What We Call Stuffing: Challah, Mushroom, and Celery

November 3, 2009

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Our holiday entertaining guest list includes a number of vegetarians. I make every effort to have many Thanksgiving standards in a vegetarian form. In this case, I use homemade challah, cut it into cubes, and then let the bread cubes sit out on the counter for a couple of days to get a little stale. I also use only mushroom stems in this stuffing, just as a matter of economy. The caps are sauteed in butter and dusted with cayenne, then set aside for mushroom gravy, another vegetarian option.MrsWheelbarrow

Food52 Review: No one would ever guess that this is a vegetarian stuffing, and why should it matter? It's rich yet light and teeming with fresh herbs -- a wonderful dish for everyone. Most memorable of all is its texture -- the challah soaks up the vegetable broth and melted butter and then puffs up in the oven, creating a stuffing with a thick, crisp top and fluffy, almost pudding-like interior. We baked it in a large cast-iron skillet because we didn't have right casserole dish. The stuffing didn't suffer a bit -- in fact, it looked like something out of Little House on the Prairie. - A&MThe Editors

Serves: 12


  • 1 large loaf of challah or brioche
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • 2 cups cremini mushroom, diced
  • 8-10 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 4 ounces melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
In This Recipe


  1. Cut the challah into 1" cubes. Leave the cubes out on a parchment lined sheet pan on the counter to get stale, at least overnight, and preferably 2 days.
  2. Melt 3 oz. of butter in a large heavy saute pan. Saute the onions until wilted, add the herbs, celery and mushrooms and cook until just slightly cooked through.
  3. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, vegetables, melted butter and vegetable stock, and salt and pepper. Test for seasoning and adjust.
  4. Press stuffing into a large buttered baking dish. Cover with buttered parchment, and then foil. At this point, the stuffing can be held for several hours, but should be at room temperature before baking.
  5. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, the last 10-15 minutes without the foil and parchment, to crisp the surface.

More Great Recipes:
Stuffing/Dressing|American|Celery|Grains|Mushroom|Sheet Pan|Fall|Hanukkah|Thanksgiving|Vegetarian|Side

Reviews (150) Questions (4)

