Best Stuffing Recipe and Tutorial (from my mom!)

Welcome to my best stuffing recipe and tutorial. Stuffing is one of those essential holiday dishes and my mom’s is the best. That’s why I watched her make a batch and asked her to tell me her secrets. Once you know the steps to make my mom’s basic stuffing recipe, you can switch it up with different ingredients and flavorings.

Welcome to my best stuffing recipe and tutorial. Stuffing is one of those essential holiday dishes and my mom's is the best. That's why I watched her make a batch and asked her to tell me her secrets. Once you know the steps to make my mom's basic stuffing recipe, you can switch it up with different ingredients and flavorings.

I’ve heard that stuffing was invented to stretch a meal. Meat was expensive and hard to come by. Making a well-flavored carbohydrate-based dish supplemented the meat by adding something extra to the plate. Today when meat is often easier to come by and more plentiful, we make stuffing just because we love it.

I don’t know why stuffing caught on the way that it did, but for me, it’s the browned crunchy exterior and moist interior that acts as the best sponge for gravy.

The method for making stuffing that I’m sharing with you today comes from my mom. Her stuffing recipe is the best I’ve ever had. And other people agree with me. For years she and my dad had restaurants and did a lot of catering throughout the holiday seasons. Her stuffing was raved about – I’m positive that it was the stuffing that made their lines for second helpings so long.

When I was in Canada a few years ago, I watched my mom make a batch of her stuffing recipe and had her explain every step of her process to me. This is what I learned from my mom about how to make the best stuffing ever.

Step #1: Sauté lots of onions in lots of butter until very well softened.

Lots of onions make for a great stuffing recipe.

Step #2: Cut or tear bread into bite-sized pieces.

The bread can be day old but need not be. Whatever you do, do not use breadcrumbs. My mom once read that breadcrumbs make a nice stuffing and gave it a try. She says it was the worst stuffing she’d ever had. Toss the buttery onions with the bread. Make sure to scrape all the butter and onions onto the bread pieces.

Bread cubes getting ready for moisture for the best stuffing recipe.
Step #3: Add moisture mixed with beaten egg.

You want to add enough liquid that when you take a ball of the uncooked stuffing into your hand and squeeze, liquid actually drips out in small droplets. It’s this moisture that keeps your stuffing…well…moist. If there’s not enough liquid, it will be dry. Don’t worry that the stuffing will be too moist. If you cook it correctly, the outside will be crisp and browned while the inside is soft and tender.

See how moist the bread is for this best stuffing recipe?

See how moist the bread is?

Step #4: Season well. VERY well.

If you put your face about 6 inches above the bowl of stuffing, you should be able to smell the seasoning. That’s how you know there’s enough.

Step #5: Transfer the stuffing to a cooking vessel.

You can stuff a chicken or turkey with this stuffing recipe. However, that won’t yield the crisp exterior I’ve mentioned. For that, you need to cook the stuffing outside of the bird. These days my mom cooks hers in muffin tins. She likes the presentation on her holiday buffet table and she likes that the portions are easy for everyone to transfer to their plates. But most importantly, she likes that everyone gets a bit of crunchy exterior as well as some tender insides. You can instead bake it in a casserole dish but it will require a longer cooking time.

This stuffing recipe is cooked in a muffin tin. This is what makes it the best stuffing recipe.
Step #6: Bake the stuffing and then serve.

The Absolute Best Stuffing Recipe - This one came from my mom, and Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without this side dish.

The reason stuffing is so good is that the technique has been passed down through generations. This picture, taken by me, is of my mom’s stuffing recipe, made by her own hands, sitting on my Baba’s (her mom’s) plate. How can that not taste good?

I hope you’ve learned the basics of how to make stuffing.

Now here is my mom’s best stuffing recipe for you.


Best Stuffing Recipe and Tutorial (from my mom!)

  • Author: Allie McDonald
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12


Welcome to my best stuffing recipe and tutorial. Stuffing is one of those essential holiday dishes and my mom’s is the best. That’s why I watched her make a batch and asked her to tell me her secrets. Once you know the steps to make my mom’s basic stuffing recipe, you can switch it up with different ingredients and flavorings.


