Turkey Day Hacks: 7 Alternatives to Traditional Stuffing

7 Alternatives to Traditional Stuffing

When it comes to Thanksgiving, some people live for stuffing (or dressing, if that's what you call it). Personally, I love all stuffing, even the boxed kind. However, even the classics can start to feel a little staid and dull after a while.

Why not try giving your Thanksgiving stuffing a little pizzazz by playing around with alternate forms, surprising ingredients, or unexpected cooking techniques? Isn't it time you learned different ways to take that traditional dish to new heights?

Method #1: Waffle Your Stuffing

We're big fans of using your waffle maker to improve almost everything you eat. Turns out that it works wonders on your Thanksgiving stuffing. Why waffle the stuffing? Well, more crispiness and nooks and crannies for extra gravy, as Serious Eats points out.

Image by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt/Serious Eats

Be sure to check out Food Republic's guide, which gives you great tips on how to make sure your stuffing waffles are up to snuff.

Method #2: Make It on a Cookie Sheet

My favorite part about stuffing is the crunch, which is why I favor cooking it outside of the bird. (Some insist that you call it dressing in that case.) While the waffle maker is a good way to maximize crunch, another method is even easier: use a cookie sheet.

Image via Sprinkles of Parsley

This ensures no sogginess or undercooked stuffing and major amounts of crispy, buttery, savory stuffing goodness. Plus it's easier to clean than a waffle maker, especially if you line it with aluminum foil first.

Method #3: Use a Rice Cooker or Slow Cooker

For those who prefer their stuffing on the moist side, you have a great, no-frills option: the slow cooker.You can set it on low and it'll cook the stuffing to the perfect consistency. Check out The Kitchen Is My Playground's guide here for more details.

Image via The Kitchen Is My Playground

And while we already knew that rice cookers could make bread, pancakes, and mashed potatoes, they can also be used to whip up a good Thanksgiving stuffing, too. Check it out!

Method #4: Use Crackers, Waffles, or Pretzels for Stuffing

Stuffing made with good-quality white bread is a classic, but it can also get a little old. Even cornbread, while a good change of pace, feels pretty commonplace.

Thankfully, there are lots of other carbohydrates that make great stuffing. (Bagels, anyone?) According to Martha Stewart, crackers were commonplace and often used to stuff/dress poultry. Try her modern version with this herbed cracker stuffing recipe. There's also a version you can make with buttery Ritz crackers. Heck, there's even a version that uses Cheez-Its!

Image via Martha Stewart

If that's not enough variation on a theme for you, then don't forget the beloved waffle. Instead of making stuffing into a waffle, you can now make Belgian waffle stuffing. (This one's for people who like to have breakfast for every meal.)

Image by Mark Shaw/Food Republic

And if you're a pretzel fan, you're in luck: there are recipes out there for stuffings that use both hard pretzels (along with wild rice) and soft pretzels (or pretzel bread).

Method #5: Stuffing Muffins

It's a well-known fact that almost all food tastes better when it comes in bite-sized forms, which is why you need to make these sausage-and-apple mini muffins.

Image via Becoming Pigzilla

If you're feeling more generous with your stuffing, you can also make a full-sized version, of course. Try this version with pancetta and sage. Frankly, either size would be eminently noshable.

Method #6: Pull-Apart Stuffing Bread

This recipe from Serious Eats puts all the delicious, herb-y flavors of stuffing and the fun of pull-apart bread (also known as monkey bread) in the same dish.

Image by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt/Serious Eats

It's wizardry, I tell you.

Method #7: Deep-Fried Stuffing Fritters

Thanksgiving day is not a time to focus on health, which is why these crispy fritters are perfect to make as an annual treat. As the Daily Meal describes them, it's like combining stuffing and a hush puppy into one amazing bite.

Image via The Daily Meal

If you really wanted to rattle some cages, you could combine mashed potatoes and stuffing, but the traditionalists in your family might rise up against you. Still, it might be worth the risk.

What's your favorite way to make stuffing?

More Thanksgiving Day Hacks:

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Yum! These all look delicious! :)

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