This is the BEST Sage and Onion Stuffing recipe. It’s a classic and simple recipe with familiar flavors that are both comforting and hearty. You can even make it ahead of time and simply bake it on the big day!
about this sage and onion stuffing
Sage and onion stuffing is the unsung hero of any good meal! It’s such an easy side dish and is fantastic for making ahead of time, which is why it’s such a winner for Thanksgiving. The prep time is simple and you can even add a protein if you would like. But more on that later in the post…
This classic side dish is like a cozy hug, blending aromatic sage, savory onions, and those comforting bites of your favorite white bread. Honestly it’s no fancy frills with this recipe! It’s just a pure and simple good recipe that you can pair with any main entree like turkey, roasted chicken, pot roast, ham, and more.
Sage and onion stuffing is a traditional side dish and trust me when I say it’s the real deal. The flavor is perfect for Thanksgiving, Sunday supper, and Christmas. The combination of onion, celery, sage, and thyme is comforting and hearty, making it so much better than the box mixture.
is it stuffing or dressing?
There’s a big debate whether this recipe is called stuffing or dressing! The name “stuffing” came from actually stuffing the bread mixture into the cavity of the turkey. The juices from cooking would soak into the bread, giving it flavor and making it an easy side to pair with the turkey.
Of course, in my opinion, stuffing is MUCH better when baked in its own in a pan because you can get the top of the mixture nice and crunchy. This is why people started calling it “dressing” because it’s no longer really “stuffed” inside the bird.
I grew up calling it stuffing, so we call it stuffing in our house. If you feel really passionate about the debate, feel free to throw your opinions in the comments and debate away!
white bread. Use a rustic loaf of white bread like country white bread or French bread. You can also use white sandwich bread if you prefer!
butter. Unsalted butter is preferred to make sure the stuffing doesn’t come out too salty. If you do use salted butter, be sure to remove the salt asked for in the recipe below.
vegetables. You will need a combination of yellow or white onion and stalks of celery.
garlic. I love to use minced garlic and have a jar in my fridge at all times. It’s much easier than peeling the garlic and chopping it yourself!
herbs. Fresh sage and thyme leaves are preferred for this stuffing! You can also use dried ground sage and dried thyme. However, you will need to adjust the amount you use and I’ve noted this in the recipe instructions below.
broth. You will need low-sodium broth for the recipe. I like to use chicken or turkey broth, but you can also use vegetable broth to make the recipe vegetarian.
eggs. Use large eggs.
salt and pepper. Fine kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper is preferred for this recipe.
this recipe’s must haves
Finally, have a cake pan or other 9×13-inch baking pan ready for baking. You can also use a 3-quart baking dish, if you prefer.
here’s how to make sage and onion stuffing
dry out bread
Cut up the bread. You can dry out the bread in one of two ways. First is to let it sit on a sheet pan for 24 to 48 hours. If you are short on time, spread the bread cubes out on a rimmed sheet pan and bake in the oven for 325˚F to dry it out. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring the cubes every 5 minutes.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic, cooking until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in sage and thyme, cooking for another couple of minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together broth, eggs, salt and pepper.
Add the toasted bread cubes and onion mixture to a large bowl. Fold together to combine. Drizzle in the beaten egg mixture and fold until the bread is evenly moistened.
Transfer to a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread in an even layer and cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 25 minutes, covered, at 375˚F. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Note that if you are baking this from the refrigerator, you will need to add another 10 minutes to the total time.
Remove from oven and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
tips and tricks
use day-old bread. Don’t skip the toasting step! This will make sure that your bread is nice and dried out. However, you can also dry out the bread ahead of time. Make sure that you leave the cubes out to dry for at least 24 hours, but 48 hours is better. The drier the bread, the more liquid it will soak up and this means a more flavorful stuffing. I like the oven method, because it’s quick and I usually forget to make time to let it set out for at least 24 hours.
add sausage. Adding sausage meat to this stuffing is a great addition! I recommend using a 1/2-pound cooked ground Italian sausage (spicy or not).
use fresh or dried sage. Personally, I love the flavor of fresh sage. I know that dried sage is much stronger, but to me, nothing beats the flavor of fresh herbs. If you can’t get fresh sage, simply use dried ground sage and only use 1 teaspoon in the recipe.
Need more inspiration for a sweet treat? Check out my dessert recipes page!
should I use fresh or dried sage for this recipe?
I prefer to use fresh sage for this recipe, because I feel that it has the best flavor. You can also use dried ground sage, but you will need to use a lot less than the amount needed for the fresh herbs.
can I stuff the turkey with this stuffing?
If you like to stuff your turkey with stuffing, this is an easy one to use! You can put the raw stuffing into the cavity of the turkey to cook. Make sure that you check the stuffing with the meat thermometer, in addition to the turkey, to make sure that the stuffing reaches 165˚F.
Personally, I prefer to bake it in a baking dish as this is what gets you that nice buttery crust on top for some texture variation.
can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, this recipe is ideal for making ahead of time! You can do this is two different ways. First, you can prepare all of the ingredients in advance. Then assemble it in and cover with foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. On the day of, cook it while the turkey is finishing and resting.
Second, you can cook and bake the stuffing before the big day. Simply reheat the stuffing with a 1/4 cup broth poured on top in the oven at 350˚F for 20 minutes, or heated all the way through.
what is the best bread to use for stuffing?
Use real bread, not the bags of cubes you can buy! I like to use a rustic white bread loaf like French bread or country bread, but you can also use a good quality white sandwich loaf. You are looking for something that has the right balance of crust to center and that it will dry out well.
what kind of onion is good for stuffing?
I like to use a yellow onion because it’s a bit sweeter and I think the flavor complements the other ingredients well. However, you can also use white onion!
can I freeze sage and onion stuffing?
I do not recommend freezing this recipe, whether it is before baking or after baking. Freezing and then thawing the stuffing will completely throw off the texture of the dish. It will come out way too mushy, which isn’t what you want!
can I make this recipe vegetarian?
Yes, you can easily make this recipe vegetarian by using vegetable stock or vegetable broth.
can I make this recipe vegan?
Yes! You will need to use plant-based butter and vegetable stock to make this recipe vegan. In addition, you will need to omit the egg.
would it be ok to use gluten free bread for the bread?
Of course! I recommend using a gluten free bread with a nice crust to provide the best texture.
Need more inspiration for a sweet treat? Check out my dessert recipes page!
what to serve with classic stuffing
Classic stuffing is usually served with the Thanksgiving classics. We’re talking turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and more. Here’s my recipe for the ideal basic menu to add side dishes to!
Start off the evening with a sparkling Thanksgiving cocktail! With just 4 ingredients, it’s easy to whip up and can be made into a pitcher drink. If you need another cocktail, a cranberry orange moscow mule is simple and bubbly! Pair this with your favorite appetizers like baked camembert or roasted cranberry goat cheese crostini.
If you need a trick for quickly upgrading your desserts and pies, make cinnamon whipped cream!
how to store
Store. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cool to room temperature before placing in an airtight container and place in the fridge.
Reheat. Reheat portions on a microwave-safe plate in the microwave until warmed through, about 30 seconds or so. If you are reheating the whole thing, reheat it in the oven at 350˚F with some additional chicken stock until warmed through. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes.
Freeze. I do not recommend freezing leftover baked stuffing. I also do not recommend preparing it and freezing it before baking as the texture will be off and it will be really mushy.
more thanksgiving recipes
For all you bread lovers, pumpkin sage biscuits are flaky, buttery, and perfect.
Start off the meal with creamy roasted butternut squash soup with bacon croutons!
If you are looking for a rockstar dessert, this pecan pie cheesecake is one that I always make year after year!
Finally, if you make this sage and onion stuffing recipe, please be sure to give this recipe a rating and/or leave a comment! I love to hear when you all make recipes, and I do take the time to respond to every single comment.
Feel free to drop questions below too, if you have them!
Oh and be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make the recipe! I love being able to see these recipes come to life in your homes – it’s my favorite thing to look through those photos. It really means the world to me!
Sage and Onion Stuffing
- 1 lb loaf rustic white bread cut into 1-inch cubes (about 10 cups)
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 lb yellow onion about 2 medium onions, diced
- 3 large stalks celery diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves or 1 tsp dried ground sage
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or turkey/vegetable broth
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Dry out your bread by spreading out the cubes on a large sheet pan and leaving on the counter for 24 to 48 hours. If you are short on time, you can toast the bread cubes instead!
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spread bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
- Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Add butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter, then add onions, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in sage and thyme, cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together broth, eggs, salt, and pepper.
- Add bread cubes to a large bowl with the onion mixture. Fold to combine and incorporate the vegetables. Drizzle the mixture with the egg mixture. Fold until evenly moistened.
- Pour into the prepared baking dish. Spread in an even layer. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Note that if you are baking the stuffing from the refrigerator, you will need to add 10 minutes to the covered cook time. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.