There’s something magical about that first bite of stuffing at a holiday meal. Somehow everything that is savory and good on a holiday table comes together in that single, delicious bite. I love this recipe for Simple Homemade Stuffing because it tastes just like the Thanksgivings I remember as a kid. On other occasions I make more elaborate stuffings with sausages and cranberries and apples, but this simple straightforward version is what I love most with a big roast turkey or prime rib.
This recipe starts with a loaf of french bread from my grocery store’s bakery. I will sometimes use baguettes if I can’t find a good loaf of french bread. Generally one and a half baguettes yields the same amount of bread that a french bread loaf does. I buy the bread two days ahead of my meal and cube and dry it the day before I make the stuffing. You could dry the bread the same day that you make stuffing, but I recommend allowing the bread to cool completely after drying.
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Other kinds of bread can absolutely be used for stuffing. As I’m sure you can imagine, different types of bread will yield very different results with the recipe, so use your best judgment if making a substitute. Many substitutes make interesting variations on the usual stuffing — anything from bagels to sourdough can work. Probably the best sandwich bread to use as a substitute is a loaf of plain sliced white bread. I would recommend against using bread with nuts or seeds.
I feel I should take a moment to note that this recipe does not have eggs as binders for the stuffing. I prefer stuffing without eggs, maybe because the stuffings I grew up with never had it. The egg versions seem a bit more like a bread pudding to me. However, many people are accustomed to that texture and prefer it! I have never tried adding eggs to this recipe, but would be interested to know how it goes if someone tried it. Generally, I would say you’re better off looking for a recipe that already has eggs incorporated so that you get the best results.
Final note: while this recipe is called a stuffing, it is technically a “dressing” as it is not stuffed in bird, or anywhere else. We always called it stuffing in our house anyway, even though it was prepared on the side, and I find that’s the way most folks refer to it. I do not recommend using this to actually stuff a turkey or any other raw meat for roasting. Bread stuffing in raw meat can become a receptacle for the juices meat releases as it cooks, but stuffing often doesn’t heat at the same speed the meat does, leaving it full of dangerously undercooked juice when the meat itself is done.