Recipe Review

The Problem with Tyler Florence’s 5-Star Stuffing Recipe

published Nov 19, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Show me a stuffing recipe that contains caramelized onions, boasts a five-star rating, and has nearly 180 glowing reviews, and you’ve got my full attention. I’m talking about Tyler Florence’s Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing.

I became even more intrigued by this cult-favorite recipe when I learned it uses a grocery store shortcut that brings the fancied-up side dish together in just 45 minutes. Plus, it looked gorgeous — all crispy and browned and flecked with fresh herbs.

This recipe surely seemed like a surefire win. But was it too good to be true? Here’s what I learned when I took to the kitchen.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How to Make Tyler Florence’s Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing

Tyler Florence’s stuffing recipe definitely gets points for ease. It starts with a super-short ingredient list, thanks in part to a major shortcut: he calls for store-bought cornmeal muffins instead of asking you to make homemade cornbread.

To begin, you’ll caramelize chopped onions, stir in some fresh sage, then add the onions to a large bowl along with the cubed cornmeal muffins, salt, and pepper. After mixing the ingredients together, you’ll whisk an egg, cream, and broth together in a separate bowl, then stir it into the stuffing mix. You’ll then transfer the stuffing to a buttered baking dish (or cavity of the turkey, although we don’t recommend that for food safety reasons) and bake, uncovered, until the stuffing is crusty on top, about 30 minutes.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

My Honest Review of Tyler Florence’s Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing

I really wanted to love Florence’s fast and fancy stuffing recipe. Unfortunately, the stuffing is simply too sweet. Although starting with store-bought muffins did save time, it ultimately ended up being the recipe’s downfall. Unlike cornbread, which contains little, if any, sugar (and if you’re making it from scratch, you can adjust the sugar to your liking), store-bought corn muffins are decidedly sweet, and the sweetness really carries through into this traditionally savory stuffing. There are a number of commenters who agree, and also dislike the sweetness of the muffins.

The recipe does have good bones, and for that reason I’d absolutely make it again — but with a lot of adjustments. More on that below.

Credit: Kelli Foster

If You’re Making Tyler Florence’s Stuffing, a Few Tips

1. Use cornbread, not corn muffins. Skip the sweet muffins and start with cornbread (store-bought or homemade) to get the savory flavor you expect from cornbread stuffing.

2. If you want to use Jiffy mix, start with two boxes. This recipe calls for six large muffins, which comes out to about eight cups. If you want to make your own cornbread, two boxes of Jiffy mix will leave you with just the right amount.

3. Toast or dry out the bread. The recipe skips this classic stuffing step, and I could taste the difference. Before making the stuffing, toast the cut-up cornbread in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes, or let it sit out at room temperature overnight.

4. Add an extra 1/4 cup of broth. Some commenters noted that the stuffing was on the dry side. I didn’t find this to be the case, but if you prefer a moist stuffing, add an extra 1/4 cup of chicken broth.

5. Add one pound cooked sausage for a meaty version. This suggestion comes from several commenters who included one pound of cooked Italian sausage (mild or hot). The meat gives the stuffing some added bulk, and will balance the sweetness if you’re using corn muffins.

6. Use a 2-quart baking dish. The recipe doesn’t recommend what size baking dish to use, and two quarts is just right.

Rating: 7/10

Have you ever made Tyler Florence’s Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing? Tell us what you thought! 

Credit: Joe Lingeman