This dressing is a classic in my family, and you can't mess with it on pain of death. We gather around the kitchen table on Thanksgiving morning to cut up the ingredients and make the stuffing, and we always make extra, since nobody can keep their fingers out of the bowl. It's really a traditional stuffing, so it's key to use good ingredients—a firm white bread and fresh sage. We usually stuff the turkey with it, which adds additional moisture, but if you're not going to stuff it, add a cup of chicken stock and a jar of oysters in their brine before baking. —Savour
Test Kitchen Notes
This traditional sage stuffing is everything I want Thanksgiving stuffing to be. Flecked with aromatics and a full cup (!) of salted butter, it's got enough rich, savory flavor to hold its own, but is not so powerfully scented that it can’t still play nice with everything else on your table.
As Savour, the community member who created this recipe, mentions, the ingredient list here is minimal, so you'll want to use some high-quality stuff. A couple loaves of crusty French bread you like to eat plain, or even sourdough will do the trick here (tear it into chunks instead of cubing for more interesting textural variety), and the most flavorful butter you can find (I like European-style for its creaminess and slightly sour, cultured twang). If you don't like celery or want to try something more adventurous, use chopped fennel in an equal amount. If you prefer something a little milder than white onion, shallots, leeks, chives, or scallions will work great. And if you want to make this completely vegetarian, try using vegetable or mushroom stock to coat the stuffing mixture before baking off in the oven.
Speaking of baking off in the oven: If you're not using this stuffing to, well, stuff your turkey, and are instead enjoying it as a side dish, Savour has you baking this in a casserole dish, covered, for 30 minutes. That'll seal in the moisture and allow the mixture to stay custardy on the inside, which is ideal. But to get an enviably crispy-crackly crust on top—the prized textural contrast that is equally the hallmark of a good stuffing—remove the cover for the last 7 to 10 minutes of your stuffing's time in the oven; dot the top with a few more pieces of butter; and let 'er get golden brown and delicious. It's no time to be shy with the butter. —Brinda Ayer
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 6 to 8
large loaves white bread, 2 to 3 days old
minced yellow onion
minced fresh sage
chicken or vegetable stock (optional)
- Cut bread into 1-inch cubes and set aside into a large bowl.
- In a large and deep skillet, melt butter over low heat.
- Add onion and celery, saute slowly until the vegetables are translucent.
- Add salt and pepper and fresh sage and stir to combine.
- Take a deep breath. Your kitchen smells like Thanksgiving!
- Toss as many bread cubes as the pan will hold in the butter vegetable mixture.
- Pour contents of the skillet over the remaning bread cubes. Use your hands to toss until all the bread has some sagey buttery goodness on it.
- Taste for seasoning. Add more salt, sage or pepper to taste.
- Use the stuffing to stuff a turkey, and roast according to the instructions. If you don't want to stuff the turkey, put stuffing in a casserole dish, pour about 1 cup good, flavorful chicken or turkey stock over the stuffing, and bake, covered, at 350°F for 30 minutes.