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

Stuffing ingredients labeled in bowls.

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.
Stuffing ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  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. Refrigerate until ready to bake, or freeze if you’re planning to bake it farther in advance than the next day.
Unbaked stuffing in a baked dish.
  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.
Baking 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

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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!
4.97 from 56 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 10
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. Refrigerate until ready to bake, or freeze if you're planning to bake it farther in advance than the next day. 
  • 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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Meggan Hill

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Comments

  1. Hi Meggan! I just read that it is better if you can thaw this. SO I am making this on Wed and not serving until Sat, but I will have time to thaw. Do you recommend I freeze and thaw? Or just refrigerate..? OR freeze and directly bake frozen? What is the best outcome? Thanks Meggan!5 stars

    1. Hi Jennifer, since you’re making it three days in advance I’d suggest freezing it and baking it straight from the freezer. No need to thaw. Hope you enjoy! – Meggan

  2. Hi Megan. Love this recipe. Can I make this on a Wednesday and keep in fridge until Saturday afternoon to bake for Christmas?4 stars

    1. Hi Sherry, this recipe calls for a large loaf French bread that’s about 1 pound (or 16 ounces). Hope this helps. – Meggan

  3. Call me a novice but what do you mean by “largge loaf of bread”? Be more specific! How many cups of cubed, dried bread? I’m very annoyed by the vagary here.

    1. Hi Juley, it’s in the recipe card – “1 large loaf French bread about 1 pound, cut into 1/2″ cubes and dried overnight on counter (see note 3)”. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving! – Meggan

  4. Hi Meggan- I am so curious to try this… what do you think having a combo of french bread cubes and corn bread cubes? Do you think the recipe would hold up?

    Thanks!5 stars

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