Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and what could be more Thanksgiving than the traditional turkey and stuffing?
While you’re well aware of avoiding poultry, it might not be the same case when it comes to stuffing. Most brands have the instant “just add water” preparation process, which poses more questions than answers about its ingredients.
Is stuffing vegan-friendly? If so, which are vegan stuffing brands?
Stuffing Mix: Vegan or Not?
To give you a short answer to the question, stuffing mix may or may not be vegan.
Stuffing is, well, stuffed inside a turkey or chicken before putting it inside the oven to cook. As the chicken cooks, its delicious juices are extracted and soaked by the stuffing. The juices are responsible for making the stuffing more flavorful and succulent.
Aside from stuffing being stuffed inside the dead poultry, it can also be served on the side. Stuffing that is served on the side is called dressing instead.
Vegans wonder if this dressing can be safely consumed since, at first glance, it may look as though boxed stuffing might be vegan as it is made with only bread and spices.
Traditionally, though, boxed stuffing that you get from the local grocery store is non-vegan. It is usually made with chicken broth, chicken fat, milk, and even eggs to hold everything together, so no, standard stuffing is not vegan friendly. But some specialty brands, like Arrowhead Hills, do offer vegan-friendly stuffing mix.
Homemade vs. Store-Bought
It’s important to meticulously go through the product label of the stove top stuffing if you’re opting for the store-bought route. Most commercial stuffing brands use animal products like milk, egg whites, butter, and chicken broth to bind the stuffing together. Some brands also use cornbread, which uses egg in the mixture.
Homemade is the way to go if you want to incorporate only plant-based ingredients in your vegan stuffing mix.
The recipe for basic vegan stuffing is fairly easy to do and will include the following ingredients:
- White bread
- Plant-based vegan butter or olive oil
- Vegetable broth
- Diced onion and celery
- Salt, pepper, and dried sage
- A vegan egg replacement 
You may also add in some dried fruits like apricots, and nuts like chestnuts and almonds, to elevate the flavor of your vegan stuffing mixture.
And since you’re forgoing all animal-derived ingredients, let your creativity shine! Why not carve out a pumpkin and stuff it with your vegan stuffing mix the way you would a turkey? We’re sure your Thanksgiving guests will look at you in awe as soon as you take this impressive vegan dish out of the oven.
Vegan Stuffing Brands
Mrs. Cubbison's: Traditional Seasoned Cubed Stuffing is typically vegan and widely available in Whole Foods. It’s made with fresh wheat loaves and seasoned just right. The best part is, this plant-based stuffing mix only takes ten minutes to prepare — yet its superb taste will make it seem like you labored away in the kitchen.
Made with organic wheat flour, sunflower oil, and fragrant herbs such as sage, thyme, and rosemary, Arrowhead Mills: Organic Savory Herb Stuffing is a 100 percent vegan recipe and certified USDA organic. It’s also an easy-to-prepare organic multigrain stuffing mix that requires you just to add water or vegetable stock.
Pepperidge Farm makes classic stuffing so scrumptious; you wouldn’t guess that there are no animal ingredients in it. The plant-based vegan recipe is made with the farm’s premium white and wheat-baked loaves and homegrown herbs. A 12-ounce Pepperidge Farm box can serve up to 13 guests at your next Thanksgiving party.
Olivia’s: Traditional Stuffing is made using premium French and multigrain bread, generously seasoned with healthy oils and traditional savory ingredients. It is certified vegan, gluten-free, and preservative-free, with no added sugar and relatively low sodium. Add veggie broth to create a hearty side dish everyone will enjoy.
Plenty of ingredients can be used in place of stuffing mix. Popular choices include breadcrumbs, which is relatively easy to make from scratch and will offer an added crunch to whatever they are applied to; one-day old French bread, which is crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside; and toasted wheat bread, which provides a great base for all your seasoning.
Yes, absolutely! Homemade stuffing mix is relatively simple to make and, the best part is, you can easily adjust the flavor according to your preference. Use vegan butter and vegetable broth to match your vegan diet. Just remember to avoid very fluffy or overly soft bread loaves.
Most store-bought stuffing recipes include the use of eggs, milk, butter, or some form of animal-based binder to hold everything together, so it’s important to meticulously check the product labels to make sure that they fit your plant-based diet.
And just because you choose to go vegan doesn’t mean you can no longer enjoy stuffing, as the homemade recipe version is relatively easy to make.