We Tried Nine Packaged Stuffings—and There Was One Clear Winner
We know we're not supposed to pick favorites, but if we had to choose, we would happily eat an entire bowl of stuffing and call it a night. Some prefer made-from-scratch recipes, such as vegetarian wild mushroom or savory, meaty sausage. Others find nostalgia in classic boxed and bagged stuffing mixes from a supermarket—not to mention, they save a lot of time, too. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we were curious to see how they stacked up to the homemade versions, so we decided it was time for a taste test.
We called in stuffing from several popular brands, including both grocery store staples and higher-end options available online. The end result? Nine different varieties, ranging from Martin's Potatobred Soft Cubed Stuffing to Apple, Sausage, and Walnut Stuffing from Harry & David.
Some required additional ingredients; others could be thrown right in the oven. We diligently went through and tried them all, noting taste, texture, and how likely we would be to serve them at our Thanksgiving table. (It was an excellent afternoon.) In the end, childhood nostalgia won out—read on for all of our carb-y thoughts.
Pro tip: Jonah Reider, our Supper Club columnist, recommends placing all of the below stuffings under the broiler for a minute for added crispiness, and adding fresh parsley as the finishing touch.
Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing
Additional ingredients required: butter, onion, celery, Swanson chicken broth
Out of both the supermarket and online order categories, Pepperidge Farm's Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing blew all the other options out of the water. The texture was great, not too soggy or dry, and it had a rich, savory flavor almost reminiscent of sausage. For many editors, it brought back fond memories of the stuffing they enjoyed as a child—if it's not broke, don't fix it.
"This, to me, tastes like Thanksgiving," executive wine editor Ray Isle wrote. "It is indeed classic! And nicely balanced seasoning."
Kraft Stove Top Cornbread Stuffing Mix
Additional ingredients required: boiling water, butter
Kraft's stuffing left us in divided camps. Some editors loved the salty, brothy flavor, while others felt that it was too much and didn't resemble stuffing.
"Come on. This is the indulgent, sticky, salty stuffing you're actually craving," associate news editor Adam Campbell-Schmitt wrote. "Admit it."
365 Everyday Value Organic Cornbread Stuffing Mix with Chicken Flavor
Additional ingredients required: water, butter
The texture of this stuffing was more grainy, almost reminiscent of couscous or polenta. It had a strong, salty chicken-forward flavor—one editor suggested stuffing it in the turkey.
Arnold Premium Herb Seasoned Cubed Stuffing
Additional ingredients required: butter, onion, celery, chicken broth
Arnold's stuffing ended up with a very onion-forward flavor. Some editors felt it was a solid option, but others felt it needed more crisping.
Martin's Potatobred Soft Cubed Stuffing
Additional ingredients required: butter (and lots of it!), onion, celery, salt, pepper, sage, thyme
Martin's stuffing also got a lot of love from our editors. We were initially wary, since the recipe on the bag didn't call for any liquid (other mixes required stock or water). However, despite the slightly dry texture, the buttery taste and spices won us over.
"Wow, potato bread stuffing is a game changer," said digital restaurant editor Maria Yagoda. "The preparation of eight tablespoons of butter and no liquid made me nervous, but it's so powerful."
Order Online Stuffings:
Harry & David Apple Sausage Walnut Stuffing
Additional ingredients required: none
This stuffing came out a little soggy; however, it was tasty overall. Editors liked the crunch from the walnuts and how they paired with the sausage flavor, and the big chunks of bread were a plus, too.
"Pleasantly surprising, may need to be dressed up a little to serve but it tastes good!" Associate Digital Editor Megan Soll said. "Not overpowering but great sausage flavor."
Williams Sonoma Cornbread Stuffing Mix
Additional ingredients required: extra-virgin olive oil, yellow onion, celery, kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, chicken or turkey stock
This stuffing came out dry, but won us over in other areas. The cornbread was crisp and had great flavor—out of all the other samples we tried, we felt that this was the most visually appealing.
Williams Sonoma Organic Classic French Bread Stuffing Mix
Additional ingredients required: unsalted butter, yellow onion, celery, kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, chicken or vegetable stock
Williams Sonoma's Classic French Bread Stuffing Mix had a very strong Herbes de Provence flavor, with distinct notes of lavender and marjoram. The taste was hit or miss with F&W editors, but bread was very crisp and crunchy.
Omaha Steaks Sage Dressing
Additional ingredients required: none
This stuffing was savory and crispy, but a little bit on the dry side. The sage notes were a nice touch.