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Easy Challah Bread Stuffing (Dressing)

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Stuffed full of flavor.

This easy challah bread stuffing recipe (baked in a casserole for dressing) bakes up moist, golden-brown, and deeply flavorful with apples, onion, and fresh herbs. Thanksgiving deserves this.

baked thanksgiving easy challah stuffing dressing recipe in casserole

Meet This Easy Challah Bread Stuffing Recipe (Dressing)

There are many good Thanksgiving recipes for bread stuffing. But the best ones combine a few key qualities: They have a lot of savory flavor, taste light, and manage to be moist without getting soggy. Bonus points if the top gets toasty brown.

This easy apple celery bread stuffing recipe fits the bill, and is the one I’ll be making this Thanksgiving dinner. It is moist, flavorful, and full of tasty elements like celery, apple, and onion.

easy thanksgiving bread stuffing recipe ingredients apple celery parsley challah egg butter

What’s the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

Let’s clear up this minor Thanksgiving recipes distinction. It call comes down to whether the cooking vessel is a carcass or a casserole.

Say you have one recipe. One version gets baked inside the turkey. That is bread stuffing. One version gets baked on its own in a casserole. That is dressing. The ingredients and method are the same up to the point of baking it.

thanksgiving bread stuffing recipe ingredients apple celery parsley bread egg butter

Why Use Stale Bread for Bread Stuffing

No soggy bottoms, ever! The absolute key to this recipe is to avoid fresh bread. Fresh bread cannot absorb all of the broth. This will make it too moist, even soggy, on the base, but toasted and brown on top. Start with day-old bread cubes that have been left to dry overnight, or dry the bread cubes in a 225-degree oven for about an hour.

Ingredient Tips for Your Thanksgiving Bread Dressing

  • Do not skimp on the fresh herbs. Or the celery. Or the onion and apple. Bread makes a rather bland base for anything, and Thanksgiving bread stuffing (err, dressing) is no exception. Get the full savory flavor by using all the mix-ins, especially the parsley, sage, and thyme.
  • A word about chicken broth. I like Swanson’s no-salt chicken broth. It has a clean, chicken-y flavor. Many chicken broths come loaded with sodium. I like to control my salt flavor, and also remain conscious that salt tends to build up a lot over the course of a Thanksgiving dinner.

baked casserole of Thanksgiving challah bread dressing with bread apples celery onion parsley

Did you make Easy Challah Bread Stuffing (Dressing)? You’ll also love:

baked thanksgiving stuffing dressing recipe in casserole

Easy Challah Bread Stuffing (Dressing)

A Thanksgiving essential. This golden-brown, easy challah bread stuffing recipe is full of apples, celery, onion, and savory herbs.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Bread Drying1 day
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keywords:: bread, casserole, challah bread dressing recipe, challah bread stuffing recipe, dressing, easy thanksgiving dressing, side dish, thanksgiving
Servings: 1 9" x 13" casserole
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Ingredients

  • 1 one-pound loaf day-old bread, such as challah
  • 4 stalks celery, diced small (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium apples, medium dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, small dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 generous sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 stick (8 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Instructions

To Dry the Bread

  • Cut your loaf of bread into roughly 1" cubes and spread them onto a sheet pan. Leave to dry overnight on the countertop, or bake for about 1 hour at 225°F, until dry.

For the Dressing

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 13" x 9" x 2" casserole.
  • Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, sage, thyme, and a pinch of salt and some fresh black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Fish out the thyme stems and discard.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the dried bread, apple, parsley, and celery onion mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, chicken broth, salt, and lemon juice. Add to the bread mixture. Toss to coat.
  • Pour the mixture into the casserole pan and bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until brown on top and most of the moisture has evaporated. Serve hot. If the top seems too dry, drizzle with a little turkey gravy or more chicken broth.

15 comments

  • Siddhi Patel

    Hi! What kind of apples would you suggest to use? In the past i have used granny smith and wasn’t a fan. What would you recommend?

    • Unpeeled

      Good question. I actually think that Granny Smith (which are usually my favorite baking apples for pies, cakes, and so on) are too tart and tough here because there isn’t enough sugar or baking time to sweeten or soften them enough, respectively. I recommend something a little sweeter. A Honeycrisp or Pink Lady would be great because it’s sweeter, but not overly so.

  • How can I make this on Wednesday and take it done on Thursday? Can it be warmed in microwave or should it be oven?

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Doreen! Sorry for just getting back to you on this (I’m prepping Thanksgiving for 22!). The answer — if it’s not too late — is a partial yes. The best result would be to do some of the prep in advance like dry/cube the bread and cook the onion/celery mixture, and then just assemble, add the liquid liquid, and bake! That said, you can bake the whole thing today and reheat. Just avoid assembling everything and then leaving it overnight before baking. The bread will get very soggy. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • My granddaughter is vegetarian would vegetable broth change the taste that much. I always used chicken broth before.

    • Unpeeled

      Vegetable broth is a perfect substitute. Just be careful about adjusting the salt. The recipe calls for unsalted stock. If your vegetable broth has salt, then just taper the salt you add to the recipe. Enjoy!

  • A. Weinstein

    5 stars
    This is a very good savory and moist stuffing. Made this last year and made again recently. I love the celery.

  • Its stuffing. I don’t stuff the bird with it? Can I?

    • Unpeeled

      I usually do not stuff the bird but make mine in a casserole on the side. You can stuff the bird with it, though! Just make sure that the internal temperature of the stuffing in the bird reaches 165 degrees F.

  • 5 stars
    well seasoned and satisfying. worth the carbs.

  • Debra S

    I would love to try this but I am allergic to eggs. Could I leave them out?

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Debra! Hope you’re well. I thought about this for a while. I think it is possible to make this without eggs, but I think that it will change the result a little bit in terms of richness and holding together. I did some research on egg substitutes, and think this article from The Kitchn is good: https://www.thekitchn.com/best-egg-substitutes-baking-23003895. I think that for this application, I would want something that has protein and viscosity like a whisked egg. In this case, I might whisk 2 Tbsp. flax meal with 6 Tbsp. water and fold that in. I’m curious about the result, so please let me know!

  • 5 stars
    I made this for a tiny outdoor “Friendsgiving” the other night and everyone raved. So tasty.

  • Hannah R

    5 stars
    really flavorful and not dry.

    • 5 stars
      Way too late, but in replying to Debra S., who posted years ago that she was allergic to eggs, hopefully she understood that challah is, by definition, made with eggs. In any case, it seemed worth mentioning here for the next person who might be mislead by the OP’s response about justbusing egg substitute when baking the dressing. There are plenty of challah and apple dressing recipes that use only broth, no additional eggs, for baking the dressing. I prefer it that way, but that doesn’t change the fact that an egg-enriched bread like challah generally is not safe for those with egg allergies, nor is it always acceptable for vegetarians (see earlier question about using vegetable stock – sure it will still taste good but eggs are sometimes avoided by people who consider themselves vegetarian) – nor ever acceptable for vegans (who surely know that challah and many other breads are not vegan).

      Happy Thanksgiving 2023, Recipe Hunters!

4.56 from 9 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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