Bread Stuffing with Bacon, Apples, Sage, and Caramelized Onions

To make this stuffing, you’ll need to first dry the bread. Spread the bread cubes out onto 2 large baking sheets and dry in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 30 to 60 minutes. Let the bread cool before using in the stuffing.–Editors at America’s Test Kitchen

LC Storied Stuffing Note

This rich stuffing recipe turns out the stuffing of our dreams, a turkey accompaniment that’s just like we’d always imagined in our Rockwell-ian musings about what Thanksgiving could be like. We suspect it has quite a lot to do with the pound of bacon….

Bread Stuffing with Bacon and Apples Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes about 12 cups


  • 1 pound bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 6 medium (about 7 cups) onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (about 2 cups) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds (about 12 cups) high-quality white sandwich bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup turkey or homemade chicken stock, or low-sodium canned chicken broth
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten


  • 1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp and browned, about 12 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer it to paper towels to drain. Pour off and discard all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.
  • 2. Increase the heat under the skillet to medium-high and add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the onions are golden in color, making sure to occasionally stir and scrape the sides and bottom of the pan, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring more often to prevent burning, until the onions are deep golden brown, another 5 minutes. Add the apples and continue to cook another 5 minutes.
  • 3. Transfer the contents of the pan to a large bowl and add the parsley, sage, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper and mix to combine. Add the bread and gently stir again.
  • 4. Whisk the broth and eggs together in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the bread, add the bacon, and gently toss to distribute the ingredients. Once the stuffing is evenly coated, stuff it in your favorite roast turkey recipe or place it in a casserole dish, cover, and bake while the turkey is in the oven. If you prefer a crisp topping, uncover the stuffing during the last 45 minutes or so of baking.
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Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Helen Doberstein

Nov 12, 2009

This stuffing awakens memories of home and family. It’s easy to prepare, perfumed the house, and was even better to eat. I found that 2 loaves bakery bread gave me the 12 cups bread cubes, plus a little extra. I used only the 12 cups called for in the recipe. I did have to search for fresh sage but was finally able to find it. I think a suggestion for the use of dried sage would be helpful if fresh was not available. The apples added a nice sweetness to the stuffing and the bacon added a delicate smokiness. We baked this in the oven as we were smoking our turkey outside. I baked the stuffing with 4 turkey thighs on top to add that "stuffed turkey" flavor we all wanted. The end result was a stuffing that was moist, delicious, and brought back memories of past family gatherings.
This recipe is a real keeper for the holidays.

  1. Melissa says:

    I made this recipe (originally from Cooks Illustrated) a few years ago, and it is definitely one of the best stuffings I’ve ever made. How can you go wrong with carmelized onions and a pound of bacon!

  2. David Leite says:

    We were guests at friends’ for Thanksgiving, so we didn’t have to do any of the heavy-lifting cooking. I was asked to bring a stuffing (a dressing, really, since it had to be cooked outside of the turkey), and I chose this one. It was a hit. My only problem was proportion. The recipe says to use three pounds of bread, which I did. But I cut up all three loaves and ended up with 19 cups of cubes. So I used just 12, as the recipe states. Different breads, even from the same manufacturer (I used Pepperidge Farms), can weigh the same but have different volume. The supermarket had only two sandwich loaves left, so for the third loaf I reached for a white bread, which was almost 1/3 smaller than the other two. Be forewarned: Use only 12 cups of cubes for maximum flavor.

  3. G says:

    Delicious! First attempt for Thanksgiving and I did half quantity recipe. Well received-bowl was cleaned out! Will be making again for Christmas!

    • David Leite says:

      G, how wonderful! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, and I hope you had a great Canadian Thanksgiving.

      • G says:

        Thanks, David! It was a great day! Just checking back in again on the website in readiness for more Christmas stuffing! …..I think full quantity recipe cook up is a must for Christmas! Merry Christmas everyone! X

        • David Leite says:

          G, agreed. All it’s a must to let us know how it turned out. Merry, merry, happy, happy.

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