Being gluten-free doesn't mean foregoing traditional stuffing with your holiday turkey. Here's my delicious recipe for easy gluten-free stuffing!
Originally posted on October 4, 2021. Updated on 5/2/2022.
Before having to go gluten-free, my favorite stuffing recipe was my favorite thanksgiving dish and an important part of any holiday meal. I made the BEST stuffing - My original recipe, Savory Mushroom Chestnut Stuffing is on the main blog.
I’d always make a HUGE batch for every Thanksgiving dinner - and some other special occasions. It may have been a slightly less traditional choice, but it was my family’s favorite.
Anyway, while cranberry sauce and turkey are generally gluten-free and easy options for the Thanksgiving table, clearly I was going to need to sort out the stuffing situation.
Gluten Free Stuffing
This classic stuffing recipe was first published in my first gluten-free cookbook, “Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking”.
This gluten-free stuffing recipe is a bit different from the other recipes in the book, in that it's the only one to start with a pre-made gluten-free bread product.
Here's the thing: Every gluten free stuffing mix I’ve ever tried has been utter crap, and making a fresh loaf of gf bread just to make stuffing is too much work.
While most pre-made GF bread may be only *barely* fit for eating on its own ... even the least palatable premade gluten-free bread can be used to make a good stuffing!
Seriously, using this technique - slightly different from using regular bread to make stuffing - you can make something almost indistinguishable from "the real thing" - traditional stuffing.
This stuffing is one that I’ve served to people who AREN’T gluten free, along with the gluten-free family members, gluten-free friends who needed the option.
Like many other gluten-free recipes, this comes down to moisture, absorption, and technique.
The Secrets to Making Gluten-Free Stuffing
First and foremost, you need to pay attention to moisture.
I’ve called for 1+ cups of broth in this recipe, as it really does depend wildly on the bread you’re starting with.
Depending on the flours and starches used - and in what proportions - some breads will absorb a ton of broth to reach a good texture, and others won’t need much at all.
1 cup seems like the bare minimum, across the brands I’ve tested. This will be more for breads that are visibly soft, have a bit of “squish” to them, etc.
If you have a bread that’s more on the dry end of the spectrum, start out with the 1 cup - through the first round of cooking til it’s absorbed, then add a little more.
Keep adding and letting it absorb until you like the texture.
Beyond that? I use egg to act as a bit of a binder. It gives it a better texture than when made without.
With the way it's used - mixed into the broth - you don't actually perceive the egg in the stuffing.
Keep in Mind: Usage of Your Gluten-Free Stuffing!
If the stuffing will be cooked inside the turkey, aim for a little more dry than if it’s going to be cooked separately.
When cooked in the bird, this homemade gluten-free stuffing will absorb juices from the turkey or chicken, while stuffing cooked separately will only have the moisture it starts with.
On that note, here’s how to cook the stuffing, based on usage:
Stuff into the bird and roast as usual.
To use outside of poultry:
Transfer stuffing to a large baking pan, and cover with tin foil.
Bake at 350 F (180 C) for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or so, until golden brown.
When it comes to making stuffing, there’s the bread, and everything else. Here’s some information about the ingredients in this classic recipe:
You can use any type of bread you like, as long as it’s gluten-free. Sometimes I go for white bread, sometimes I make it with a grainier bread.
That’s part of why I’m not specific on the amount of broth - different varieties of bread will take up the moisture differently. Go with what you like!
(That said, I generally get best results with the varieties of bread that are NOT primarily tapioca starch based.)
The thing you don’t really want is really FRESH bread. You don’t need full on stale bread, but aim for a bread that’s a bit more dried out.
1. Lay your slices out on a clean surface (clean counter, or a baking sheet) and let them air dry for 2-3 hours
2. Lay your bread out in a single layer on a sheet pan and dry them out in a 200 degree oven (F) for an hour or so, flipping each slice after 30 minutes or so.
This recipe makes enough stuffing for 1 large chicken or 1 small turkey. If you’ll be needing more stuffing, use 2 - or more - loaves of bread, and scale everything else to go with it.
You’ll want some fat, liquid, veggies, and seasoning to round out your stuffing - all items easily found at any grocery store. My base recipe uses:
- Chicken broth, chicken stock or bone broth
- Baby bella / crimini mushroom slices
- Onions (I’ll usually use yellow onions)
- Fresh sage
- Large eggs
- Ground black pepper
... Of course, I never remember to photograph the base recipe when I make it. So, the process shots reflect a slightly different variation: No mushrooms, swap the sage for poultry seasoning.