  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. poultry seasoning, divided
  • 2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 2 tsp. black pepper, divided
  • 15 thick slices of bread (day old is best), in 1-inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 and 1/2 cups milk or chicken broth


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease 12 non-stick muffin cups (size 2 and 1/2″ by and 1/4″).
  2. Warm the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon of the poultry seasoning, 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper and cook stirring occasionally until the onions are very well softened but not browned, 6-8 minutes.
  4. Put the bread cubes into a large bowl. Scrape all of the onions and butter onto the bread. Stir well.
  5. Combine the eggs and milk. Pour about half over the bread and stir.
  6. Snag a handful of moistened bread and squeeze. If droplets of liquid come out, you’ve added enough liquid. How dry the bread was to start and the type of bread used affects how much liquid you’ll need. If necessary, add more liquid until the bread is saturated enough to yield small drops when squeezed.
  7. Stir in the remaining teaspoon of poultry seasoning, of salt and of pepper. Smell the stuffing. It should have a strong herby and peppery scent. If not, you may want to taste the stuffing. My mom and I taste it raw but you can alternatively microwave a bit until heated through and then taste it. Add more seasoning as needed.
  8. Divide the stuffing among the muffin tins. They will be well-mounded.
  9. Bake until brown and crunchy on top and heated through, 30-40 minutes.
  10. Run a plastic knife around the edges of each muffin cup and then gently remove the portions of stuffing.

I usually make something similar to my mom’s basic stuffing recipe. But I sometimes switch it up by adding different ingredients and flavors. What do you love to add to your stuffing? Scroll down to the comment section and tell me and the other readers all about your delicious stuffing recipe.

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links meaning that if you click one and buy something I will earn a small percentage of the sale price. All opinions are my own.
This post originally appeared in November, 2013 and was revised and republished in November, 2018.
Best Stuffing Recipe and Tutorial (from my mom!)

42 responses to “Best Stuffing Recipe and Tutorial (from my mom!)”

  1. Lenora says:

    This recipe is similar to what I do, I also worked for many years as a professional Chef.  I hadn’t thought of proportioning the stuffing into a muffin tin and agree that this is a fantastic way to ensure that everyone gets the crispy outer with fluffy inside experience. Will try this suggestion for sure!
    I do some things slightly differently such as:
     I mix cream or milk & Turkey or Chicken Stock together for the liquid amount.
    Small dice some carrot and celery to add in for extra veggies and flavour.
    Sometimes when sautéing my onions I keep them on low until the natural sugars in the onions start to lightly brown them. This ia called caramelization and can add depth of flavour. (Caramelization doesn’t mean adding sugar!)

  2. Yamina says:

    This will be my first time making stuffing and I absolutely love this idea!  Thanks for sharing.  Unfortunately I’ve discovered I only have a 6-muffin tin.  I have many mini-muffin tins though.  So my question is if I did a small casserole dish along side the 6-muffin tin, how long would I cook it for?   Or would you use the mini muffin tins instead?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      I’ve never tried it in the mini muffin tins, Yamina. But baking half in a casserole dish for about an hour should work. Keep on eye on it so it doesn’t darken too much on top.
      Or, you could line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Grease it lightly or spray with cooking spray. Squish stuffing into muffin sized balls and put on the tray. You’ll have the correct portion size, just not the muffin shape. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Heather says:

    What’s the best type of bread to use for this? French bread? Or sandwich bread?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Heather, I tend to buy a loaf of unsliced white. Something like a Dutch Crunch or sourdough. Then I can cut it into the cubes that I like. If I buy sliced sandwich bread, then the cubes are necessarily smaller. However, I have used both many times and I don’t think I’ve detected a difference in the taste. I’ve also made it using a few different kinds of bread at once, using up the bits that I had, and that turned out well also.

  4. Annie says:

    Made these for Thanksgivingivg and everyone really liked them.  However, I never got the “droplets” of liquid as the instructions mentioned. I didn’t think the muffins texture turned out the way that they should have. Perhaps the bread I used prevented this. I used the thick sliced Sarah Lee Artesano bread. Is that too thick? Is sandwich slices thick enough? I’d like to make these again at some point but would also like for them to turn out the way they’re supposed too. :)

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Annie, was the stuffing moist? That’s really what you’re looking for. You need enough moisture in there that after it bakes, it isn’t dry. It’s true that some bread is more absorbent than others. That could be it.

  5. pat filson says:

    First of all I have to say that my mom was also a “baba” ! My youngest couldn’t say grandma, it came out baba so that what we called her.
    Back to the stuffing, I love your idea of putting it in muffin tins. great idea, I am going to do this next time . I add cooked wild rice mix to my stuffing. keeps it moist and the wild rice gives it a little different texture. I use Uncle Ben’s wildrice mix, makling it up according to the package, ending the cooking with a little more moisture liquid left in it. I have been doing this for last 15+ yrs and have gotten several to include it their own stuffing.

  6. Jenna says:

    can this be made ahead of time and then warmed before serving? Trying to conserve oven space on Thanksgiving day.

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Hi Jenna,
      Yes it can. I don’t think they’ll be crunchy on top but that’s ok. They’re still taste great. Do exactly what it says. While they’re still warm, use a plastic knife to loosen the stuffing from the cups. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Put on a big pan and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate. To heat, remove plastic wrap and put in a 350F oven until heated through, about 10 minutes. I bet you can microwave them too. You’re just heating them up after all. Let me know how they turn out and Happy Thanksgiving!!

