The Basics: How to Make Apple and Sage Stuffing

From the store to the kitchen to the table: We outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to your dinner tonight, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It’s a method you’ll remember and whip out whenever you like. It is the most basic way to make the thing you’re making.

  • - a three-quart baking dish
  • - a large heatproof bowl
  • - a large frying pan
  • - half a stick of butter, plus more to coat the baking dish
  • - a one-pound loaf of day-old bread
  • - two onions
  • - two apples (such as Pink Lady, Gala, or Golden Delicious)
  • - three celery stalks
  • - fresh sage leaves
  • - fresh thyme
  • - a cup of chicken stock or broth
  • - salt and pepper



  • 1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (it will take at least 20 minutes to warm up) and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat the baking dish with butter.

    Step 1
  • 2. Slice the crust off the bread, cut the loaf into 3/4-inch cubes, and place the cubes in the bowl. Chop the onions, apples, and celery stalks into 1/2-inch pieces. Finely chop a handful of sage and the leaves from about eight sprigs of thyme.

    Step 2
  • 3. Melt the half stick of butter in the frying pan over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the onions and cook until they’re just starting to brown, about five minutes. Add the apples, celery, and herbs and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and easily pierced with a knife, about six minutes.

    Step 3
  • 4. Add the stock or broth and bring the mixture to a simmer.

    Step 4
  • 5. Turn the heat off and add the vegetable-apple mixture to the bread cubes. Season with two or three generous pinches of salt and a generous pinch of pepper, and mix well.

    Step 5
  • 6. Dump the bread mixture into the baking dish and bake until the top of the stuffing just starts to brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings. See more Thanksgiving Basics.

    Step 6

Illustrations by Bill Russell