Thanksgiving stuffing & gravy: classic or gluten-free, a feast fit for all

Do you have a favorite stuffing recipe?

If you do, then I wouldn’t blame you for not wanting to hear about my favorite stuffing.

But then again, you might just want to keep reading. Because these days, you never know when you’re going to be hosting someone at your dinner table who’s following a gluten-free diet.

And my favorite stuffing (in fact, probably your favorite stuffing, as well) can easily be turned gluten-free, with just one simple substitution – as well as a bit of careful label-reading.

Here’s how.

DSC_6368

Start with a loaf of bread. That’s English Muffin Toasting Bread on the left, and gluten-free sandwich bread made from our mix on the right. Or use a loaf made from our Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread recipe.

Excuse the odd crown on the gluten-free loaf – I forgot to smooth the surface thoroughly once I’d scooped the batter into the pan.

stuff6

My stuffing recipe, which makes about 8 to 12 servings, calls for 8 cups of cubed bread. If you’re using a scale, this is about 13 ounces (a little over half a loaf) of the toasting bread, and 19 ounces (about half) of the denser gluten-free loaf.

You want the bread to be a bit stale, so it doesn’t lose its body entirely in your stuffing.

stuff2

Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet, and let them dry out overnight.

I’ve segregated the regular and GF cubes on their own pans. I stack the pans to save space, but set a cooling rack on the bottom pan, then put the top pan on the rack, so there’s air space between the two. Then I add a cover.

Can you leave the bread uncovered? Sure. I was just worried about my dog (whose nose can just barely inch up to counter level) getting not-so-bright ideas.

Oh, and if you’re in a hurry? Simply bake the bread cubes in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 minutes. That’ll “stale” them quickly.

DSC_6461

Next, melt 1/2 cup butter in a large frying pan.

Gently sauté 3 cups peeled, diced onions (about 3 medium onions) and 1 cup diced celery, including green tops, until soft and barely beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.

stuffing7

Here’s where the reading labels part comes in. I like to use Bell’s Seasoning in my stuffing, since it combines all those stuffing-like flavors in one handy blend.

But is it gluten-free?

Looks so. Admittedly, it’s not packed in a certified gluten-free facility, but unless you’re feeding someone with celiac disease, this degree of gluten-free-ness should be fine.

Now we’re ready to assemble the stuffing.

stuff3

Pile the bread cubes in a large bowl. Spoon the onion mixture over the bread.

Add the following:

2 tablespoons dried parsley, or 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 to 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning or Bell’s Seasoning, to taste
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, optional

Pour 2 cups broth into the bowl, along with 3 large eggs, which you’ve beaten to combine first.

Note: For a heartier stuffing, add 1 pound cooked, crumbled sausage; chopped red and/or green bell peppers, which you’ve fried along with the onions and celery; diced, cooked mushrooms; dried cranberries, for a touch of sweetness, or whatever add-ins tickle your fancy.

IMG_9673

Here’s another place where you need to read the label – who’d ever think canned chicken broth would contain gluten? If you’re using canned rather than homemade, choose broth or stock that’s gluten-free.

Now, at this point, you can spoon the stuffing into your bird.

Or, if you’re baking it outside the turkey, as so many do these days, spoon it into a lightly greased casserole dish, or an 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″ pan or equivalent.

DSC_6476

Since I’m doing a couple of tests (GF vs. standard, eggs vs. no eggs), I use four bread pans.

stuff4

That’s unbaked stuffing on the left; and an hour later, baked stuffing on the right.

If you’re baking the stuffing in a pan, bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 hour, until it’s firm and no liquid is evident. For a crusty top, remove the foil about 20 minutes before the end of the baking time.

DSC_6488

So, how’d we do?

The gluten-free stuffing is just slightly crumblier than regular stuffing, but the addition of the eggs really helps with its texture.

And taste? Indistinguishable from regular stuffing. Delicious.

DSC_6493

I was all set to end this post right here, with stuffing hot out of the oven. But Frank, our test kitchen gluten-free guru, suggested I add some gluten-free gravy, too.

