Move over turkey, we all know who the real star is here.
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Stuffing is in the Thanksgiving hall of fame. I look forward to it even more than green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, or cranberry sauce. If you grew up in the South, like me, you may call it dressing (here's more on the stuffing vs. dressing debate). No matter what you call it, it's most likely on your table every Thanksgiving. It just gets one day a year to shine, so you need to make it count. Read on to learn how to make stuffing, along with a few easy stuffing recipes to get you started.

What Is Stuffing, Exactly?

Stuffing can either be served as a side dish or as the filling for the cavity of a turkey or other types of poultry. It comes in many different forms, with the base being made of either dried bread, cornbread, or breadcrumbs.

Popular additions to stuffing depend on where you are in the country but include things like sausage, oysters, nuts, fruit, celery, and a variety of herbs and spices. Basically, it's a bready, moist, casserole-like dish that can be flavored to your liking. We're going to focus on stuffing that's made outside of a turkey, but you can also learn how to stuff a turkey as well.

How to Make Stuffing

  • 1 (1 pound) loaf sliced white bread (you can also use French bread)
  • ¾ cup butter or margarine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth

1. Start by drying out the bread.

Bread that is not completely dried out will result in soggy stuffing soup. This goes for other types of bread used for stuffing too, such as cornbread or even bagels. You can dry out your bread one of two ways:

  • Dry them on the countertop: Leave the bread slices out to air dry on a cooling rack for 1-2 days, then cut into cubes.
  • Dry them in the oven: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Slice the bread into cubes. Spread out the bread cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toast for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring throughout.

2. Preheat oven.

breaded stuffing in an oval casserole dish
Classic Simple Stuffing
| Credit: Allrecipes

Get the recipe for Nicole McLaughlin's favorite stuffing: Classic Simple Stuffing

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

3. Cook your stuffing additions.

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and sauté onion and celery (or whatever else you choose to include) until soft, about 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Stir in bread cubes and remaining ingredients.

Season with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir in bread cubes until evenly coated. Moisten with chicken broth as needed; mix well.

5. Transfer it to a baking dish.

Add the entire mixture to a greased baking dish, and spread it evenly so that it's level.

6. Bake.

Bake until golden and hot, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Favorite Stuffing Recipes

small casserole dish of Gluten Free Thanksgiving Stuffing
Pictured: Gluten Free Thanksgiving Stuffing
| Credit: Melissa Goff

These top-rated stuffing and dressing recipes might just become your new tradition!

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