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Best Classic Bread Dressing Recipe

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No Thanksgiving menu is complete without stuffing or dressing. That’s why I’m going to share with you the classic bread dressing recipe to make the best Thanksgiving side dish. Moreover, we will also address the elephant in the room – the difference between stuffing and dressing.

Classic Bread Dressing Recipe

When you go through the classic bread dressing ingredients list, you will realize that the stuffing and dressing are the same. So, why the difference in what’s it called? Stuffing is traditionally stuffed inside a bird for roasting, whereas dressing is considered a Thanksgiving casserole that’s cooked in a separate vessel. 

So, now that you know that stuffing is no different than dressing and vice versa let’s see what ingredients you need. To make a classic bread stuffing, you will need a loaf of sourdough bread, butter, olive, garlic, celery, and aromatic herbs like fresh thyme and parsley.

This classic bread dressing recipe yields eight servings. This recipe takes about 45 minutes to bake in the oven and 20 minutes of preparation time.

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What Equipment Will You Need To Make Classic Bread Dressing? 

  • Oven – You will require an oven to bake the classic bread dressing.
  • Nonstick Skillet – A skillet will be required to cook the classic bread dressing spice mix.
  • Cutting Board – A cutting board will be helpful for chopping vegetables.
  • Knife – A knife will be needed to chop the vegetables.
  • Bowl – You will need two bowls to mix the ingredients. 
  • Spatula – A spatula will be needed to stir the dressing ingredients.
  • Baking Dish – A baking dish will be needed to transfer the classic bread dressing into it and bake.
  • Spoon – A serving spoon will be needed to transfer the dressing into the baking dish.

How Much Time Will You Need To Make Classic Bread Dressing? 

Preparation TimeBaking TimeTotal Time
20 Minutes45 Minutes1 Hour 5 Minutes

What Ingredients Will You Need To Make Classic Bread Dressing? 

  • Olive Oil – To make the classic bread dressing base, we will need one tablespoon of olive oil with butter. Oil always prevents the butter from burning.
  • Unsalted Butter – As the name suggests, unsalted butter comes without any salt in it. We prefer using unsalted butter as different brands contain different amounts of salt in butter which could lead to a variation in the overall taste. To cook the dressing base, we will need two tablespoons of unsalted butter.
  • Celery – Celery stalks have an earthy and leafy taste. It adds a delicious aroma and taste to soups, stews, broths, and salads. So, to make an aromatic base for the bread dressing, we will use two cups (about six stalks) of sliced celery.
  • Leeks – Just like celery, leeks are also used in base flavors for soups, stews, and other long-cooking dishes. They add a sweet, mild onion-like flavor. In this recipe, we will need the white parts of three thinly sliced leeks.
  • Cloves – Garlic needs no introduction. It adds an amazing flavor to dishes. Here we will use three chopped garlic cloves.
  • Fresh Thyme – Herbs play an essential role in cooking. They make food more flavorful and add color and fragrance to dishes. To add a minty and earthy flavor to the dressing, we will use one and a half tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme.
  • Kosher Salt – Kosher salt is pure salt and has a clean flavor. That’s why chefs prefer using it instead of table salt. In this recipe, we will need one and a half teaspoons of kosher salt. 
  • Black Pepper – To add some heat to the dressing, we will add one teaspoon of black pepper.
  • Chicken Broth – To make the bread dressing flavorful and moist, we will add two cups of chicken broth that packs balanced flavors of chicken and vegetables. You can use store-bought stock or homemade stock. 
  • Sourdough Bread – Bread is the main ingredient of this dish. So, we will need about 16 oz. or nine cups of cubed and toasted sourdough bread. Sourdough bread has a slightly tangy flavor and soft texture that works well in this dressing. 
  • Butter – We will need two oz. or one-fourth cup of melted unsalted butter to add a rich flavor to the broth.
  • Eggs – Three large beaten eggs are added to the dressing to hold it together and add moisture.
  • Parsley – Once your classic bread dressing recipe is baked, you will need one tablespoon of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley to garnish the dish.
Classic Bread Dressing Recipe

Steps To Make Classic Bread Dressing

1. Make The Bread Cubes

One day before making the classic bread dressing, cut your bread into cubes and let them air-dry on your counter overnight before toasting them on a baking sheet in the oven.

