21 Make-Ahead Stuffing Recipes That Would Make Grandma Proud

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Focaccia-Artichoke Dressing
Photo: Brie Passano

These make-ahead stuffing recipes (prepped one or two days early!) will help set up a successful and low-stress Thanksgiving menu. Capitalize on the flavors of the season with these Thanksgiving stuffing recipes that feature bread, rice, or grains. Add them to your Thanksgiving side dish repertoire and prepare for the oohs and aahs.

01 of 21

Garlic Rosemary Dressing

Garlic Rosemary Dressing

Do you call it dressing or stuffing? Either way, this prep-a-day-ahead dish is delicious! (For food safety reasons, it's best to not actually stuff your bird, by the way.) Tart red cranberries give this make-ahead Thanksgiving stuffing a slightly sweet flavor. Add them just before serving so they keep their texture.

02 of 21

Double Corn-Corn Bread Stuffing

Double Corn-Cornbread Stuffing

This Thanksgiving stuffing features a cornucopia of harvest season veggies. It offers a double dose of corn thanks to homemade corn bread cubes and 3 full cups of fresh corn kernels. Stir in spinach, red onion, and parsley, and this so-good make-ahead stuffing strays far from tradition in a satisfying way.

03 of 21

Olive Bread Stuffing with Fennel

Olive Bread Stuffing with Fennel

Salty, briny, and great for so much more than a cocktail garnish, olives transform this make-ahead stuffing to the gourmet territory. Artisanal olive bread, buttered mushrooms, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs team up to lend deep rustic flavor to this Thanksgiving stuffing. Put the ingredients together up to 2 days before your big meal for easy prep on turkey day.

Test Kitchen Tip: Cover it in aluminum foil ($6, Target) before it goes in the oven, then uncover for the last 20 minutes of baking for an extra-crunchy top.

04 of 21

Focaccia-Artichoke Dressing

Focaccia-Artichoke Dressing
Brie Passano

Craving Italian cuisine on Thanksgiving? No need to scratch the bird from the menu and make a homemade pizza recipe or lasagna from scratch. Instead, roast the turkey and invite some Italian flavors to your spread of sides. This focaccia and Italian sausage make-ahead stuffing does just that, and can be built in a cast iron casserole dish ($40, Target) and chilled for 24 hours as you finish holiday prep.

05 of 21

Caramelized Onion and Carrot Stuffing

Caramelized Onion and Carrot Stuffing, stuffing, side

Chances are you've got a bag of carrots in the fridge (or maybe some odds and ends leftover from a vegetable salad or side?). Wherever you source them, the sunny and sturdy root veggie is the star of this make-ahead stuffing recipe, so go ahead and break out the vegetable peeler ($6, Walmart) to help you prep Thanksgiving dinner. Dress it up with plenty of fresh sage and sourdough bread, and feel free to prep a full day ahead.

06 of 21

Cranberry-Apple Corn Bread Stuffing

Cranberry-Apple Corn Bread Stuffing

Layer sweet and savory fall flavors for a memorable cranberry stuffing recipe that will make everyone want seconds. Use corn bread crumbles for the base, add sweet cranberries and apples for fresh flavor, then cover and chill for up to 24 hours.

07 of 21

Wild Rice Dressing

Wild Rice Dressing

Wild and white rice replace traditional bread in this make-ahead Thanksgiving stuffing recipe. Alongside conventional carrots and celery, port-soaked cranberries and toasted almonds amp up the color and flavor of this unique side dish. Toss it all together in a casserole dish ($39, Walmart), chill for up to 24 hours, then bake—stirring a few times to ensure each grain cooks evenly.

08 of 21

Apple, Bacon, and Onion Stuffing Muffins

Apple, Bacon, and Onion Stuffing Muffins

No more fighting over the crispy edges! These individual muffin tin stuffing cups allow everyone to savor the center and the sides of the craveable casserole. Assemble them ahead of time in a non-stick metal muffin tin ($5, Target) and reheat them 20 minutes before Thanksgiving dinner.

09 of 21

Oysters Rockefeller Sourdough Stuffing

Oysters Rockefeller Sourdough Stuffing

Combine cocktail hour fare and dinner into one delicious dish. This make-ahead stuffing recipe is filled with all the classic components of oysters Rockefeller: Spinach, Parmesan, and oysters, of course! We've also tossed in a bit of bacon for even more flavor. Build it up to 24 hours before dinner, then bake and serve the finished dish with hot sauce so your guests can adjust the heat.

10 of 21

Paella-Style Stuffing

Paella-Style Stuffing
Spice up your Thanksgiving stuffing by making it paella-style with saffron threads, sweet peppers, and spicy chorizo sausage.