150 Reviews

Vi H. November 21, 2018
Love this recipe and have used it 3 years running- it is always declared the best dish! Question: could you par-bake this for 45 min and then finish baking without the parchment about an hour later? Will need to transport it a distance this year.
Christa November 21, 2018
I made this last year and it was sooooo delicious! This year I need it to be gluten free, was thinking of using corn bread....thoughts? Thanks so much!
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow November 21, 2018
Use the very best gluten free bread you can find.
Lizzy C. November 22, 2018
I make this recipe gf every year! It comes out great - just buy really good gf bread and toast the cubes rather than letting them go stale over 2 days
Michelle November 21, 2017
Hello, does anyone have a good idea for replacement of mushrooms in this recipe? <br />
Jeannine D. November 21, 2017
Just leave them out
Carrel R. November 19, 2017
I would like to add dried sage to this recipe, instead of the other herbs. Could you recommend how much, please? Thank you so much!<br />
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow November 19, 2017
Start with 1/2 teaspoon and taste. Sage can get very medicinal if overused!
Carrel R. November 19, 2017
Thank you so much for your quick reply! And the sage is the "rubbed sage" variety...correct? Thanks, again!<br />
FrugalCat November 15, 2017
Challah is a great bread for stuffing. I also throw in some shredded carrots. And for the celery, use the leaves too- great flavor.
Margaret L. November 8, 2017
This wonderful recipe is very similar to the pan dressing (I don't stuff the bird) I've made for about 35 years. My additions: a bit of dried sage and a tablespoon or two of good-quality sherry. Simple and sublime!
Jeannine D. October 11, 2017
This is almost exactly how I make stuffing, only different is I use Turkey stock, do half Challah and half Italian bread and add chopped pistashios
Anne E. November 25, 2016
Made this for Friendsgiving and it was a smash hit. Everyone kept coming up to me asking if I indeed was the one behind the stuffing—will be making it again and again!
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow November 27, 2016
Hi Anne, I'm so pleased to hear this! I wait all year for this stuffing. (Geez, I wonder why I don't make it more often?????)
Anne E. November 27, 2016
I was also the very happy recipient of the leftovers, so I have been living off of it for DAYS now. Very happy I used the expensive brioche for it ;)
Marisa A. December 2, 2015
I have to say, this was the best I've had. My sister and brother-in-law are vegan. With hosting thanksgiving this year, it posed a minor challenge--appeasing the meat eaters while killing it with some vegan crossover recipes. They bring a delicious vegan pot pie for their main dish, so that was no big. But the sides--it was important to punch it with flavor.<br /><br />I found a recipe for a vegan challah bread and made that the weekend before. I let it sit and get stale. I used homemade veg broth and earth balance in place of butter. Doubled the recipe and it was a total smash! No one knew it was vegan and my sis was beyond stoked. It'll be on repeat for a while I think.
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow December 2, 2015
That is so great to know!
Alyssa November 27, 2015
Made this for thanksgiving yesterday also and everyone LOVED it. Fried an egg on it this morning and it was just as good if not better! This one is a winner
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow December 2, 2015
I did the exact same thing Friday (and Saturday) morning!
caitlin November 27, 2015
Woooo! I made this for Thanksgiving yesterday and it was the star of the show - and also very simple to make. Such a keeper.
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow December 2, 2015
So glad you enjoyed it. I hosted for the first time in three years and it was so nice to have this stuffing again!
Catherine November 25, 2015
I'm not clear on the quantity of herbs. You say 8-10 sprigs or 3 sprigs, I need to see what that looks like. Can you give a typical measurement amount, such as 2 tablespoons of chopped thyme or whatever the herb? I guess I'm not clear on how much a sprig is.
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow November 25, 2015
It's about 1-1/2 tablespoons of thyme, 1 tablespoon of rosemary. Very herby.
Ella November 22, 2015
Sounded great when I looked at the recipe, decided to give and try but used vegetable oil instead of butter and it was awesome! Now will definitely make it for Thanksgiving. Thank you :)
Helen November 20, 2015
Hi Brenna. I see commentary but no followup answer for questions about weight/amount of bread to use...were you able to resolve that? thank you.
csegher November 23, 2015
Below I saw 8 cups of bread, or the equivalent of two loaves from trader joes.
Helen November 25, 2015
i see that, but the discussion continued as it seems some people used differing amounts of bread with the same recipe....the author said she would try to measure better next time but there doesnt seem to be followup
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow November 25, 2015
Hi - I've got my stuffing bread out on a sheet pan waiting for tomorrow. I finally measured it. I've got 11 cups of very fluffy large torn pieces. That will fill a 9 x 13 baking dish tomorrow
brenna November 2, 2015
Would you suggest adding sausage to the recipe for non-vegetarian families? I think some of my family members will miss the meat even though they probably wouldn't notice if I didn't tell them! Is it worth substituting chicken stock for the veggie stock for added flavor?
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow November 2, 2015
Hi Brenna, When I was growing up, my mother often added breakfast sausage, thoroughly cooked and broken up. Before I made it strictly veg, I added, at different times, bacon, oysters, spicy sausage (boudin), breakfast sausage, and giblets and hearts. And yes, do use chicken stock if you live with omnivores.<br />
Lizzy C. December 25, 2014
About to make a double recipe of this for Christmas, specifically so I will have tons of leftovers!
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow December 26, 2014
Oh how delicious! Wish I was there for the leftovers.
ChiFoodLover December 2, 2014
I couldn't wait to make this recipe and everyone loved it. It was absolutely DELICIOUS and will always be part of our meal. Thank you!
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow December 2, 2014
How wonderful! Thank you for telling me!
Diana D. November 28, 2014
Thank you for this recipe, it was delicious!! I made my own challah bread 2 days prior, and added some pork sausage, and it was amazing!
Agnes November 28, 2014
fantastic recipe! i made this the night before and it allowed the stuffing to soak in the flavors more.
Marianna C. November 26, 2014
Why the parchment paper? Is it critical to outcome?
Author Comment
MrsWheelbarrow November 26, 2014
The parchment keeps the stuffing moist while it cooks, also helps it get puffy. Removing it at the end crisps the top.