Foolproof Make Ahead Thanksgiving Stuffing

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This make ahead thanksgiving stuffing is like a more wholesome, more delicious version of the stovetop you grew up on.  It’s bursting with fresh herb flavor, crisp on top and chewy in the middle, and the best part is that it can be made almost entirely ahead of time, freeing up your precious Thanksgiving Day schedule! 

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Stuffing from above

Ah, stuffing.  Some people love it, and some people hate it, but for me it is one of my FAVORITE parts of the Thanksgiving Feast.  It is with great fear that I admit to the foodie world that I am normally a stovetop kinda girl.  I know.  Partially hydrogenated oils and all, I love the stuff.  I’ve been trying homemade stuffing recipes for years.  Unfortunately, I usually find the flavor lacking and the texture either too stiff and chewy, or soggy and yucky.  This year, I decided to change that.  I have been working on this recipe since September, and just last week I perfected the version I am sharing today.  This make ahead thanksgiving stuffing recipe is moist, sufficiently but not overly chewy, and perfectly seasoned.  While it doesn’t taste exactly like stovetop, it’s an alternative that I’m happy to switch for.

Want more make-ahead and easy Thanksgiving Recipes? Get my make-ahead Thanksgiving guide complete with recipes, timeline, and everything you’ll need for the simplest most stress-free Thanksgiving dinner possible!

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Stuffing

Keys to the Perfect Stuffing

Want to learn how to create ALL of your Thanksgiving recipes with the least amount of stress? Listen to my Thanksgiving meal prep podcast episode!

This make ahead thanksgiving stuffing recipe is straightforward, basic, and pretty awesome, but I wanted to share a few tips that can make any stuffing recipe awesome.  See how you can adapt your stuffing recipe to be even better using the techniques and tips below:

make ahead thanksgiving stuffing horizontal

Type of Bread

Stuffing is pretty straight-forward, but, like I said, it took me a long time to nail down the perfect texture of this make ahead thanksgiving stuffing.  I found that the type of bread you use in stuffing is VERY important.  I’ve mentioned before in this blog that I tend to over-complicate things (see here). When I first started making homemade stuffing I would over-complicate by buying the most expensive crusty artisan bread I could find.  The texture of this stuffing was too chewy and didn’t soak up the broth/butter well.  I decided to try cheap, typical white bread, but this produced an overly soft, soggy stuffing.  I found the perfect balance in a thick, hearty, high quality white bread.  I bought my loaves from Great Harvest and it was perfect if you have one nearby.  If not, you should be able to find some at any local bakery or even your grocery store’s bakery.  Homemade white bread is also the perfect texture, but I don’t usually have homemade white bread laying around, if I did make it, I would scarf it down before I could make it into stuffing!

Dryness of Bread

Another thing I found important in making the perfect make ahead thanksgiving stuffing is fully drying out the bread.  Many recipes suggest using stale bread that has sat out to dry overnight or so.  This recipe, which is the recipe my make-ahead thanksgiving stuffing is based on, suggested drying out the bread in the oven instead.  I had much better results with this method.  Getting the bread really dry helped so when the broth is added it doesn’t soak it up immediately like a sponge.  This really helps to avoid soggy dressing.  Because you will be using a hearty, somewhat dense white bread it takes a while to dry the bread in the oven.  I baked mine at a low heat for about an hour and a half to get it nice and dry.

make ahead thanksgiving stuffing up close

Controlling Moisture-Containing Add-ins

Many stuffing recipes call for celery, onions, apples, and other high moisture ingredients.  While it’s perfectly acceptable and even a good idea to add these ingredients, it’s important to control them.  This make ahead thanksgiving stuffing recipe calls for celery and onions, but instead of calling for one onion and 2 stalks of celery, it calls for the celery and onions and cups.  While this is always a best practice in recipe writing, it’s especially important in a recipe like stuffing because these veggies will add moisture as the stuffing bakes. Too much moisture=soggy stuffing, which is what we’re trying to avoid.  So while you might be tempted to just throw in the rest of that onion or celery if you have more than is called for, resist the urge to keep the texture of this make ahead thanksgiving stuffing perfect!  You also will want a kitchen scale to weigh your bread and make sure you’re using just the right amount.


