Best Stuffing

The BEST Thanksgiving stuffing! Based on my family's classic recipe, it's rich and savory, made with fresh herbs, celery, butter, and leeks.

Best stuffing recipe

If I told you that a no-frills, classic stuffing recipe was my favorite part of Thanksgiving, would you believe me? Well, it’s true! As a kid, I fell in love with my grandma’s stuffing recipe. Made with onion, celery, and dried herbs, it was simple and delicious. It had a crisp, golden layer of bread on top, with a moist and gooey center underneath. Rich, savory flavor filled every bite.

My mom still makes this homemade stuffing recipe for my family’s Thanksgiving every year. Because I love it so much, I wanted to develop my own spin to share with all of you! I didn’t make many changes – I swapped the onions for leeks and dried herbs for fresh ones, and I used crusty sourdough bread. I was thrilled with the results, but I was nervous to see what my mom would think. When I shared it with her last weekend, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. After a few bites, she looked up and said, “You took our stuffing recipe, and you made it better!” I hope you love it as much as we do.

Homemade stuffing recipe ingredients

Stuffing Recipe Ingredients

Unlike the stuffing recipes I’ve shared in the past (see here or here), this one is fairly traditional. I make it with these basic ingredients:

  • Bread, of course! Steer clear of pre-sliced sandwich bread for this recipe. You want a loaf that’s crusty and flavorful, preferably sourdough.
  • Butter – It infuses this stuffing with rich, buttery flavor.
  • Leeks – I love their sweet, oniony flavor with the herbs and celery in this recipe. If you don’t cook with leeks often, check out this post to learn how to cut and clean them!
  • Celery – A stuffing essential.
  • Garlic – For sharp depth of flavor.
  • Fresh herbs – Rosemary, sage, thyme, and parsley fill this Thanksgiving stuffing with a mouthwatering mix of earthy, fresh, and savory flavors. You’ll never make stuffing with dried herbs again!
  • Vegetable broth – To moisten the bread.
  • Eggs – They add richness and moisture, helping to create the stuffing’s irresistible gooey center.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – Drizzle a little on top to help the stuffing brown in the oven.
  • And sea salt and fresh black pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Crusty bread in a mixing bowl

How to Make Stuffing

This stuffing recipe is super simple to make! Here’s how it goes:

First, tear the bread. Yes, tear with your hands, not cut with a knife! I prefer the look of torn bread to perfect little bread cubes, and I like how the craggy edges catch the melted butter and herbs. After you tear it, place the bread in a very large bowl.

Sautéed leeks in a skillet with wooden spoon

Next, cook the leeks. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the leeks, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. I turn the heat to low halfway through to avoid browning the leeks.

Crusty bread and herbs in a mixing bowl

Then, season the bread! Pour the leek mixture over the bread and add the fresh herbs. Use your hands to toss it all together, coating the bread with the butter and herbs. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the broth over the bread, and toss again. Add the eggs, and toss again. At this stage, the bread should be very moist. If it feels dry at all, add an additional 1/2 cup broth.

Hands mixing crusty bread with herbs, leeks, and celery

Finally, bake! Transfer the bread mixture to a greased baking dish and arrange it in a thick, even layer. Drizzle the top with olive oil, cover, and bake for 30 minutes at 350°. If you’re like me, and you like your stuffing to have a crispy top, uncover the dish and bake for 5 to 10 minutes more.

Enjoy!

