Aside from pumpkin pie, stuffing is typically the fan favorite at traditional Thanksgiving dinners. It’s hard not to like the moist mixture of breadcrumbs, vegetables, and seasonings that comes out of the turkey. And luckily, stuffing is one of the easiest Thanksgiving dishes to make, and it’s completely customizable. In today’s day and age, everyone has different dietary restrictions, and that’s why it’s important to aim to make dishes that everyone can enjoy. Stuffing is one dish that no one is excited to pass on, so we’re highlighting 7 varieties of the dish that can appeal to all palates and take no time to make. This list will have something for everyone and highlights only the recipes that are simple enough for chefs of all skill levels to take on.
1. Traditional stuffing
We’re starting things on a traditional note and highlighting a tried-and-true recipe for stuffing from Martha Stewart. If you’re going the classic stuffing route, this should be your go-to. The recipe is easy to follow and makes 12 cups of stuffing. Plan ahead, pick up your ingredients, and then follow Martha’s lead for a perfect traditional stuffing side dish.
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 onions, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
- 16 celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 10 large fresh sage leaves, chopped, or 2 teaspoons crushed dried sage
- 6 cups chicken stock or broth, skimmed of fat
- 2 stale loaves white bread, (about 36 slices), crust on, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups fresh coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, leaves
- 2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
- 2 cups dried cherries, (optional)
Directions: Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onions and celery, and cook over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add sage, stir to combine, and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Add ½ cup stock, and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes, until liquid has reduced by half.
Transfer onion mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add all remaining ingredients, including the remaining stock; mix to combine.
2. Cornbread stuffing
Next up is a cornbread stuffing for those who like their Thanksgivings Southern-style. This recipe from The Kitchn makes a mean stuffing, and it’s technically called a dressing because the dish is prepared without touching the turkey. Stuffing is cooked inside the bird, dressing is on its own. Regardless, this cornbread dressing is irresistible and will convince even the most traditional of eaters that, sometimes, change is good. While the traditional dishes are classics for a reason, it’s hard to deny buttermilk cornbread combined with butter, vegetables, and seasonings. Make this dish for this Thanksgiving and see how many guests jump at the chance to try a spin on their favorite dish.
For buttermilk cornbread:
- 1 cup plain yellow cornmeal
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
For cornbread dressing:
- 1 bag herb-seasoned stuffing
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, divided
- 2 cups finely chopped sweet onion
- 1½ cups finely chopped celery
- 5 cups chicken or turkey stock
- 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- Salt and pepper
Directions: For the buttermilk cornbread, grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place on center rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, melted butter, and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the preheated skillet and smooth the top. Bake until cornbread is golden yellow, about 16 to 19 minutes. doesn’t overcook or dry out. Immediately remove the cornbread from the skillet and allow to cool.
The cornbread can be made up to 2 days in advance when using for the dressing. Store until needed, then crumble and follow instructions for the dressing.
For the cornbread dressing, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Crumble the cornbread into small pieces. Combine the crumbled cornbread and stuffing mix in an extra large mixing bowl and toss to combine.
Melt 1 stick butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the onion and celery to the cornbread mixture.
Melt the remaining stick of butter. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, chicken stock, eggs, and sage, and whisk to combine. Add to the cornbread mixture and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, until the dressing is set and golden brown, about 45 minutes to 50 minutes.
3. Wild rice or quinoa stuffing
For a healthy spin on the classic dish, try this recipe for wild rice or quinoa stuffing featured on Mayo Clinic’s website. One serving of this stuffing yields only 78 calories and 2 grams of fat, so if you’re trying to leave room for the other dinner fixings and dessert, this dish is your best bet. You’ll first cook your rice or quinoa and then combine it with mushrooms, apples, cranberries, and celery. It’s up to you whether you stuff your turkey with the dressing or bake it and serve it on its own. The recipe serves 12 and because it’s healthy, guests won’t feel guilty asking for seconds.
- ¾ cup uncooked wild rice (or equal amount of uncooked quinoa)
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped apple (including peel)
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- 2 cups diced celery
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
- ½ cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
Directions: Rinse wild rice two to three times — until water runs clear.
Place wild rice and water in a 1½-quart sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until all water is absorbed, stirring frequently. Do not burn. Cook wild rice for about 30 minutes.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add onion, mushrooms, apple, cranberries, and celery. Stir and heat through until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Continue to stir and cook slowly until fragrant, about 10 minutes total.
Combine the rice, the fruit/vegetable mixture and chicken broth in a large bowl. Use to stuff turkey. Or bake in a dish coated with nonstick spray. Cover and keep warm in oven until serving. Garnish with a sprinkle of toasted almonds.
4. Vegan stuffing
Next up is a stuffing made for the vegans and vegetarians at your Thanksgiving table. Both classes of eaters will be able to indulge in this vegan stuffing featured on Serious Eats. To make the hearty dish, you’ll need vegan white bread, mushrooms, nuts, vegetables, veggie stock, seasonings, and herbs. The stuffing will cook for less than an hour and serves 10 to 14. That’s good news, too, because after one bite of the savory bread pudding, meat-eaters and vegans alike will be coming back for more and more.