Making the stuffing the day before

Make ahead thanksgiving stuffing with hand and spoon

I have to admit, I really love it when something that makes a recipe more convenient, also makes it taste better.  This make ahead thanksgiving stuffingstuffing actually turns about better when made in advance.  I like to add the broth in two different stages.  I find this helpful for two reasons.  The first is that letting the stuffing sit overnight allows the herb flavors to sink into the bread making the flavor even and delicious.  The second, and probably more important reason is that adding the broth in two steps helps to assure you are adding just the right amount of broth for perfectly moist but not soggy stuffing.  When you are working with such dry bread (as you’ve hopefully gotten from toasting the bread in the oven right?) it can be hard to know how much broth is going to ultimately soak into the bread which can make adding the broth difficult.  Adding the broth in two steps allows the bread to soak up some of the broth at the beginning, then you can better judge how much broth to add the second time.  The broth amount is not a hard and fast amount, you will likely need to adjust it depending on the exact density/structure of your bread.

I really love this recipe and I’m so excited to this make ahead thanksgiving stuffing to my holiday table.  I love that it can be made almost entirely the day before, needing just some last minute prep and a bit of oven time the day of, and the flavor of the fresh herbs, butter, and broth make it the perfect, irresistible side.  Yum, Thursday can’t come soon enough.

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Stuffing

make ahead thanksgiving stuffing ultra close up

Other awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

If you’re interested in some other thanksgiving day dishes be sure to check out my make-ahead rolls, the creamiest mashed potatoes ever, and the easiest pumpkin pie

Hands with hot pats holding homemade pumpkin pie
Make Ahead Thanksgiving Stuffing

Make Ahead Thanksgiving Stuffing

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This make ahead thanksgiving  is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table, especially because it's made almost entirely the day before clearing up your Thanksgiving Day schedule!


  • 1 lb quality white bread, (amount will depend on the density of your bread, I would say I had 7-8 C)
  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 2 1/2 C yellow onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 C celery, diced small
  • 1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2-2 1/2 C turkey or chicken stock, divided*
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Tear the bread into small, bite size pieces (~1/2 in). Spread evenly over a large sheet pan. Bake in a 250 degree oven for 1-1 1/2 hrs until crispy throughout (not soft in the middle). The bread may start to brown slightly and that's okay. This can be done up to a day ahead if needed. Store in a loosely covered bowl until ready to use.
  2. Saute onions and celery in butter for about 10 minutes until soft, translucent, and starting to brown.
  3. Add herbs, salt, and pepper. Mix with 1 1/4 C stock. Add to dry bread and let sit in refrigerator overnight.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees Whish together two large eggs and add 3/4 C broth. Stir into bread mixture and add to a lightly greased casserole dish. I found two cups to be the perfect amount of stock for me, but depending on your tastes or type of bread you may need more. I like all of the bread to be covered and moist, but no extra liquid to be pooling at the bottom of my bowl. Add up to 1/2 C extra stock if necessary/desired.
  5. Bake at 375 for 45-60 minutes until the top of the stuffing is lightly browned and crisp. Serve with all of the other Thanksgiving fixings!


I like to use turkey stock from trader joe's, but kitchen basics also carries a brand of turkey stock. Chicken stock will work just fine, I just like to keep things authentic on Thanksgiving and use turkey stock.

Calories calculated using MyFitnessPal

Recipe Adapted from Bon Appetit

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271

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  1. Hey! I actually found and made this recipe last yr and repeated again for this year. Hands down, one of the best and easiest stuffings I’ve made and I love that it can basically be prepped in advance. Love it!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I have never tried. Since mushrooms have a lot of moisture I would cook it with the celery and onions to reduce the moisture and I would probably take out half of the onions or celery so you have about the same amount of moisture going in. Let me know how it works out!

    1. I haven’t tried, potato bread is pretty soft. It will probably work just great, but I imagine it might soak up the moisture pretty easily so you might want to experiment with decreasing the broth a bit so it’s not soggy! Let me know how it turns out!

        1. The bread is measured by weight. So you need 16 oz by weight. So it would depend on the size of your loaf whether or not you use the whole thing. Hope that helps!

          1. Ok thanks. I was able to get the harvest grain bread that you recommended but I was not sure if I should use the full loaf.

    2. Thought I would come in here ; ) I save ALL kinds of different bits and pieces of breads, rolls, even corn bread, by freezing. I take it all out of freezer and then cut it up and bake it until dry. I’ve never had any stuffing left to date.

    1. I buy great harvest bread (it’s a bakery chain not sure if there’s one near you). The main thing is you want bread that is a little bit more dense, like homemade bread.

    1. I have been wanting to try this, but I haven’t. I imagine it would work great though since the stuffing mix is nice and dry. Please report back if you try it out!

  2. can I cut my celery and onions ahead of time, like on tuesday? My schedule is, prep veggies tuesday, dry bread and mix with veggies wednesday, bake final stuffing mix thursday for thanksgiving. Will veggies get too mushy if I chop them tuesday? Thanks!

