I Tried 20 Stuffing Mixes, and the Overall Winner Was Not at All What I Was Expecting

updated Nov 22, 2021
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Various stuffing mix on tabletop.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

After countless years of making completely from-scratch stuffing, it recently occurred to me that stuffing mix might be a shortcut I could benefit from. I always have lots to do, and before you can even begin to prepare a homemade stuffing recipe, you have to first stale the bread. With a stuffing mix, you can make the whole dish in about the same amount of time it’d take you to do your initial bread cubing!

I was willing to give it a shot, but I take stuffing very seriously. (I carve out the most room on my plate — and in my stomach — for the buttery, broth-soaked bread mixed with savory herbs.) So before the Big Day, I held a taste test. I bought every option I could find and set out to find the very best stuffing mixes on the market across three distinct categories — traditional, cornbread, and gluten-free.

Credit: Patty Catalano

How I Tested the Stuffing Mixes

I purchased every variety of boxed or bagged dry stuffing mix I could find from all of the grocery stores in my area. Back in my kitchen, I divided them into their respective categories and prepared each stuffing according to the stovetop instructions, using the same brand of butter and broth across the board to prepare the mixes — even when water was called for in the instructions. I did not include any extras, such as celery or onion, in order to discern the distinct flavor of each mix on its own. I tasted them in category-aligned batches and was so surprised by the first winner (traditional bread stuffing) I needed a minute to pick my jaw up off the floor afterwards. Groups two and three were equally as exciting, if not surprising. Here are my picks for the best of each category.

Credit: Patty Catalano

Best Traditional Stuffing Mix: Aldi’s Chef’s Cupboard Turkey Stuffing Mix

Aldi’s Chef’s Cupboard Turkey Stuffing Mix took top marks, beating out six other traditional dry stuffing mixes — a bigger Thanksgiving day upset than any football game I’ve ever seen on this third Thursday of November! The various sizes and textures of the torn, dried, seasoned bread added an edge that other brands just didn’t have. The prepared mix was buttery, herby, and perfectly moist. It also tasted the closest to homemade. And the best part is that the mix costs less than $1.

Find it in stores: Chef’s Cupboard Turkey Stuffing Mix, $0.69 for 6 ounces at Aldi

Runner-up: Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing, $2.50 for 12 ounces at Walmart

Credit: Patty Catalano

Best Cornbread Stuffing Mix: Aldi’s Chef’s Cupboard Cornbread Stuffing Mix

The holiday wizardry coming from Aldi’s product development HQ is officially unmatched. Not only did their unassuming red box take the top marks in the traditional stuffing taste test, but it was also by far the best-tasting cornbread stuffing mix. Homemade cornbread stuffings consist of a combination of tiny crumbles that soak up the broth and slightly larger crouton-sized bites. The non-winning stuffing mixes were made of oversized cubes or nothing more than moistened breadcrumbs, but Aldi’s stuffing mix had a balance of both. The result was a slightly sweet, full of onion and herb-y flavored cornbread stuffing. Bonus: It’s also less than $1.

Find it in stores: Chef’s Cupboard Turkey Stuffing Mix, $0.69 for 6 ounces at Aldi

Runner-up: Kroger Cornbread Stuffing Mix, $1.19 for 6 ounces at Kroger

Credit: Patty Catalano

Best Gluten-Free Stuffing Mix: Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Stuffing Mix

Bread is one of the most challenging foods to replace once you adopt a gluten-free diet. While stuffing mix is bread-based, the fact that you’re intentionally starting with dry, stale bread makes replicating this holiday staple much easier than you’d imagine. Trader Joe’s gluten-free stuffing mix wins for being well-seasoned (thanks to a separate seasoning packet included inside the box), perfectly moist, and delivering a homey side dish that could take centerstage on any Thanksgiving table.

Find it in stores: Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Stuffing Mix, $5.99 for 12.4 ounces at Trader Joe’s

Runner-up: Aleia’s Savory Gluten-Free Stuffing Mix, $9.49 for 10 ounces on Amazon

Do you have a go-to stuffing mix that you love? Tell us about it in the comments below!