Dressing for the occasion

12 Recipes
This Southern stuffing cooks up like a savory bread pudding made with cornbread.
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Dress your bird, don’t stuff it.

“Stuffing — now that is an essential Thanksgiving dish,” wrote restaurant critic Jonathan Gold when sharing his Pork Apple Sausage Stuffing recipe in November 2015. “Also, stuffing is delicious.”

“Many people grow up thinking the whole world stuffs Thanksgiving turkey the way their families do,” wrote Times staff writer Charles Perry in his Nov. 19, 2000, article, “The Right Stuffing.” “And then they acquire in-laws and, along with them, the terrible knowledge that the whole world does not. Suddenly there’s a weighty question of whether to put in cornbread or chestnuts or oysters.”

He continues, “The most widespread American stuffing is bread mixed with herbs (typically onions, celery, parsley and sage) ….” He is probably referring to a Basic Bread Stuffing or perhaps Country Stuffing With Lots of Celery (similar but vegan).

“But that is just one of many ways to stuff a turkey,” wrote Russ Parsons, a former Times columnist and food editor, on Nov. 16, 2005. “The question is: If you’re interested in flexing your creative muscles, where do you start?” Introducing his recipe for Chestnut-Sage Stuffing, Parsons provides a sort of craft-your-own-stuffing guide for the perplexed, offering advice for developing one’s own recipe.

If that’s more thinking than you want to do, we have a bevy of tested recipes in our archives for you to choose from. Focaccia-based, rice-based, cornbread-based, with mushrooms, with pumpkin seeds and with all kinds of other goodies.

For the record, we do advise against stuffing your turkey. In order to cook the stuffing in a turkey to a safe 165 degrees, you will have to cook the bird to 185 degrees, which means your turkey meat will be dry, dry, dry (and you’ll need LOTS more gravy and cranberry sauce than you made to cover that up). We recommend dressing: baking it in a separate pan so that you can take the turkey out of the oven when it reaches 165 degrees.

Country Stuffing with Lots of Celery

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 12

Pork apple sausage stuffing

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 8 to 10.

Southern stuffing

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Focaccia stuffing

Time 15 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Pumpkin seed stuffing with chorizo

Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Chestnut-sage Stuffing

Time 30 minutes
Yields Makes enough for a 16-pound turkey (7 cups)

Lucques stuffing

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 8 (makes 12 cups)

Perfect Stuffing

Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Yields Makes 16 cups

Wild mushroom stuffing

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 6

Basic bread stuffing

Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields Stuffs 1 (12- to 14-pound) turkey, about 10 to 12 servings

Avis Hatheway's wild rice dressing

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 10 to 12

Texas Corn Bread Dressing

Time 2 hours
Yields Makes 14 cups