Our family favorite from my mom – Pat Hillen – I’ve made a few tweaks over the years.
Large Crowd Recipe: Makes 2 large (approx. 13″ x 9″ pans) and 2 smaller (2 qt and 1 qt) casseroles. Enough for 30 people with plenty of leftovers
Smaller Crowd Recipe: Makes enough for 2-quart baking dish. Enough for 6 people (depending upon serving size)
Thanksgiving Stuffing For Your Crowd
This is our family favorite classic bread stuffing! It has toasted bread cubes, onion, celery, fresh herbs and savory sausage.Print Pin Rate
Servings: 6 to 30 people
Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe for Large Crowd - 30 people
- 7 loaves Pepperidge Farm white sandwich bread (or similar dense white bread)
- 1 pound pork sausage (comes in the tube shaped package, Jimmy Dean or Bob Evans are examples)
- 1 pound sage flavored pork sausage
- 7 cups celery chopped fine
- 7 cups sweet onion chopped fine
- 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter (plus additional for buttering dishes)
- 2-4 teaspoons salt (start with 2 and adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup minced fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 3 teaspoons dry ground poultry seasoning
- 79 ounces low-sodium chicken broth (I used a 64 oz. can and a 15 oz. box)
Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe For a Smaller Crowd - 6 people
- 18 slices Pepperidge Farm white sandwich bread or similar dense white bread
- 1/2 pound sage sausage (from bulk 1 pound roll)
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced onion
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning or dry rubbed sage
- I usually make the stuffing the day before and refrigerate overnight.
- I set up a toasting station on the counter by my sink, so I can wipe all the crumbs into the sink. You’ll need a toaster or countertop oven, (or both to save time!) a large cutting board, bread knife and several large mixing bowls.
- Start by trimming the crust from the bread. Just the very outside bit of it – don’t want to waste too much bread. (Could also freeze the crusts for breadcrumbs.) Toast the bread on medium. You want it golden brown and toasty flavored. Cut the bread into 1” squares and add to mixing bowls. Continue until all toasted. I usually enlist some helpers for this process. Why toast? It’s worth it - the toasting adds flavor and texture.
- I use my two largest/deepest skillets for the browning and sautéing. I think any large pots, pans will work. I divide the sausage, half of each flavor and brown that first, breaking it up into small pieces. If very oily, drain off. I remove the sausage to a bowl, but keep the browned bits in the pan to add flavor.
- Next divide up the celery and onion between the pans and start softening. Divide up and add the butter, pepper and herbs. I start with 1-teaspoon salt in each pan and adjust later.
- Continue to soften the vegetables for a few minutes, then stir in some broth. I’d say I add 64-ounces to the pans (or as much as will safely fit, remember you’ll need to lift the pan so don’t fill too high.) Save the remaining broth to add as needed. You can warm the remaining in a saucepan. (If I’m making the day before I don’t worry about heating the extra broth – just pour from the can/box.)
- Give the vegetable/broth mixture a taste and adjust salt. It should be very flavorful because you’ll be mixing it with a lot of plain toasted bread and it’s almost impossible to add salt evenly later. Pour the mixture, trying to divide evenly over the bread in the mixing bowls.
- Add the cooked sausage back in now, dividing evenly. The toast will condense with the liquid and you can start combining the bowls so the flavors will all be even. Fold gently to mix. Check the texture. It should be moistened all the way through, but not wet. Add the remaining broth as needed.
- Butter your baking dishes liberally and spoon in your stuffing mixture. Arrange in pan, but don’t press it down. You don’t want to compress it. Cover and refrigerate or pop in the oven to bake.
- Bake at 350 degrees (or close to it, if you have to compromise on the temperature with other sides dishes in the oven).
- The baking time can vary greatly depending on how hot or chilled the mixture is and if you’re heating multiple dishes (as we always are!) I cover for about half the bake time to keep it moist, and then remove the foil so the top gets that more crunchy texture on the edges.
