Gluten-free stuffing is my favorite thing on the Thanksgiving table. If there were just turkey, gluten-free gravy and stuffing, I would be happy. No need for all the other dishes. So I always make plenty of it for 2nd helpings and leftovers. For a slightly sweeter stuffing, be sure to check out my recipe for gluten-free cornbread stuffing – my personal favorite.
I find most everyone else’s stuffing to be dry. Stuffing is really meant to be a bread pudding which should be moist and rich. Eggs, butter and and plenty of flavorful turkey broth or stock make this gluten-free stuffing perfect, even without gravy. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes before putting it in the baking dish to be sure that the bread absorbs all of the liquid.
I’m a purist when it comes to Thanksgiving. So I flavor my stuffing with the traditional Thanksgiving flavors of onion, celery, sage and thyme. If you like rosemary, that can make a nice addition also but it is a strong flavor, so just go easy on it. See below for some other variations.
A few weeks before the winter holiday season, I make a big pot of turkey stock. It’s not so easy to find it ready-made and, of the ones I have tried, I have not been satisfied with the flavor. Starting in the fall, inexpensive turkey parts (wings, necks, backs) show up in the grocery stores. These parts are perfect making a stock. Add some herbs, celery, carrot and onion, you’ll have a flavorful rich stock to use in your gravy and stuffing.
Gluten-Free Bread Cubes
It’s getting easier to find ready-made gluten-free bread cubes for stuffing, but I still prefer to make my own. The ready-made ones are very dry – more like croutons – and I like to leave a little moisture in the bread. For stuffing, I use a combination of gluten-free breads. Gluten-free bagels and baguettes have a nice crust and are thicker than sliced bread so they work well for stuffing. I particularly love Against the Grain Gourment baguettes. Rudi’s gluten-free bread is another one I use. It’s on the sweeter side and I like the sweet bread with the savory flavors of stuffing.
To toast the bread, put bread slices directly on the oven racks and toast each side for 5-10 minutes at 300ºF. For bagels or baguettes, cut into cubes and spread out on sheet pans and bake at 350º for about 15 minutes. They should be golden brown but still a little bit soft in the middle. Cut whole bread into squares right out of the oven and let cool.
Tip for Make Ahead Stuffing
This gluten-free stuffing can be prepared and baked a day or two ahead and re-heated on the day of your meal. I suggest removing it from the refrigerator 30 minutes before heating. This way it will heat up faster in the oven and won’t dry out. Cover the pan with tin foil for the first 20 minutes in the oven then remove to let the top get a nice crust.
Gluten-Free Stuffing – Variations:
- Vegan stuffing – use oil or a vegan butter substitute in place of the butter and vegan broth. I highly recommend Imagine Low-Sodium “No Chicken” Broth. It has the best flavor of any vegan broth. Vegan butter substitutes are usually salted. so you may want to reduce the salt called for in the recipe by 1/4. Soak 2 tablespoons flax seed meal with 3/4 cup warm water to replace the eggs.
- add 1 cup cooked, crumbled sausage
- add 1 cup diced apples plus 1/2 chopped walnuts sautéed in butter
- 2 cups minced onion about 1 medium-sized onion
- 2 cups finely chopped celery
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 8 cups toasted bread cubes*
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp ground sage
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 4 eggs
- 2½ – 3 cups low-sodium chicken vegetarian broth, turkey stock
- Melt the butter in a large skillet. When the butter starts to bubble add the celery and onion.
- Cook over low-medium heat, tossing often, for 78 minutes until the celery and onion are translucent. The key here is to soften the onion and celery not brown.
- Stir in the sage and thyme and cook for one more minute.
- Remove the mixture from the pan and transfer to a bowl to let cool slightly. Be sure to scrape out all the butter.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and broth together. Mix in the the bread cubes and stir for a minute. This will assure that all the cubes have been coated.
- Add the celery/onion mixture, salt and pepper. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
- The bread cubes should be moistened almost all the way through. If they are still very dry and hard add another ¼ cup broth and stir.
- Pour the stuffing into a 9″ x 13″ roasting pan and bake for 45 minutes.