Move over turkey, we all know who the real star is here.

By Melanie Fincher
Updated November 11, 2020

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.

Stuffing Up Close
Photo by Getty Images

What is Stuffing Anyway?

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 depends 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: Tips and Tricks

  • Start by drying out the bread: For a basic bread stuffing, start by spreading cubed bread on a large baking sheet, and bake them in the oven until crisp, stirring throughout. 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.
  • Cook your stuffing additions: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook any ingredients you'd like to add to your stuffing such as celery, onions, peppers, sausage or whatever else you choose to include. Stir in your herbs and spices and cook for a few more minutes before removing the skillet from heat. It's important not to skip this step, because these ingredients will not cook inside your stuffing, so they must be cooked beforehand.
  • Add the mixture to the bread: Combine the mixture you just cooked with the dried bread. Quick tip: make sure not to include too many additions to the bread, as this will cause the stuffing to fall apart.
  • Pour egg and broth mixture over the stuffing: In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and broth together, along with salt and pepper, and pour it over the stuffing. Stir until everything is combined.
  • Transfer it to a baking dish: Add the entire mixture to a greased baking dish, and spread it evenly so that it's level. Drizzle melted butter overtop.
  • Bake: Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake as instructed. After about 25 minutes, bake the stuffing uncovered until the top is golden-brown. Allow it to cool before serving. That's all there is to it!

4 Easy Stuffing Recipes to Start With

1. Best Yankee Bread Stuffing

"This was my first year cooking for Thanksgiving and I was very stressed. This recipe was so easy and tasted great," says reviewer Tina Capozzi Nixon. This pork sausage stuffing is ready in just 30 minutes, giving you all the more time to pay attention to that turkey.

Basic Yankee Bread Stuffing
Photo by tirednhungry

2. Celery Stuffing

"I made this recipe a few years ago and have been requested to make that ‘really good' dressing every year since," says reviewer ISANTITIGRESS. This traditional stuffing recipe is just like grandma made. It can be stuffed in a turkey or left on the side.

Celery Stuffing
Photo by mommyluvs2cook

3. Cornbread Stuffing Southern Style

"Onions, celery, green pepper and garlic sauteed in butter and boiled with chicken broth make the savory stock that cornbread is added to, creating this stuffing sensation," says recipe creator Kathleen Burton. If you're looking for a cornbread stuffing, look no further than this super quick recipe!

Cornbread Stuffing Southern Style
Photo by Mildred Cooper

4. Really Easy Bread Stuffing

"This is almost my mothers stuffing recipe. Not hard to make and always a big hit. Being this simple you can make it year round as I do," says reviewer JUSTCYN. Stuffing all year? Yes please.

recipe active photo
Photo by Amy Dunshee

Related: Browse our entire collection of Stuffing and Dressing Recipes.