Technically this is dressing, because it’s cooked in a baking dish rather than “stuffed” into the turkey. Now we've got that out of the way, here's what you need to know: Our aromatic recipe blends country bread, fresh herbs, and white wine for a golden, savory side that’s worth every buttery bite.
- 1 loaf sliced country white bread
- Unsalted butter
- 2 medium onions
- 1 bunch celery
- 1 head garlic
- 1 bunch fresh sage leaves
- Dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
- No-sodium-added chicken stock (if not using homemade stock)
- Large eggs
We like to use soft country white bread (which is sliced thicker than regular sandwich bread) because it absorbs flavors best. You can also try a fancier rustic loaf, such as pane Pugliese.
3 Simple Steps
1. Toast Bread
Drying the bread is what allows it to soak up all the flavors. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut bread into 1-inch pieces (about 14 cups) and spread in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake, stirring a few times, until crisp and dry, about 40 minutes. Let cool. Break a piece open to make sure it's dried all the way through; if not, bake a few more minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; set aside for step 3.
To cut the toasting time in half, arrange cut-up bread on baking sheets, uncovered, a day in advance, so it gets stale overnight.
2. Cook Aromatics
Melt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add 2 chopped medium onions (3 cups), 3 celery stalks cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups), and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and golden in places, 7 to 9 minutes. Add 2 cloves minced garlic (1 tablespoon), 12 finely chopped sage leaves (2 tablespons), and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper; cook 1 minute. Pour in 1/3 cup white wine; cook until mostly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. (The wine imparts acidity, which balances the rich, buttery flavor.) Remove from heat.
3. Combine & Bake
Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees. Brush a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter. Add aromatics to bowl with bread, along with 3/4 cup chopped parsley. Drizzle with 1 1/2 cups stock, stirring to combine. Beat 3 eggs and stir into mixture to evenly coat. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with buttered parchment; loosely wrap with foil. (If making ahead, refrigerate at this point until you're ready to bake.) Bake 20 minutes. Uncover; continue cooking until golden on top, about 20 minutes more. Serve, with more parsley sprinkled on top. And don't worry if you can't serve immediately; this dish really holds its heat.
Homemade turkey stock makes for a rich dressing; our easy recipe includes the neck and giblets. You’ll even have enough left over to use in your gravy. In a pinch, store-bought chicken stock is a great time-saver (we like the no-sodium-added version from Swanson).
2 More Spectacular Stuffing Renditions
Cornbread Stuffing with Pancetta and Scallions
Head south: Toast 12 cups cubed cornbread 25 minutes in step 1. In step 2, sub 1 bunch chopped scallions (white- and light-green parts only) for onion. Cook with 3 ounces chopped pancetta, 2 chopped celery stalks, and 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt in 5 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large ovenproof cast-iron skillet. Replace sage with 1 tablespoon fresh thyme. In step 3, omit parsley; increase stock to 2 cups. Return to skillet; bake as directed.
For a nuttier, more nutritious spin, toast 1 cut-up loaf 100 percent whole-wheat bread in step 1. In step 2, use red onion instead of yellow, and replace celery with 1 small head chopped fennel. A red baking apple, such as McIntosh, lends an autumnal feel; chop 1 and add to skillet with garlic, and swap sage out for 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves. In step 3, increase stock to 2 cups. Bake as directed.