- 2 ½ pounds hearty vegan white bread, crusts removed, cut into ¾-inch pieces
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 pound button, cremini, or shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 6 ounces toasted pecan halves
- ½ cup minced fresh sage leaves
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large leek, white part only, finely chopped
- 4 large stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated on microplane
- 32 ounces vegetable stock
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Adjust oven racks to lower middle and upper middle position. Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread bread evenly over two rimmed baking sheets. Stagger trays on oven racks and bake until completely dried, about 50 minutes total, rotating trays and stirring bread cubes several times during baking. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Increase oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place half of mushrooms in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped, about 8 short pulses. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with remaining mushrooms. Place pecan halves in food processor (do not wipe out bowl) and process until roughly chopped, about 12 short pulses. Set aside.
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently until all moisture has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add half of sage and continue to cook, stirring, until mushrooms are well browned, about 5 minutes longer. Add onions, leeks, celery, garlic, and remaining sage and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Add stock and pecans and bring to a boil. Add bread cubes and fold gently until evenly mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer mixture to a greased 9-by-13-inch rectangular baking dish (or 10-by-14 oval dish), cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake until hot throughout, about 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until golden brown and crisp on top, about 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle with remaining parsley and serve.
5. Gluten-free stuffing
And don’t forget about the gluten-free eaters. There’s a good chance at least one will come to your Thanksgiving dinner. Gluten-free stuffing may seem like an impossibility but this recipe from Oh My Veggies helps you break the odds. As long as you have gluten-free bread, there’s no reason you can’t make gluten-free stuffing, and luckily, such bread is now easily found at grocery stores. Combine your carbs with kale, caramelized onions, and mushrooms, and no one will even notice the stuffing is any different from the original.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small bunch of kale, torn into small pieces
- ½ tablespoon dried sage
- ½ tablespoon dried thyme
- 1½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 loaf of (stale) Whole Grain Gluten-Free Bread, cubed
- 1 egg, beaten
- salt and pepper to taste
- cooking spray or oil mister
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over low heat. Add sliced onions and cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 40-60 minutes. Transfer to large bowl; set aside.
Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook approximately 5 minutes, until mushrooms are softened and browned. Stir in kale and cook for 2 minutes.
Add sage, thyme, and broth to skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add bread and egg to caramelized onions; toss to combine. Stir in vegetable mixture and salt and pepper.
Pour stuffing into a large casserole dish coated with cooking spray or oil and cover. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and spray top of stuffing with additional cooking spray. Bake for another 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Paleo stuffing
Prepare for paleo enthusiasts with this paleo stuffing from PaleOMG. They’ll appreciate you accommodating their diet, and everyone else will appreciate you for whipping up such a tasty side dish. In this paleo stuffing is pork sausage, bacon, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, fruits, and nuts. It can be cooked on a baking dish or on a foil-lined sheet, and it’ll only go in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. As a fun spin on a traditional recipe, this paleo stuffing will remind you of simple substitutions you can make, and next year, you just may find yourself adding pork sausage and bacon to your stuffing, again.
- 1lb ground pork sausage
- 5 pieces of bacon, diced
- 5 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 yellow sweet potato
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 container of mushrooms, diced
- 2 apples, diced
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ⅓ cup chicken broth
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with foil, throw diced sweet potatoes/yams on it, sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender, then set aside.
While those cook, pull out a large skillet, place it under medium-high heat and place chopped bacon in it to begin to cook down. When some of the fat has seeped out and bacon has begun to cook, add your chopped apples, celery, and onions.
When onions begin to become translucent, add ground pork and mushrooms and your white wine vinegar. Let that cook down until pork is almost completely cooked through. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Once the sausage is all done, add mixture to a bowl to cool. Now beat your eggs, add to your sausage mixture, and add your chicken broth, along with your sweet potatoes, pecans, and dried cranberries. Mix well.
You can now either use a 9×13 baking dish to place your stuffing in or place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Either way will work. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes or until everything is a bit browned.
7. Sausage and herb stuffing
Here’s one more stuffing recipe from Once Upon a Chef that veers back to the traditional track. It’s neither vegan nor gluten-free, but it is delicious, and it will appeal to the meat- and gluten-lovers at your table. The sausage and herb stuffing even enlists a few secret shortcuts — the employment of store-bought stuffing cubes and bulk sweet Italian sausage — that will make the dish especially easy to cook, and will help keep your turkey day stress-free. If you want to go the traditional route this Thanksgiving but don’t want to stuff your dressing in the bird, try this sausage and herb stuffing and still get a thumbs up from everyone.
- 8 cups store bought unseasoned stuffing cubes
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1-½ cups diced yellow onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
- 2-¾ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter.
Place the stuffing cubes in a large mixing bowl.
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter. Add the onions and celery and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add the vegetables to the stuffing cubes.
In the same pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a metal spatula while cooking. Add the browned sausage to the bread cubes and vegetables.
Add the chicken broth, egg, rosemary, sage, parsley, salt, and pepper to the bread cube mixture and mix until the bread is soft and moistened. Transfer the stuffing to the prepared baking dish and bake for 65-75 minutes, uncovered, until deeply golden and crisp on top.