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Oh, dearest stuffing: arguably the pillar of a quintessential Thanksgiving dinner and the countless leftover meals to follow. But this beloved side dish (and turkey essential) can turn into unappetizing mush quickly when cooked incorrectly or by following a dull recipe.

Stuffing for turkey

We’ve gathered five of our greatest stuffing tricks that will transform your family stuffing recipe into so much more. Your turkey will thank you, too.

Don’t Forget Fruit

Apples in stuffing

Looking to avoid that vile dry texture? Keep your stuffing masterpiece moist and inexplicably delicious by adding finely chopped fruit of your choice. Our editor recommends using one or a combination of these exquisite fall fruits: apples, pears, cranberries or figs.

Choose Your Bread Wisely

Braided Brioche Bread Recipe

Just like with french toast or a good sandwich, choosing a high-quality bread as your base is the most important decision in stuffing recipes. Your recipe will likely call for regular white sandwich bread (cubed)—don’t settle for the culinary path of least resistance. Buy a fresh baguette, ciabatta or brioche loaf from your local bakery two to three days before Thanksgiving. Slice the bread into cubes and let air dry until the big day. You’ll never even look at regular sandwich bread again.

Toast Your Bread

In case you find your bread cubes a touch too “spongy” for your liking, toast them in the oven at 375°F for 8-10 minutes on a baking sheet. Achieving perfectly dried bread is the most critical step in creating flawless stuffing. In order to absorb all those heavenly stuffing juices, the bread cubes need to be crisp and toasted.

Embrace Herbs and Spices

Herbs for stuffing

Unless you want your stuffing to be a bland mistake, don’t forget to astutely select a combination of herbs which will complement the flavor of your stuffing ingredients. When using meat in your stuffing, sausage for example, using a dash or two of sage transforms the dish into a rich and aromatic delicacy. When sticking to a simple vegetarian stuffing, use rosemary and thyme to amplify the taste.

Always Add Caramelized Onions and Wine

These two succulent ingredients go perfectly with every stuffing recipe—and trust us, make those recipes even greater. The rules are simple: replace 1/4 of the water (when making broth) with red wine and add one cup of caramelized onions to the stuffing mix. We promise, you’ll never do it any other way again.

Tell us foodies! What are YOUR go-to stuffing secrets? Share your foodie knowledge in our comment section or by tagging us on social media.


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