This post may contain affiliate links.
Stovetop Stuffing — With this easy homemade stuffing recipe, you’ll never need a box of the store-bought stuff again! Onions, carrots, and celery are sautéed in butter, seasoned with an aromatic bouquet of herbs, and cubed bread is stirred in to create the most perfect stuffing that’s moist and tender! FAST, EASY, and guaranteed to become a Thanksgiving and Christmas family favorite!
Homemade Stovetop Stuffing Recipe
I’ll let you in on a little secret. While I have a reader favorite recipe for Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing that has 600+ glowing reader reviews spanning back 6 years at this point, my family still begs me to make a box (or three) of Stove Top.
Yes, the cheap stuff. Not even the “fancy” boxed stuffings that look a bit more gourmet. Nope, they want the one in the red box.
I didn’t set out to create this homemade stovetop stuffing recipe to be a copycat for the brand Stovetop Stuffing, per se.
However, in reality, not only is it made on your stovetop rather than being baked, but it’s a better-than-Stovetop homemade stovetop stuffing recipe.
And that’s because it’s got perfectly plump bread cubes that are just soft, tender, and moist enough without being mushy.
And the flavor just tastes like Thanksgiving thanks to sautéed celery and carrots with an array of herbs including sage, thyme, rosemary, and more.
Best part ever? It’s not a side dish that hogs oven space for an hour. Nope! Because if there’s one thing I can get flustered with during the holiday season, it’s how highly trafficked my oven is. So many baked goods, casseroles, hams, and turkeys – so little time!
With this cinch of recipe you just toast the cubed bread for about 15 minutes to dry it out and that’s all you need the oven for and the rest of this easy stuffing recipe is made on the stovetop.
And, it’s fast! In the 15 minutes that it’ll take to toast the bread, you can saute the veggies in butter and herbs, add some chicken broth, the bread will be dried out and ready to stir in. Cover and in 5 minutes the stuffing is ready in a skillet on your stovetop.
As much as you may love your family favorite baked stuffing recipe, I really think you’ll fall head over heels for this stovetop stuffing, especially if you’re a fan of the brand Stovetop Stuffing. But this one is so much better, because let’s face it, homemade always is!
Ingredients in Homemade Stovetop Stuffing
To make stovetop stuffing from scratch, you’ll need the following basic ingredients:
- Unsalted butter
- White or yellow onion
- Minced garlic
- Dried sage
- Dried thyme
- Dried rosemary
- Dried marjoram
- Chicken broth
- Dried parsley
- Fresh herbs such as thyme, sage, rosemary, optional for garnishing
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Make Stuffing on the Stovetop
It’s time to make your new favorite holiday stuffing recipe! Once you read through these easy steps and follow them yourself, you’ll see what I mean when I call this recipe fast and easy.
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas this year and you want a foolproof homemade stuffing recipe that’s impossible to mess up, even if you’ve never made stuffing before, this is the stuffing recipe for you.
Here’s a quick overview of how to make stovetop stuffing:
Step 1: Cube the bread and bake it in the oven until dry and lightly browned.
Step 2: In a large skillet, sauté the veggies in butter over medium heat.
Step 3: Add the garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper into the buttery veggies.
Step 4: Stir in the broth and once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat.
Step 5: Stir in the bread cubes very gently, cover the pan with a lid, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
Step 6: Fluff the stuffing with a fork and sprinkle with parsley and any other favorite herbs to optionally garnish, and add salt and pepper if desired.
What Kind Of Bread Is Best for Stovetop Stuffing?
For the best flavor and consistency, I use white bread and never wheat. With that being said, if you greatly prefer wheat bread, it’ll work fine in this flexible recipe.
What Kind of White Bread Works Best?
Honestly, I usually just use Wonder Bread! I’m all about convenience and I use what I know works, especially on those crazy busy holidays spent in the kitchen. Plus, let’s face it, it’s very low cost!
Trust me, not a single soul gathered around your table will know that you made this homemade stuffing with some classic Wonder Bread or another very basic white bread.
If you do feel like elevating this dish a little bit, you can feel free to use a more artisanal bakery bread, challah, or another white bread that piques your interest noting that your results will vary.
No matter what bread you use, just remember to cube it in similarly sized pieces and bake it to dry it out prior to tossing it on to your stovetop.
Tip: If you don’t have a particular herb such as the dried marjoram, it’s okay to omit it.
Can I Bake the Bread for Stuffing Ahead Of Time?
In this easy stovetop stuffing recipe, it’s best to start out with very dry bread. For this reason, you need to bake the bread for 10 minutes to dry it out.
If it’s easier for you to do this up to 24 hours ahead of time, feel free. Keep it loosely covered on your counter on a baking sheet to it can continue to dry out and become stale. This is the one time in life where stale bread is the goal!
