Best Baked Bread Stuffing Recipe
Homemade Bread Stuffing with Pancetta & Prunes
How to Make a Sweet and Savory Thanksgiving Stuffing
This is seriously the best-ever baked bread stuffing recipe—featuring pancetta and prunes! Rich and savory, yet satisfyingly sweet. Soft and tender, but with a crispy top and edges. An irresistibly sweet-and-savory Christmas or Thanksgiving stuffing recipe that’s simple to make and sure to comfort!
I love a classic bread stuffing recipe, but sometimes the traditional recipes are disappointing. Personally, I like some taste and texture variety! I want my Thanksgiving stuffing to be tender but not soggy or mushy, with some crispiness intact. And, I want some flavors beyond just onion, celery, and holiday herbs.
I decided to elevate this homemade bread stuffing recipe by using several different breads and a few creative tweaks. Cooked pancetta adds a rich, salty depth to the dish, while dried fruits add a surprising sweet element in every savory bite. And, baking the dish uncovered for a few minutes at the end creates a satisfying crispiness on top. It’s a Thanksgiving dish guests are sure to remember!
What is bread stuffing made of?
A traditional bread stuffing recipe consists of bread cubes tossed with celery and onions sauteed in butter, some type of broth, and usually eggs as a binder. Most recipes also involve some fresh herbs for flavor and comfort. In this homemade stuffing recipe, I’ve stuck with the classic components, but also added in pancetta and prunes!
What is the best bread to use for stuffing?
Generally, the best bread to use for stuffing is something with a neutral flavor, a slight sweetness, low moisture, and small holes (not large holes). Most importantly, you want to use bread that’s somewhat stale or dried. In my bread stuffing recipe, I used a combination of white bread, whole wheat bread, and pumpernickel bread! Other tasty choices could include brioche, challah, or even bagels or cornbread.
How do you prepare bread for stuffing?
- Option 1: Use bread that’s already gone stale. Buy your bread(s) of choice a few days ahead of time, then let it sit out so it can dry out and stale.
- Option 2: Dry out fresh bread in the oven. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes, then toast it in the oven on low heat (225°F or 110°C) for about 40 minutes to dry it out. Allow to cool before preparing this Thanksgiving stuffing recipe.
How many slices of bread make a cup of cubes?
This bread stuffing recipe calls for 1 pound of bread cut into 1-inch cubes, which yields about 10 cups of bread cubes. It will depend on the size of your bread slices, but I was able to get 10 cups from 12-15 slices of various breads. (So, ~1½ slices of bread yielded ~1 cup of cubes.)
How to Make Homemade Bread Stuffing
- Chop bread into 1-inch cubes (and toast on low heat, if needed).
- Saute pancetta in butter for 8-10 minutes, until crisp. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Saute onions, celery, and garlic in butter for 8-10 minutes, until tender. Add chopped prunes and herbs to cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Add sauteed veggies into bowl with pancetta. Add bread cubes and seasonings, tossing to coat. Stir in broth, followed by whisked eggs
- Transfer stuffing mixture to a 13×9-inch casserole dish and cover with foil.
- Bake at 350°F (180°C) for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes to crisp on top.
Should stuffing be cooked covered or uncovered?
Generally, bread stuffing should be covered with foil for most of the time that it bakes (~30 minutes), until it’s heated through. But, I recommend uncovering your stuffing at the end and letting it bake for 10-15 more minutes to crisp up the edges and top. You’ll end up with a deliciously tender stuffing inside, but satisfyingly crispy edges on the outside!
Download this and loads of other festive recipes in my FREE 12 Days of Dried Fruit Holiday eBook!
Best Bread Stuffing Recipe
- 1 pound day-old bread (or fresh bread, toasted), chopped, (455g)
- ½ cup butter, (110g)
- 8 oz pancetta, diced, (225g)
- 1½ cups yellow onion chopped, (240g)
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ cup Sunsweet® Amaz!n™ Prunes, chopped, (3oz or 80g)
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped, (15g)
- 1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, (475mL)
- 2 eggs, whisked
- Chop day-old bread into 1-inch pieces, so you have around 10 cups.
- Option: If using fresh bread, chop and then toast on low heat (225°F or 110°C) for 40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp butter. Add pancetta and sauté until crisp and golden, around 8-10 minutes. Transfer pancetta to a large mixing bowl.
- In the same skillet, melt remaining butter. Add onions, celery, and garlic. Sauté until tender, around 8-10 minutes.
- Stir in chopped prunes and fresh herbs, cooking for another 1-2 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to bowl with pancetta. Add chopped bread, salt, and pepper, tossing to coat.
- Add broth to moisten. Whisk eggs, then mix into stuffing mixture.
- Transfer to a greased 13×9-inch casserole dish or glass baking dish.
- Cover with foil. Bake around 30 minutes, until heated through. Uncover and bake until top is crisp and golden, around 10-15 minutes more.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
- To store, cover dish with a lid or foil, or transfer stuffing to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.