There are two types of people in this world: those who sleep on their stuffing recipe, and those who don't. Which side are you on?

By Betty Gold
November 04, 2020
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While your prized turkey recipe may get most of the recognition come Thanksgiving Day, there are several other key components of this meal that make it worthy of being the nation's biggest food holiday every year. Take mashed potatoes for instance—can you imagine a tablescape without them? Cranberry sauce, gravy, roasted root veggies, and pumpkin pie are also all mandatory. But if you forget the stuffing—aka the hero of Thanksgiving dinner—there will be a price to pay. Call it the sleeper side, see if we care. Stuffing is a non-negotiable: it's carb-loaded, comforting, and filled with soft chunks of warm bread, toasty nuts, and dried fruit. It's pretty easy to make, too. Here, our seven favorite stuffing recipes for Thanksgiving dinner. (Oh, and while the words “leftover stuffing” might sound like an oxymoron, it does happen. Find our collection of recipes for leftover stuffing here.)

Credit: Grace Elkus

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Think of this simple stuffing recipe as your blank canvas. It's made from the classic combination of onions, celery, and sage—we also added white wine for brightness and a clean finish. Go ahead and use your standard white sandwich bread or swap it out for rustic sourdough, seeded rye, or torn challah (yes please). 

Credit: Mikkel Vang

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This delicious stuffing recipe gets an extra sweet-and-spicy kick from Italian sausage, crisp chopped Granny Smith apples, and an entire quarter-cup of fresh sage. 

Credit: Sarah Karnasiewicz

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There's no reason your non-carnivorous friends and family members should have to avoid the stuffing. This delicious recipe uses cremini (or Portobello) mushrooms, cooked chestnuts, and vegetable stock in place of meat-heavy ingredients. 

Credit: Roland Bello

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This stuffing recipe is made with sourdough bread, which gives it a deliciously toasty tang. If desired, you can add bacon bits, pecan pieces, and fresh thyme for a heartier dish.

Credit: Anna Williams

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A delicious stuffing recipe shouldn’t require you to spend all day chopping and stirring. There are mashed potatoes to make and birds to roast! Enter this speedy sage apple stuffing, which only takes 20 minutes of hands-on time. 

Credit: Jim Franco

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These flavors are perfect for celebrating fall: there are butter-crisped sage leaves tucked into each bite, sweet Italian sausage bits, and diced apples to lend a hint of sweetness without dragging the flavors too far in the direction of dessert. Dotting the top of the stuffing with butter before it goes into the oven ensures every bite has a bit of crave-worthy crust.

Credit: Jose Picayo

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Golden raisins give this sausage and parsley-scented stuffing recipe a hint of sweetness. Don't forget to add the leeks, which will lend a smooth, earthy aroma.