Don’t put it into a ziplock bag because you will actually be preserving the freshness and moisture which is opposite of our goal.
If you don’t care to bake the bread in advance, no worries at all. Just toss it in the oven while you’re chopping and then sautéing the veggies which takes about 10 minutes anyway.
Why Does My Homemade Stuffing Lack Texture?
Oh no! Stovetop stuffing that lacks texture, or put another way, stuffing that is overly mushy can come from two different culprits.
One reason may be because you skipped the baking/drying out part of this recipe. If your bread is soft and fresh, it won’t hold its shape very well (or at all) when mixed with the butter, veggies, and chicken broth.
Let’s say you baked it to perfection and it’s still mushy. What happened?
You likely used just a bit too much force when stirring the bread cubes into the broth mixture. When you’re incorporating the bread cubes into the skillet, do so as gently as possible.
Tip: When you go to fluff the stuffing, carefully fluff it and don’t stir it. Stirring it may cause the bread to turn to mush resulting in textureless stuffing.
Can I Use Fresh Herbs Instead Of Dried?
Yes, you can definitely swap the dried herbs in this recipe for fresh ones if you’d prefer. However, you’ll need to alter the measurements by doubling everything.
For example, this recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of dried sage so you will need 1 teaspoon of fresh sage. Dried herbs are more potent than fresh which is why you don’t need as much.
Many people prefer fresh herbs because they have a more aromatic and visually pleasing quality. While others prefer dried herbs because of their convenience and potency of flavor.
Your stuffing will be great no matter what kind of herbs you use, so just go with whatever is easiest and you have on hand.
What to Serve with Stovetop Stuffing
Obviously, this classic holiday side dish recipe pairs well with all of our other favorite side dish recipes and of course, make my Foolproof Roasted Turkey or Honey Baked Spiral Ham as your main courses.
While this stuffing is very moist all on its own, I still like to drizzle a little bit of my Easy Perfect Homemade Gravy on top of it. I’m one of those people who thinks that gravy should touch everything on Thanksgiving!
Scroll past the recipe card in this post to see many of my favorite easy holiday side dish recipes that complement this stuffing beautifully.
Can This Recipe Be Made in Advance?
While you probably could make this homemade stovetop stuffing recipe in advance, in my opinion it’s best to make the stuffing shortly before you plan to serve it.
Of course, take me up on my bake and dry out the bread in advance tip that I already mentioned if you need to.
However, this is such a fast and easy stuffing recipe that you’ll have it ready from start to finish in a half hour so do it as close to serving it for your big Thanksgiving or Christmas meals.
Can I Use This Recipe for Stuffing a Turkey?
I have never tried this so can’t say for sure.
However, I always make or bake my stuffing (or dressing as some people call it) totally separately from the bird to avoid any potential undercooking of either one.
Plus, this is a stovetop stuffing recipe so best to make it just like that – on the stovetop.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
If you do find yourself with leftover stuffing, and I know Thanksgiving is known for the leftover, it’ll keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
It reheats pretty well in the microwave. Simply reheat it in 30 second intervals, fluffing every so often until it’s warmed all the way through.
While I don’t necessarily recommend freezing this stovetop stuffing recipe because I think it could become soggy during the thawing process, I’m sure it’ll technically keep airtight in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Tips for the Best Stovetop Stuffing
Bread Cube Size – Make sure your bread is chopped into evenly sized small pieces, about 1/2-inch cubes. Or to put it a different way, the size of standard store bought croutons that come in smallish bags.
If the pieces are uneven, they’ll bake unevenly in the oven, some may burn while others don’t get dried out, and they won’t absorb the liquid the same way in the skillet. They don’t have to be exactly identical, but just try to make sure they’re not completely different.
White vs. Wheat Bread – There are times when whole wheat bread is great for health purposes but this stuffing isn’t trying to be a healthy dish and if you’re trying to mimic the actual Stovetop Stuffing from a box – but better – use white bread.
Veggies – Sauté the veggies in the skillet until just softened. You don’t want to overdo it, otherwise they could turn to mush in the stuffing.
Herbs -If you really love the taste and flavor of a particular herb, in my case it’s rosemary, then add a little more. Don’t have marjoram on hand? Don’t worry, just omit it, or possibly add a touch more of something else. The herb balance is fairly flexible and as I mentioned already, you can mix and match with fresh if you have those on hand based on other holiday side dishes you’re preparing. I add double the amount of fresh compared to dried herbs since dried are usually a bit more intense.
Low or Reduced Sodium Broth Chicken Broth – Use low or reduced sodium broth so you can control the sodium and your stuffing doesn’t get overly salty. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away.
Vegetarian/Vegan Stuffing – This stuffing is easily made vegetarian by using reduced or low sodium vegetable broth in lieu of the chicken broth. If you’re trying to make it vegan, swap out the real butter for a vegan butter like Earth Balance in addition to using vegetable broth. Of course, check the bread too to make sure that is in accordance if you’re going the vegan route.
