How to Make Homemade Turkey Stuffing

A roasted turkey isn’t complete without the delicious and classic homemade turkey stuffing, aka turkey dressing. Mom’s time-tested recipe of toasted bread flavored with butter, onion, celery and poultry season will set this Thanksgiving or holiday side dish apart from all the others.

Classic Turkey Stuffing in white bowl with spoon and fall leaves behind it.

Homemade Turkey Dressing

Thanksgiving would not be the same without my Mom’s homemade turkey stuffing (otherwise known to my family as turkey dressing). For as long as I can remember, my Mom and Grandmother prepared this dressing for each and every holiday turkey.

They would work side by side in the kitchen, toasting the bread, sauteing the vegetables and mixing it in the biggest pot they could find. As I got older I got to help toast the bread and stuff the turkey. It was such a happy, fun time to have all the girls in the kitchen working together, laughing and just generally enjoying ourselves.

Turkey Stuffed with Classic Turkey Dressing | 2 Cookin Mamas

I continued the tradition when I had my own family and this classic turkey stuffing has always held a prominent place on the Thanksgiving table. Now that the kids are all grown with families of their own, I know when they visit, that they expect to see that old fashioned bread stuffing on our holiday table.

In the last few years, my daughter learned she had a gluten-intolerance, and this dressing was one of the things she missed the most. I have tried making it with gluten-free bread and it turns out good but a little bit heavier than the regular recipe. I’ve also made her a quinoa dressing that is out-of-this-world delicious that can be substituted for those with sensitivities.

Classic Turkey Dressing 2 | 2 Cookin Mamas

Everything You wanted to Know About Old Fashioned Bread Stuffing

What is bread stuffing made of?

The traditional stuffing always consists of stale or toasted breadcrumbs, onion, celery, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.

Is it safe to cook the stuffing in the turkey?

Yes, as long as it is cooked through. The fact that all stuffing ingredients are cooked prior to stuffing turkey makes it safer. Just make sure that the internal temperature of the stuffing reaches 165 degrees. Stuff both the cavities, neck and body, with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. Do not overstuff. Any additional should be cooked in a separate dish. 

What’s the difference between stuffing and dressing?

In our family the two were interchangeable as the turkey was stuffed or dressed (from my Grandma’s era). Now, it is just a matter of how it is cooked. Stuffing is cooked inside a turkey while dressing is cooked in a separate dish, outside the turkey.

How to Make Homemade Turkey Stuffing

Steps 1-6 to make stuffing.

  1. Toast bread, cube and place in large bowl.
  2. Gather remaining ingredients.
  3. Place chopped celery in a 4-cup microwave safe measuring cup, cover with water and plastic wrap, and cook for 5 minutes at 70% power. Set aside.
  4. Place onion in a 4-cup microwave safe measuring cup with butter, cover with plastic wrap, and cook for 3 minutes at 90% power. Make sure you use a large enough measuring cup so that the butter does not boil over. Set aside.
  5. Pour buttered onions into bread and toss. 
  6. Add poultry seasoning, salt and pepper and toss to coat. 

Finishing steps for making bread stuffing.

  1. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out celery from water and add to bread cubes. 
  2. Pour a small amount of celery water at a time into the dressing mixture until bread is slightly damp. You will use about 1/2 cup in total.
  3. Toss well.
  4. Finished and ready for turkey. Place back in empty bread bag and store in the refrigerator until ready to cook turkey. There is enough dressing here for a 12 pound turkey. I usually double the recipe for my 20 lb. turkey.

Closeup of turkey dressing in white bowl with fall leaves.

In the end, I don’t think there has ever been a Thanksgiving or Christmas when I didn’t fix it, home or away!   I hope you enjoy this good homemade bread stuffing (er dressing) as much as we do.

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HOMEMADE TURKEY STUFFING (aka Turkey Dressing)

A turkey isn’t complete without its delicious dressing or stuffing. Toasted bread flavored with butter, onion, celery and poultry season will set this holiday dinner side dish apart from all the others.
Print Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 227kcal
Author: Linda Warren

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf bread, toasted & cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup celery, about 2-3 stalks, chopped
  • 2-3 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Prepare cubed bread and place in large bowl. Add poultry seasoning, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Set aside.
  • Place chopped celery in a 4-cup microwave safe measuring cup, cover with water and plastic wrap, and cook for 5 minutes at 70% power. Set aside.
  • Place onion in a 4-cup microwave safe measuring cup with butter, cover with plastic wrap, and cook for 3 minutes at 90% power. Make sure you use a large enough measuring cup so that the butter does not boil over. Set aside.
  • Using a slotted spoon, scoop out celery from water and add to bread cubes. Reserve celery water. Pour onion-butter mixture into cubes and stir well to combine. Pour a small amount of celery water at a time into the dressing mixture until bread is slightly damp. You will use about 1/2 cup in total.
  • Place back in empty bread bag and store in the refrigerator until ready to cook turkey. There is enough dressing here for a 12 pound turkey. I usually double the recipe for my 20 lb. turkey.
  • Important: Do not stuff a turkey until just prior to cooking.

Notes

You can also prepare a few weeks ahead and freeze until day before usage.

Nutrition

Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 563mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 283IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 2mg

This post has been updated with easier to follow recipe steps. It was first published on November 9, 2013.

How to Make Homemade Turkey Stuffing

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