This delicious Thanksgiving stuffing is made with sourdough bread, fresh herbs and veggies that you’ll find at fall farmers markets. Homemade stuffing is a classic recipe for Thanksgiving, and yes you can make stuffing with sourdough bread.
Sourdough lovers rejoice!
In my family there is always a bowl of my mom’s homemade stuffing alongside Thanksgiving dinner (Christmas too!). Stuffing is one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. Anyone else with me?
Seriously, who doesn’t love this herby, broth-moistened, baked bread invention!?
I remember when my Mom (bless her heart) started making the best gluten-free dressing when my body decided to rebel against regular bread. I was so freakin’ happy to be able to enjoy dressing with Thanksgiving dinner again!
Since then, I’ve discovered sourdough bread. The natural fermentation process used to leaven the dough makes it easier for many gluten-intolerant people to digest. I now eat artisan sourdough bread, rather than store bought gluten-free bread – which is often filled with preservatives and inflammatory oils.
So how about a recipe to make stuffing with sourdough bread! Seems like a good idea to me.
My sourdough stuffing recipe is adapted from an amazingly delicious gluten-free dressing that my friend Kevin made and brought to Friendsgiving last year.
Sourdough Stuffing Ingredients
Fresh and healthy ingredients combine to make a delicious sourdough stuffing recipe. See the recipe card for exact quantities of each ingredient.
Sourdough bread – A loaf of dried-out sourdough bread, cut into small 1-inch cubes. My homemade sourdough bread resulted in about 12 loose cups of chopped sourdough bread.
Fresh and/or dried herbs – This sourdough dressing is seasoned with rosemary, thyme and parsley. And these fresh herbs are pretty easy to come by at farmers markets during fall. We’re also adding ground pepper and dried sage. See the substitutions section if you don’t have fresh herbs.
Veggies – Homemade stuffing wouldn’t be complete without celery and yellow onion.
Chicken broth – Prepare 3 cups of low-sodium (or no sodium) chicken broth.
Butter – Have a stick of unsalted butter on hand to make stuffing. I use grass-fed butter vs regular butter.
How to Dry Out Bread for Making Stuffing (Overnight Method)
It’s important to use dried out or stale bread when you make stuffing. Fresh bread is soft and will soak up too much of your broth, resulting in mushy stuffing.
Here’s a great way to quickly dry out a loaf of sourdough bread for making stuffing.
First, cut a loaf of fresh bread into small pieces, about 1-inch each.
Then spread all the bread pieces out on a large baking pan. A single layer is the best way to do this to get maximum air flow around the pieces of bread.
Leave the bread on your counter overnight (12+ hours) until it feels stale and stiff to the touch.
Now onto the recipe!
How to Make Sourdough Bread Stuffing
Full disclosure, making stuffing from scratch with fresh herbs is time-consuming. But we’ll have our eye on the prize – a gorgeous dish of homemade stuffing on the holiday table. AND made from-scratch with healthy ingredients.
The most labor-intensive part about making stuffing from scratch is chopping up all the fresh herbs and veggies. But boy do they smell incredible – anyone else love the aroma of fresh parsley as much as I do??
For this sourdough stuffing recipe we’re starting with the ingredients prepped. That means the onion and celery are diced, the sourdough loaf is dried out, the herbs are chopped, the chicken stock is made.
In France they call this “mise en place”. Meaning everything is gathered and ready to go.
Now for the easy part.
1. Make the Stock Mixture
Use a large pot to sauté the onion and celery over medium heat in a generous amount of olive oil. I use 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
When the onion and celery are close to soft (about 10 minutes), add the fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary). Pour in a little more olive oil if needed to keep the pan moist. Stir for a few minutes until the herbs are soft.
Add the black pepper and any dried herbs. Stir to incorporate.
Add the stick of butter to the vegetable mixture and break it into pieces with a wooden spoon. Stir gently until the butter is melted.
Add 2 cups of the chicken broth and stir until it’s warm.
2. Combine the Sourdough Bread with the Stock Mixture
Remove the pot from heat and add your bread cubes to the stock mixture. Stir well to incorporate the veggies and herbs throughout.
Add additional stock as needed to ensure the bread crumbs are moistened, but not soggy. I wind up adding another half to full cup of chicken stock.
Now transfer the stuffing to a round or rectangular casserole dish.
Spread the stuffing mixture evenly in the dish, but do not mash it down.
3. Bake the Stuffing
Bake sourdough stuffing uncovered for 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The top of the bread mixture will be starting to lightly brown at this point.
Remove from the oven and stir to bring the wet bread pieces on the bottom, up to the top. Place the dish back in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove and stir again.
Continue baking and stirring every 10 to 15 minutes until the top is golden brown and the inside is just a little moist. This will take about an hour to an hour and a half. If you’re using a very shallow dish or skillet it’ll be done faster.
