Simple Stuffing Recipe that will be making an appearance at every holiday dinner. This stuffing is made with Italian bread, apples, celery, onions, and herbs. Don’t miss the tips on how to make bread stale quickly.
This is the classic, simple recipe and if you want something a little different, try our Sausage Stuffing, Cornbread Dressing, or Sausage and Apple Cornbread Dressing.
The Classic Stuffing Side Dish
Ah, stuffing, a wonderful bread side dish that is a must for many holiday dinners. What started out as a way to cook the turkey moist and juicy, evolved into a delicious bread side dish.
There is much debate among family members and friends whether to call this dish “stuffing” or “dressing,” but either way you call it, we all know that is a delicious addition to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
This is a simple stuffing recipe made with celery, onions, and herbs. To add another layer of flavor and a little sweetness, I sauté fresh apples along with onions and celery and mix a little apple juice with broth.
Addition of apple is a delightful sweet surprise in every bite and pairs perfectly with turkey and many other side dishes.
Bread – choose a deli baked bread, it will give the stuffing much nicer flavor and texture. We like Italian loaf, but you can also use deli Cuban, French baguettes, or other breads soft on the inside with crusty outside.
Veggies and Fruit – besides anything else, onions and celery are the base vegetables you should have. Apples add a nice sweetness burst and helps balance out the savory ingredients. Choose sweet and juicy apples for their naturally sweet flavor and the best balance.
Seasoning – parsley and thyme make a nice herb addition without being overpowering. You can use fresh or dried, just remember to use about half the amount of dried as you would fresh.
Stock – stock should give you more flavor than broth and you can choose chicken or vegetable. Vegetable will keep the dish vegetarian but if you don’t mind the protein, use chicken stock for a deeper flavor. Choose unsalted stock so you can regulate the sodium in the dish.
How to Make Stale Bread (Classic Way and Fast Way):
It’s a silly question isn’t it, “how to make stale bread?”
Simple answer might be, “leave it on a counter for a week and it becomes a weapon.” But, there are actually two ways to stale bread for recipes. There is a slow way and a fast way.
One way to stale bread is to dice the bread and leave it to air-dry for about 24 hours.
Tip: Buy Italian bread that is already thinly sliced and leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours. It is easier to cut the bread when it’s cold.
Cut bread slices into small cubes that are about 1/2-inch in size. Use a serrated bread knife to cut the bread.
Spread bread cubes in two large baking sheets, in one even layer, and leave them to get stale for about 24 hours.
To make stale bread fast:
Preheat the oven to 200°.
After spreading the bread cubes in two large baking sheets, place the trays in the oven.
Let them harden for about 2 hours.
Take them out and you can prepare the stuffing right away.
How To Make The Stuffing:
After you have the stale bread taken care of, it’s a fast and easy process.
First, sauté onions and celery until softened and add in the apples. Sauté everything until softened.
Seconds, mix the stale bread, sautéed veggies, and seasoning together in a large mixing bowl.
Third, in another mixing bowl, whisk together stock, apple juice, and eggs until smooth.
Fourth, start pouring in the liquid mixture into the bread mixture and you carefully stir. Make sure to stir everything well.
Finally, transfer the stuffing mixture into the greased baking dish and bake at 375° for 35-45 minutes. Keep an eye on it, strength of ovens vary slightly.
Make Ahead Tips:
Of course, you can start the bread staling process a day or two before. Simply dice the bread into small cubes, spread it on two large baking sheets, and let it stale for 1-2 days in a cool, dry place.
You can also prep the whole stuffing recipe and spread it into the baking dish. Instead of baking, cover it air-tight with plastic wrap or a fitted lid and refrigerate overnight. When you’re ready to bake the next day, take off the plastic wrap, set the dish on the counter while the oven is preheating and then bake per recipe instructions.
Simple Stuffing Recipe
- 1 lb Italian bread sliced
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 yellow onion
- 12 oz celery stalk (1 small stalk)
- 12 oz sweet apples (2 medium apples)
- 1/2 tbsp thyme
- 1 tbsp minced parsley
- 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 3 eggs
- fresh cracked black pepper
Make stale bread:
- Preheat oven to 200.
- Cut bread slices into small cubes that are about 1/2-inch in size. Use serrated bread knife to cut easier.
- Spread bread in two large, rimmed baking sheets evenly and place the trays in the oven.
- Let them bake and harden for about 2 hours.
- Take them out and you can prepare the stuffing right away.
- Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish. (You can also use a deep 9×9 baking dish).
- Dice onion and celery. Peel, core, and dice the apple. Try to get all the cuts as equal as possibly.
- Preheat a medium cooking pan over medium heat. Add oil.
- Add onion and celery and saute until onions are transparent.
- Add apples and cook until veggies are softened. Take off heat.
- In a large mixing bowl (and I mean large), combine stale bread cubes, cooked veggies, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Gently mix everything until evenly incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Whisk in broth and apple juice. Season with some salt and stir well.
- Pour the liquid into the bowl with bread and veggies and quickly mix everything together as evenly as possible.
- Transfer into prepared baking dish and bake for 35-45 minutes.
I’ve made this several times and it always comes out great. I am so happy that I found your recipe. It’s perfect. Thanks!
I am so glad you like it!
Bonnie Lea Wallace says
I don’t mean to sound stupid as I have never made this. The reason I have not is that I’m finding it very hard to use apples (even though I think that is a great idea) and have or use gravy on the stuffing as I always do! I just can’t imagine gravy over apples!!!
When you are making bread stale, you preheat the oven to 200 and leave the bread in for 2 hours. Do you leave the oven at preheat, turn to back, or turn off?
What does the egg do? Is this necessary to add?
Hi, Betsy! It’s to bind it together, you would want to add it. 🙂
Liz B says
Is it dried thyme and fresh parsley? Thanks!
Hi, Liz! I use fresh thyme and parsley but you can use dry if you like. 🙂
Can this be put together the day before and baked the day of dinner?
Tina Sawmiller says
Can I bake the bread the day before?
Hi Tina! Sorry for my late response! You could bake the the night before or just leave the bread out overnight and you wont have to bake it. It is to make the bread a little stale. Hope that helps!
Can you use packaged bread cubes with this recipe
Sure can! Just use the unflavored ones and the same amount 🙂
Brenda T says
What type of apples do you use? And can I make it the day before and reheat it?
I used sweeter apples, like Gala or Pink Lady. Technically, you can make it and reheat in the day before but I find this particular side dish best fresh from the oven. Things like sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes, I made the day before, but stuffing, I make the day of. You can definitely bake it and then reheat it though if you wish 🙂
Just cover it with foil so it doesn’t burn on top and reheat until warm throughout.
You didn’t say what temperature to bake the stuffing.
Hi Brenda! Yes, I noticed that today, fixed it, and I am so sorry! It’s 375 🙂
DIANA TAYLOR says
looks good I will give it try thanks for the share
Thank you, Diana! I hope you will like it.