    1. Sorry Katie, I’m late answering, not sure what you decided, but i think cutting your veggies a few days in advance is just fine, especially since you are cooking them anyway! Good luck!

      1. Could I cook my sausage the night before and add to the recipe and keep in fridge with all the other dressing ingredients?

        1. I’m so sorry this slipped through the cracks, but yes I think you could cook the sausage the night before. I would probably stir it in right before cooking.

  3. Hey! So is the entire thing prepped a day before and then just cooked day off? So all ingredients go into casserole dish today and I bake tmw?

    1. Sounds delish, I think I would saute the apple with the celery and onion to release a little bit of the moisture. I also might cut down a bit on the amount of onion and celery. Good luck!

  4. I’m guessing you’re busy making make ahead everything, but thought I would take a chance…how far ahead can you make this stuffing?
    Thanks! Happy T-Day!

    1. HaHa more like busy trying to get little ones to sleep haha. I’ve only ever done it a day in advance so I haven’t tested how long it will last. Let me know if you do some experimenting!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I made my very own stuffing this year from your recipe for 30 people (which can be very intimidating) and it turned out AMAZING!!!!!

      1. I would just go ahead and multiply the recipe by 2 or 3 depending how big of eaters you have. This will easily feed 10, and I’d say up to 15 with all of the other Thanksgiving sides or if you have kids eating. Good Luck!

  6. I’m so excited to find this as I have been wanting to try a stuffing with my spelt bread. Can you divide the stuffing between baking and putting in the turkey cavity?

    1. Hi Michelle, so sorry for the late response. I would think that would work out just fine. I would love to know if you tried it out and how it worked for you!

  7. Hi! Just curious if I could add sausage to this? Everyone always likes sausage stuffing, it’s my first time doing Christmas dinner, please help!!

    1. I think adding sausage would be delicious, it shouldn’t mess with the recipe too much since it won’t add moisture. I would just cook it on it’s own and add it with the broth and veggies 🙂

  8. I have a recipe that adds some red wine. would you recommend this? And if so, cut back on the turkey stock in the same amount?

  9. Has anyone tried cubing and drying bread and then freezing it until ready? Also thinking about prepping celery and onions and then freezing. Thoughts? TIA

    1. I’ve really enjoyed reading your recipe and I WILL be using it this year 2020! This year will be weird due to the COVID and since we are older and have a big family, we thought it best to stay home with our 1 son and my sister and be safe. We always join our large family for a traditional feast but that will not to be this year. I’m really looking forward to your dressing recipe. My only concern is I’ve already bought the bread which is a little sweet and am concerned about that but we’ll see what happens. Thank you for this recipe, much appreciated! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. You have been wonderful!!!

      1. We are staying home this year as well so just 6 of us! I bet it will turn out great, come back and let us know! Good luck and happy holidays! Thanks for your comment and for reading!

    1. Hi Patti,
      I’ve never tried with corn bread so I’m not sure, but it would definitely be a fun experiment! Since I haven’t done it I’m not sure how/if the liquids would need to be adjusted though. I’d love to hear how it goes, please report back if you try it!

      1. Cornbread oh yes, that’s what we use as African Americans, if we use any stovetop stuffing at all it will be a very very small amount. I have a recipe for my own homemade cornbread and it’s wonderful.

        1. Thanks Johnnie, I’ve never had cornbread stuffing but it sounds amazing! I wish I could come to your house and try it 😉 Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  10. I loved reading the comments. There’ve been so many asking for advice on how to tweak it, store it and prep early. You’ve been there to answer them so kindly. When I try this, I’ll report back to you Amanda. Thanks for posting a delicious recipe!

  11. Wonderful dressing! Next time I will line the pan with parchment paper. I sprayed the pan but I lost too much of the good stuff, stuck to the pan.

    1. Hi Cindy, I always bake uncovered, I like the little crunchy top it gets, but some readers prefer it soft and have liked it better covered, so it’s up to you!

    1. I am so sorry I somehow missed this comment! For the future, I think it would work without though the texture would be a little bit different. The eggs act like kind of a binder to stiffen up the stuffing.

      1. Hello, This is the same stuffing my family has made for years. I chop my celery and onions a couple of days ahead. You can also saute them and refrigerate them. You’d need to reheat it In order to distribute the butter and veggies that are into the bread cubes. We never use eggs. Just turkey broth. I think it is fine to mix the broth a day ahead and refrigerate it. If doing further ahead, I would freeze it as that would be safer. Anytime eggs and meat products are introduced The risk of bacteria growth goes up. I like your two-part additions with the broth. I think Doing it in two parts makes a lot of sense. Thank you!

