This Simple Turkey Dressing is perfect for serving at the holidays or Christmas in July! Bread cubes, butter, and sage seasoning meet up in this classic side dish. Try it with chicken or pork chops!
The holidays are my favorite time of year, and the holiday foods I love bring those memories to me year-round! This Simple Turkey Dressing is special enough for the Thanksgiving spread but easy enough for a weeknight dinner.
Since I’m from the South, I call it dressing instead of stuffing, but the flavor profile and holiday memories are the same.
How to Make Dressing
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Then, melt 1/2 cup of butter in a skillet and add onions, celery (tops included!), and ground sage. Cook just until the celery turns a brighter green.
Next, add your chicken broth to the skillet and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for a couple of minutes. Now, add the bread cubes to a large mixing bowl and carefully pour in the hot broth. Stir until combined.
There may be some excess liquid in the bowl, it’s fine. Then, let the dressing sit in the bowl for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until all the liquid is absorbed.
If there are any dried pieces left, add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of hot water or broth. Mix everything again and allow it to sit for another few minutes.
Next, add the stuffing to a greased 9×13 baking dish.
Bake until the edges are browned and crispy, about 30 to 45 minutes. For a super moist dressing with extra poultry flavor, baste with turkey drippings every 10 to 15 minutes.
I don’t add any additional eggs to my dressing. Instead, I baste my dressing with turkey drippings and giblet broth* for moisture.
Dressing and stuffing are not automatically egg-free. When I say dressing without eggs, I just mean no eggs added with the other ingredients. Many breads and stuffing mixes have egg in them, so check those ingredients if you are trying to avoid eggs completely!
Looking to go completely egg-free for this recipe? Try our crusty bread recipe! When it’s done, cut it into cubes and allow them to dry out for a couple of days before making the dressing.
*To make giblet broth, simmer the giblets in a bit of water or chicken broth. The cooked giblets can be diced and added to the dressing. Any giblet broth not used can be added to your turkey gravy for an extra pop of flavor.
Adding More Ingredients
I’m a purist and only add the traditional sage, celery, and onions to my turkey dressing. But that doesn’t mean that this dressing recipe can’t handle additions!
If you don’t think your favorite ingredients won’t fit in with celery or onions, feel free to leave them out — just heat the broth and butter until hot and add to the bread cubes. Once the bread cubes have been moistened, you can add your favorite additions in the amounts you see fit.
Here are a few ideas for dressing additions:
- Cooked and crumbled sausage
- Turkey giblets, cooked and diced small
- Poultry seasoning
- Fresh parsley
Make It Ahead of Time
Fact: The best holiday recipes can be made ahead of time. This recipe is no exception!
Simply make it the day before you want to serve it and store it in a covered container in the refrigerator until it’s time to put it into the oven. You could even go ahead and put into the baking dish and seal tightly with foil!
Stuff a Turkey
There’s a caveat to the make it early advice: Do not stuff a turkey with stuffing or dressing early!
I don’t even recommend stuffing a turkey. I prefer my turkey dressing served outside the bird. The risk of ruining Thanksgiving from foodborne illness is just too high.
There is also a huge chance of drying out your turkey while waiting for the stuffing to come up to temperature, so I avoid the stress and separate the two.
If you insist on stuffing a turkey, make sure the dressing is cooled before stuffing and only packed into the turkey lightly. The more packed the stuffing is, the denser it will be, and the longer it will take to get the dressing up to temperature — and the more likely your bird will be very dry.
Holiday leftovers are the best part! Turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce sandwich anyone?
Promptly refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container. Leftovers should be used or frozen within 3 days.
Refrigerated leftover dressing can be microwaved or placed back into a baking dish and cooked at 350 degrees F until heated thoroughly.
MORE THANKSGIVING RECIPES YOUR GUESTS WILL LOVE
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Quick Yeast Rolls
- Party Cheese Spread
- Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Cookies
- Old Fashioned Slow Simmered Green Beans
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Simple Turkey Dressing
- 12 cups dried bread cubes
- 5 stalks Celery including leafy tops
- 1 large Onion white, yellow, or red
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground or rubbed Sage poultry seasoning can be substituted
- 4 cups chicken broth or water
- Place bread cubes into a large bowl and set aside.
- Place butter into a large skillet and melt over low heat.
- Clean celery, reserving as much of the leafy tops as possible while discarding any dried out and brown tops. Place into skillet with butter.
- Clean onion and cut into large dice. Place into the skillet with celery.
- Turn heat up to medium.
- Cook celery and onions until the celery begins to turn a brighter green.
- Add sage and chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. The celery and onions should still be slightly crunchy.
- Scoop out all of the celery and onions and place into the bowl with the bread pieces.
- Dump about half of the liquid in the pan into the bread pieces.
- Mix well until there is no liquid in the bottom of the bowl.
- Add the rest of the liquid and again stir until there is no liquid left in the bottom of the bowl.
- The mixture should be fairly moist with little to no dry bread pieces.
- If there are dry bread pieces, add 1 cup of water to the skillet and bring it to a boil, stirring well to catch any leftover bits of goodies left in the pan. Dump this over the dressing and mix until all water has been absorbed. If there are still dried pieces of bread left, I would not recommend adding more liquid.
- Spray a baking dish with baking spray and place dressing into the dish
- Bake the dressing at 350 degrees F until the edges are browned and crispy, about 30 to 45 minutes.
- 2 bags of dried cubes, such as Pepperidge Farms Country Style or Seasoned stuffing cubes, can be substituted for bread. The liquid will need to be increased by 4 or more cups.
- For a super moist dressing, baste with turkey drippings every 10 to 15 minutes during baking.
- Promptly refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container. Leftovers should be used or frozen within 3 days.
- Refrigerated leftover dressing can be microwaved or placed back into a baking dish and cooked at 350 degrees F until heated thoroughly.
- Turkey dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- DO NOT stuff a bird early. If using this dressing recipe as a stuffing, place it into the turkey just before putting it into the oven. Cook until a cooking thermometer reads 165 degrees F.