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National Stuffing Day

National Stuffing Day is November 21. It’s not surprising that it’s scheduled only a few days ahead of the biggest American holidays of the year and with two big celebrations to prepare stuffing for, first-timers might be thinking about the November meal as a test drive for the December holiday.

National Stuffing Day will be celebrated on Tuesday, November 21, 2023.

The winter holidays including both Thanksgiving and Christmas are strongly associated with food. The traditional turkey is still, even in the 21st century, a classic meal that includes many important components–and stuffing is one of THE most important, at least for some.

National Stuffing Day gets people thinking about their stuffing options early, but the reason we have the holiday likely has more to do with marketing.

National Stuffing Day

National Stuffing Day History?

A quick look in the usual places reveals that National Stuffing Day is probably a marketing gimmick to promote sales. mentions nothing about the holiday (not shocking) and not even Wikipedia has a description of it.

Like so many other specific food holidays, this was likely invented as a marketing tool. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use November 21st as a day to start getting familiar with the food and the tradition of stuffing.

Stuffing itself is mentioned in a Roman cookbook as early as the 5th century. The earliest uses of stuffing can be split between recipes that come closer to the kind of stuffing we use today and putting ANYTHING in the bird to help it keep its natural shape–whole vegetables, for example.

When people began making stuffing with stale bread and chopped veggies instead, it launched a whole new experience and flavor profile for old recipes.

Stove Top Stuffing

One stuffing origin story involves the Kraft brand Stove Top; some sources speculate that Kraft developed a PR campaign to brand Stove Top as a quick alternative to more traditional options. The idea here is that the marketing approach went viral and helped establish Stove Top as a new holiday tradition as the “most popular” brand.

But this concept doesn’t seem to work given that stuffing has been around for centuries and the Stove Top variety isn’t really anything new–it just caught on with a certain segment of consumers. Not to mention that some people take a lot of pride in their homemade stuffing, and not an out-of-the-box type.

Flavors of Stove Top Stuffing:

  • Traditional Sage
  • Chicken
  • Lower Sodium Chicken
  • Cornbread
  • Pork
  • Turkey
  • Savory Herb

Other Brands of Boxed Stuffing:

  • Mrs. Cubbison’s
  • Pepperidge Farm
  • Great Value
  • Kroger
  • Manischewitz
  • Williams-Sonoma
  • Arnold
  • Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe
  • Thrive Market
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Aleia’s
  • Bell’s
  • Aldi

What’s In Stuffing?

Technically speaking, anything can be stuffing. That goes for hot peppers, chicken legs, whole smaller birds, etc. But the stuffing we are discussing here is the type made with bread, vegetables, spices, herbs, etc. Stale bread is often used–the bread is moistened while cooking and is actually said to be more absorbent when stale than it is fresh.

Those who don’t have stale bread can toast some in the oven for about a half hour at 250 Farenheit to get similar results. And it probably goes without saying that you should never use moldy bread for any reason…but just in case, this friendly reminder that “stale” and “bad” are two different things.

There are too many stuffing recipes to list here. One recipe site lists 40 stuffing recipes in one place, featuring variations including mushroom cornbread to black rice and Chinese sausage.

A more traditional version typically includes:

  • Celery
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Onions
  • Butter
  • Broth
  • Bread
  • Eggs

You mix the ingredients, adding the eggs last, and bake.

Stuffing Versus Dressing

Some might quibble about the difference between stuffing and dressing. Dressing is typically not put inside the turkey, so the prep approach for it may vary from the instructions you get for putting the same ingredients inside the bird to roast. Then again, depending on the recipe, there may not be any modifications needed. Essentially dressing and stuffing are the same thing.

How to Celebrate National Stuffing Day

If this holiday were focused on tacos, chocolate, or coffee, the best advice would be “eat more tacos” or “drink more coffee”, etc. But that doesn’t really work for stuffing, which is the kind of dish you eat “just enough” of, sort of like cranberry relish or that weird salad your Aunt always brings.

To celebrate National Stuffing Day, just making a batch of stuffing seems to be quite enough, but if you’re feeling adventurous you might try making a very new-to-you recipe, or you could try finding an ancient stuffing recipe to try instead.

Try our Stuffing Dressing or Wild Mushroom Stuffing Recipe!

More Holiday Recipes To Try!

See Our Big List of Food Holidays and Observances!

Monique McArthur
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