While Sausage Cornbread Dressing is delicious, nothing quite beats classic stuffing in my opinion. Keep in mind, I grew up above the Mason Dixon so please don't come after me for my non-cornbread non-sausage stuffing preferences. What makes this the best classic stuffing recipe is using fresh herbs and a ton of butter. Ditch the stale poultry seasoning this year, please. Ditch those pre dried and pre-seasoned bread cubes while we're at it too.
What type of bread for stuffing?
This really comes down to preference. Keep in mind both taste and texture. You want a bread that, when dried, will hold its shape and absorb the liquid you put into it. Personally, I like using Italian bread (the loaves you can get in the super market), but here are some other great contenders:
- White sandwich bread
- French Baguettes
- Challah Bread
- Potato Bread
Can I make stuffing the day before Thanksgiving?
Technically, yes, but I wouldn't. If I was preparing this ahead, I would cook the onions and celery down, but keep the bread cubes dry until I am ready to assemble. Stuffing is a low maintenance dish, so you can mix the morning of. I typically don't assemble this early because I don't want the bread cubes to get soggy.
If I do decide to make your stuffing ahead, fully cook it and wrap it in aluminum foil to reheat. If you feel your stuffing may be a little dry, ladle over some hot turkey stock to give it some life.
Use fresh herbs for stuffing
Sure, your grandmother may bust out that old, expired poultry seasoning for stuffing, but using fresh herbs is leaps and bounds better than the dried stuff. Chances are that the poultry seasoning in your pantry is only used during Thanksgiving and it is long over due to be tossed.
The fresh herbs I use for my stuffing are sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley. The sage and thyme give stuffing that earthy, warm flavor, and the parsley and rosemary bring freshness to the stuffing. With stuffing being one of the stars of the table, you and your family deserve real herbs. Your family deserves real turkey stock too.
- 1.5 loaves of Italian bread (24 oz.), cubed (0.5"-1") and dried for 1-2 days
- 1 cup of butter
- 2 cups onion, diced
- 1.5 cups celery, chopped (including leaves)
- 0.5 cup fresh parsley
- 3 tbsp fresh sage
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
- 2.5-3 cups of turkey stock
- 3 eggs
- kosher salt
- Dry out your cubed bread for at least 1 day if not 2. If you don't have time, you can dry out your bread in your oven. Bake at 250° F for 45-60 minutes in a dry pan.
- Melt butter in a large pan and saute onions and celery until onions are translucent and celery is soft. (about 7-10 minutes)
- Add all herbs, and cook for another minute.
- While herbs are cooking, grease a 9x14 deep casserole dish.
- Add turkey stock to the vegetables and turn off the heat.
- Pour vegetable mixture over the bread cubes in a large bowl. Toss to coat (I usually use my hands).
- Taste and season with salt based on preference. I add about 1-2 tbsp. here since my turkey stock has no salt.
- Once all bread crumbs are coated and turkey stock is absorbed, beat eggs, pour into bread mixture, and toss again.
- Pour stuffing into baking dish.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350° F for 35-40 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 10-20 minutes.
If stuffing is too dry after baking, ladle on some hot turkey stock to rehydrate. If stuffing is too wet for your liking, allow to cook longer uncovered.