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

  5. If I assemble this on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving are you sure I can put it in the fridge with the raw eggs and bake it on Thursday? The eggs in the stuffing won’t go off?

  6. Have you ever used the bags of dried cubed bread from the grocery store to make stuffing? If not, any thoughts on how it would take to the recipe?

  7. Hi Meggan:
    I just read about baking, cooling and freezing the stuffing…then taking the stuffing from the freezer and rebaking it.

    Should I thaw the stuffing before it goes into the oven?

    1. Hi Lisa, you do not need to thaw the stuffing beforehand, just bake directly from the freezer. Hope you enjoy! – Meggan

  8. I need to make gluten free stuffing. Do you think this will work with gluten free bread cubes bought from the store that are already dried? Also guests have an egg allergy, any suggestions to do without egg?

    1. Hi Jennifer, unfortunately we haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free bread or without eggs. I would recommend finding a recipe that has already been tested with those things, I’m so sorry about that! – Meggan

  9. Oh no!! I ended up baking it, letting it cool and then put it in the freezer. Did I ruin it? It tasted absolutely delicious when it came out of the oven!!

    Andrea

    1. Hi Andrea, it’s okay! Reheat in the oven covered with foil until it reaches 165 degrees. Also you can leave it uncovered for a couple minutes to make sure the top is crispy. – Meggan

  10. Can’t wait to make this! I’m planning to make it tomorrow and freezing it until Thanksgiving. Should I bake it first and then freeze it? Or make the whole recipe and freeze it without baking it? Thanks!

    1. Hi Andrea, I’m excited for you to try this! I recommend assembling the stuffing and freezing before baking. When you’re ready to bake it, bake in a 400-degree oven. Keep stuffing tightly covered with foil and bake until mostly heated through, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until crispy edges form, about 10 to 20 minutes longer. – Meggan

  11. Just to clarify. If make and bake the stuffing on Thanksgiving morning, just before before putting the turkey in the oven, how long would it take to reheat? Having one smallish oven is a pain -:)

    1. Hi Jeanne, I believe it would take about 25-30 minutes, depending on how well your oven could recover the heat. Another option would to be to assemble the stuffing, and once the turkey is out of the oven, and resting (I recommend about 30 minutes) you would be able to adjust the heat and bake the stuffing. (Also would be the time you may be making gravy.) I hope this helps! – Meggan

    1. Hi Lynne, yes you can substitute for other types of bread. It may change the texture some but will still be delicious. Make sure to cube and dry it out so your stuffing isn’t soggy. I’m not entirely sure what ww bread is, if you could clarify I’d love to help you out! – Meggan

  12. Sounds delicious! I’ve never added eggs to my stuffing/dressing, but I’m going to try it this year. I also like grated carrots in my stuffing, maybe it’s more for color than flavor, maybe both. An elderly German lady told my mom to add some leftover mashed potatoes to her stuffing. She also added sausage to hers. I didn’t care for the sausage but the rest of the family loved it.
    I’ll add eggs this Thanksgiving rather than mashed potatoes and see which one I prefer. I just don’t want a bread pudding I want stuffing, so I hope I don’t ruin one of my favorite sides!5 stars

    1. Hi Johanna, for food safety reasons, and for a more evenly cooked turkey, most modern recipes don’t encourage stuffing a turkey with stuffing. I bake it delicious bread stuffing outside the bird. 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. – Meggan

  13. If I double the recipe, how long should I cook the stuffing for? Does it extend the time? I am putting everything in one large, deep 9×13 cooking plan.

    1. Hi Christine, I’ll make a double batch today and reply back with any info on the baking time (how much to extend). Thanks!

    2. Hi Christine, I tested the double batch today. I was skeptical about it fitting in a deep 9×13, but it did (I have 3.68 quart baking dish that is 9×13, the sides are 2.25 inches tall)! At first it doesn’t look like it will, but once you toss the bread cubes in the broth/egg/vegetable mixture, you’re fine. I mixed everything in an 8-quart bowl with my hands and felt like the cubes may have disintegrated a bit, and once I packed it in the baking dish, it didn’t look as attractive as it normally does with the pretty cubes and all. So I would say, mix it gently and don’t pack it in if you don’t have to! It will naturally cook down a little as it bakes.

      As for the cook time, I increased the time for softening the vegetables in butter from 7 minutes to 10 minutes. For the foil-covered leg of baking, 25 minutes was still good. For the uncovered portion of the bake time, 20 minutes was sufficient for my liking (you could do another 5 minutes if you wanted, but the top pieces had brown edges and were crunchy after 20 minutes).

      I hope this helps, if you need anything else just let me know! I’ll email this response to you too, just to try to make sure you get it on time. Happy Thanksgiving! -Meggan

  14. Thank you for writing a recipe to cook from. Most are guessing games that typically result in a mismatch between pan size (which is seldom mentioned), the amount of stuffing made and per person portions.

    It’s nice to see a recipe written by someone who is first a cook and then a blogger.5 stars

  15. When reheating frozen stuffing that was already cooked in advance, do you thaw it first or just go directly from freezer to oven?

    1. Hi Marguerite, you can do either. Obviously you just have to bake it longer if it’s still frozen. My preference is always to thaw things in advance if I have time, but just imagine all the things that come out of a grocery store that are frozen solid. No issues! But I just prefer to bake things from a thawed stage because they bake faster. If you need anything else, just let me know! Thanks. -Meggan

    1. WHAT!!! I’ve never heard of this, but I absolutely have to try it. Do you just take all the normal stuffing ingredients and fry them in a pan? Like toss it around in a skillet with butter? Sounds divine. I can’t wait to try it. Please tell me more!!! -Meggan

    2. I used to make my stuffing and then make little patties out ot the extra….and fry them in butter….this became a favorite for my boys when childen….they still get excited about “stuffin’ cakes” as they called them.4 stars