Are you like me? Do you like to be overly prepared when hosting a holiday meal? Do you like prepping everything possible ahead of time so you have less to do — and not to mention less to clean — the day of? If your answers are “yes,” then you agree: Thanksgiving is way more enjoyable when you’re not running around the kitchen like a turkey with its head cut off.
I have the best make-ahead stuffing (or dressing) recipe for you. It’s classic, flavorful, and just needs to be thrown in the oven the day of Thanksgiving. No fuss and no mess. I use sourdough bread, but a basic white country loaf works well, too. Maple or brown sugar breakfast sausage adds a hint of sweetness and excellent flavor, while sautéed rosemary, sage, and parsley, instantly make your kitchen smell like the holidays.
This recipe calls for a lot of butter, but believe me when I say that it’s worth it. Now is not the time to start counting calories! The top is crispy and the inside is juicy and soft — it’s basically the best bread pudding you’ve ever have. And because it’s made a day ahead of time, the flavors have a chance to develop and meld together. I have always done it this way, and once you try it, you will, too.
My Make-Ahead Stuffing
- 1 loaf sourdough bread , cut into 1" cubes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 10 oz breakfast or maple sausage , casings removed
- 2 large carrots or 5 small colorful carrots , peeled and cut into 1/4" cubes
- 6 stalks celery , cut into 1/4" cubes
- 1 small yellow onion , chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp finely chopped sage
- 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (I used Diamond Crystal)
- 1/4 tsp white pepper or fresh black pepper if you don't have any on hand
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 sticks unsalted butter , divided (11 tbsp & 5 tbsp)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/4 cups turkey or chicken stock
- Place the cubes of bread on a baking sheet and allow to dry out overnight. Alternatively, you can place them in a pre-heated 200˚F oven for about 30 to 35 minutes until they’re dry. Transfer them to a large bowl.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
- Add the breakfast sausage into the pan and press it down to form a large patty.
- Cook for 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest.
- Add the carrots, celery and onion into the skillet and sauté for 8 minutes, moving them around the pan to pick up any brown bits from the sausage.
- Add the parsley, sage, rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer the aromatics to the bowl with the dried bread cubes.
- Return the skillet to the heat and turn it up to medium-high.
- Immediately deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up anything that has accumulated along the bottom.
- Reduce the wine by at least half, about 4 minutes.
- Add in 11 tablespoons butter and allow to melt into the wine.
- Pour over the bread and vegetables.
- Chop the sausage into small pieces and add to the bread bowl too. Toss everything to combine.
- Transfer the bread mixture into a greased/buttered baking dish measuring 9"x11" or 10"x12".
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, stock, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Pour the stock mixture over top and into the baking dish.
- Place 5 tablespoons of cubed butter around the top. Cover very well with tin foil and leave in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Remove from fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for an additional 25-35 minutes until the top is nice browned. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes. Enjoy!