My Mother-in-Law’s Legendary Stuffing

published Nov 16, 2023
My Mother-in-Law's Sausage and Herb Stuffing Recipe

This bread stuffing recipe is made with crusty bread and sage sausage and seasoned with poultry seasoning is timeless for good reason.


Prep30 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes

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Overhead view of stuffing in a white baking dish with a scoop taken out of the bottom right corner.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Julia Choi-Rodriguez

Leading up to the first Thanksgiving I spent with my now-husband at his childhood home, he only talked about one thing — his mom’s legendary stuffing. The stuffing dates back to his grandfather, who would make it every year before his mom took over the duty. He waxed poetic about how it was always the first thing to go among the many dishes and that the entire family looked forward to it the most. 

So, this stuffing carried high expectations. And after my first bite, I understood. This recipe is not all that different from typical Thanksgiving stuffing recipes. It’s just a really good sausage and herb stuffing. So whether you prefer a classic herby stuffing or a shortcut version, my recipe is the one you’ll keep coming back to year after year.

How I Make My Version of Mother-In-Law’s Stuffing

Marrying into the family meant marrying this stuffing. Seeing as how I grew up on Stovetop stuffing, I had no qualms about that. However, since I develop recipes for a living, I also couldn’t help but make a couple of tiny tweaks to the recipe my mother-in-law scribbled down for me in anticipation of hosting my first Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. Of course, the goal wasn’t to dress it up, but to fine tune it in my own way. 

So, I replaced the packaged bread cubes with cubes from a fresh loaf of bread that I let dry out overnight. For seasoning, I reached into my pantry for the only poultry seasoning that matters given my New England roots: Bell’s. This salt-free blend of dried rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme, and pepper was invented in Boston over 150 years ago and is sold in a decidedly retro cardboard box with the image of a turkey stamped on it. While any poultry seasoning can be used, if you can find Bell’s, I do think it tastes more of the holiday than any others I’ve tried.

My Mother-in-Law's Sausage and Herb Stuffing Recipe

This bread stuffing recipe is made with crusty bread and sage sausage and seasoned with poultry seasoning is timeless for good reason.

Prep time 30 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


  • 1 (about 1-pound) loaf

    crusty bread, such as Italian or sourdough

  • 2

    medium yellow onions

  • 3

    medium stalks celery

  • 1 pound

    uncooked sage pork sausage

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can

    low-sodium chicken broth (scant 2 cups)

  • 2 teaspoons

    salt-free poultry seasoning, preferably Bell’s

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1

    large egg


  1. Cut 1 loaf crusty bread into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes (about 10 cups). Place in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Let sit out overnight at room temperature to dry out.

  2. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. Meanwhile, coat a 9x13-inch or 3-quart baking dish with butter.

  3. Dice 2 medium yellow onions (about 3 cups) and 3 medium celery stalks (about 1 cup). Remove the casings from 1 pound uncooked sage pork sausage, if needed.

  4. Melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and sausage. Cook, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are softened and the sausage is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

  5. Add the bread cubes and 1 (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth to the bowl. Toss to combine and to evenly moisten the bread. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt-free poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to coat.

  6. Whisk 1 large egg in a small bowl, add to the bread mixture, and toss to combine. Transfer the stuffing to the baking dish. Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until warmed through and the top is golden brown, about 25 minutes more.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The stuffing can be completely assembled, covered tightly with aluminum foil, and refrigerated overnight. When ready to bake, let the baking dish sit out at room temperature while the oven heats. Bake for the same amount of time.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.