Mom’s Turkey Stuffing

Side DishHolidayStuffingTurkey

BEST Turkey Stuffing EVER! Classic Thanksgiving turkey stuffing recipe made with French bread cubes toasted in butter, walnuts, onion, celery, apple, green olives, and stock made from turkey giblets.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

This is my grandmother’s recipe, which my mother has been using to make our Thanksgiving turkey stuffing for more than 40 years.

I’ve never tasted any turkey stuffing that has come close to as good as mom’s.

Although years ago we used to stuff the bird, these days we cook the stuffing separately. It is much easier to get an even cooking of the turkey (and safer too) if you do not stuff it.

To infuse the stuffing with turkey flavor we simmer the giblets for an hour, and use that stock in the stuffing.

Turkey Stuffing

Mom’s Turkey Stuffing Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 8-10


  • 1 loaf of day old French bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 10-12 cups)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups each, chopped onion and celery
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored, chopped
  • 3/4 cup of currants or raisins
  • Several (5 to 10) chopped green olives (martini olives, the ones with the pimento)
  • Stock from the turkey giblets (2 cup to 3 cups) (can substitute chicken stock)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or ground sage (to taste)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)


1 Simmer turkey giblets for stock (use chicken stock if you don't have giblets): If you haven't already made the stock, take the turkey giblets–heart and gizzard–and neck if you want, and put them in a small saucepan, cover with water and add a little salt.

Bring to a simmer; simmer for about an hour, uncovered. Strain the stock into a container for use with the stuffing. Alternatively, you can use chicken stock or just plain water with this recipe.

2 Prepare the walnuts: Place the walnuts in a small saucepan, add enough water to cover them by an inch, and bring them to a boil. Boil them for 3 to 4 minutes. This will remove some of the tannins from the walnut skins. (The tannins can be bitter and also cause the stuffing to turn a dark color.)

Let the walnuts dry, then toast them by heating them in a frying pan on medium high heat for a few minutes, stirring until they are slightly browned (not burned) OR put them in the microwave on high until you can smell the aroma of them toasting, about a minute or two.

Let the toasted walnuts cool while you are toasting the bread, then roughly chop them.

3 Toast cubed bread: Heat a large sauté pan on medium heat. Melt 3 Tbsp butter in the pan, add the bread cubes, and stir to coat the bread pieces with the melted butter.

Then let them toast; only turn them when they have become a little browned on a side.

Note, if you aren't working with somewhat dried-out day-old bread, lay the cubes of bread in a baking pan and put them in a hot oven for 10 minutes to dry them out first, before toasting them in butter on the stove top. The bread should be a little dry to begin with, or you'll end up with mushy stuffing.

4 Sauté onions and celery: In a large Dutch oven, sauté chopped onions and celery on medium high heat with the remaining 3 Tbsp butter until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.

5 Add the bread. Add cooked chopped walnuts. Add chopped green apple, currants, raisins, olives, parsley. Add one cup of the stock from cooking the turkey giblets or chicken stock (enough to keep the stuffing moist while you are cooking it). Add sage, poultry seasoning, salt & pepper.

6 Cook on low heat: Cover. Turn heat to low. Cook for an hour or until the apples are cooked through. Check every 15 or 20 minutes or so and add water or stock as needed while cooking to keep the stuffing moist and keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

You'll likely need to add at least one more cup of stock or water, if not two. The stuffing should not be crispy or crunchy, but softened, as it would be if it had been cooked entirely inside the turkey.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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140 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Kbowry

    It was a huge hit. Best stuffing I ever made. My son has peanut/tree nut allergies so I swapped out the walnuts for pine nuts.


  2. Claude

    Just so everyone knows…………………….This CAN be cooked in the turkey. I have used this recipe, or a very close variation, the last 4 years. Each year I have stuffed the bird with it and cooked some on the side. Every one of my family and guests agrees every year that the stuffing cooked inside the bird tastes better. It always goes first. No “safety” issues, although I understand in our ultra litigious society why this needs to be mentioned. Enjoy!

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  3. Elmer

    This will be my second time making this it was such a tastey hit last time. I mixed all ingredients till number 6 and added them to the turkey then into the oven. No stovetop cooking if you are adding it in the turkey.

  4. Cynthia

    At which point in your recipe
    Do I stuff the bird?
    Please advise

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Gena Grelis

    Can I make the stuffing the night before and then cook the next day? I am trying to spread preparation out over tonight and Thanksgiving Day tomorrow to avoid ignoring my guests.

    Show Replies (1)
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