Having a solid recipe for old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing is a must for the holiday meal. Many family traditions are to cook using the recipe card for their grandma’s Thanksgiving stuffing, but in case of otherwise, we know an easy way you can still get this comforting side dish to your table.
There’s really no sweat to making a homemade stuffing recipe, and you can make a gravy with those juicy turkey drippings while your dressing and bird cooks. We’ve had it at our Thanksgiving table year after year and it’s always a hit. You really only need a couple simple ingredients and you’ve got the perfect side to your turkey breast, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie to complete your Happy Thanksgiving!
What Type of Bread Should I Use?
Planning to make a classic stuffing recipe for your Thanksgiving dinner shouldn’t be complicated, and luckily, you can use literally any kind of bread that’s high-quality. White bread is usually the most recommended, so I buy a few extra loaves of bread the week before Thanksgiving. Even the type of bread can be different; you can use French bread, bagels, you name it.
How To Make Day-Old Bread
Since you can’t always find bread or bread crumbs to buy this way, you have to dry it out yourself. Day-old bread is quite literal. If your bread isn’t already pre-cut, slice into the size of the bread crumbs you’re going to use. Lay it out onto a wire rack and leave it out for a day. Stale bread can be created this way when it’s exposed to the air.
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Alternatively, you can use your oven. This helps speed along the process so you don’t have to leave your loaves sitting out all night and day. Simply preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cut the bread into smaller pieces and cubes the size you’ll want for your dressing recipe. Lastly, toast them on a baking tray for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden brown. There you’ve got your homemade dry bread cubes and can continue to the recipe as you would.
How To Store Leftovers
Any leftover stuffing should be refrigerated only if it has been made in its own dish and isn’t part of the dressing around your Thanksgiving turkey. Keep it in an airtight container for up to 4 days. The leftover old-fashioned Thanksgiving bread stuffing is always gone within the next day at my house!
Recipe for Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Dressing
When so many recipes claim they’re the best stuffing recipe out there, you’ll find quickly that it’s just going to boil down to what you like! Some prefer a dry stuffing while others want a moist bite. Utilizing the best bread always takes any dressing recipe the next step further!
- 6 cups day-old whole wheat bread, cubed
- 6 cups day-old white bread, cubed
- 2 celery ribs, chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ cup fresh parsley, minced
- 2 teaspoons rubbed, fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 can vegetable broth (or 1 ¾ cup turkey broth from drippings)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
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The first step in making this classic stuffing recipe is to melt butter in a large skillet. Saute the onions, celery, and mushrooms until tender, then add all the seasonings. Place bread cubes in a large bowl and stir in the vegetable mixture. Add broth and toss until evenly coated.
For Slow Cooker
Coat the inside of a 3-qt slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray and add the dressing. Cook on low for a cooking time of 3-4 hours.
For a conventional oven, place the cubed bread mixture in a baking dish with high sides, such as a large casserole dish. Cook for 55-60 minutes at 325 degrees or until the dressing has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. You’ll begin to see the top of the bread crumbs change to a golden brown shade.
How To Make Gravy for the Old-Fashioned Stuffing
Alright, the truth is that this gravy doesn’t need to be served with this recipe for old-fashioned stuffing, but it’s just too easy to make it while the stuffing bakes, so why not! As for the actual recipe, you can use drippings, but you can also use only ingredients you’ve gotten from the grocery store. Both are super delicious!
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Any gravy made from scratch is going to need both a liquid and a fat component to make roux. If you’re making this for a Thanksgiving dinner and have a roast turkey in the oven, you totally can use the fat from those drippings! Using a fat separator helps. Unsalted, real butter works instead if you want that route. The liquid that drops off the turkey can be used as broth, but chicken broth is good, too.
Do I Use Stock or Broth?
You can use either stock or broth for this gravy! Just note that the flavor outcome will be reliant on what broth or stock you use. For example, you’ll have a turkey stuffing gravy if you use turkey stock or turkey broth. Typically, I go for something lighter, like chicken stock!
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or turkey fat from drippings
- 2 cups of broth or stock, add more if necessary
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce ( I like to use coconut aminos instead)
- ¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet and add flour, cooking 4-6 minutes whisking until golden brown. Add the broth while whisking and continue to cook until boiling. Whisk for 1-2 minutes more until the gravy thickens, adding more broth or water if you get something that’s too thick. For a mix that’s too thin, continue stirring over medium-heat until desired consistency.
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Now, reduce to a medium-low heat and pour in the lemon juice, soy sauce, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper, adjusting according to taste preference.
I can recall the first time I made this dressing recipe; I knew the best way to enjoy those small pieces of traditional stuffing was with a delicious gravy! Using fresh herbs is what adds so much flavor. Having around a recipe for old-fashioned Thanksgiving dressing really helps pull the Thanksgiving meal together. Being able to present these wholesome sides the first year I cooked the Thanksgiving menu was such a great feeling!