2. Prepare The Base

Turn on the oven and leave it to preheat to 375°F. In a nonstick skillet, heat oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over a high flame until butter melts. Stir in sliced celery and leeks and cook them occasionally, stirring, until tender, for about 5 minutes.

Then add garlic and cook for a minute. Finally, add thyme, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the broth and cook for a minute. In a large bowl, combine celery mixture and sourdough bread cubes. Add melted butter, eggs, and remaining 1 1/2 cups broth and stir to combine.

To have the most flavorful and moist dressing, combine the wet and dry ingredients thoroughly and allow them to sit in the baking dish for 15 minutes before baking. This helps the bread to fully soak up all of the delicious flavors. 

3. Bake The Classic Bread Dressing

Take an 11- x 7-inch baking dish and lightly grease it. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish and let it stand for 15 minutes. Bake the classic bread dressing in a preheated oven until golden brown for 40 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.

What Kind Of Bread Should Be Used?

For making a classic bread dressing, the choice of bread is totally up to you. However, rustic bread, like sourdough, baguettes, or French bread, makes the best dressings. Sourdough especially makes this dish taste wonderful as it comes with a light tangy flavor and soft texture.

 But if you can’t get your hands on these bread options, a good white Pullman loaf or a homemade sandwich loaf will also deliver good results.  

Why Do We Need To Dry The Bread Cubes?

The key to amazing bread dressing is freshly cubed and dried bread. Drying helps the bread absorb maximum flavor and liquid from your recipe without getting soggy. Thus, you should cut your favorite bread into 1/2″ cubes and lay them out on a baking sheet or in a large bowl.

Let them dry out on the counter for about 48 hours or atleast overnight, and toast them at a very low temperature in the oven (anywhere from 275° to 325°F) until they are dehydrated. 

How To Store Classic Bread Dressing?

Wondering how you can store the classic bread dressing? Allow me to help you with this. Cooked or uncooked bread dressing can be stored in two ways. You can freeze them for later use or keep them refrigerated for immediate use.

1. Uncooked Classic Bread Dressing Storage

Between all the Thanksgiving preparations, you can opt to prepare a classic bread dressing in advance and save it for baking on the main day. To do so, you should freeze the dressing rather than refrigerate the uncooked mixture. 

Always remember that freezing should be done in the baking dish you are going to cook it in. This allows you to pull it straight from the freezer and place it into the oven for baking. This saves you from the hassle of thawing. You should also wrap the tray containing the stuffing using a cling film and top it with another layer of foil.

A bread dressing can be frozen for 2-3 months.

2. Cooked Classic Bread Dressing Storage

To store a cooked classic bread dressing, allow it to cool down completely after baking. Then cover the dish with a cling film. If you wish to consume the cooked bread dressing within the week, you can refrigerate it.

If you wish to freeze the cooked bread dressing, you can seal the leftovers in a food-freezing bag and place them in the freezer.

How To Use Frozen Bread Dressing?

So, are you wondering how to use a pre-prepared bread dressing? Here’s how you use it. 

Bread dressing does not require thawing and can be cooked or reheated straight out of the freezer. Defrosting the dressing can affect the texture. 

To bake a frozen bread dressing, preheat the oven to 325 °F. Bake it for 15 minutes after removing the cling film but let the foil remain. Bake for another 20- 30 minutes until fully done. If you find your dressing too dry, you can drizzle some broth over it.

