Thanksgiving Stuffing

I can barely resist devouring this stuffing recipe straight out of the pan! Made with grainy bread, herbs & veggies, it's a delicious Thanksgiving side.

Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe

I enjoy green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach, but without question, my favorite Thanksgiving side dish is the stuffing. I’ve always loved my mom’s stuffing recipe. She never makes it from a box, but uses fresh bread, lots of butter, onions, and celery. It’s richly flavorful, soft in the middle, and crisp on top, and it’s always the first dish I reach for at Thanksgiving dinner.

Her Thanksgiving stuffing recipe inspired this one. I keep the traditional celery, onions, stock, and crusty bread, but I use a generous amount of olive oil instead of butter, which adds robust flavor. Then, I increase the veggies. Along with the onion and celery, I add a hefty amount of shiitake mushrooms, kale, and tons of fresh herbs. Sautéed with a splash of balsamic vinegar, the mushrooms make this a deliciously savory stuffing – it took everything I had to keep from devouring it straight out of the pan!

With all these hearty veggies, this homemade stuffing recipe could even be a vegetarian main course at your Thanksgiving dinner – it’ll definitely be at the center of my plate this year!

Stuffing recipe ingredients

How to Make Stuffing

This Thanksgiving stuffing recipe comes together with just a few simple steps:

  • First, sauté the veggies. Cook the onions until they become translucent. Then, add the mushrooms and cook until they soften. Stir in the garlic, celery, sage, and rosemary, and cook a few minutes more.
  • Then, add the bread, along with a big glug of olive oil. Toss in the kale and cook until it wilts. Before you transfer the bread stuffing to a baking dish, pour 1 cup of stock into the pan, and stir to combine.
  • And bake! Pile the mixture into a greased baking dish, and pour more stock on top to moisten it. Sprinkle it with dried cranberries and bake until it’s golden brown and lightly crisp on top. Before digging in, let it sit for at least 15 minutes at room temperature. (I like it better the longer it sits!)

Sliced bread on a cutting board

Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe Tips

  • Swap the mushrooms. While I love the savory flavor of the shiitakes in this stuffing recipe, it’s also delicious with different mushroom varieties. Try making it with cremini mushrooms, or with a mix of shiitakes and creminis.
  • Use your favorite bread. I call for ciabatta and nine grain bread in this recipe, but it works just as well with any good crusty bread. French or sourdough bread would both be excellent. And if you need to make your stuffing gluten-free, sub in the best loaf of gluten-free bread you can find!
  • Buy your bread a day ahead of time. If you’ve never made stuffing from scratch, you might be surprised to learn that using dried bread will actually make it better! Dry, day-old bread cubes will soak up the olive oil, stock, and mushroom juices like a sponge, which makes for extra-tasty stuffing.
  • Make it in advance. Like any great Thanksgiving side dish, this stuffing recipe is even better if you make it ahead of time. I like it more the longer it sits, and it’s still delicious on the second day! To reheat it, add a little extra stock and bake at 350 until it’s warmed through and lightly crisp on top.

How to make stuffing

More Thanksgiving Recipes

If you’re looking for more recipes to add to your Thanksgiving dinner, you can’t go wrong by trying one (or more!) of these:

And don’t forget the pumpkin pie for dessert!

Stuffing recipe

Thanksgiving Stuffing

rate this recipe:
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Serves 8
The best Thanksgiving stuffing recipe! Made with bread, onion, celery, mushrooms, and fresh herbs, it's delicious and make-ahead friendly.


  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cipollini onions
  • 3 cups chopped & stemmed mushrooms, mix of shiitakes & creminis
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped sage, plus 8 leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons minced rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 5 cups cubed crusty ciabatta + nine-grain bread*
  • 3 lacinato kale leaves, coarsely chopped or torn
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, plus more for reheating
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease an 8x12 or 9x13 casserole dish.
  • In a very large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of fresh pepper, and let the mushrooms cook until they begin to soften, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring only occasionally. Add the garlic, celery, sage, and rosemary, and cook until everything is soft and the mushrooms are golden brown, 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar, stir, and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the bread and the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and toss to coat. Add the kale and cook until it begins to wilt, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the broth and stir.
  • Transfer to a casserole dish and pour the remaining 1 cup broth evenly over the stuffing.
  • Sprinkle with the dried cranberries, remaining whole sage leaves and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let sit for at least 15 minutes or until ready to serve.


To reheat, add a bit more stock and bake until warmed through and slightly crisp on top.
*Crusty bakery bread works best in this recipe. Soft sandwich bread will become too soggy.


pictured: Staub Cast Iron 12 x 8 Roasting Pan


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  1. As a relative newcomer to North America, I have to say that I had first found the concept of stuffing as a side dish a bit odd… I mean, a dish entirely made of bread? With little nutritional value? And even more so, a stuffing that has never seen the inside of a bird? For years, my response to an offer of veggie stuffing has always been, “no thanks”… And then I actually tasted it. So yeah, now I’m firmly on the side of stuffing – and yours looks amazing!

  2. I’ve always known it as stuffing, dressing goes on a salad, right?! I don’t usually like stuffing, but this could convince me otherwise!

