thank you Catpainter, I’ve updated the recipe to include the current USDA guideline. Thank you for your help. Happy Thanksgiving! – Meggan

  3. If I prep this on Wednesday and bake it Thursday morning covered for 25 mins – will I be able to leave it out (covered)? And then around 3:30 bake it covered for the 10-20 mins? OR should I bake it fully Thursday morning and reheat? Reason I ask is that we are getting together and everyone is going to need the oven to cook/reheat their items they are brining.

  4. If I prep this on Wednesday and bake it Thursday morning covered for 25 mins – will I be able to leave it out (covered)? Around 3:30 bake it covered for the 10-20 mins? OR should I bake it fully Thursday morning and reheat? Reason I ask is that we are getting together and everyone is going to need the oven to cook/reheat their items they are brining.

    1. Sure, sounds delicious! I would cook it along with the onions and celery in step 1. Take care! – Meggan

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