This is the BEST sage and onion stuffing recipe! It isn't fancy; there are no unusual flavors, this is a classic, and it is super simple to make.
I don't know about you, but the stuffing is one of the best parts of a roast dinner! It is so easy to make this traditional stuffing, and the taste will take you right back to your childhood! This is the stuffing our grandmas made, and its GOOD!
This classic stuffing recipe is soft on the inside with a crispy golden top. And the flavor is just perfect for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Onions, celery, and sage all cooked together with plenty of butter mean this sage and onion stuffing is wonderfully delicious! So much better than the box mix!
When is stuffing not stuffing?
So the name stuffing comes from stuffing the bird! A tradition used to make a small bird go further by using stale bread to stuff the cavity. As the turkey or chicken roasted, the juices would soak into the bread, making a flavorful mix that was served as a filling side with one or two slices of meat.
But for me, stuffing is the best bit!!! Yes, the turkey is the glorious golden centerpiece, but the stuffing is the bit I will fight over!
I am not alone! Stuffing became such a much-loved part of the meal that to ensure there was plenty to go around; it became a dish that was roasted alongside the turkey rather than stuffed inside it.
So stuffing isn't stuffing anymore!
This is why you will find people calling it dressing. But hey it was called stuffing when I was a kid and stuffing is what it will always be called at my table 😉
Best bread for stuffing
We prefer real bread, rather than the bags of cubes you can buy. But if you are using them, then you will need more broth/stock.
To get a good crunch on the top but soft underneath, choose a good quality white sandwich loaf. It has the right balance of crust to center and dries out well.
Use a good brand here, look for them on sale/reduction and stick it in the freezer ready for your stuffing.
Making the best stuffing!
The best stuffing starts with really dry bread. Real bread that has been left to dry out for at least 24 hours and even better 48 hours.
The drier the bread, the more liquid it will soak up, and the more flavor you can get into the stuffing.
I like to cut my bread into chunks and then spread it out on a tray for 48 hours. (see the picture above)
I leave it in the corner of my kitchen and let it dry out thoroughly.
If you haven't got time to do this, then you can dry it in a low oven for a couple of hours - this will give you a dry outside, but the very center of the bread will still be soft, so you'll need less liquid.
The best stuffing has plenty of butter. Not only does butter add flavor, but it also improves the texture of the stuffing and makes it so soft and luxurious. The vegetables are sauteed in butter, and then the top of the stuffing is brushed with melted butter. This helps the top to crisp up and gives everything the beautiful golden color.
I use salted butter for my stuffing, as it is what I keep in the refrigerator. Feel free to use unsalted and add extra salt to the mixture.
The best stuffing uses dried and fresh sage - This is a bit controversial, as fresh herbs are always seen as superior. BUT dried sage gives you a real strong sage flavor, is easily accessible, and it is what so many of our grandmas used! This is a classic sage and onion stuffing, so I am staying true to my roots.
The best stuffing uses a great broth/stock - If you have it, then a homemade chicken or turkey broth is the way to go here, but I get that isn't easy. I mean, the turkey hasn't been cooked yet! So if you don't have a stash of broth in the freezer, buy an excellent store brand one.
But once your turkey dinner is done and the leftovers have been eaten, save those turkey bones, make some homemade broth, store it in the freezer, and you have a jump on next year's stuffing! (Because I know you'll love this so much that you'll make it every year from now on!)
Can you make stuffing ahead of time?
You can either prepare all the ingredients in advance and then assemble and cook it while the turkey is finishing off and resting.
Or you can cook and bake the stuffing and then reheat it on the big day. To reheat the stuffing, add a little extra broth (¼ cup) and put it in a 350ºF oven for 20 minutes or until steaming hot.
I've included notes on both options in the recipe card!
Any leftovers can be reheated in the microwave with a few slices of turkey and then stuffed between two slices of buttered bread. Carb sandwich!!!! 😉 (Hey it's the holidays!)
For more Holiday recipes why not try:
- Slow Roast Turkey – Juicy and Tender
- Oven Roasted Bone in Turkey Breast
- Make Ahead Homemade Turkey Gravy
- French Style Mashed Potato
- Christmas Spiced Braised Red Cabbage
- Braised Celery
- Prepare Ahead Roast Potatoes
- Brown Gravy
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The BEST Sage and Onion Stuffing - Classic Stuffing Recipe
- 1 onion
- 2 celery stalks
- ½ cup butter - see note 1
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups cold broth - see note 2
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 6 cups very dry bread cubes - see note 3
- 2 tablespoon butter
- Preheat oven to 350ºF/170ºC.
- Peel and chop 1 onion.
- Finely chop 2 stalks of celery.
- Melt ½ cup of butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add the onion, celery, and salt. Cook until the vegetables are tender but not colored (about 7-8 minutes).
- While the veg is cooking, mix one egg with 1 cup of cold broth, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage, 1 teaspoon of dried ground sage, ½ teaspoon of dried parsley, ½ teaspoon of dried thyme, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper.
- Place the dry bread cubes into a large bowl and add the cooked onion mixture. Stir well to coat everything in butter.
- Tip the mixture into a casserole or oven dish.
- Pour the egg and broth mixture over and gently push the bread down into the mixture.
- Use the remaining cup of broth to pour over until all the bread is soaked; you may not need it all. (see note 4)
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the top of the stuffing.
- Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove the foil and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the top of golden.
- If you have it salted butter is best. If not add extra salt to your mixture.
- If you have it, then a homemade chicken/turkey/vegetable broth is a great choice. Or go for a good store bought. Make sure it is cold so it doesn't start to cook the egg.
- A white sandwich loaf will give you the best texture. 6 cups is one small loaf. Make sure it is very dry. Cut the bread into chunks and then spread it out on a tray, leave it out in the kitchen for 24-48 hours. (see bulk of post for more details)
- The amount of broth needed will vary depending on how dry the bread was. You may need a little less or a little more.