  7. […] I was positive that her version, the original version, was better then the adaptations I’d accidentally made. I asked her to show me step-by-step what she did. The result is this Stuffing Tutorial that I posted here last year. […]

  8. Susan says:

    I stumbled across this recipe from last year. It is sooo similar to my mom’s. Only thing I do add is celery and a bit more butter. Today I stuffed the bird, made a side casserole and now some in muffin tins. If one of my sister isn’t able to be here, I freeze a serving. It makes a nice memory from out past. Only time I didn’t make the stuffing was 29yr ago today. My son Michael was born ! !
    Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Susan from Indiana where it is starting to snow..

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Susan, Thank you for the wonderful story. How kind to save a portion for your sisters. I love that idea. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. -Christine

  9. christa says:

    I make similar stuffing balls, using celery, carrots and onions. Cook them in a skillet prior to adding to the bread cubes. I use milk and chicken stock. I DO NOT use eggs. I use a large ice cream/cookie scoop and plop them on a cookie sheet. If you have leftovers pop a piece of cheddar cheese on top before heating in the microwave. I’ve also put a cheese cube in the middle of a few before baking per a family members request (they are typically her main meal)

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Christa, I’m in love with the cheese idea! My problem is that there is never enough stuffing leftover for my liking. I should make a double batch!

  10. Ray says:

    I usually add celery, coarsely chopped portobellow mushrooms, garlic and saute with the onions….. Add the garlic toward
    the end or it may turn bitter. So many advantages to the muffin cup format!

    • valerie says:

      In addition to the celery I add some chopped sweet green peppers. Another idea is stuffing pancakes and stuffing balls. I once saw them in a London grocery store frozen. For pancakes just make patties and gently pan fry with a little butter. I have even sprinkled just a dusting of flour before frying

      • Christine Pittman says:

        Valerie, I love love love the pancakes idea. That’s brilliant and so fun. Would you serve them at a holiday breakfast?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Ray, I love the idea of mushrooms in there. My brother isn’t a mushroom-lover and so they’ve never found their way into the stuffing. But next time I make a batch and he’s not around, I’ll definitely try it!

  11. […] The Best Stuffing Recipe and Tutorial by Cook the Story […]

  12. […] The Best Stuffing (with stuffing making tutorial) from Christine of Cook the Story […]

  13. […] the traditional recipes that I know were taught to me by my mom who learned them from her mom. Like this recipe for stuffing. It’s the recipe I watch my mom make every holiday season. I love that she makes it muffin […]

  14. Emily says:

    Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe! has featured it on our blog, Recipe Chatter. Feel free to check it out and share:

  15. Suzanne says:

    I finally got a chance to make this, it is fabulous! I added celery and garlic to the sauteeing onions
    And then added fresh dill and rosemary. I LOVE the crispy outside and soft in the middle . Definitely a keeper!!!!

  16. […] 11: Best Stuffing Recipe and Tutorial Number 10: Melted Mozzarella with Bacon and Roasted Peppers Number 9: How to Make […]

  17. Bill says:

    Hi Christine. Thank you so much for dropping by Southern Boy Dishes. I appreciate your leaving a comment and I’m glad you did so now I can return your visit. I used to make a stuffing in a muffin pan like this and I love having each serving be self-contained. This looks delicious and I might just have to try this recipe for Christmas. Hope you have great holidays and I’ll definitely be back to see what you’re cooking!

  18. Dawna says:

    My stuffing is similar but My Mom did onions and celery. I add chestnuts. and I like it fairly simple. Yes SEASON. I also like to take the dripping from my bird and put it in my stuffing that way it tastes like it was in my bird. I used to stuff tge bird (back before we knew it could make you sick) now I don’t risk it. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  19. Cindy says:

    I like to add Granny smith apples, mushrooms cooked in beer and butter, sliced almonds and cheese.

  20. […] The Best Stuffing Recipe and Tutorial by Cook the Story […]

  21. Love the muffin tin idea- plus it helps with portion control so you can have some of everything.

  22. Who needs meat after such a yummy stuffing? I would personally eat so much of this that I could be give up on meat :)

  23. Katie says:

    What an awesome way to make stuffing! We always just throw it into a casserole dish and bake it up!

  24. hima says:

    i love that you made these into individual servings! my husband is in charge of the stuffing and usually adds mushrooms and sausage. so good!

  25. Emily Wells says:

    This is almost identical to the recipe my great grandmother used (and now my mom and I use :)) The only difference is that we also sautee celery with the onion. And we don’t use milk–only chicken broth. It’s delicious!

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Emily, I often use chicken broth in mine instead of milk too. And I think I’m seen my mom do so. And I think her/I sometimes add other aromatic veggies if we have them. I really like celery in mine. I love that our ancestors made stuffing the same way. It really is something that has been passed down for generations!

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