  3. Jeni from

    This stuffing sounds amazing! Stuffing is one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving!

  4. stuffing all the way!! i never really got the dressing thing, although it’s been explained to me that stuffing is literally stuffed inside a bird and dressing is on the side. i don’t care about semantics though, it’ll always be stuffing to me!!!

    this looks so, so good! love the shiitakes and sage 🙂


  5. Jessica from

    This is a great take on the traditional recipes – I’ve never had mushrooms in stuffing! Even though our Thanksgiving is alredy over in Canada I may have to give this a try one weekend…just have to find something to celebrate lol

  6. Caitlin from

    I’m always confused when someone calls it dressing. It just doesn’t sound right. I bet shitake mushroms taste wonderful in this stuffing! I’m in charge of turkey and stuffing this year, so I may have to test this out very soon 🙂

  7. Hello from Switzerland, your blog is very nice and is a great inspiration for me! Beautiful photos! Every time i look at your post i find something fantastic. Thank you!

  8. I’m not a bid stuffing fan, so I like that this one is chock full of veggies. Plus the cranberry, rosemary, and balsamic additions look amazing.

  9. oh this is quite a stuffing recipe! Love your pictures here! I think dressing is a southern term, as I never heard referred to as that until I moved to NC. Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe!

  10. oh this is quite a stuffing recipe! Love your pictures here! I think dressing is a southern term, as I never heard referred to as that until I moved to NC. Thanks for sharing this beautiful recipe!

  11. Yum! I call it stuffing but no matter what you call it, this looks delicious. I sure love the addition of mushrooms too!

  12. Alden

    It’s only called stuffing if you actually cook it stuffed inside the bird. Otherwise it’s called dressing!

    • jeanine

      Ha – finally one vote for dressing 🙂

  13. I love mushroom stuffing and cannot wait to try this! I never thought to put kale in it. Love the twist!

  14. This looks like a delicious recipe! I appreciate the fact that it reheats well because Thanksgiving is all about quality leftovers. Happy Monday, Jeanine 🙂

  15. Definitely stuffing, who calls it dressing? Interesting spin with the kale in it, maybe I will have to try that. I like fruity stuffing. Pineapples, cranberries, walnuts, that’s where it’s at for me!

  16. Yum. I’m totally with you on the stuffing thing (I never really understood stuffing as dressing!) This reminds me of our family recipe chock full of mushrooms, herbs and onions. Shiitakes are a fabulous upgrade- I’l have to remember this! I just hope my mamma doesn’t roll her eyes at me either 😉

  17. I call it stuffing, all.the.way (and I stuff my face with it, too). Being that I’ve finally admitted to my family that I’m a food blogger, and I’ve allowed them to read my blog – something that gave me anxiety before – I’ve now been given the task of making a side dish for Thanksgiving. This is definitely an option!

  18. Bec from

    Oh my, this looks amazing! I am so making this in Australia just because it looks so amazing! P.s.. we all call it stuffing down here.

  19. Brian from

    This looks awesome! Just out of curiosity, why remove the mushroom stems?

    • jeanine

      Hi Brian, I find them to be too tough and wood-y and not as tender as the caps. (sometimes I’ll save them for stocks, etc).

  20. Alaros

    This looks amazing! I cannot find fresh sage in my country. Can I substitute it for dry? Please tell me the quantity. Thanks.

    • jeanine

      you can skip it (maybe increase the fresh rosemary in the recipe a little?) Or you can use dried sage, but don’t use 1/4 cup – use a teaspoon or two.

  21. Alaros

    Or can I replace the sage for other fresh herb?

  22. Katie

    For those of us local in Austin, do you mind disclosing who you purchased the bread from? Based on the description and photo my guess is Easy Tiger but I could be wrong.

    • jeanine

      Good eye :). It is Easy Tiger’s nine grain bread (although I like their rye batard too).

  23. Carolyn

    Hi I may have missed the # of servings but for 13 adults how much should I make was thinking of doubling the recipe

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Carolyn, I think doubling it would be perfect.

  24. Regina

    Hi, you don’t mention anything about toasting the bread before you toss it all together, is this correct or should I toast the bread beforehand?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Regina – I didn’t toast the bread. You could use stale bread if you like, but I don’t find toasting it to be necessary.

  25. KimK

    Not a mushroom fan. Would this stuffing be good without mushroom. Any ideas of other veggies to add?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Kim, you could skip them – I’d add about 1 cup more bread cubes. Softened carrots or fennel would be delicious. I hope that helps!

  26. Karin

    Hi! We discovered your blog and books a little while ago and have been cooking our way through delicious dish after dish! I was wondering if you have any thoughts on what could take the place of mushrooms here since the dish looks amazing but family really doesn’t like them! Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Karin, I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying the recipes! I’d add about 1 cup more bread cubes. Softened (roasted or sautéed) carrots or fennel would be delicious. I hope that helps!

      • Karin

        Thanks so much for your reply, Jeanine! I will give that a try!

  27. Abigail

    If I am using relatively fresh bread, would it be beneficial to cube and lightly toast it ahead of time to dry it out?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      You don’t have to – I used relatively fresh bread too.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.