  12. Have you ever baked it completely the night before? If so, how do you reheat on Thanksgiving without drying out? Thanks so much!

    1. I have! Results won’t be AS good but you probably won’t notice a big difference. I would just be sure to cover it tightly in foil to reheat to keep it as moist as possible. Reheat just until it’s warmed through (I would reheat at 350 and start checking after about 20 min) You could also add just a little bit of broth as well to keep it moist! Good luck!

  13. I’ve tried your recipe this evening and I want to add a couple of things. Listen to Amanda on the “harvest” bread and if you don’t have a store near you, buy the artisan bread at King Soopers or any store near you. My dilemma today was I made the loaves of bread that was a little sweet BE I saw her recipe. I did exactly like she said and it’s sitting in the refrigerator waiting until tomorrow. I took a tiny taste and so far it taste very good. Thank you Amanda and Happy Thanksgiving!!

  14. I know you won’t be able to answer this today, but just in case you can. I took mine out of the fridge and it doesn’t seem like it needs any more broth because the bread is sticking together fairly well. Ever experienced that?

  15. Hi Amanda! Don’t know if you saw my comment from yesterday. I’m the one who said it seems like it’s too moist out of the fridge. Well I think I figured out my problem. Even though I dried my bread to rock hard and measured out 8 cups of bread cubes, I used regular white bread and cut off the crusts. But my family still liked it, only it was a little too soft.. However, that didn’t stop my kids from wanting to take the leftovers home with them! ?

    1. Sorry I missed your comment yesterday, I’ve experienced the same thing if I use bread that’s too soft, the stuffing turns out a little more soggy than I prefer! Glad you still enjoyed it though even if it wasn’t 100% perfect, next time try a really hearty white bread that you might get from a bakery that’s a little more dense 🙂

  16. I made this using Gluten-free bread (family member with Celiac) and it worked out very well. It’s really, really helpful having day-ahead recipes like this. Thank you!

  17. Just a thought… flax can be used as a substitute for eggs in baking, so I think they would work here. Just lookup the amount of flax per egg needed online, I’m not sure offhand what the ratio is.

  18. I’ve been making this bake ahead stuffing recipe for the past few years and I had to come and write a comment as it’s what makes me a hero, so thank you! I do add Portuguese sausage but it would be amazing without it. I was so thankful to have found a perfect make ahead. Overnight is the way to go like a good bread pudding.

    1. Thanks for your sweet comment! I bet the sausage taes it over the top, and yes I agree. Love recipes that taste better with age like this one 😉

  19. I was wondering if you could substitue the butter for a vegetable oil e.g. Olive or Avocado? My guests would prefer it to a vegan type of butte substitue as well. If so how much oil would you suggest? Thanks. I can hardly wait to try this recipe for our Canadian Thanksgiving coming up next week.

    1. Sorry for the late reply! I haven’t tried it with an oil. My biggest concern would be that the butter imparts a lot of flavor to the dish. Let me know if you tried it out and how it turned out!

  20. This came out very well! I followed the recipe pretty closely, for once in my life. The flavor was wonderful and will definitely please “Stove Top” fans, which I am also. I did have to use dried rosemary & sage (1 teaspoon dried for each tablespoon fresh) but for me that still counts as “pretty cloes”.

    It was very convenient to pre-make most of it the night before and then bake with the eggs the next day, so I think this is how we will roll every year. The guests kept serving themselves more. Thank you very much!

  21. Amanda, my stuffing will have to share the oven with something that is cooking at 350°. Is there any way I could cook the stuffing at 350 or maybe split the difference and cook both at about 365 or something?

    1. I think that would work out just fine! Honestly, I think you could cook the stuffing at 350. I it doesn’t get as brown as you’d like maybe just broil for a few minutes when it’s done 🙂

  22. Every time there is something that goes wrong with my stuffing and I am hardly able to figure out what! Thank God, this time I had this recipe which was a lifesaver. Everything tastes so good.

  23. With Thanksgiving coming up I thought I’d get a head start on looking for a good dressing recipe. I’m happy to try yours. It sounds traditional and delicious. Thank you very much for sharing.

  24. I made this for Canadian Thanksgiving and just searched it out again to ensure I can make for Christmas. I doubled the recipe and used chicken stock and it was fine. Love that you can make it in advance. It truly is foolproof and it was a huge hit with my guests. One of them asked if they could take home some stuffing…lol!! Thank you so much for a great recipe.

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