Stuffed full of flavor.
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.
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What’s the Difference: Stuffing vs. 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.
Recipe notes: Easy Apple Celery Bread Stuffing (Dressing)
- 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.
- 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.
Did you make Easy Apple Celery Bread Stuffing (Dressing)? Share how it went.
Easy Thanksgiving Bread Stuffing (Dressing)
- 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
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.