Nutritional Information

Calories238 kcal
Fat13 grams
Monounsaturated Fat4 grams
Polyunsaturated Fat1 grams
Saturated Fat7 grams
Carbohydrates24 grams
Protein8 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Cholesterol84 milligrams
Sodium1568 milligrams
Potassium258 milligrams
Sugar 3 grams
Calcium70 milligrams
Iron3 milligrams
Vitamin C8 milligram
Vitamin A1130IU

What Will Classic Bread Dressing Look And Taste Like? 

So, now that you know how to make a classic bread dressing using this recipe, I’m sure you must have also realized that it is the same thing as stuffing. This dish turns out to be a delicious side dish that is full of flavors. The aromatic herbs and vegetables add amazing flavors to the dish.

The toasted bread provides a nice crunch and mouth feel. As for the looks, this dish looks like a casserole. This classic bread dressing is sure to make your Thanksgiving table a delightful mix of flavors. 

Recipe Card

Classic Bread Dressing Recipe

Classic Bread Dressing Recipe

Try out this easy classic bread dressing recipe that makes for a flavorful Thanksgiving side dish. It packs all the delicious flavors of fresh aromatics!
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Prep Time 20 mins
Baking Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course Sides
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 238 kcal

Equipment

Oven
Skillet
Cutting Board
Bowl
Knife
Spatula
Baking Dish
Spoon

Ingredients
  

  • 9 cups Sourdough Bread, Cubed and Toasted
  • 2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups Celery, Sliced
  • 3 Leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
  • tablespoon Fresh Thyme, Chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped
  • 3 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth, Divided
  • ¼ cup Unsalted Butter, Melted
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions
 

  • Prepare your bread cubes one day before making the classic bread dressing. Cut your bread into cubes and let them air-dry on your counter overnight before toasting them on a baking sheet in the oven.
  • Turn on the oven and leave it to preheat to 375°F.
  • In a nonstick skillet, heat oil and two tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick skillet over a high flame until the butter melts.
  • Stir in sliced celery and leeks and cook them, stirring occasionally, until tender, for about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for a minute. Finally, add thyme, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup of the broth and cook for a minute.
  • In a large bowl, combine celery mixture and sourdough bread cubes. Add melted butter, eggs, and remaining 1 1/2 cups broth and stir to combine.
  • To have the most flavorful and moist dressing, combine the wet and dry ingredients thoroughly and allow them to sit in the baking dish for 15 minutes before baking.
  • Take an 11- x 7-inch baking dish and lightly grease it. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish and let it stand for 15 minutes.
  • Bake the classic bread dressing in a preheated oven until golden brown for 40 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle the dish with fresh parsley before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 1568mg | Potassium: 258mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1130IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 3mg
Keyword Appetizer, Classic Bread Dressing Recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Thanksgiving dressing made of?

Thanksgiving is a combination of dried bread, aromatics, and dried herbs.

How much time does a classic bread dressing take to make?

You will need 1 hour to make the classic bread dressing.

What’s the difference between stuffing and dressing?

Stuffing and dressing are basically the same, except that stuffing is traditionally stuffed inside a bird for roasting, and dressing is presented like a casserole.

Is cornbread dressing and classic bread dressing the same?

Both dressings are made using the same recipe. The only difference lies in the bread being used. For Southerners, the foundation of dressing is cornbread, whereas, in the north, a classic bread dressing is made using sourdough.

Why do we need to dry bread cubes?

Drying the bread cubes helps them to absorb maximum flavor and liquid from your recipe without getting soggy.

Can we freeze cooked or uncooked classic bread dressing?

Yes, a classic bread dressing can be frozen for 2-3 months until the day of use.

How do you know when a bread dressing has gone off?

The best way to tell if a bread dressing has gone off is to notice any changes in odor or appearance. A sour smell is an indication that the dressing is no longer good to eat.

Conclusion

So, now that you know that stuffing and dressing are the same things try out this classic bread dressing recipe and tell me how you find it. You can also use this bread dressing for stuffing a turkey cavity. To find out more such holiday season recipes, check out our recipe section.

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