Add a bit of Spanish flair to your Thanksgiving menu! This savory stuffing gets bold flavor from chorizo sausage, green olive, and saffron. A mix of bread and rice gives this holiday dressing a unique texture. Assemble it all in a classic paella pan ($19, World Market) or low skillet, then refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking.

11 of 21

Roasted Chestnut Stuffing

Roasted Chestnut Stuffing

No need to roast chestnuts over an open fire. Get the same toasted nutty flavor in this hearty make-ahead stuffing that features several seasonal flavors in one easy, prep-a-day-ahead casserole. About an hour before dinner, pop it in the oven. How do you know exactly when it's done? Try this Test Kitchen pro tip: Use a food thermometer ($15, Target) near the center and watch for 165° F.

12 of 21

Barley-Butternut Squash Dressing

Barley Butternut Dressing

A twist on traditional stuffing, accents of smoky bacon and sweet red peppers shine through in this serves-a-crowd side. Spoon this butternut squash and nutty barley-based dressing into a glass baking dish ($16, Bed Bath & Beyond), cover, and set it aside until an hour before the big Thanksgiving meal.

Test Kitchen Tip: Drizzle an additional ¼ cup chicken broth to moisten the reheated stuffing.

13 of 21

Savory Butternut Squash Dressing

Savory Butternut Squash Dressing

Part rice-based and part bread-based, this make-ahead Thanksgiving stuffing will please fans of both. Rich, orange butternut squash and ripe, red cranberries shine through this fall favorite. A mixture of egg, half-and-half, and chicken broth creates an extra-moist stuffing for Thanksgiving.

14 of 21

Carrot-Mushroom Stuffing

Carrot-Mushroom Stuffing

Rosemary and soy sauce dress up this herb-seasoned recipe. Green onions, fresh shiitake mushrooms, and shredded carrots brighten up the flavors and colors of this make-ahead Thanksgiving stuffing.

15 of 21

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing

Old-Fashioned Bread Stuffing

Don't just take our word for it that you should try this make-ahead stuffing. BH&G home cook Jodi says it's "hard to improve upon this classic stuffing recipe!" Celery, onion, and fresh sage that lend comforting, traditional Thanksgiving flavor to toasted white bread cubes. We've updated the classic red plaid cookbook ($25, Target) instructions to add: It can be prepared up to 24 hours before baking (just chill in between, naturally).

16 of 21

Squash-Mushroom and Farro Dressing

Squash-Mushroom and Farro Dressing

Almost a meal itself, this stuffing recipe boasts hearty ingredients like farro, squash, and pancetta. Add it to your Thanksgiving spread with fresh sides like a green salad and roasted vegetables for a vibrant feast, or try it as a main for a completely vegetarian Thanksgiving menu. Either way, you'll sleep well once you have this dish chilling overnight before the big day.

17 of 21

Apple, Bacon, and Leek Stuffing

Apple, Bacon, and Leek Stuffing

Sweet and savory come together in this Thanksgiving side dish. Prepare the fall apples, salty bread crumbs, and savory leeks and mushrooms and layer them in a casserole dish ($16, Target). This make-ahead turkey stuffing can be assembled up to 1 day before the holiday meal.

18 of 21

Creamy Barley and Chard Dressing

Creamy Barley and Chard Dressing

Seeking a healthy-ish side dish to add to your Thanksgiving table? This colorful, fiber-infused make-ahead option (toss it together up to 24 hours prior to baking) definitely fits the bill. Barley, a hearty whole grain, gives this bread-free Thanksgiving stuffing a lovely chewy texture. Season's best produce, including winter squash and chard, join the seasonal mix. Finish with crunchy walnuts.

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Harvest Fruit and Cheese Stuffing

Harvest Fruit and Cheese Stuffing

This Thanksgiving, fruit isn't just for dessert! A trendy cheeseboard meets make-ahead stuffing recipe (prep up to 24 hours in advance) in this guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Whip up the savory stuffing recipe that's loaded with sweet pears, cherries, and apricots, then toss in some salty white cheddar cheese to complement the fall fruits.

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Porcini-Chestnut Stuffing

Porcini-Chestnut Stuffing

This loading stuffing recipe is so much more than a side. Freshly roasted chestnuts give this hearty Thanksgiving stuffing unique flavor and crunch. Add even more flavor with dried porcini mushrooms, salami, and Parmesan cheese.

21 of 21

Wild Mushroom-Herb Bread Pudding

Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding

A mash-up recipe of bread pudding and stuffing, this is one starchy side that will have everyone fighting (nicely) over the last few bites. This vegetarian make-ahead stuffing recipe is perfect for a holiday brunch or an easy side dish. Save prep time on this herbed focaccia bread stuffing by assembling the side in a covered casserole dish ($23, Target) and chilling it for up to 24 hours before baking and serving.

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