“People call constantly asking for a gluten-free gravy recipe. You really need to do it.”

Message received.

Frank suggested his family’s favorite recipe, “right off the side of the Argo cornstarch box.” Luckily, it happens to be gluten-free (given cornstarch is GF).

Here’s how it’s done. I’ve tweaked Argo’s recipe a bit.

Combine 2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch (depending on how thick you like your gravy) with 1/2 cup room-temperature gluten-free broth, whisking it or shaking it in a jar until no lumps remain.

Place the cornstarch/broth and an additional 1 1/2 cups broth into a saucepan. For extra flavor and richness, stir in pan drippings or melted butter, to taste.

Cook the gravy over medium heat, stirring frequently, just until it thickens. Remove the pan from the heat; you don’t want it to simmer, as further cooking will cause the gravy to thin. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

DSC_6554

Serve hot.

And there you have it: two versions of two Thanksgiving favorites, suitable for one crowd – family and friends.

Please read, make, and review our recipe for Gluten-Free Stuffing and Simple Gravy.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Dorothy W.

    I used your recipe for stuffing but skipped the canned broth. The day before cooking the turkey I made turkey broth using the gibblets, neck and tail of the turkey with onions, celery, carrot, salt and pepper in about a quart of water. I strained this and set it to cool, then removed most of the fat. This gave me enough liquid to moisten the stuffing. I added the rest with cornstarch and drippings to make the gravy. Yum! This way I control salt, fat and no worries about the gluten or wheat.

    Reply
  2. SLOCoaster

    Thank you SO much for this posting. I used your recipe with just one addition, a cup of fresh cranberries. It was perfect. I had extra once I filled my pan, so I grabbed six paper baking cups from King Arthur. They baked up nicely, and I sent them home with our son who has Celiac Disease.

    Reply
  3. Michele

    Thank you for the delicious looking recipe & tips. My hubby has celiac disease and will be happy for any improvement to the GF stuffing!
    P.S. I’ve used ClearGel as my gravy & stew thickener for many years now. It is produces a MUCH more stable end product than cornstarch (it takes a little less ClearGel to thicken than cornstarch) & with the addition of a blob of heavy cream to finish it off, looks delicious (not “clear”) plus it has fantastic body, texture & taste to boot. I actually prefer it to flour-thickened gravy!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Thanks Michele for the gravy tip. I know I’d like to hear more, as I’ve never had success with Instant ClearJel and gravy! ~ MJ

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Carrot water is my hubby’s secret ingredient in beef gravy. We’ll have to try the potato water method, too. ~ MJ

    2. Joan

      My mother-in-law always used potato cooking water in her gravy and she made the best gravy. When I was newly married and attempting to be helpful in the kitchen I accidently threw away the potato water in my haste to wash dishes. I will NEVER forget the look on my mother-in-law’s face when she realized what I had done!

  4. Amy Jeffrey

    What great timing. I am planning thanksgiving dinner which includes my mother in law who has celiac disease. It never occurred to me to use gluten free bread so she can enjoy stuffing too. I always use cornstarch for the gravy when she is here. Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Cathy R

    I make the English Muffin Toasting bread all the time (at least once a week); I had a piece of “store bought” bread at a friend’s house the other day and could barely finish it.

    It never occurred to me to use it for stuffing! I’m definitely going to try that out.

    I’ve never heard of putting eggs in stuffing. Is that a Northeast Regional thing or was it to help the GF stuffing hold together? I would imagine that it would add a yummy richness to the stuffing.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Cathy, I think adding eggs is not uncommon in stuffing recipes, but perhaps it is a regional thing. Definitely not just for gluten free recipes! Barb@KAF

    2. PJ Hamel, post author

      Cathy, adding eggs is especially good for stuffing baked outside the bird (which is why I did it); as you say, it helps stuffing (any, not just GF) become more cohesive, in the absence of long hours slowly cooking inside a turkey (which process softens the bread, releasing its starches, which become a bit glue-like). Make sense? Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂 PJH

    3. Steph K.

      To Cathy R.: Perhaps eggs in stuffing is a regional thing, but you may also come across it in baked or out-of-the-bird stuffing or “dressing” recipes.

