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There are many ways to make stuffing, even before you get to the “inside or outside the bird?” debate, but this is a great basic stuffing recipe even beginners can master.

Apples and sage are one of the most evocative fall flavor pairings we know—the sweetness and subtle acidity of aromatic apples like Galas or Pink Ladies, with the resinous, piny scent of the fresh herb. So we’ve paired them for the ultimate autumnal celebration dish, the Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving!) stuffing.

This is a classic, easy-to-assemble bread stuffing baked outside the turkey so the top ends up golden brown and crisp. We designed this easy recipe to be more of a general formula than a strict instruction manual, so feel free to put your own spin on it. And enjoy!

For 6 to 8 Servings, You’ll Need:

  • a 3-quart baking dish
  • a large heatproof bowl
  • a large frying pan or skillet
  • half a stick of unsalted butter, plus more to coat the baking dish
  • a 1-pound loaf of day-old bread
  • 2 onions
  • 2 apples (such as Pink Lady, Gala, or Golden Delicious)
  • 3 celery stalks
  • fresh sage leaves
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of chicken stock or broth
  • salt and pepper

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How to Make Apple and Sage Stuffing:

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.

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.



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.


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


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.


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.


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More Stuffing Recipes

If you’re craving other flavors, check out some of our other stuffing recipes. (Or dressing recipes, if you prefer to call them that.)

Related Reading: What Is the Difference Between Stuffing and Dressing?

Sausage Stuffing


This is an easy go-to recipe, appropriate for stuffing inside the turkey’s cavity or baking apart, in a baking dish (our preferred method, for the crispy top surface and lack of worry about timing/food safety). It calls for two types of bread, white and coarse country levain, plus sweet Italian sausage—use hot if you like things spicy! Get our Sausage Stuffing recipe.

Brown Butter Walnut Stuffing

brown butter walnut stuffing recipe

Alexis deBoschnek

Day-old sourdough and crunchy walnuts get a gorgeously nutty depth from a full stick of browned butter, but there are plenty of fresh herbs to keep it from being too heavy, and three cloves of garlic. As with our apple sage stuffing, if you use vegetable stock, this is suitable for a vegetarian Thanksgiving too. Get the Brown Butter Walnut Stuffing recipe.

Cornbread and Oyster Stuffing


Chef Charlie Palmer’s take on the Thanksgiving staple: Cornbread and oysters are a classic combination for Thanksgiving stuffing. In this recipe, the chef uses fresh-shucked oysters, celery root, and slightly dried-out cornbread to create a stuffing with a perfectly moistened, not mushy, texture. Get the Cornbread and Oyster Stuffing recipe.

Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing

Cranberry Sausage Stuffing recipe


Smoked sausage is a nice change of pace, and brightened up by sweet-tart dried cranberries in this stuffing based on crusty French or Italian bread. Chopped pecans and Old Bay seasoning add even more interest to the mix. Get our Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing recipe.

For more tips, tricks, and recipes, see our Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving.

Related Video: See How to Make Our Apple and Sage Stuffing

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