3 Tips For Making Your Holiday Side Dish The Stuffing Of Legend

by  Gennefer Gross


When done right stuffing is always a crowd favorite. There’s nothing like fluffy, herb-infused bread, coated in gravy with a forkful of turkey to make that perfect bite. A great perk about stuffing is that it can be more than just a side, as it has some standalone elements that enable cooks to take it from background singer to lead vocals, harmonizing holiday meals with bountiful beats of creativity.

Taking On A New Shape

Who ever said that stuffing could only be crumbly morsels of bread in a bowl? When you remove the constraints of serving plates the possibilities are endless.

Stuffing Bundt Cake

Photo Credit: Kim’s Healthy Eats

Dust off that bundt pan from way in the back of your cabinet, and fill it with bread, herbs, and bacon this Thanksgiving for a savory ‘cake’ that will be a standout at your dinner table. Just use your favorite stuffing recipe, add a few extra eggs for moistness, and bake it up for easy-to-serve slices perfect for piling on turkey and gravy. (This also works using a muffin pan!)

Stuffing Croquettes

Photo Credit: Menu in Progress

While this one’s intended as a leftover recipe, we think serving it up on Thanksgiving Day is sure to be a show-stopper. Who doesn’t love deep-fried foods? This is America, after all! Simply coat balls of stuffing with panko, and deep fry them. We also suggest adding in some turkey and gravy for a fun flavor explosion in every bite.

Pork Stuffing Balls

If you want to be more heart healthy you can skip the fryer, and feature these pork stuffing balls instead. They bring a kick of sweetness into the mix to balance the salt and gravy of your other dishes. Orange zest, nutmeg, pine nuts, and heavy whipping cream turn these orbs of bread and pork into melt-in-your-mouth morsels so tasty you might forget there’s also turkey on your plate.

Touring The World 

While Thanksgiving may only be celebrated in the United States that doesn’t mean your ingredients can’t take a trip around the world. Weave in bold flavors with bounties from across continents, and you’ll have even more reasons to be thankful this year.

Photo Credit: The Bitten Word

If you want your stuffing to taste like nachos (c’mon, who doesn’t?), take them South of the Border with this Mexican twist on the traditional. The addition of queso, spicy chorizo, and crunchy tortilla chips is the perfect blend of textures and flavors to pull you out of the funk of your old stuffing recipe. Fantastico!

Chinese Sticky Rice Stuffing

Photo Credit: Country Living

For a total departure on Turkey Day, try this Asian-inspired alternative featuring Chinese sausage, edamame, and chestnuts encased in sticky rice that will make your turkey shine as it clings to every juicy morsel. Bonus: It’s a low-carb option for your guests who may be watching their weight.

Mofongo Stuffing

Photo Credit: Always Order Dessert

You won’t find a side dish that packs a punch more than this Puerto Rican specialty, piled high with fried plantains, mashed up with slabs of bacon, sofrito and olive oil. To maximize this tantalizing trio of tastes, try stuffing your bird with it to infuse the meat with international flair.

Embracing The Unexpected

Your guests may be expecting your typical trifecta of herbs, butter, and bread when the stuffing side dish gets passed to them, but by adding a few unexpected ingredients you can transform standard into spectacular.

Steak Stuffing

Photo Credit: Endless Simmer

Empire Steakhouse in NYC serves a renowned Thanksgiving Dinner each year, but poultry isn’t the only star of the show. They proudly perk up their stuffing with prime rib and Canadian bacon for an added kick of decadence that will make your meal nothing short of magnificent. (Recipe below.)


· 6 thick slices of Empire’s famous Canadian bacon (chopped)

· 1 cup chopped onions

· 1/2 cup celery

· 3 ¼ cups water

· 6 cups seasoned stuffing crumbs

· 1 teaspoon salt

· 2 lbs of Empire’s tender steak


· Slightly cook the steak, and chop into pieces.

· Cook the thick Canadian bacon and chop into pieces.

· Sauté onions until slightly brown.

· In a bowl mix in the seasoned stuffing crumbs, water, salt and sautéed onions.

· Once ingredients are mixed, the steak and bacon should also be combined in the bowl.

· When the turkey is ¾ cooked, stuff your Thanksgiving turkey.

Chesapeake Bay Sausage & Crab Stuffing

Photo Credit: Country Living

It’s no wonder this recipe was a finalist in Country Living’s Best American Stuffing Contest. By adding chunks of chorizo and lush crab meat your stuffing will take on a whole new flavor profile, bringing briny and sweet notes straight from the Chesapeake Bay to your table.

Stuffing Pizza

Photo Credit: Savory Reviews

This is another leftovers recipe, but why wait till the day after to enjoy stuffing pizza?! We think this savory pie, smothered in sausage, mashed potatoes, and cheddar cheese on a flaky buttermilk biscuit crust will be a crowd pleaser on the big day. So toss out tradition and start a new trend your guests will be truly thankful for.

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