How To Turn Your Standard Stuffing Side-Dish Into A Thanksgiving Legend

Photo: Manny Rodriguez (Getty Images)

Stuffing is always a crowd favorite on Thanksgiving. There’s nothing like fluffy, herb-infused carbs, coated in gravy with a forkful of turkey to comprise that perfect bite. But stuffing can be more than just a side with some standalone elements that take it from background singer to lead vocals, harmonizing your holiday meal with bodacious beats of creativity. Rock on, stuffing.

Take on a New Shape

Whoever 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

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

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, right? This is America, after all. Just coat balls of stuffing with panko — or even crushed potato chips or Doritos (again, this is America) — and deep fry them. We also suggest adding in some turkey and gravy for a fun flavor explosion in every bite.

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Tour 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 leave the bland behind.

Tortilla Chip and Chorizo Stuffing

If you want your stuffing to taste like nachos (c’mon, who doesn’t?), take it 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. Wash it down with a margarita and be grateful for tequila when your Uncle Bill starts talking politics.

Chinese Sticky Rice Stuffing

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.

Embrace the Unexpected

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

Stuffing Pizza

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

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Steak Stuffing

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 fat that will have your Keto pals scooping up seconds. We’ve got the recipe below. You’re welcome.


  • 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 pounds 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 3/4 cooked, stuff your Thanksgiving turkey.