Brown Butter Stuffing

November 13, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: This stuffing skips all the usual ingredients and steps. No sausage-browning, onion and celery–sautéeing, nut-toasting, or dried fruit–chopping. Just bread, lots of brown butter, and fresh sage, bound together with vegetable stock and eggs. You can call it minimalist, or even simplest. I’ll just call it my new favorite. Emma Laperruque

Serves: 8 to 12
Prep time: 12 hrs
Cook time: 40 min

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds challah, cubed (about 1 1/4-inch) and stale (see step #1 below)
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 5 teaspoons (packed!) minced sage
  • 2 cups vegetable stock, plus more if needed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large eggs
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. There are two ways to get perfectly stale bread: 1) Spread the cubes out on a rimmed sheet pan and let sit, uncovered, at room temperature for 12ish hours until dried out. Or, because I never remember to do that, 2) Spread out on a sheet pan and toast in a 250°F oven for about 30 minutes minutes until dried out.
  2. Heat the oven to 425°F. Butter a 13x9-inch baking dish.
  3. Add the sage to a very large, heat-proof mixing bowl. This is where you’ll be tossing the stuffing.
  4. Brown the butter: Add the butter to a large skillet and set on the stove over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring gently and occasionally, until it browns and smells very nutty—8 to 10 minutes. (If possible, don’t use cast iron, which makes it harder to discern the butter’s color.) What’s happening here is: The milk solids are separating, falling to the bottom of the pan, and toasting. That’s why, after the butter foam subsides, you’ll start seeing lots of brown spots. They go from barely there to golden to chocolatey to burnt quickly, so don’t walk away from the stove. The goal is to get them as dark as possible, for the deepest flavor. As soon as you’re scared they’re about to burn, pour the brown butter on top of the sage. It should hiss and make a big fuss.
  5. Add a splash of vegetable stock to the emptied skillet and use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up the remaining browned butter bits. Add that to the bowl with the sage and brown butter. Now add the rest of the vegetable stock, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Add the eggs, break the yolks with a spoon, and stir to combine. Add the dried-out bread. Toss until completely coated. (The bread should be saturated, but not soaking. If it seems dry, add a little more stock.)
  6. Transfer the stuffing mixture to the buttered baking dish and smooth out so it fills the dish evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is deeply golden brown. It’ll be bubbling a bit when it comes out—that’s good.
  7. Serve hot or warm.

More Great Recipes:
Casserole/Gratin|American|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Thanksgiving|Vegetarian|Side

Reviews (13) Questions (0)

13 Reviews

Heather K. November 26, 2018
This stuffing is perfection... Everyone at our friendsgiving loved it, first thing gone! About to make a small second batch tonight to go with my leftovers.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. November 27, 2018
Thank you, Heather! So glad y’all enjoyed!
 
Roxanne November 24, 2018
This was amazing! I always use french bread for stuffing and was hesitant to branch out, but man, challah! New fave! I did add about a cup each of sautéed onions and celery, didn't have quite enough sage, and added some thyme. Thank you!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. November 25, 2018
Thanks, Roxanne—yay to branching out! If you liked challah here, definitely give it a try with some French toast sometime :)
 
Janet K. November 24, 2018
This is dangerously good. I made it for a Thanksgiving dinner I had for my husband and I in South Africa. He's Dutch and oblivious to the holiday. I made a slightly reduced version of the dish, about two thirds and ended up nearly eating the whole dish myself! The only critique is that I would have put in at the maximum amount of sage even for 2/3 and maybe more. I love sage. The challah here is not very "eggy" at all but even so this was excellent. There was some left but I forced myself to throw it out as my diet would suffer too much otherwise. I think you could use almost any soft bread for this actually.
 
Author Comment
Emma L. November 25, 2018
Aw, so glad you enjoyed! I also ate a looooot of this myself during recipe testing!
 
Ella Q. November 18, 2018
My favorite thing I've tried in months!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. November 19, 2018
Aw! The means the most, thank you <3
 
Jo A. November 18, 2018
I am obsessed with browned butter but I really want to include the other herbs and aromatics like parsley, celery and onion. I think I'm going to try a hybrid. I like the technique of sizzling the herbs with the butter!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. November 18, 2018
Sounds delicious! If you try that, would love to hear how it goes.
 
Lisa November 14, 2018
Can this be assembled one day and baked the next with good results? I am guessing yes, but wanted to make sure.<br /><br />Thanks!
 
Author Comment
Emma L. November 15, 2018
Hi Lisa! I haven't tried that with this particular recipe—but it should work! Touched base with some coworkers and we've all done this make-ahead method with stuffings at one point or another. Just assemble, refrigerate, and check the bread saturation before baking. If it looks at all dry, just add a little more stock, then bake.
 
Lisa November 15, 2018
Thanks for the reply! I can't wait to try it!