I address some other variations a bit later in this post!
How to Make Delicious Gluten Free Bread Stuffing
Full recipe follows in a recipe card at the end of this post, this is a pictorial walk through of the recipe steps, with some additional tips and info.
Slice bread, chop or rip into small, bite-sized pieces.
Add bread to a large bowl, along with the chopped sage. Toss till the sage is spread out through the bread.
Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, celery, and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook until veggies start to soften. Add a bit of the chicken stock, Cook till everything is soft.
Add stuffing cubes mix to the pot, toss to coat & distribute the vegetable mixture.
Whisk eggs into the remaining soup stock, pour over the bread, and continue cooking until it's all absorbed.
For use in poultry
Stuff into the cavity of a turkey and roast as usual.
To use outside of poultry
Transfer stuffing to a large baking dish or Dutch oven, and cover with tin foil.
Bake in a 350 F oven for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or so, until golden brown.
A Few Notes on This Easy Stuffing Recipe
- If you’re stuffing your turkey, you’ll be handling raw meat at the same time you’re handling the stuffing. Any stuffing that doesn’t fit in the bird NEEDS to be baked after handling, to avoid potential food poisoning.
- Nutritional information in the recipe card is an approximation only and will vary based on your choice of bread.
- Cooked stuffing can be stored in an airtight container - or covered with plastic wrap - in the fridge for about a week. Let it cool to room temperature before covering, though.
Gluten-Free Stuffing Variations
This recipe is a great base kind of stuffing to start with, but you can customize it many ways! A few ideas:
- Skip the mushrooms and sage, season to taste with poultry seasoning. This is the kind of stuffing I grew up with, my grandma’s default - and it’s what’s pictured in the process photos!
- Swap the sage out in favour of a few handfuls of dried summer savoury. It’s my secret ingredient for pretty much anything Thanksgiving related! I toss it with the bread in the large mixing bowl, making sure it’s all well coated with the seasoning.
- For dairy free versions, use a vegan butter substitute. For a vegan gluten-free stuffing, you’ll want to also swap the chicken broth out for a vegetable stock or “Chik’N” type broth.
- Toss in some dried cranberries.
- Add some cooked wild rice, and / or Italian sausage. (They go SO well together!)!
You may be wondering how to make a gluten-free gravy.
I don’t really have a gravy recipe, as I eyeball everything as I go. I can give a quick overview, though:
First of all: I like to use white rice flour or brown rice flour when making gravy.
You can use almost any GF flour, they’ll just have different ways of behaving. I love the predictability and browning of rice flours, so that’s what I use.
I start off making a roux, with even amounts of rice flour and butter. I’ll cook that over medium heat - stirring constantly - until it’s a medium brown colour.
Then I add the turkey drippings - topping off with turkey or chicken stock - season and go from there.
Starting with a roux gives the rice flour a chance to soften, so I don't recommend skipping that step.
More Gluten-Free Holiday Recipes!
Looking for something festive - for the whole family? Here are some great gluten-free recipes perfect for your holiday table!
Gluten-Free Candy Cane Cookies
Gluten-Free Fruitcake Cookies
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
Gluten-Free Maple Pumpkin Pie
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Mini Doughnuts
Gluten-Free Paska [Easter Bread]
Gluten-Free Sauerkraut Buns [Pyrizhky]
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- 1 loaf Gluten free bread of choice
- ½ cup Butter
- 2 Large onions
- 2 Garlic cloves pressed or minced
- 3 Celery stalks
- 8 oz Baby bella / crimini mushroom slices
- 1+ cups Chicken broth
- ⅓ cup Fresh sage chopped
- Pepper to taste
- 2 Large eggs beaten
- Slice bread, chop or rip into small, bite-sized pieces.
- In a large pot, melt butter. Add onions, garlic, mushrooms and celery, cook until veggies start to soften. Add a bit of chicken stock, Cook till everything is soft.
- Rip the bread up into small chunks, add chopped sage. Toss till the sage is spread out through the bread.
- Add as much pepper as you figure you’d want, but don’t go overboard!
- Add bread mix to pot, toss to coat.
- Whisk eggs into remaining soup stock, pour over the bread, continue cooking until it's all absorbed.
For use in poultry:
- Stuff into the bird and roast as usual.
To use outside of poultry:
- Transfer stuffing to a large baking pan, cover with tin foil.
- Bake at 350 F (180 C) for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes or so, until golden brown.