Every year in November, I start my Thanksgiving preparation early and make Bread Cubes for Stuffing. It’s easy to make your own bread cubes instead of buying them already prepared!
Making your own Bread Cubes for Stuffing involves cutting up bread, placing it in the oven, baking for a while to dry out, completely cooling and then bagging until you are ready to use!
New in 2019 – ABK’s Free Thanksgiving Ebook, with printable timeline checklist, grocery list, more recipe links for ABK Thanksgiving favorites and additional Thanksgiving tips to help you keep everything running smoothly!
You can use almost any type of bread when you are making bread cubes for stuffing! Old French bread loaves, buns that weren’t eaten, a few slices of bread from a homemade or store-bought loaf all work in this recipe.
I believe stuffing, not turkey, is the crown jewel of an amazing Thanksgiving feast! I purposely make huge batches so I can eat it for days after the celebration. If you are scratching your head and asking “what’s wrong with instant stuffing out of a box?” We need to have the talk.
Yes, that talk.
Never, ever, use pre-made “just add water and serve” boxed stuffing.
Homemade. Your new mantra. Homemade. Homemade. Homemade.
Homemade= a new life.
Your new life starts with a simple task. Drying bread.
Soon, your tired bread will look like THIS. And taste like heaven. In the form of homemade stuffing.
Every time you have extra bread sitting around the house and you know you aren’t going to eat it all up before it gets stale, cube it and bake. Every time you have spare bread (Baguettes, French bread, Sandwich bread, rolls, Artisan bread) cut it up. Never have leftover bread? You can buy a loaf or two next time you’re at the grocery and use it for this recipe.
It’s that simple. I prefer a thick slice white or french bread loaf. I prefer bread that is not the typical light and fluffy store brand dollar a loaf variety. In Utah, I recommend Granny Sycamore bread, I like to buy a loaf of white and wheat as well. Nothing with seeds, or too heavy. I also like French Bread when I make Bread Cubes for Stuffing.
Here are a couple of recipes I’ve posted in past years. The first is my mom’s tried and true (for over 50 years) Apple and Sausage Stuffing. It’s simple, delicious, and it’s on our holiday table every year. If you are looking for a beginner dressing that will become your family favorite, this is it.
The second recipe is a less traditional, but delicious Artisan Stuffing with big chunks of mushrooms, onions, Italian Sausage, cornbread, Artisan, French Bread and fresh herbs. It’s fresh and fun and a nice addition to your traditional feast.
Hope this post helps you in preparation for Thanksgiving and in making Bread Cubes for Stuffing! If you have a favorite stuffing/dressing you’d like to share, post in the comments, we would all love to see what you’re planning for the big day…
Bread Cubes for Stuffing
The best stuffing starts with bread cubed and dried in your oven!
- Loaf of Artisan or French Bread or any other type of leftover bread or rolls
- Olive oil
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Cube the bread, spread out onto a large cookie or baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
Bake in 250 degree oven until bread is lightly toasted and completely dried out.
About 1-1 1/2 hours, depending on density of bread and oven.
Cool completely, bag until ready to use.
- Also delicious as croutons. If you are making croutons, drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a non stick pan. Place the bread cubes in the pan and cook over medium to medium high heat, tossing as the bread cubes are cooking. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. This can also be cooked in the oven at 325-350 until bread is toasted.
- Save the crumbs as well to use in dressing.
- If you are in a hurry, increase the oven temperature to 300 and bake for about 30-40 minutes.
- Olive oil is not necessary, but adds flavor to the bread cubes. I usually drizzle olive oil on one loaf of french bread, but not on the other loaves.
50 thoughts on “Bread Cubes for Stuffing”
Even I, Kimi Farley, would never use a boxed stuffing (at Thanksgiving)!
Good job, Keems!
I totally agree, stuffing is the best part and homemade is a must! Looks delicious!
Last year was my first year making stuffing and I made it with dinner rolls which I had cut up and dried in a similar way. I’m going to try this recipe for my dinner rolls this year. I can’t imagine doing it any other way now in seeing the prepared bags of bread cubes at the store just looks like wood chips to me now.
Annie, Dinner rolls are perfect for stuffing. And I lol when I read the wood chips comment! So true. Happy holidays!
I’ve been wondering if it’s nexessary to bake the cubes vs. drying them…do you find a significant difference?
I have done both and found over the years that baking in oven give a more consistent dry product in the end!
Thanks for reading ABK,
When we moved to the Bay Area I put a California twist on our family favorite stuffing recipe by using Boudin’s sourdough rounds. I added dried cranberries, cashews, and tons of fresh herbs. I’ll never go back!
Oh that sounds so delicious, Jennie! That sourdough bread would be perfect for stuffing. Thanks for sharing,
Hi Jennie, can I use cooking oil instead of olive oil?
I used your method for making the bread last year. I went a step further, and added my poultry seasoning with the salt and pepper. The stuffing was my best ever, and I’ve been making it for 55 years! We sampled the bread after it was seasoned, before I ever got started making the dressing. It was the first item we ran out of, and also the one thing that tops my husband’s list for what we want this year. I just now forwarded this to my daughter. Thank you, Si. I’ll be making the yams and apples again, too.
I like your method of seasoning it with poultry seasoning, Sharryn. That sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing, I love hearing all the different variations people use.
With all the dietary restrictions that my family and I have this is the first time for me to make my own bread cubes for stuffing. I added some sage and the aroma in my home is delightful! Thanks for posting and teaching this old dog a new trick! 😋
Hi Mel, I’m so glad you were able to adapt this to your liking. Thanks for your comment and for reading ABK!
I’m making enough stuffing for 20…how do I know how much to cube? And how do you store any leftover cubes?
Hi Kathy, it depends on the recipe on how much bread to cube. You can store leftover cubes in the freezer. Thanks for asking!
So my deepfreeze kicked the bucket and I have ten thousand loaves of bread! I decided to bake croutons for stuffing but need to know how long they will keep and how I should store them for the best shelf life possible??
Hi Krystal, I’m sorry to hear about your deepfreeze. I wouldn’t keep the croutons in the freezer for more than 6 months. Hope this helps!
About how many cups does one French loaf make after being cubed? I need about 8 cups worth of the dried cubes.
depending on the size of the French loaf, I’m guessing most will average about 15 cups!
This is a must do for thanksgiving!! I make the ABK no fail French bread then make these cubes for stuffing. It seriously makes the most amazing stuffing ever.
This tutorial was so helpful, thank you!
This looks delish and I would love to try this at Thanksgiving. Due to a limited amount of room in my oven, any chance you’ve tried this in a crockpot?
Hi Dena, I usually bake it, but I think making any of my stuffing recipes in the crock pot would turn out great! Thanks for asking,
Hi! Thanks so much for your recipe! I was wondering if I can make these cubes now and leave them bagged for the two weeks prior to Thanksgiving? Or would you recommend freezing them instead?
Hi Rebecca, I would freeze them if you’re making them two weeks ahead. Thanks for asking and for reading ABK!
Use leftover hot dog and hamburger buns as well. Better than letting them get moldy. I keep making the cubes and adding to my bag to use.
Here’s a family favorite recipe:
Bacon Herb Bread Dressing:
1/2 lb. cubed and fried bacon, reserve the fat–Add butter if necessary to have 1/2 cup of fat to saute onion and celery
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1-1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1-1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste.
About 10 cups of dried bread cubes
1 well-beaten large egg
2 cups hot chicken, turkey, or vegetable broth
Add bread cubes to bowl. Toss with seasonings except salt.
Fry bacon until crisp and add with slotted spoon to seasoned bread cubes and toss together.Reserve the bacon fat–add butter if needed to bring fat to 1/2 cup.
After frying bacon, saute onion and celery in bacon fat (plus additional butter if needed) until soft.
Pour all vegetables, including the fat, to bread cube and bacon mixture. Toss together
Pour broth gradually, stirring to moisten all. Depending upon the level of dryness, you may not need all of the broth. Just add enough to moisten without making the mixture soggy. Let set a few minutes. Since the bacon is salty and also many broths, adjust with additional salt to taste if necessary.
Add in beaten egg and toss to coat.
Turn into a greased casserole and cover with lid or foil.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes to form crusty top.
Makes about 12 o 14 servings.
Additional add-ins: May add diced apple, raisins, toasted chestnuts or other nuts of choice, craisins
I just threw in oven without cubing first! Hope I didn’t blow it!
Hi Ornia, that’s ok! You can just tear or cube the bread once it’s done. Thanks for reading ABK,
How long will these last if bagged up?
