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.
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.
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!
Best Thanksgiving stuffing recipes
Now, let’s get to some of the best Thanksgiving stuffing recipes to make your holiday shine! I’ve partnered with my blogging buddies 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.
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.
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!
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:
- Sausage Pear Dressing courtesy Amanda Wilens
- Sourdough Sun-Dried Tomato & Artichoke Stuffing via Pinch Me, I’m Eating!
- Slow Cooker Sausage Apple Stuffing from My Therapist Cooks
- Lazy Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Stuffing courtesy The Lazy Slow Cooker
- Vegan Mushroom Artichoke Stuffing from Know Your Produce
- Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing courtesy Debra Klein
- Cauliflower Stuffing with Sausage and Pecans via Vanilla Bean Cuisine
- Gluten Free Quinoa Stuffing from Two Cookie’ Mamas