This can be helpful and very considerate when you’re cooking for a mixed group or not sure if someone dining with you for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve may be plant-based.
- 8 slices white bread, cubed small about 1/2-inch or the size of a store bought crouton
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 cup celery, finely diced
- 2 medium peeled carrots, finely diced
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 1/2 cups low or reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley, optional for garnishing
- Fresh sage, thyme, rosemary, etc.; optional for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- To a large baking sheet, add the cubed bread and bake for 10 minutes.*
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, flip the bread, and bake for about 5 more minutes, or until very dry; set aside. Tip - You can bake the bread to dry it out up to 24 hours in advance. Simply let it sit loosely covered on the baking tray until you're ready to use it. Don't put it in a ziplock, just let it sit out and continue getting more stale and dry until you're ready to use it.
- To a large high sided skillet, braising dish, or similar, add the butter, onions, celery, carrots, and heat over medium heat to melt the butter; stir nearly constantly until it's melted and continue to cook over medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened; stir frequently.
- In the final minute of sautéing, add the garlic, all the spices, salt, pepper, and stir constantly for 1 minute to combine.
- Add the broth and when it boils, turn off the heat.
- Add the bread, very gently stir it in making sure not to overdo it at all (your stuffing will have a mushier looking appearance and taste if you overmix), and cover your skillet with a lid.
- Allow it to stand covered for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and very gently fluff the stuffing with a fork. Again, make sure you are fluffing lightly not stirring or you it will look mutilated.
- Optionally garnish with the dried or fresh herbs of your choice, and in the quantity of your choice. Serve immediately. Extra stuffing will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and will keep airtight in the freezer for up to 3 months noting that it will likely become mushier in texture after freezing and thawing it but the taste should remain fairly constant.
*I always use basic white bread like Wonder Bread, however you can use another type of white bakery bread, challah, or wheat bread if you prefer. "Cheap" white bread like Wonder Bread will given you the texture and flavor most similar to the Stove Top Stuffing brand of stuffing, yet it'll be homemade and elevated.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 282Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 570mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g
More Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes:
Classic Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe — Nothing frilly or trendy. Classic, amazing, easy, homemade stuffing that everyone loves!! Simple ingredients with stellar results! It’ll be your new go-to recipe!!
The Best Ever Slow Cooker Sausage Stuffing – This sausage stuffing is super easy to make since the slow cooker does all the hard work for you! There’s no sauteing or browning required at all and you can FREE UP YOUR OVEN!!
Cornbread Stuffing – Fast and easy homemade cornbread is transformed into a family favorite cornbread stuffing side dish with the addition of celery, onions, garlic, broth, and a bouquet of fresh herbs! Soft, tender, EASY, and sure to become a hit at your Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday celebrations!
Sweet Potato Casserole with Butter Pecan Crumble Topping — The holiday classic just got even better because of the amazing topping! A buttery, brown sugary, crunch that’s irresistible! Easy and you can pre-assemble to save time!
Classic Marshmallow Sweet Potato Casserole – An EASY recipe for the BEST sweet potato casserole with pecans! Tender and creamy sweet potatoes, the subtle crunch of a buttery pecan crumble, and gooey marshmallows make this comfort food side dish an automatic family FAVORITE! It’ll be on repeat for your Thanksgiving, Christmas, and holiday celebrations every year!
The BEST Green Bean Casserole – A healthier, modern, fresher take on classic green bean casserole! No processed soups nor canned ingredients and instead made with fresh green beans, mushrooms, red onions, and a cheesy crispy breadcrumb topping that will have the whole family going back for seconds! Put this on your Thanksgiving, Christmas, and holiday entertaining menus!
Cheesy Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole — Fresh green beans are cooked with bacon and a THREE CHEESE sauce in the slow cooker to free up valuable oven space! NO CANNED SOUP nor processed sauces here. An EASY comfort food side dish that’s perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, parties, and events!
Parker House Rolls – The BEST homemade dinner rolls because they’re so light, airy, fluffy and practically melt in your mouth! They have a wonderful buttery flavor that will make them an instant family favorite at your next holiday gathering or make them for a special meal!
Slow Cooker Browned Butter Mashed Potatoes – Creamy and decadent from the herbed browned butter, these EASY mashed potatoes are a family favorite side dish! Made in the slow cooker to free up stove and oven space. No one will be able to resist these comforting buttery mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or your next family gathering!
Easy Homemade Gravy — An EASY, foolproof recipe with lots of TIPS for PERFECT gravy that’s ready in 5 minutes!! The whole family will LOVE this gravy over their Thanksgiving turkey, mashed potatoes, or as a comfort food addition to your dinner table during other times of the year!!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.