Mix-and-Match Thanksgiving Stuffings

Kelsey Nixon shows how stuffing is endlessly customizable by turning one essential herb stuffing into five recipes with various seasonings, fruits, nuts, meats and cheeses.

Make Your Own Stuffing

On her show, Kelsey's Essentials, Kelsey Nixon breaks down recipes by highlighting ingredients –– from the everyday to the esoteric –– and shows how to apply simple cooking techniques to combine them into popular recipes. Kelsey takes this same approach with Thanksgiving stuffing: She starts with an essential herb stuffing recipe that beats the boxed variety, then shows how, by simply adding in different ingredients, you can create your own stuffing to mix things up at the Thanksgiving table.

First, The Basics

These essential ingredients are the building blocks of Kelsey's classic no-fuss Thanksgiving stuffing –– the kind that has a home at every Thanksgiving table.

Essential Thanksgiving Herbed Stuffing

There's no shame in using the bagged or boxed stuffing cubes –– saving time on Thanksgiving is crucial, and your oven is too busy roasting to toast chunks of bread. But don't stop there: Add in fresh herbs and aromatics to achieve a flavorful and balanced dish with plenty of moisture.

Get the Recipe: Essential Thanksgiving Herbed Stuffing

A Dish All Its Own

Sub out onions for milder leeks and add in mushrooms for earthy flavor. Salty, pungent goat cheese and pancetta take center stage in this stuffing, meant for those who prefer their food with a bit of tang.

Pancetta, Leek and Mushroom Stuffing with Goat Cheese

This stuffing is a dish meant to dominate the sides buffet, not merely just to complement the turkey. A sourdough bread base pairs perfectly with the pleasantly tangy mix-ins. You might want to put out a sign explaining the ingredients or share the dish details with guests –– it's most certainly not a stuffing for everyone.

Get the Recipe: Pancetta, Leek and Mushroom Stuffing with Goat Cheese

A Little Salty, A Little Sweet

Add in classic fall flavors (pear, apple and cranberries) plus sausage to balance out all the sweetness of the fresh and dried fruit.

Sausage, Apple and Pear Stuffing with Cranberries

This is a something-for-everyone stuffing, pleasing those who prefer some sweet and fruity flavor, chewy texture, and meat for good measure.

Get the Recipe: Sausage, Apple and Pear Stuffing with Cranberries

South in Your Mouth

A cornbread base and Cajun-inspired andouille sausage give this stuffing distinctly Southern flavor.

Andouille Sausage and Pepper Cornbread Stuffing

Perfect for pairing with a fried turkey, collard greens and sweet potato casserole, this stuffing is Southern to its core with smoky sausage, sweet cornbread and a medley of peppers.

Get the Recipe: Andouille Sausage and Pepper Cornbread Stuffing

Sweet, Sweet Stuffing

A variety of fresh and dried fruits –– plus fennel for its anise addition –– amps up stuffing's sweet factor, while pecans add nutty depth and texture.

Fruit and Nut Stuffing

When apples, dried fruits and pecans are baked into a traditional bread-based stuffing, they soften and sweeten, giving this dish dessert-like character. The aroma of pecans wafting through your house readies guests for the pie spread to come as well as the 'round-the-corner December holidays.

Get the Recipe: Fruit and Nut Stuffing