A decade after Victoria Granoff introduced this classic stuffing recipe, it remains a staff and fan favorite. Cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner is time-intensive enough, so this rather traditional stuffing gets right to the point, maximizing flavor and texture. As former BA test kitchen director Carla Lalli Music says, it’s “everything you want about stuffing—straight down the middle.” (Catch her making it here.)
You’ve noticed we’re referring to this recipe as Thanksgiving stuffing. But since it’s cooked outside the bird in a casserole dish—not inside the cavity of a turkey—it is technically more of a dressing. This method is key to achieving the crispy, golden brown crust and buttery, custardy center the Thanksgiving side dish is known for. (It also allows you to cook your turkey as you wish, without fear of the bread stuffing soaking in turkey juices that never reach a safe temperature.)
The recipe eschews tidy little dried bread cubes in favor of ragged chunks of torn crusty white bread. Those irregular crags make for a more interesting texture than uniform squares and give the finished stuffing an appealing rustic look. Italian or French bread, like a pane Pugliese, boule, or miche, work well. You could also choose sourdough bread such as pain de champagne. Just avoid packaged sandwich bread, which isn’t sturdy enough to stand up to the stuffing treatment.
We recommend making chicken stock (or turkey stock) ahead of time, if possible; if you’re short on time, store-bought chicken broth is fine (go low-sodium to keep the salt in check). But we won’t concede on the fresh herbs: Fresh parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme () make this classic stuffing stand out more than their dried counterparts ever could—and they’re helpful to have on hand for other holiday classics.
If you want to mix it up with other kinds of bread (we see you, brioche and cornbread!) or without any bread at all, we’ve got plenty more homemade stuffing recipes to choose from.