      My mom used to overcook holiday turkeys like crazy “because the eggs have to cook in the stuffing,” (do it in your mom’s voice, ‘cus that’s how I hear it!). Now that she cooks the bird WITHOUT stuffing in it, she will cook a huuge casserole dish of stuffing the day before Thanksgiving, and that goes something like: ‘dead bread’, i.e., dried, stale, or toasted bread, add a big package of store-bought stuffing mix, add as much additional herbs and spices (there’s nothing better than home-grown sage, thyme, tarragon, etc., ever!) to it; add the vegetable trinity–mirepoix, which is the name for many sauteed sauce/soup bases, made of diced onions, diced celery, diced carrots, and if you’re from Naw’rlans–New Orleans–diced green bell pepper (I know, it’s not a trinity with four veggies, but my mom will add whatever vegetable or fruit can’t run away fast enough from her), all diced veggies sauteed with butter then added to dry bread/stuffing mix; 1 or 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, heated to not-boiling (or-it’ll-cook-your-eggs), to moisten the bread/stuffing mix; then add 1 or 2 eggs, beaten just so the yolks are broken and mixed, and there’s a few tablespoons of melted butter in here somewhere; lastly, stir everything together in a large mixing bowl, or the casserole dish in which you’ll be baking it, then it’s in a 350-degree oven for as long as it needs, or until a ‘buddah knife’ comes out cleanly from the middle.

      And, PJ, my mom swears by KAF White Wheat flour in everything, and used to cook the greatest dinner rolls for the holidays with it; I guess I should get her recipe, because she doesn’t bake as much as she used to (arthritis), so I suppose I should pick up some of our traditions… Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

  6. Mary

    I’m surprised you didn’t recommend your Turkey Stuffing Bread for the not-gluten-free version. I’ve used it for years at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is easy and delicious. (And it is already in my freezer, in cubes, waiting for next week.)

    I am again this year thankful for all the good people at KAF, who add such joy to the lives of so many bakers and their families, guests, and neighbors. We rely on you and you always come through for us. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Mary, so right – I totally spaced on it. Yes, it’s very, very good in stuffing – I’ve tried it in years past. Sounds like you’ve done the prep ahead and are all ready for a great Thanksgiving. Thanks so much for your kind words, and happy Thanksgiving to you, too. PJH

    2. Marci

      Mary, with all those additions to the bread itself, I’d love to know how you altered the spices and vegetables for your stuffing recipe.

    3. MGW960W

      Marci, I add chopped onions and celery as well as veggie broth, then salt and pepper to taste. (I do taste it and adjust the spices as necessary.) Our guests are not very adventuresome about the dressing, so it is rather plain. I cook it in a baking dish and serve it with turkey gravy, so it is vegetarian without the gravy. Nothing fancy. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  7. Bbiswas

    Thank you for the easy conversion using gluten free bread! I have used KAF’s GF flour and made regular gravy with great results. Make the roux, add drippings and broth. It does take a bit of patience to whisk off the lumps, but good gravy alright! Plus you can always strain or purée the gravy if too much lump. Potato starch also works. The cornstarch creates a translucent look akin to bottled gravy.

    I will be making corn bread stuffing as GF stuffing this Thanksgiving. Cooks illustrated has a southern cornbread on the skillet recipe that is Gluten free. Fingers crossed – this is my first GF thanksgiving – will be terribly missing the beautiful pillow soft whole wheat rolls!

    Reply
  8. Karen B

    Thanks, I have a friend coming for Thanksgiving who was recently diagnosed as celiac and had a bout of pancreatitis so she must not only stay gluten-free but but also dairy free and cannot have onions or dried beans among many other things (the low-FODMAP diet). It’ll be a challenge.

    Reply

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *