Ultimate Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipes

A collage of stuffing pictures.

Thanksgiving standards like turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy aside, it’s really the stuffing recipe that sets the mood for your meal. Are you a traditionalist with a simple bread stuffing? Do you like it with sausage or fruit? Seafood or veggies? Is it gluten-free or gluten-full? Try one of these ultimate stuffing recipes for your holiday celebration.

My hubby, Scott, helping with Thanksgiving prep.

Table of Contents

Stuffing recipes are personal.

My husband, Scott (pictured above) related this story to me about a Thanksgiving that he hosted for his family when he was a bachelor. He’d spent several days planning, prepping and executing the meal — even making his own homemade stuffing. It had apples, cranberries, sage and sausage.

He was excited about his new recipe. His Dad wasn’t.

“It’s not your Mother’s stuffing recipe” Dad said, eyeing the casserole suspiciously.

“No. It’s not” he agreed. “But try it. You might like it.”

His Dad had 3 helpings and went home with leftovers. Go figure.

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Before we get to the good stuff (pun intended), let’s talk about stuffing the turkey. Is it a must-do? Or a definite, don’t?

To stuff or not to stuff the turkey

To me, the question is personal, depending on what you’re used to. My grandmother always stuffed her turkey and any leftovers made it into a casserole dish.

The stuffing from the cavity of the bird was always moist, but it didn’t have those crispy, craggy edges that you get in a baked casserole. (Strike one).

Then there’s the whole “food-safety issue“. Hello — bacteria that will live in stuffing if it doesn’t reach 165° F. (Strike two – we don’t want food poisoning four hours post-dinner).

A stuffed turkey takes longer to cook than an unstuffed one. Seriously? Yep. (Strike three.)

In case you can’t tell, I’m a stuffing casserole devotee, but you should do what your family likes best — just make sure it’s cooked completely, please!

Making stuffing with Cam.
Cooking Thanksgiving with my brother, Cameron two years ago.

Best Thanksgiving stuffing recipes

Let’s get to some of the best Thanksgiving stuffing recipes to make your holiday shine!

I’ve partnered with my fellow recipe developers and professional taste testers to compile this list for you, and it includes everything from traditional favorites to “where did they come up with that” modern twists.

We’ve got whole grain and grain-free options, vegan and vegetarian, carnivore to pescatarian and everything in between. Find your stuffing style here.

Classic Stuffing Combinations

These familiar favorites are traditional for a reason. It's just not the holidays without them.

Seafood Stuffings

Yes, you can add seafood to stuffing, though they usually go by the moniker "dressings". These are definitely crowd-pleasers.

Wild Rice Stuffings (and other grains)

You don't have to use bread as the binder in your Thanksgiving stuffing. These tasty casseroles use rice and other grains for a flavorful and nutrient rich substitute.

Low Carb

If you're trying to stick to your good habits, these tasty stuffings won't leave you wanting.

Vegetarian & Vegan

No meat? No problem! These amazing stuffings are meat-free and flavor-FULL!

Cornbread Stuffing

If you've never tried cornbread stuffing, you're in for a treat! Mix it with all your holiday favorites for truly outstanding stuffing casseroles.

Unusual Stuffing Combinations:

These recipes definitely zig, where the others zag! Take your tastebuds in a completely different direction!

Instant Pot & Slow Cooker Options

Free up your oven for other dishes on Thanksgiving and employ your Instant Pot or Slow Cooker for the stuffing!

Also try these favorites:

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  1. You must live up North. I’m sure some of these are delicious.

    I’m from south Louisiana. Oysters aren’t the only seafood used. Crab and shrimp cornbread dressing is outstanding.

    1. From Southeastern Virginia (technically the South). Love your idea for the crab and shrimp in the oyster dressing.