Stirring your dressing like this also prevents the top from burning and eliminates the need to cover it with aluminum foil.
Leftover stuffing can be covered with foil and put in the fridge. When you’re ready to reheat leftovers, pour over a little water to help it stay moist. Sourdough stuffing does dry out when it sits.
What to Serve with Sourdough Stuffing
As a Thanksgiving dinner staple, I recommend serving sourdough stuffing with other traditional Thanksgiving recipes, such as:
Homemade stuffing is also a perfect side dish for a whole roasted pasture-raised chicken! And you don’t have to wait until a holiday meal for that.
Rosemary – This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary needles. If you don’t have fresh rosemary you can substitute 2 teaspoons of crushed or dried rosemary.
Thyme – If you have fresh thyme – great! If not, substitute 2 teaspoons of dried thyme. I haven’t tested this recipe with powdered thyme and don’t recommend it. In my experience, powdered thyme is just not comparable in flavor to fresh or dried thyme.
Gluten-free bread – If you’re gluten-free, you can use a loaf of your favorite gluten-free bread instead of sourdough bread. I’ve made this stuffing recipe with millet bread, which is naturally gluten-free, and it turned out great! Here’s my recipe for gluten-free dressing for Thanksgiving.
Sage – This homemade stuffing recipe is made with dried sage rather than fresh because fresh sage can be hard to find. I’m using 2.5 teaspoons of rubbed sage and you can substitute 1.5 teaspoons of ground sage. I haven’t tested this recipe with fresh sage.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between sourdough stuffing and regular stuffing?
The only difference between sourdough stuffing and regular stuffing is sourdough stuffing is made with sourdough bread. Each cook will use their own combination of herbs and other ingredients, but the main difference is the type of bread used.
How to fix soggy stuffing?
If your stuffing is soggy it’s probably because a little too much chicken stock was added. Or you didn’t stir it while it was baking. In either case, soggy stuffing is pretty easy to fix. Simply give it a good stir and put it back in the oven for 10 minutes. Continue stirring every 10 minutes until the stuffing is spongy rather than soggy.
Another way to fix soggy stuffing is to remove the stuffing from your casserole dish and spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven until the stuffing is still moist, but not soggy.
What is the texture of sourdough stuffing like?
In my experience, sourdough stuffing is less light and fluffy than stuffing made with regular or gluten-free bread. This is mainly because artisan sourdough bread is often baked as a round loaf (called a boule). A boule has more crust than a regular loaf of bread, and crust is dense.
Sourdough bread is also naturally full of air pockets when you cut into the loaf. This means that in addition to having more crust, sourdough also has less of that soft inner bread. Another reason why sourdough stuffing is less light and fluffy than regular stuffing.
For a lighter, fluffier sourdough stuffing I recommend using a sourdough loaf rather than a sourdough boule if possible.
Does sourdough stuffing taste different than regular stuffing?
Some of the sour taste of sourdough bread does come through in the flavor of sourdough stuffing. More than it does when eating a piece of the bread on its own IMO. If you’re used to sourdough bread you may not notice. But, if you’re trying sourdough bread for the first time when you make this recipe, please keep that in mind.
Sourdough Stuffing Recipe
- 1 loaf stale sourdough bread chopped into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tsp olive oil plus more if needed
- 1.5 cups finely-diced onion
- 1 cup celery, chopped small
- 2 cups chopped fresh parsley loosely packed
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 2 tsp dry thyme
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary needles or 2 tsp dry rosemary
- 1/8 tsp ground pepper
- 2.5 tsp rubbed sage
- 1/2 cup grass-fed butter 1 stick of butter
- 3 cups chicken broth low-sodium or no-sodium
- Use a large pot to sauté the onion and celery in olive oil over medium heat.
- When the onion and celery are close to soft (about 10 minutes), add the fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary). Pour in a little more olive oil if needed to keep the pan moist.Stir for a few minutes until the herbs are soft.
- Add the black pepper and any dried herbs. Stir to incorporate.Add the stick of butter to the vegetable mixture and break it into pieces with a wooden spoon. Stir gently until the butter is melted.
- Add 2 cups of the chicken broth and stir until it’s warm.
- Remove the pot from heat and add your bread cubes to the stock mixture. Stir well to incorporate the veggies and herbs throughout.Add additional stock as needed to ensure the bread crumbs are moistened, but not soggy. I wind up adding another half to full cup of chicken stock.
- Now transfer the stuffing to a round or rectangular casserole dish.Spread the stuffing mixture evenly in the dish, but do not mash it down.
- Bake sourdough stuffing uncovered for 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The top of the bread mixture will be starting to lightly brown at this point.Remove from the oven and stir to bring the wet bread pieces on the bottom, up to the top. Place the dish back in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove and stir again.
- Continue baking and stirring every 10 to 15 minutes until the top is golden brown and the inside is just a little moist. This will take about an hour to an hour and half.