How to Fake Homemade Stuffing from the Box

We don’t want to say that holidays are almost like a cooking showdown between friends and family members, but if you can pull out your top dog recipes, tricks of the trade, and go-to holiday winners, why wouldn’t you? The answer is probably the same as most of us: Time is not of the essence.

When it comes to Thanksgiving in particular, there’s one item (besides the turkey) that’s on everyone’s table: stuffing. If you’ve been to other Thanksgivings outside of the norm, you know that there are many ways to make stuffing, and most are different from one another in very specific ways. However, homemade stuffing can be time consuming.

When it’s the holiday season, the last place you want to be is the grocery store, and especially not for any longer than is necessary to grab essentials for survival (eggs and bananas, people; eggs and bananas). Regardless of your availability, you don’t have to go the whole nine yards to get nine yards. Meaning, you don’t have to make something from scratch for it to taste like you did. It’s truly the best of both worlds when you can grab a quick box of stuffing at the store and head home to pull something together seamlessly, and this is how.

1. Protein Up

It’s true: Bacon makes everything better. This rings true in relation to boxed stuffing, too! If you’re not a bacon fan, that’s completely fine.

Add chorizo, sausage, or even tofu into the mix and you’ll be guaranteed to blow minds due to your creativeness.

2. Veg Out

If you’ve ever made your own stuffing, you probably added onions, peppers, and half your weight in butter to the mix. Sans the butter, and you have a base for disturbing that status quo of stuffing.

You have the power to change it up, to make it versatile and to make it different. Different can have a bad rep, but in this case, it’s the best one!

3. Season Strong

If you’re looking for an easy fix to create dimension of the homemade variety in your stuffing, look no further than your seasoning cabinet.

Sprinkle some garlic, oregano, and cayenne pepper into your mix when cooking or after, and prepare for the explosion of taste buds at the table!

4. Citrus Delight

Lizzie's veggie stuffing ready for oven

A photo posted by michael symon (@chefsymon) on

If you’ve never had mandarin oranges incorporated into your stuffing, or even one you’ve tried—here’s your in! Though it may sound weird, the juice from the mandarin has a way of keeping the stuffing at just the right consistency between dry and moist.

Plus, talk about a flavor shock! Simply add a can (or half) of mandarin oranges into your mix after cooking on the stovetop and voila! No one will suspect it wasn’t entirely homemade.

Bonus: Get Showered with Compliments

You were crafty, you were strong-willed, you made a stuffing taste like it was made from scratch that wasn’t: You deserve each and every complimentary word, and then some.

You are now set to be the 2016 Thanksgiving season’s MVP, a title that was made for you.

Recipe: Venison Stuffing