This easy stuffing recipe (fall harvest) is a delicious savory bread pudding prepared with a bounty of fall flavors. Also, with a baking time of just 30 minutes, this prep-ahead recipe is a keeper!
Granny Smith Apples and Acorn Squash lead the way in this easy stuffing recipe. Plus, the addition of dates and nuts, along with all of the classic stuffing ingredients, always wow all my holiday guests.
These unusual ingredients make this stuffing a delightful side for all of your other holiday recipes, like easy-no-fuss-thanksgiving-turkey, quick turkey gravy, perfect creamy mashed potatoes, and green beans almondine.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Easy recipe - While this recipe has a long list of ingredients, there are only a handful of steps to follow to cook it.
- Delicious - This recipe is almost too indulgent to be termed stuffing or dressing. I prefer to think of it as a savory bread pudding infused with fall flavors.
- Can be prepped ahead of time - Prep the stuffing and keep it warm in your oven or the warmer. This will ultimately give you extra time to work on the rest of your meal.
- Versatile recipe - This recipe is easy to adapt to assorted dietary needs and personal tastes. Examples are given in the substitutions and variations section below.
- Bread - I like to use dense and crusty bread for this recipe. This gives it a crusty exterior and a soft pudding-like center. Some suggestions are French, Italian, or sourdough.
- Broth - I make my own broth and freeze it for all my holiday cooking, but storebought is also okay. This helps add some moisture to the stuffing.
- Butter - I use Kerrygold for all my holiday recipes. Because it has a higher fat content than regular butter, it delivers loads of flavor to the entire meal.
- Eggs - The eggs help in two ways. One is to bind the mixture, and the other is to give the stuffing its custard-like texture.
- Produce - Some seasonal acorn squash and granny smith apples add a fall twist to this easy stuffing recipe.
- Herbs - Fresh sage, rosemary, and parsley are my favorite aromatic combinations to add to a recipe.
- Dry fruit - Buttery pine nuts and caramel-like dates add a depth of flavor and texture to this easy stuffing recipe.
- Seasoning - Because the bread stuffing has so many different flavors, all it needs is a little salt and pepper. Always make sure to adjust the salt depending on the amount of sodium your stock has.
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for a complete list of ingredients, measurements, and instructions.
Substitutions & variations
- Use dried herbs - To simplify this stuffing recipe, you can use a mix of dried herbs you already have in your pantry.
- Use poultry seasoning - Use poultry seasoning, which usually contains ingredients such as thyme, sage, black pepper, marjoram, rosemary, and nutmeg. This way, you'll need to purchase just one ingredient.
- Make it vegetarian - Use vegetable stock, your favorite liquid egg substitute, and coconut or avocado oil for a vegetarian version of the easy stuffing recipe.
- Make it gluten-free - Use gluten-free bread to meet any dietary restrictions your guests may have.
- A seafood version - Substitute the fall ingredients with some seafood for a delicious variation of the dressing to switch things up.
- Serve this with other meats - Once in a while, I love to make and serve this stuffing as a side for my chicken steam roast or my beef roast-with-tandoori-masala.
- Bake it in a sheet pan - If you like the stuffing a little crispier, spread it on a sheet pan and bake it.
First - melt the butter and saute all the fruit and vegetables in it till they're slightly tender.
Second - Once everything is slightly wilted and translucent, set the mixture aside to cool down to room temperature.
Last - Add this mixture, along with all the other ingredients, to a greased casserole dish. Make sure to stir enough to mix, and then bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Ultimately, the outside should be crusty and the center soft and custardy but cooked through.
- The bread-to-vegetable ratio - A 2:1 ratio tends to work best for the taste and texture of this easy stuffing recipe. However, you can adjust this to personal preference.
- The stuffing texture - If you want your stuffing to be more set and firm, add more eggs. On the other hand, if you want it softer, add a bit of extra broth.
- Make sure to cool the vegetables - Always do this before mixing them with the bread. This will ensure that the stuffing has the perfect texture and doesn't get soggy.
- It's always better to use fresh herbs - Fresh herbs add a more authentic and delicate flavor. This, along with a vibrant green color, is why I love to add them to my stuffing.
- Always use stale bread - For best results, I always try and use stale bread. In order to do this, either leave the bread on the kitchen counter for two days. Or, if you're short of time, bake the bread in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. But please don't skip this important step.
- Cook the stuffing outside the meat - Cooking the stuffing outside the bird is always a better idea. It always helps the meat cook faster and more evenly. This is because it helps the heat circulate more efficiently, resulting in faster cooking.
This famous side is called stuffing when it's cooked inside the cavity of a Turkey. If it's baked as a casserole in the oven, it's termed dressing, and in the Northeast, an oyster version of it is sometimes called filling.
Place your cooked stuffing in an uncovered oven-proof dish in a warming drawer till you're ready to serve it. Or, if you have space in your oven, place the stuffing at 200 degrees Fahrenheit till it's time to serve it.
Leftover stuffing can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days and frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat your leftovers at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes in the oven. If needed, add some broth to prevent the stuffing from drying out; if frozen, place the stuffing as it is in the oven.
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I hope you decide to try this recipe! Please don't forget to leave a rating and comment below! If you take a picture, then tag me on Instagram! Thank You!
Easy Stuffing Recipe (Fall Harvest)
- 8 cups stale bread (see notes)
- ½ cup yellow onion
- 1 cup acorn squash
- 1 cup granny smith apple
- ½ cup green onions
- 1 stick butter
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp rosemary (see notes
- 1 tsp thyme (see notes)
- 1 tsp parsley (see notes)
- 2 egg
- ¼ cup dates
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 2 cups broth (see notes)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a baking dish.
- Chop the onion, celery, squash, green apple and green onions.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and saute all of the above for 5 minutes until they're slightly wilted and you can smell the ingredients' aroma. Set the mixture aside to cool (see notes).
- Roughly tear your bread into pieces and toss with the salt, pepper, and herbs.
- Beat the eggs and add them to the bread mixture, stirring to mix well.
- Add the dates, pine nuts and broth and mix.
- Add the cooled mixture of fruit and vegetables and stir just to mix.
- Put everything in your greased baking dish and cook the stuffing uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes.