Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

There’s a very good reason why grocery stores sell Stovetop Stuffing year-round—we all crave the comfort and cozy holiday feeling of Thanksgiving and Christmas from time to time, just not the work to recreate them. Nevertheless, when we get closer to November, our desire to actually make stuffing from scratch often outweighs our need for a quick fix. That’s when it’s time to break out the stuffing recipes! We’ve got you covered on all fronts: the classic loaded with sausage and sage, Southern-style with unsweetened cornbread and oysters, plant-based with meaty mushrooms, and more. We’ve also included a couple of “non-traditional” options like savory Chinese steamed sticky rice and bejeweled Israeli couscous that’ll inspire you to think outside the box. Plus, we offer up a few ideas on what to do with leftover stuffing (if you have any, that is). Keep reading for our favorite stuffing recipes to enjoy for the holiday season.

Classic Sage and Sausage Stuffing (Dressing)

Serious Eats / Mariel De La Cruz

Kenji’s platonic ideal of this Thanksgiving classic boasts the custard-like texture of a savory bread pudding. You can follow this recipe and bake the stuffing in an oven, or try Kenji’s slow cooker method for extra moist results. Both begin with over-dried, fine-holed white bread to better absorb all the eggs, broth, and butter.

Cornbread Dressing With Sausage and Sage

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

What distinguishes this Southern-style dressing from its Northern cousin is its more crisp, crumbly texture—the result of using unsweetened cornbread made with only stone-ground cornmeal. To make this suitable for anyone with a gluten allergy or intolerance, be sure your cornmeal is certified gluten-free.

Southern Cornbread Dressing With Oysters and Sausage

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

There’s a long-standing tradition of adding oysters to dressing (or stuffing), which provides just the right amount a briny savoriness to complement the sausage and aromatics—here they include fennel and tarragon. Whether you favor this Southern version made with unsweetened cornbread or the Northern one made with fine white bread, Daniel recommends chopping up the raw oysters with kitchen shears.

Prune and Apple Stuffing With Sausage and Chestnuts

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

This moist, custardy stuffing is flavored with warm spices and aromatic sage. Resplendent with bits of sweet chestnuts, savory sausage, tart apples, and sherry-soaked prunes, it makes for a perfect accompaniment to roast turkey, chicken, duck, or goose.

Popeye’s Buttermilk Biscuit Stuffing

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

This stuffing recipe is an ode to our love and fascination with fast food—in this case, Popeye’s flaky, tender buttermilk biscuits, toasted up, soaked in a mixture of stock, cream, and eggs, and embellished with sweet Italian sausage, onion, celery, carrots, and fennel.

Chorizo and Green Olive Stuffing

Serious Eats / Max Falkowitz

Subbing out traditional stuffing ingredients like sausage, sage, and celery with Spanish saffron, smoky paprika-infused chorizo, and firm, meaty green olives is how Max Falkowitz spices up his holiday celebration and takes it global.

The Best Vegan Stuffing

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

For his vegetable-forward version of the classic stuffing, Kenji replaces sausage with mushrooms cooked until deeply browned with sage for a “meaty” flavor, while toasted pecans add texture, eschewing textured vegetable protein or seitan altogether.

Thanksgiving Stuffed Roast Pumpkins

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Sasha Marx turns whole roasted small sugar pumpkins into a satisfying Thanksgiving vegetarian main by filling it with layers of mashed kabocha squash, bread, cooked kale and mushrooms, pepitas, pecans, Gruyère, and spiced cream. You can easily take a page from his book and bake this as a layered stuffing to serve as a vegetarian side dish.

Crown Roast of Lamb With Couscous Stuffing and Pistachio-Mint Sauce

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Aside from being an absolute showstopper, Daniel’s Crown Roast of Lamb offers not only a majestic alternative to the usual Thanksgiving turkey (perfect for turkey haters) but a deliciously different take on stuffing. Here we have couscous bejeweled with flavorful dried fruit and pistachio plumped in chicken stock.

Lo Mai Gai (Chinese Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf)

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

Growing up, my Chinese immigrant family often melded American holiday traditions with flavors and textures that reflected our cultural heritage. A favorite way was to replace savory sticky rice steamed with bits of mushroom, dried shrimp, and sausage for traditional stuffing on the holiday table. Instead of wrapping individual bundles, you can line a dish with layers of lotus leaves to steam enough sticky rice for multiple servings at one go.

Latke-Crusted Turkey Stuffing Fritters With Liquid Cranberry Core and Schmaltz Gravy

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Sure, you can repurpose your leftover stuffing in any number ways—from waffles to stuffins’ to fritters. Only a mad culinary scientist like Kenji would come up with the ultimate Thanksgiving-Hanukkah mashup of a crispy latke, classic sage and sausage stuffing, and a cranberry sauce core—served with a side of turkey schmaltz gravy, of course.

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