Old Fashioned Celery and Sage Turkey Stuffing Recipe

This old fashioned turkey stuffing made with celery, sage and bread is a traditional turkey dressing recipe that tastes just like Grandma used to make.

There is nothing like a fabulous roasted turkey with this traditional turkey stuffing and some roasting pan gravy to make your Thanksgiving dinner a big hit.

Old Fashioned Celery and Sage Turkey Stuffing Recipe

Turkey Stuffing Recipe

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I have to admit…a lot of my friends think I’m crazy…but I actually love hosting Thanksgiving dinner.

Since I grew up in Canada but now live in the States, I get to celebrate it twice! Once in October for Canadian Thanksgiving and once in November for American Thanksgiving.

Even if I don’t get to go home for Thanksgiving, I still make a turkey dinner with all of the trimmings for whatever friends want to come over.

One of the recipes that is always a big hit is this traditional turkey stuffing.

In Canada, we always cook stuffing in the turkey cavity.

But for my American friends from the south (who call it dressing instead of stuffing), it’s cooked in a baking dish outside of the turkey. Luckily, this recipe works well either way you want to cook it.

The other benefit of this recipe? It makes enough to stuff an 18 pound turkey so unless you are having an army for dinner you could have some leftovers…and it tastes great on hot turkey sandwiches the next day.

Traditional turkey stuffing


Here’s the shopping list for this old fashioned celery and sage turkey dressing recipe:

  • Bread – about 2 loaves of bread (depending on the size of the loaf). Stale bread works just as well as fresh, so if you happen to have any old loaves hanging around, this is a great way to use them up
  • Dairy – 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • Vegetables – celery, cooking onions
  • Spices – (all dried) sage, savory, marjoram, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper
  • (Optional) Chicken broth – you’ll only need this if you’re cooking the stuffing in a dish outside the turkey


  • Large bowl – big enough to hold 14 cups of bread with enough room to stir
  • Saute pan or frying pan
  • (Optional) Baking dish – only required if you are cooking the stuffing outside the turkey

How To Make Turkey Stuffing

The first step to making this traditional turkey stuffing recipe is to chop the bread.

You’ll need about 14 cups of bread that has been chopped into 1/2″ cubes. It takes about 2 loaves of bread to make this many cubes (although that does depend on the size of the loaf). This is also a great way to use up any old bread you have hanging around, since stale bread works just as well as fresh.

Celery, onions and spices being cooked in butter in a saute pan

Melt the butter in the saute pan.

Add the onions, celery and all of the spices and cook until soft.

Bread mixed with celery and sage in a bowl

Stir the vegetable mixture into the cubed bread in the large bowl.

And that’s it. You’re ready to stuff your turkey!

How To Stuff The Turkey

Turkey stuffing in the back of the turkey

Fill the cavity at the back of the turkey.

I find it easiest to turn the turkey upside down to do this.

Then fold the extra flap of skin down to cover the stuffing. You can stake it closed if you want to make sure it stays closed.

Turkey stuffing in the main cavity of the turkey

Then turn the turkey over and fill the main cavity with the stuffing.

To prevent the stuffing from getting too dried out, cover it with an extra piece of bread while cooking.

How To Cook Dressing Outside Turkey

Old fashioned celery and sage turkey dressing in a baking dish

If you are not using the dressing to stuff the turkey, add about 1/2 cup of chicken broth to moisten the mixture a bit more.

Then put it in a casserole dish and bake in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes at 325F.

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Old Fashioned Celery and Sage Turkey Stuffing

This celery and sage turkey stuffing is a traditional dressing that tastes just like Grandma's, and can be cooked in the turkey or in a pan.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 18 pound turkey (or 20 people)


  • large bowl (big enough to mix 14 cups of bread)
  • saute pan
  • (optional) baking dish - if you are cooking the stuffing outside of the turkey


  • 3/4 cup butter or 1 1/2 sticks
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped onions about 4 medium-sized onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery about 4 celery stalks
  • 4 teaspoons crushed dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons dried savory
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons dried parsley
  • 14 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes takes about 2 loaves of bread, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth only required if you are cooking the stuffing outside the turkey


  • Melt the butter in the frying pay over low heat.
  • Add onions, celery, sage, salt savory, marjoram, pepper, thyme and parsley to the pan.
  • Stir frequently until the vegetables are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add the bread cubes to a large bowl.
  • Add the onion mixture to the bowl and toss until the bread is well covered.
  • If you want to cook the stuffing separately, add enough chicken broth to moisten the stuffing, then bake in a shallow casserole dish at 325 degrees F for 35 - 45 minutes.
  • If you are using this to stuff a turkey, no additional liquid or cooking is necessary...the stuffing is ready to put inside the bird.
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Old fashioned celery and sage turkey stuffing

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19 Responses

  • I made this recipe on the weekend. It is the tastiest stuffing that I have ever made! I’m glad there are leftovers.

    • This looks just like my mom’s recipe! She passed in 2009 and I have several recipes I never got from her. Can’t wait to try it!

      • It could be the same one, Heidi. This recipe has been around for years and it’s still my favorite stuffing ever.


  • This is like the one my Mom made and I still do. Only I add sausage to mine and only use tyme, sage, parsley, salt \, pepper. Plus I always stuff mine in the turkey. It’s good to see someone else uses this recipe for the best stuffing.

    • Thanks, Marjorie! Adding sausage sounds like it would be good. And I agree that it’s the best stuffing recipe 🙂

    • Hi Anita…I have used both whole grain and gluten-free bread in the past and they both work. I think I like the whole grain a little bit better, but because most of the flavor comes from the spices, the type of bread doesn’t make that much difference.

  • I use a cheese cloth and put it inside the turkey cavity. Then I add the stuffing. When the turkey is finished cooking….just pull out the cheese cloth and wah-la….no digging through the bones for lose stuffing!

    • Hi Donna…yes, that works just fine. I usually take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before I’m going to stuff the bird so that it has time to warm up to room temperature (otherwise, it may take the turkey a little longer to cook).

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