Hi Molly, if you bag these and freeze them, they will last for a few months. Thanks for asking and for reading ABK!
After drying out the cubes how do you store it? I put it in a bag as described but it became soft and no longer crispy
If they became soft after bagging, they weren’t completely dried out. If you are bagging and they aren’t being frozen, the cubes will need to be frozen until used. I live it Utah, where it is extremely dry, so its easy to dry bread here. If you live in a more humid climate, make sure to freeze the cubes to avoid molding.
Hope this helps!
How about pumpernickel and rye breads? I’d like to add some depth to my leftover rustic Italian loaves and French baguettes croutons.
Absolutely! You may use whatever breads you’d like. I often save and freeze leftover rustic loaves or parts of loaves then dry a tray when I get enough.
This was such a huge hit with my family last year, is the only way they’ll let me make stuffing now. We love it! Who would’ve thought it would make such a big difference? Thanks for sharing!
You’re so welcome! I agree, nothing compares to homemade stuffing!
Came about this site for the first time today for a refresher on making bread crumbs for stuffing and enjoyed it so much I decided to stay and look around a bit. Love your writing style and photos and the additional tips and hints. This recipe for gravy looks fantastic. I always do gravy directly in the roasting pan beneath the Turkey adding a roux to the pan and not skimming fat. I have good results, but now I’m thinking I’d like to switch it up by straining the drippings and cooking my butter flour roux as you have here. I’m doing a Turkey breast roulade this year versus an entire bird, so I think what ends up in the bottom of the pan will be somewhat of a determinant. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank you so much for this wonderful site. Really enjoying it this morning. 🙂
Thank you Pekio! Glad you took the time to look around a bit!
Agree, boxed stuffing at Thanksgiving is culinary blasphemy. My sister uses the bagged bread cubes with our mom’s stuffing recipe. Bleah!!
One of my fondest memories as a child was my Thanksgiving morning assignment of cutting up the old bread for stuffing. Now, rather than using old bread, I buy one loaf of unsliced white and one of unsliced wheat at the bakery section of the grocery store (I had to actually order it this year because they had it all sliced already, and I like the cubes to be rather large) and cut it up and dry it a few days before Thanksgiving. I have also in past years gone to Panera bread and purchased three different unsliced loaves, including an unseeded rye, but that gets expensive and you can’t really taste the difference.
If you have young ones at home, having them help with this task is a great way to form happy memories.
I agree, nothing tastes as good as homemade with he bread cubes! And it is a great task for kids or guests who want to help with prep!
Bummer! I just baked them a bit longer than I should have. They’re pretty TAN! haha. We’ll see how it works with the stuffing. Fingers crossed!
I have done this many times, unless the bread is burnt, no worries!
How long in advance can these be made to use in stuffing (before freezing). Freezing these will be fine for stuffing? If so, what is your recommendation for defrosting?
This can be done a couple of months ahead if you’d like! I live in a very dry climate, so I usually make sure the bread is totally dry and then bag and seal tightly. But if you are concerned the bread may not totally be dry, better to freeze. To thaw, I just take out of freezer about 30 mins before using in recipe. They thaw quickly!
Hi Si! I have made this recipe multiple times and I love it! I just cooked my bread cubes for this year and they came out more golden like croutons (new oven, oops!). Do you think that will still work, or should I try again?
I would use the ones you’ve already made. You can add a bit more broth if your stuffing doesn’t turn out as moist as you would like. I’m so glad you like this recipe. Thank you for reading ABK and Happy Thanksgiving!
Hi, Happy Thanksgiving😊!! I have always made my stuffing from scratch. But I never baked it. Today is Thanksgiving Eve, so I am going to do it tonight. I can’t wait to make it your way! I have always just cubed it and let it dry out over night. I must admit though, it is a little gooey🤫. I am so glad that I found your site (accidentally). But I am definitely saving it !!! Thanks, and once again Happy Thanksgiving 💛
Hi! Great idea to make the stuffing the night before. Tomorrow you can just heat up and serve. I’m glad you found abountifulkitchen.com and I hope you find many recipes here that become family favorites. Thank you for reading ABK and Happy Thanksgiving!
I have made this on thanksgiving. I have 12 on my guess list. I think I will have to make two to make sure I have enough, plus I want leftovers!