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Classic Bread Stuffing for Turkey

PREP TIME 15 mins | COOK TIME 35 mins | TOTAL TIME 50 mins | SERVES 8-10

Forget the turkey, the mash, the pies, all I want for Thanksgiving is this, my mom’s classic, perfect stuffing. And once you taste it, you’ll feel the same way.

First of all, is it stuffing or dressing? It’s the same thing, but when it’s inside the turkey it’s called stuffing and when it’s not, it’s called dressing.But most people still call it stuffing, no matter where it’s cooked!

Here are my three secrets to perfect stuffing–or dressing.

1 – Don’t skimp on the butter. You need lots. Otherwise it’s just bread and that’s not what we want with our turkey!

2 – Don’t use fancy bread. I’ve tried using artisanal so-and-so bread but really the best bread is grocery store sliced stuff, preferably 2 days old.

3 – Don’t cook it in the bird. When stuffing is cooked inside the bird, you have a temperature and safety problem. By the time the stuffing is a safe 175F, your turkey is overcooked. Solve that problem, and make as much stuffing as you want (read: TONS) by cooking it instead in a casserole dish and drizzling it generously with the dripping from the turkey pan.

Here’s the full how-to:

Classic Bread Stuffing for Turkey


  • ½ cup butter

  • 1medium onion, finely diced

  • 4 stalks celery, finely diced

  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 tsp dried summer savoury

  • Salt (see note, below)

  • 12 to 14 cups bread crumbs and cubes

  • 1 cup or more turkey drippings or turkey or chicken stock


  1. Melt the butter in a very large, wide frying pan over medium. Add onions and celery and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are completely tender. Remove the heat and stir in the parsley and savoury. Combine with the bread in a giant mixing bowl. Does it need salt? The answer is yes If you’re using unseasoned homemade turkey stock, unsalted butter or unsalted bread. Take a wee taste if you’re unsure.

  2. Stir gently but thoroughly. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13-in baking dish (or similar). At this point, you can stop and wait until the turkey is out of the oven.

  3. Drizzle drippings over the dressing. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 325F for 30 min. Remove the foil and bake another 5 to 20 minutes or until it’s as crispy on top as you like.

TIP: Salt is tricky here. If you use salted butter and store-bought bread and broth, you might not need any. If you use homemade everything, you might need lots. Taste a little bit before baking and decide for yourself.

Click below for a printable version of this recipe.

Classic Bread Stuffing for Turkey_Claire
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