Back in the day, when Thanksgiving rolled around I’d pick up these products at the last minute… Stove Top stuffing, boxed potatoes, and canned cranberry sauce. Can you relate?
I’ve since learned that although the holidays are a busy time, it’s well worth my time to make dishes from scratch with simple recipes that allow me to control the ingredients that I’m putting into my own body and also feeding my family.
I don’t have endless hours available to cook in the kitchen–and I’m sure you don’t either–so that’s why I created this knockoff version of easy Stove Top stuffing. It’s simple enough for anyone to make and frees up your oven for other dishes like the turkey and sweet potatoes!
Before I show you how to make stuffing on your stove top, let me show you exactly why I never buy Kraft’s version anymore:
Kraft’s Stove Top Stuffing isn’t worth the convenience because it’s packed with ingredients that can be detrimental to your health:
HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP: This heavily processed sweetener made from GMO cornstarch that contains more fructose than regular corn syrup. Studies have shown it increases appetite and the risk of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia. (1)
HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN: Used as a replacement for MSG. This ingredient is an excitotoxin that overstimulates the neuron receptors in your brain and excites your tastebuds. It can greatly influence how much you eat…encouraging you to eat food that’s unhealthy for you, which ultimately will affect your waistline and health. (2)
NATURAL FLAVOR: Similar to MSG, this ingredient is created in a laboratory from dozens of substances that are designed to make processed food taste irresistible. (3)
INTERESTERIFIED SOYBEAN OIL: A heavily processed form of soybean oil that’s engineered to replace partially hydrogenated oil. The FDA banned partially hydrogenated oils since they are full of trans fat that is bad for the heart, but some research indicates that interesterified oils can be just as bad. (4) This unhealthy oil has been shown to promote weight gain, impair glucose tolerance and increase liver cellular stress markers in the body. (5)
BHT: Risky preservative linked to cancer. It’s easily replaceable with safer preservatives and not permitted for use in many other countries. (6)
BHA: Another risky preservative linked to cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies BHA as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” (7)
Serving my loved ones dishes full of processed ingredients like this feels like saying: “I give thanks to you – here’s to having a shorter disease filled life!”
Thankfully, you can make delicious stuffing on the stove top with real food! My “Stove Top” stuffing recipe is made with basic ingredients that you can find in any grocery store–bread, butter, broth, and spices.
Choosing the best ingredients for this recipe is key.
You can make this stuffing recipe with conventional bread, factory-farmed butter, and boxed chicken broth full of sugar and flavors… but then it won’t be much better than the boxed Kraft version.
Let’s talk about how to choose the main ingredients…
The main ingredient in stuffing is the bread, so you’ve got to choose this carefully. Most commercially baked breads come with a crazy ingredient list full of dough conditioners, preservatives, and sugar. Assuming you don’t want to bake your own bread, your best bet is to choose an organic loaf of crusty french bread from a natural foods bakery.
The ingredient list should be simple and free from unhealthy oils (canola, soybean), sugar, and dough conditioners like DATEM. Ideally, look for a bread made with organic whole wheat or organic sprouted grains instead of a bread made with “Bleached Wheat Flour” or “Enriched Wheat”.
If using an organic sourdough bread, make sure it’s on the mild side so it doesn’t overpower the stuffing. Feel free to mix sourdough bread and whole wheat or sprouted grain to give the stuffing more texture and improve the nutrition. Have fun with the bread combinations!
You can easily make this stuffing recipe gluten-free by choosing your favorite crusty gluten-free bread and proceeding with the recipe as written. Again, don’t forget to check the ingredient list for crazy additives!
Conventional butter is raised on GMO feed in a factory farm. Whatever the cows are eating… pesticides, antibiotics, etc, can end up in their milk too. That’s why I like to choose grass-fed and organic butter whenever I have the choice. Some good brands include Organic Valley, Vital Farms, and Kerrygold.
You can use organic turkey or chicken broth to make this recipe. However – many containers of pre-made broth contain added flavors, hidden MSG flavor enhancers (such as yeast extract) and added sugar – even some organic versions! So make sure to read the ingredients carefully on your broth, or make your own.
Here are some good brands:
- Bonafide Provisions Organic Turkey Bone Broth
- Bare Bones Organic Turkey Bone Broth
- Bare Bones Organic Chicken Bone Broth
- Thrive Market Organic Chicken Bone Broth
- Kettle & Fire Classic Chicken Bone Broth
The most economical option is to make your own chicken broth, which is actually super inexpensive and easy to do. I explain how to make your own chicken or vegetable broth here. (You could do this with turkey too!)
How to make Stove Top Stuffing without the box:
First you’ll cut your bread into cubes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you carefully cut the bread and spread it out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake the cubed bread for 10 to 15 minutes until it’s lightly toasted. This step can be done in advance and stored in an airtight container until needed. The drier the bread the better!
Grab a large pot (big enough to fit all the bread cubes later) and melt 4 tablespoons of grass-fed butter over medium high heat. Add your chopped onion, celery, and garlic and cook it all together for about 5 minutes to soften.
Stir in your spices and fresh parsley.
Carefully add your toasted bread to the pot and give it all a good stir to combine.
Slowly pour two cups of turkey or chicken broth over the bread crumbs and stir once again. Put a lid on the pot and remove it from the heat.
Allow the stuffing to sit with the lid on for about 8 to 10 minutes until the bread cubes have softened. If you find the stuffing is too crunchy for your liking, simply add more hot broth in ¼ cup increments until you reach your desired consistency. If you want the stuffing to have a crunchy top, place in a baking dish and pop it in the oven set to broil. Broil until desired crispiness, but keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
You can also make the old-school oven baked version.
Simply mix in 2 eggs after you have stirred in the broth and place the stuffing in a baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes. Feel free to prep the baked stuffing version the day before. Keep it covered in the refrigerator and bake the next day.
Free up your time on Thanksgiving by making this recipe the day before.
If you make it ahead of time, simply store the prepared stuffing in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, place in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 20 minutes. The stuffing will be nice and warm and have a delicious crispy top.
- 6 cups cubed bread (crusty French, sprouted grain, or mild sourdough)
- 4 tablespoons grass-fed butter
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- ½ teaspoon ground thyme
- ¼ teaspoon ground sage
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups chicken or turkey broth
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cubed bread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly toasted, checking after 10 minutes to make sure the bread does not burn. Let cool to continue to dry out further.
- Heat the butter in a pot over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook for 4 to 5 minutes to soften.
- Add the parsley and spices and stir to combine.
- Add the toasted bread and mix until well coated.
- Slowly pour in the chicken broth and stir until fully combined. Cover the pot and remove it from the heat. Let sit for 8 to 10 minutes before serving.
Step 1 can be done in advance and stored in an airtight container until needed. The drier the bread the better.
If you find the stuffing is too crunchy for your liking after it has sat for 10 minutes, then simply add more hot chicken broth, in ¼ cup increments until you reach your desired consistency.
Making stove top stuffing from scratch may seem like more work at first, but small changes like this will have a dramatic effect on your health over time. It’s worth the effort… I promise!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
P.S. Know anyone who might still be picking up boxes of Kraft Stove Top Stuffing for Thanksgiving? Please share this recipe with them!