Brioche Chestnut Stuffing Recipe (2024)

By Melissa Clark

Brioche Chestnut Stuffing Recipe (1)

Total Time
1½ hours, plus drying
Read community notes

Stuffing with made from eggy brioche and roasted chestnuts is a Thanksgiving classic. This one, seasoned with celery, onion and sage, and a little diced fennel for sweetness and depth, sticks relatively close to tradition. Use it to stuff a turkey, if you like, but it’s even better baked separately in a shallow casserole dish, so the top can get nice and crisp. If you’d like to bake it ahead, you can do so up to 6 hours in advance. Just before serving, reheat it in a 350-degree oven.

Featured in: Melissa Clark's Thanksgiving

Learn: Melissa Clark’s Thanksgiving

Learn: How to Cook a Turkey

Learn: How to Make Stuffing

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Yield:8 to 10 servings

  • 1(14- to 16-ounce) brioche loaf, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 8tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for the pan
  • 1large onion, diced
  • 2large celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • ½cup diced fennel (about ½ small fennel bulb)
  • teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 5ounces roasted, peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • ½teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cups turkey or chicken stock
  • 2large eggs
  • ¼cup chopped parsley

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (10 servings)

279 calories; 14 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 4 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 32 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 3 grams sugars; 8 grams protein; 395 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Brioche Chestnut Stuffing Recipe (2)


Make the recipe with us

  1. Arrange brioche pieces in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Let them dry out overnight, or place them in a 200-degree oven for an hour or two. (They’ll be ready when they feel stale to the touch but haven't taken on any color.)

  2. Step


    Heat oven to 375 degrees, and butter a shallow, 2-quart casserole or gratin dish. On a pot on the stove or in the microwave, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Put bread in the prepared baking dish and toss with melted butter. Bake until golden and toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then transfer toast to a large bowl. (Don’t wash the baking dish; you’ll use it again for the stuffing.)

  3. Step


    In a 12-inch skillet, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery, fennel and ½ teaspoon salt; cook until soft and just starting to brown, about 12 minutes. Stir in thyme and sage, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer to bowl with brioche. Gently fold in chestnuts and pepper and let cool.

  4. Step


    In a medium bowl, whisk together 1½ cups stock, eggs, parsley and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Fold gently into bread mixture, then scrape it all back into prepared baking dish. Drizzle on remaining 1 cup stock until the mixture is moist but not squishy; you may not need all the stock.

  5. Step


    Cover dish with foil and bake until lightly springy, about 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown, another 20 to 30 minutes.



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Cooking Notes

Jim McGrath

I am thinking make ahead and freezing to lighten the cooking load on the big day. Comments and/or suggestions?


Just a pet peeve. If it is not in the bird it is not stuffing, it is dressing. Maybe my black and southern roots make me sensitive to this but Melissa should know better.


We made this for our vegetarian thanksgiving and itworked perfectly! We replaced chicken broth with Serious Eats’ quick vegetable stock, and the dish still retained its depth of flavor. Be warned, though — you need roasted chestnuts for this recipe! If you can only find unroasted chestnuts at your local grocery store (like us), it’ll add ~45 minutes to your prep time.

Jim McGrath

It's cultural... Honestly you risk overcooking the bird and possible contamination of the stuffing. Turkeys are very large and heating them all the way through creates temperature problems. It's okay to be stubborn. my mom was the same way. So after I cook the bird I would I would stuff it and let it rest. Moist bird... No health issues... Turkey flavor.

Jim McGrath

I just completed assembly... Wow! The dried and toasted brioche takes on a sweetness complementing the rich flavors and absorbs the stock like a sponge. The rich autumn flavors of sage and theme compliment the fennel and the other savories to create layered flavors. Chestnut nuggets add creamy bits of goodness. My only addition was chopped garlic and extra chestnuts. Outstanding recipe. Bravo Melissa!


Maybe that's a regional thing?... Dressing is what you put on a salad. In the NE and PNW, this is stuffing, regardless of whether it's cooked in the bird or not.


I just made this delicious dressing for my Thanksgiving Dinner. What a winner. I like to make stuff in the AM and then re-heat before dinner. I cooked the first “covered” step in the morning and then refrigerated it and cooked the “uncovered” step just before dinner. The brioche is such a great light bread for stuffing and it’s also so sweet. One word of advice, the recipe says “2 quart dish”, but you really need a 4 quart Pyrex.


I'm in the process of trying to dry this out right now. I wouldn't add any more stock after the first 1 1/2 cups. I added about a third of the leftover stock, but it was too much. The flavor is fine but watch the liquid.


Jim McGrath - Since you ask, here's my two bits re make ahead & freeze. I would not do that. Or WOULD NOT! for emphasis. ;-) I think it would ruin the texture. There is so much of this that can be done day ahead. Toasting up the brioche. Chopping chestnuts. Prep of veg - maybe even through sauteeing - to then fridge to hold. But even if sauteeing day of, it just needs minutes to put together. See also Melissa's note re baking this 6 hr ahead & reheating.


WATCH THE VIDEO. :-) Melissa, husband Daniel, daughter Dahlia and mom Rita all are delightful. I send wishes for peace of spirit to this family who will spend their first Thanksgiving without Melissa's father, Rita's husband, this year as Melissa shares in another video. Rehearsal run of this recipe - which will debut on our TDay table in full form - cut in half (for 4) and using stale Boule I had on hand instead of Brioche was delicious. Bread torn 1" is key technique here.


- challah (not challenges! D##n autocorrect!)


This stuffing was delicious. Did everything but switched out the chestnuts (family doesn't like them) for a turkey, sage & cranberry sausage from a local sausage maker. I browned up the loose sausage meat in the skillet with the veggies, then didn't need to add sage since it was already in the mix. Now that I am hosting Thanksgiving after 30 years at my in-laws this will definitely be on the menu!


Melissa - we keep kosher so I'm going to use challenges. Any necessary changes to the recipe?

Karma M

Some notes: After drying the bread out in 200 degree oven, bread was ready in 5-6 minutes. I stirred after 6 minutes and returned to oven for barely another minute. At the lighter end of the brioche with 13 oz, 4 Tmelted butter was not enough. I needed at least 6. Did not use the last cup of Turkey stock at all. Bread was wet enough w/egg mixture. Baked for 20 minutes till spongey. Let sit in oven after closing heat for another 5 or so minutes. I will finish the bake prior to serving on TG.


This was absolutely delicious! As other readers have noted, the extra stock at the end is hardly needed - I added less than 1/4 cup, to avoid the stuffing becoming a soggy puree! I think I may add some crisped bacon bits next time, just to add a bit more salty/savoury flavour. As I used homemade chicken stock, there was no salt added - which is why I think bacon would be a good addition - assuming no religious/dietary restrictions apply.


This was delicious. Followed some of the advice in the comments; added some ground sausage to the mix and didn't end up using all of the egg mixture. Will be cooking this again as a double batch for Christmas.


I love chestnuts so I was super psyched to make a Melissa Clark (whom I also love) stuffing recipe with chestnuts! But they are imperceptible to the tongue, even in large chunks. The stuffing is fine. It's good stuffing. It tastes as it should. It was pretty easy. Maybe chestnuts are too subtle to make their presence known in the jumble of flavors on your fork: turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, plus everything else in the stuffing.


I used a gluten-free raisin bread, with copious extra amounts of butter during the bread-coating and sauté-ing stages, and it came out great. A huge hit at our Thanksgiving!


I love this stuffing, have made it several years.If you want to make ahead, do so. I recommend not adding the extra chicken stock, refrigerating in sealed container 1-2 days ahead and then reheating in microwave (or stovetop, in which case you may want to add more stock as needed). I did the microwave method this year as my new puppy upended all Thanksgiving preparations.

Dan Frier

This recipe was good, but not my favorite. My family and I found it “too bready” and less flavorful than previous stuffing recipes. I tend to prefer stuffing with everything but the kitchen sink, like dried fruits, nuts, and more umami flavor (mushrooms, sausage, etc). It is possible that I didn’t follow the recipe perfectly in terms of bread/filling ratio, so try it yourself and see what you think.


Loved this recipe. Will definitely be making again.I subbed fresh tarragon for fennel (only because the grocer was out). And I added chopped mushrooms with the celery and onion. Was perfect!

H Baron

What a heart-warming video, thank you!

Elizabeth Calaway

I made this for our Thanksgiving this year. I've started a new tradition. Everyone loved it.


We all loved this recipe. Added mushrooms and crispy bacon. Also used only the initial 1-1/2 cup of chicken stock. Definitely will be on the menu next year.

Eden Pearson

I like to make a brown butter when melting it over the stovetop, develops a more nutty flavor with the dish.


This stuffing is delicious! This is my third year. You really don't need the broth at the point where you are baking it. The broth makes it mushy and it will be overcooked by the time you get it to the right consistency. Last year, I added sh*take mushrooms and it was delicious.


If I make this the day ahead (Wednesday morning) should I bake it first or leave it unbaked until T-Day? I am traveling with this and thinking that I should par-bake it (the first 25 min covered) but leave the last uncovered part of the cooking for when I arrive at Thanksgiving. Thoughts? Has anyone tried this?

Louise Gray

Our son cannot eat alliums, so I omitted the onion and I use homemade stock (no alliums). I do not like fennel, so substituted diced carrots. It was very good with the changes.


This tasted better heated up the next day!

Tiffany Price

I absolutely LOVE this recipe!

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Brioche Chestnut Stuffing Recipe (2024)
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