Old Fashioned Celery and Onion Stuffing is a Thanksgiving classic side dish. This version lets you make and freeze ahead of time to save on Thanksgiving day prep.
Update: This recipe was originally posted in November 2018. The recipe and photos have been updated and republished in November 2023. Old Fashioned Celery and Onion Stuffing was shared as part of the Holiday Side Dish Week blogging event, links are included below to other recipes.
I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time somewhere between 2008 and 2010 and this was my standard recipe for years and years. You just can't go wrong with a classic! Especially a classic that can be made ahead of time and frozen, because as any Thanksgiving host knows, time flies the day of!
What is Old Fashioned Celery and Onion Stuffing?
Celery and Onion Stuffing is a classic Thanksgiving side dish - my version is made with a loaf of Italian bread, celery, onions, lots of dried herbs and chicken stock. I love that you can make and freeze this stuffing ahead of time.
- Italian bread, slightly stale
- chicken stock
- unsalted butter
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- dried thyme
- dried rosemary
- ground sage
- fresh parsley
- salt and pepper
First, prepare the celery and onions. Slice each stalk of celery in half lengthwise, then finely dice. Finely dice both onions as well.
Then, cook the vegetables. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the celery and onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened. Add all the seasonings (except parsley) and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the bread. Either cut bread into cubes or tear into bite-sized pieces in a place in a large bowl.
Next, mix up the stuffing. Add the seasoned celery and onion to the bowl with the bread and pour the chicken stock on top. Then toss to fully combine.
Note: ingredients are for 9x13 serving, photos are for 8x8
To Freeze: Grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter and spread stuffing mixture into the pan. Add a layer of plastic wrap and if your dish has a lid, seal with that. If not, add a layer of foil on top. Let cool completely and then freeze for 2 weeks.
To Cook Immediately: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then bake stuffing for 25-30 minutes and sprinkle parsley on top before serving.
Cooking from Frozen: Let stuffing thaw to room temperature. Add ¼ - ½ cup additional chicken stock and bake as stated above.
Eggs act as a binder and can help to keep the bread moist. If you like a soft stuffing, adding an egg to this recipe is a great idea.
Use stale bread in stuffing so it can hold up to the stock being added without getting soggy. If you don't have stale bread, you can toast up fresh bread!
A slightly dense bread is your best bet. I've used sandwich, Italian, brioche and even soft pretzels before!
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Old Fashioned Celery and Onion Stuffing
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 stalks celery finely diced
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 loaves Italian bread stale*
- 2 ½ cups vegetable chicken or turkey stock
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- Grease a 9x13 baking dish. If cooking immediately, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.6 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Add the celery and onions and cook for 5-7 minutes. Add in the herbs, salt and pepper and cook 1-2 more minutes.3 stalks celery, 1 large onion, 1 tablespoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Meanwhile cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place in a large bowl. (If your bread is fresh, toast for 5-7 minutes at 350 on a baking sheet.)2 loaves Italian bread
- Add the seasoned celery and onions to the bowl with the bread, pour stock on top and toss until fully coated. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.2 ½ cups vegetable
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, then remove from the oven and top with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.2 tablespoon fresh parsley
To Freeze and Cook Later:
- Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and lid. If no lid, tightly seal with foil on top. Freeze for 2 weeks.
- Thaw in the fridge overnight then let rest on counter for 1 hour. Add ¼-1/2 cup additional stock if stuffing looks dry. Remove plastic wrap and foil. Bake 30-35 minutes until heated through and top with fresh chopped parsley.
Take a look at all the fabulous Holiday Dish Recipes:
- Bacon and Pickled Jalapeno Cornbread Stuffing from Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
- Cheesy Bacon Creamed Spinach from Daily Dish Recipes
- Cranberry Orange Relish from Everyday Eileen
- Cranberry Sausage Sage Stuffing from Simple and Savory
- Dijon Maple Green Beans with Caramelized Pecans from Sweet Beginnings
- Low Carb Stuffing from Palatable Pastime
- Old Fashioned Celery and Onion Stuffing from Cookaholic Wife
- Parmesan Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Quinoa Stuffed Squash Boats from Jolene's Recipe Journal
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, Pecans, and Cranberry from The Tip Garden
- Scalloped Potatoes from Cindy's Recipes and Writings
- Skillet Cornbread with Bacon, Onion, Cheddar from Our Good Life
- Skillet Rolls from A Day in the Life on a Farm
- Vegan Maple Thyme Mashed Sweet Potatoes from The Baking Fairy