- With a big crowd and a buffet, you can stagger the baking: put one of the pans in earlier for the first round, then put one of the pans in later for the second round. We always serve buffet style and use chafing dishes or electric warming trays, so it works well with keeping the first batch warm while pulling together all the other sides.
As a General Baking Guide, I’d start with:
- If baking right after assembling – all will be warm to start: 350 - 20 minutes covered, 20 minutes uncovered.
- If baking from refrigerated – all will be cold to start: 350 – 45 minutes covered, 20 minutes uncovered.
- Sometimes I’ll check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer – I think the USDA says casseroles should be 165 degrees.
Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe For a Smaller Crowd:
- Toast the bread. Cut crust from toasted bread and cut into 1” squares - place in large heat-proof bowl.
- Brown sausage and break up into small pieces.
- Add celery, onion and butter and sauté until softened.
- Add broth, salt, pepper, thyme and sage.
- Bring to simmer, pour over bread and stir gently to mix.
- Adjust seasonings and broth for desired taste and moisture.
- Butter a 2 quart baking dish and add stuffing mixture.
- If starting hot - Bake covered with foil 350 for 10, uncovered for 10. If assembling ahead and baking from cold - will take at least 30 covered, 10 uncovered.
Tried this recipe?Share it! Tag @epicuricloud - Please Leave A Comment & Rating Below! TY!
Tina: Please don’t make fun of me, but I really do envy you (in a good way – ha!!). I really haven’t done much entertaining (scared to death of it!), and I’ve made some dishes that came out great, but I’ve had a lot of flops!!!! But I love the different types of recipes you offer and you just make them sound so simple like anyone can do it!!! I love that you are also showing your recipes on the sides of the screen and I have easy access to get your others. I appreciate your sending me your emails (I don’t do facebook or twitter) and since I am a diabetic II, I feel I can ‘play around’ a little with the Stevia I have to sub for sugar (I know it’s trial and error), so I can make your recipes for my family. I enjoy seeing you on QVC to see what other new recipes and equipment you bring on the show. Thank you, Tina, for your love of cooking/baking and the easy way you explain your recipes to people along with your helpful hints about what to do and not do; what to use and not use, making all your recipes easy to follow. I know I’m saying thank you a lot, but I did want to also thank you for always being kind enough to answer ‘what ever question I have’ at the moment, and it’s so easy to get in touch with you……..you ALWAYS follow-up with your answers and comments (and I know you have a very busy life!). Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a Blessed Christmas to you and your family and friends. Debra/Jacksonville
Hi Debra! What nice comments! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me! So glad that you are enjoying the recipes and demonstrations! We all learn from our flops! I have my share when rushing, trying a new technique or when testing recipes, but I try to learn from them! Feel free to reach out – happy to help with any questions!! All the best to you and yours for a special holiday season!
I’m actually making this stuffing for this weekend… I want to do a trial run before Thanksgiving day. I have never had success with stuffing in the past .. always too soggy! But in the recipe for stuffing for the smaller crowd do you use the two different types of sausages for that? And I’m open to any suggestions on how to avoid soggy stuffing! Thank you!
Hi Mary! Stuffing is my favorite! I like it moist with crusty edges! You can totally adjust the moisture content by holding back or adding more broth depending upon how you like it. If I were you I’d just add part of the broth, then add more little-by-little to get the texture you like. As far as the sausage, I didn’t want people to have to buy 2 different types of sausage only to use a little of each. You can certainly do that if you want to, but for me I’d just add the sage variety. (it’s great either way – some years, I can’t find the sage kind.) Feel free to email me with any last minute questions! (The “contact” tab at the top of the website will send me an email.)
Can you do this recipe without the sausage?
You can go without sausage for sure. Enjoy!
Carol A Gildehaus
Can this be baked in a large turkey roaster with removable pan?
Hi Carol – As long as the pan is enclosed such as a baking pan – I think so! As long as I am picturing what you are saying correctly.