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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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Bowl of dried fruits, pistachios, cashew nuts and almondsWestend61/Getty Images


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 trayilbusca/Getty Images

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 viewKarpenkovDenis/Getty Images

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.apomares/Getty Images

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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Savory Apple-Chicken SausageTaste of Home

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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Breakfast Fresh whole button Champignon mushroomsRistoArnaudov/Getty Images


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.

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Sautéing and caramelising sliced onions in black wok. Black decorative surface. High point of view.annick vanderschelden photography/Getty Images

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 jarsStewart Waller/Getty Images

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 Boardbhofack2/Getty Images

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.