9 Things to Add to Stuffing Mix to Make It Taste Homemade

Looking to dress up your dressing? Here's what to add to stuffing mix for Thanksgiving—or any other family dinner.

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Sausage Crumbles

Use sausage to amp up your stuffing’s flavor. If pork isn’t your thing, you could use beef, tofu or chicken sausage instead. This chicken apple sausage would be a glorious addition to any Thanksgiving stuffing.

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Bowl of dried fruits, pistachios, cashew nuts and almonds
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Fruit, especially dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, figs and apricots can seriously improve a dreary box of stuffing. That bit of sweetness plays beautifully with other flavors on the table. I’ve found that fresh fruits like apples and pears are stellar as well.

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Italian pastry making patisserie baking confectioner: Toasting almonds on baking tray
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Toasted Nuts

Nuts are a delicious, simple way to add some crunch to your Turkey Day fare. In fact, lightly toasted nuts add a layer of texture not only to stuffing, but the Thanksgiving spread as a whole. Our top picks? Pecans, walnuts, almonds and pistachios.

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Pieces of butter in the hot pan on the metal background top view
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Brown Butter

If you (or someone at your Thanksgiving table) is allergic to nuts, but loves a rich, nutty flavor, look no further than brown butter. A touch sweet, a tad savory, brown butter is easy to make and wonderfully delicious. It’s definitely something to add to recipes on a regular basis.

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Roasted bacon on cutting board. Ingredient used in making Jam Bread or "Pan de Jamon" a Venezuelan Christmas food.
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Chopped Bacon

It’s a universal truth that bacon makes everything taste better. Adding some chopped bacon (or pancetta) to your stuffing mix is a surefire way to improve its flavor. Cook the bacon before mixing it into the stuffing.

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Breakfast Fresh whole button Champignon mushrooms
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Another great way to add a mouthwatering savory element to stuffing is by adding mushrooms. They’re vegetarian-friendly, which is perfect if you need a veggie option for your guests. Looking for more ideas? Learn how to make vegan stuffing.

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Sautéing and caramelising sliced onions in black wok. Black decorative surface. High point of view.
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Sauteed Onion

Something as effortless as a chopped onion can completely transform your stuffing mix. Red and Spanish/yellow onions have a sharper bite to them, while white onions are much milder. You could always use shallots for a sweeter, more subtle flavor. Learn more about the different types of onions and when to use them.

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Row of spice jars
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Dried Spices

Keep things easy with a dash of paprika or a sprinkle of cayenne. Or, totally change your stuffing mix with a spice blend like Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, poultry seasoning, adobo or Lawry’s.

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Organic Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese on a Cutting Board
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Grated Cheese

A little grated cheese can make even the most standard boxed stuffing mix taste outstanding. A good cheddar or Parmesan brings a bit of sharpness, but there are loads of great-tasting milder versions. Gouda, mozzarella and provolone are some of our top picks. Just make sure to shred the cheese yourself.

Camille Berry
Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a pen and covers all aspects of food and drink.