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My Great-Grandmother’s Stuffing Recipe

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10 slices oatmeal bread
2 Haralson or Winesap apples, chopped
8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled
1 cup broken pecans, toasted
1 cup raisins
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup butter, melted, divided use
1 cup chicken stock, divided use

My Great-Grandmother’s Stuffing Recipe

The best Thanksgiving stuffing recipe comes from my great-grandmother. It is perfection.

  • 75
  • Serves 8
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Yes, I know that there are tons of stuffing recipes for Thanksgiving out there. Yes, I know you probably have your own favorite stuffing recipe. But My Great-Grandmother’s Stuffing Recipe is better than all of the others.

How do I know? Because every single person who has tasted this stuffing loves it and uses it every year. The recipe is deceptively simple, but has so much flavor.

Most stuffing recipes use some type of meat, especially sausage, which I think is redundant. The original recipe did not have meat, but I added some bacon because it is really delicious with the apples and raisins. And I added some pecans for crunch. If you want to taste the original dressing, just leave out the bacon and pecans.

Did I say apples and raisins? Yes. This stuffing is sweet. And it’s perfect with juicy turkey and salty and creamy gravy. Oh – and about the bread. Oatmeal bread is the best because it has texture and flavor but isn’t too heavy. Stuffing should never be heavy. Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal Bread is the brand I prefer.

Caveat: The original recipe did not use pecans or bacon. You can omit those for the pure version, but I think they really do make this perfect recipe even more perfect. And I don’t care how unreasonable that sounds.

So try this recipe this year. I promise you’ll become a convert.

Tips for the best My Great-Grandmother’s Stuffing Recipe:

  • The bread should be dry but not hard. You should be able to crumble it easily with your fingers. You can use other types of bread, but choose one that is relatively simple. Really dense breads or breads with lots of whole grains will be too tough and overwhelming.
  • When I say “toss the ingredients” that’s what I mean. Don’t stir with a spoon or the dressing will pack down. Use your hands.
  • Do not pack the stuffing into the bird. This is very important, not only for texture but food safety. It’s hard enough getting the center of the stuffing heated to a safe temperature, but if the stuffing is really hard it may never get hot enough.
  • Be sure to cook the stuffing and/or dressing to 165°F (test it with your food thermometer – you do have one, don’t you?) for food safety reasons.

Why My Great-Grandmother’s Stuffing Recipe works:

  • The addition of apple and raisins adds moisture to the stuffing so it’s never dry. Those items also add a touch of sweetness that is unique to most turkey stuffings.
  • There’s no seasoning in this stuffing aside from salt and pepper. You could certainly add some dried thyme, basil, or marjoram, but the ingredients stand out better if there is no distracting herb.
  • The sweetness of the dressing is mitigated by the savory turkey for the perfect combination.

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Start the night before. Place the bread on a wire rack and let stand, uncovered, overnight.


When you're ready to stuff the turkey, cube the bread. Combine all of the ingredients except the butter and chicken stock in a large bowl and toss with your hands.


Drizzle 1/4 cup of the melted butter and 1/3 cup of the chicken stock over the mixture and toss. The dressing should be moist but not wet.


Loosely stuff the cavity and neck of the turkey. This is a good amount to stuff a 12 to 14 pound turkey. Do not press down on the stuffing or it will be hard.


Roast the turkey until a thermometer inserted into the center of the stuffing reads 165°F. Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes, then remove the stuffing and carve the turkey. Never leave stuffing in the turkey for food safety reasons.


You can also bake the stuffing in a casserole, in which case it's called "dressing". Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or 325 for 1 hour and 20 minutes; add some of the rest of the chicken stock and butter twice during cooking time. Don't stir the stuffing.


Or you can cook it in a crockpot. Cook for 8 to 10 hours or until a thermometer reads 165°F. Again, add the remaining chicken stock and butter a few times while the stuffing/dressing cooks.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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