Homemade stuffing mixture in a bowl

Best Stuffing Recipe Tips

  • Use day-old bread. This stuffing recipe comes out best when you make it with day- (or days) old bread. Because it’s drier than fresh-baked bread, it really soaks up the flavors of the buttery leeks, broth, and herbs. So plan ahead! Buy or make your bread one to three days in advance.
  • Uncover the pan for a crispy top. One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving stuffing is how the crispy top layer of bread contrasts with the moist, gooey middle. To get the top of your stuffing nice and crisp, uncover the casserole dish for the last few minutes of baking.
  • Make it ahead. Who doesn’t love a Thanksgiving recipe that can be made ahead of time?! If you want to prep this recipe a few hours in advance, follow it as written, stopping right before you bake the stuffing. Cover the baking dish, and stick it in the fridge. Pop it in the oven 30-40 minutes before your meal, so that it’s hot when you eat. If you’d rather make your stuffing a full day in advance, that works too! Then, fully bake the stuffing ahead of time, but leave it covered for the entire time it’s in the oven. Refrigerate it overnight. The next day, reheat it, still covered, in a 350° oven until it’s warmed through. Uncover it for the last few minutes of baking to get the top nice and crisp.
  • Double it if you need to. If you’re feeding a crowd of stuffing lovers, or if you want to have plenty of leftovers, go ahead and double this recipe. It’s enough for 8 decent-sized portions, but you might want seconds. At least, I always do. 🙂

Thanksgiving stuffing recipe

More Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

You could make this stuffing recipe anytime during the fall or winter, but it’s perfect for Thanksgiving. Round out your feast with one or more of these delicious side dishes:

Don’t forget the pumpkin pie for dessert!

Best Stuffing

rate this recipe:
5 from 120 votes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Serves 8
This classic stuffing recipe is the BEST Thanksgiving side dish! Leeks, celery, and fresh herbs fill it with rich, savory flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 small loaf (1 pound) day-old crusty sourdough bread, (not sandwich bread)
  • ½ cup salted butter or vegan butter
  • 2 leeks, halved, thinly sliced, and rinsed well (2 cups)
  • 4 celery stalks, diced (1¾ cups)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped sage
  • Heaping ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1½ to 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease an 8x11 or 9x13-inch baking dish.
  • Tear the bread into 1-inch pieces and place in a very large bowl.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes, turning the heat to low halfway through. Pour the leek mixture over the bread and sprinkle with the sage, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Use your hands to toss until coated. Pour 1½ cups of the broth evenly over the stuffing and toss to coat. Add the eggs and toss again. The bread should feel pretty wet. If it’s still a bit dry, mix in the remaining ½ cup of broth. The amount you use will depend on how dense and dry your bread was.
  • Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. If making ahead, stop here, cover the dish with foil, and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
  • When ready to bake, drizzle the olive oil on top and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. If the stuffing is still pretty wet, uncover the dish and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes to crisp the top a bit.

85 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Kelly
    11.23.2022

    About what size should the bread pieces be torn into?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.24.2022

      Hi Kelly, about 1-inch pieces

  2. Susan
    11.22.2022

    Doubling this recipe for aa large crowd and making it for the 1st time. A cup of butter seems like a lot. Wondering if I should use less. Thanks.

    • Dina
      11.23.2022

      You should definitely use all the butter!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.24.2022

      Hi Susan, I would double it if you’re doubling the recipe – it’s a lot of bread to cover.

  3. Anna
    11.22.2022

    Hi – I’m having trouble finding leeks, what would you recommend I substitute (and in what quantity)? Thanks very much for the help!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.22.2022

      Hi Anna, you could use a chopped yellow onion, just cook it a little longer until its softened and browned on the edges (about 8 minutes). Or you could use 1 bunch of scallions, I would cook them a little less than the leeks listed. Hope that helps!

  4. Mayana
    11.20.2022

    I would like to try this vegan and add some more veggies. If I add mushrooms would I need
    To change any of the other ingredients?
    Thanks

    • Donna Savage
      11.21.2022

      5 stars
      I’m not love and lemons but I say sure! I’d salute them in butter with some salt first to remove the moisture.

  5. Becki O'Loughlin
    11.19.2022

    This is an excellent recipe. Made it for Friendsgiving. However – why or why do recipes always so far underestimate prep time? Does everyone have a sous chef chopping away in their kitchen? It took me well over 30 minutes to gather the herbs and chop them, plus the other vegetables!

  6. Pam
    11.18.2022

    5 stars
    Unbelievably delicious! I grew up on sausage dressing but my husband doesn’t care for sausage, so I was on the hunt for a different dressing recipe. I always have a loaf of homemade sourdough on hand, so I thought I would give this a try, not expecting to love it myself. Boy, was I ever wrong! The delicate flavor of the leeks paired with the fresh sage & parsley was out of this world! I did have to use dried rosemary and thyme and used a full teaspoon of each. I can’t wait for my husband to try it tomorrow night with our salmon dinner. A great dressing recipe to add to your collection, especially when you want a luscious yet delicate flavor profile. YUM

  7. Kelsey
    11.14.2022

    I haven’t tried making this recipe yet, but do you think a yellow onion can be subbed for the leeks?

    Also curious if dried herbs can be used instead of the fresh?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      11.18.2022

      Hi Kelsey, A yellow onion would work great here. I would use fresh sage and parsley if possible, but you could use 1/2 tsp each dried rosemary and thyme instead of the fresh.

  8. Susan
    11.06.2022

    What happens if you make this without the eggs? Has anyone tried?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      11.11.2022

      Hi Susan, I think this should be fine. Without the eggs, I would recommend using the full 2 cups of stock or a bit more, if you feel like the stuffing needs it, to moisten the bread before baking.

  9. Tanya
    10.03.2022

    Do you think nuts could be added to this dish? If so, which one might be best? Thx!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.08.2022

      Yes! Pecans or walnuts.

  10. Jen
    12.28.2021

    5 stars
    This was delicious! Decided to up my stuffing-game this year and was not disappointed. Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.28.2021

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  11. Jenn
    12.25.2021

    5 stars
    Best part of Xmas dinner!! Stumbled upon this recipe while looking for vegan stuffing recipes. While not vegan I subbed plant based butter and flax egg for egg… it was absolutely amazing with the leeks and fresh herbs. This is the only stuffing I’ll ever make now.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.27.2021

      Hi Jenn, I’m so glad you loved it and I’m happy to hear it was a success with the vegan subs!

  12. Suzanne
    12.07.2021

    Can this go inside the turkey also while turkey is cooking,,,thank you

  13. Leesa Dubb
    11.28.2021

    5 stars
    WOW! This is the best stuffing recipe! Delicious!

  14. Brian
    11.28.2021

    5 stars
    Made this for the first time for Friendsgiving yesterday. There were only six people, but I made 12 servings because… stuffing! I made sure to use fresh herbs since they are so key to the taste of this dish. Definitely a keeper, and will be done again the next time we crave dressing (could be tomorrow).

    Thanks!

  15. Barb
    11.26.2021

    I made this for our Thanksgiving dinner last night. It was delicious. Creamy inside, crunchy on top as I baked it uncovered for 10 minutes at the end. The fresh herbs really made it for me and were a nice contrast to the other rich dishes. I had a beautiful sliced sourdough on hand so used that by tearing it into chunks the night before and letting them dry over night. Tearing really was a nice change and made it look really beautiful too. Thank you!

  16. Chaim
    11.25.2021

    5 stars
    Wow. Just wow. That’s sensational, rich, and flavorful stuffing. It was hard to stop picking at it before serving. Amazing recipe!

    (I used butter-flavored margarine instead of butter and left out the sage because I didn’t have)

  17. Amy
    11.25.2021

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing!!! Definitely the best item on our Thanksgiving plates. The leeks and rosemary add great flavors.

  18. Sharla
    11.25.2021

    5 stars
    Omg..it is the BEST..didn’t have all fresh herbs (next time)..wow it’s a keeper..

  19. Marissa
    11.24.2021

    I’m not planning on baking my stuffing until tomorrow. Is it safe to crack the eggs, mix them in, and just have raw egg refrigerate in my batter for over 24 hours?

    • Lisa
      11.24.2021

      In the notes above, it says to bake covered the day before. On Thanksgiving day, heat covered at 350 degrees until heated through, uncover the last few minutes. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.24.2021

      Hi Marissa, yes, it’s safe for 24 hours.

  20. Susanna
    11.24.2021

    I bought a ciabatta loaf. How do I make sure not to use too much bread?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.24.2021

      Hi Susanna, a medium sized ciabatta loaf should work just fine.

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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.