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I Tested A Ton Of Stuffing Recipes To Find The One You Should Use

You won't believe who came in dead last.

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So I decided to test five of the most popular stuffing* recipes. A ~stuffing showdown~, if you will.

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This was my lineup:

1. Martha Stewart: Because Martha is a queen of holiday cooking. What would Thanksgiving be without at least one Martha Stewart recipe on the table?

2. Gordon Ramsay: Because I wanted to see what a British stuffing was all about ― and who better to learn from than the shit-talking chef himself.

3. Bobby Flay: Because I really wanted someone to beat Bobby Flay (for once).

4. Guy Fieri: Because his stuffing is made with pepperoni and focaccia, so I knew I would be taking a trip to ~Flavor Town~.

5. Gwyneth Paltrow: Because I wanted to test a vegetarian version, her Goop-ified life is the stuff of legend, and she's written three cookbooks. (Would her stuffing recipe require any healing crystals? I needed to know.)

(*Yeah, yeah — technically these are dressings because they don't stuff a turkey.)

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Up first: Martha Stewart. She starts by tearing Italian bread into bite-size pieces and drying it out in the oven.

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After that, cook minced shallots, celery, and garlic in butter, and deglaze with white wine.

The bread is combined with cooked veggies — then eggs and chicken stock are added to soak into everything.

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It's all loaded into a buttered baking dish, and baked until golden brown.

So, did the unofficial queen of Thanksgiving live up to her name?

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She did! The stuffing tasted exactly how stuffing should taste. It was crunchy on the top, moist in the center, and absolutely delicious. The wine added flavor, and the irregular pieces of bread gave it great texture. Martha doesn't mess around with her Thanksgiving recipes, and I found myself digging in for seconds.

Rating: 🍞🍞🍞🍞

Get Martha Stewarts's recipe here.

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Gordon Ramsay was up next with a stovetop variation. He starts by melting butter in a frying pan and adding diced onions.

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Cook 'em for about 10 minutes until soft.

Then he adds a bunch of herbs, lemon zest, pine nuts, a ton of breadcrumbs — and seasons with salt and pepper.

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Cook this mixture until the breadcrumbs absorb all of the butter and become golden brown and crisp. After that, you're done! (Really, that's it...)

So were his buttery breadcrumbs (AKA stuffing) any good?

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They were fine, but they were NOT stuffing ― it was literally just a pan of buttery breadcrumbs! I'm no British food expert, so I admit that this could have gotten lost in translation, but it just didn't do it for me. If you want to exfoliate your mouth with sandy, dry AF breadcrumbs, then by all means go for it ― but I want my stuffing to be moist in the center and crisp on top, NOT a dry mess.

Rating: 🍞

Get Gordon Ramsay's recipe here.

Then came Bobby Flay's stuffing. He cooks hot Italian sausage in a sauté pan until golden brown.

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Transfer it onto a plate with a paper towel, and set it aside.

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Then he cooks onions, celery, carrots, and garlic in the rendered sausage fat, and folds in chopped sage.

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Everything's tossed with old country bread, the cooked sausage, eggs, and chicken stock — then baked until golden brown.

So, would somebody FINALLY be beating Bobby Flay?

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Maybe not! The stuffing was super flavorful and had a ton of great things going on. The sausage gave it a nice heartiness, the bread soaked up all the rendered sausage fat, and the veggies all worked together perfectly. It was crisp on the top, moist in the center, and you could taste every component. I was a big fan.

Rating: 🍞🍞🍞🍞🍞

Get Bobby Flay's recipe here.

Up next: a trip to ~Flavor Town~. Guy Fieri starts by rendering pepperoni until it's nice and crispy.

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He crumbles it into small pieces and sets it aside.

Then he cooks onions, bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and a bunch of other veggies directly IN the rendered pepperoni fat.

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He tosses that mixture with diced focaccia bread, eggs, herbs, and the crispy pepperoni. It's baked and garnished with cheese and (even more) pepperoni.

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So, did my trip to Flavor Town have me considering a permanent move?

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Lol, no ― and I had such high hopes! All of the ingredients seemed like they would have worked, but it completely fell flat. There was just too much going on: The flavors became muted, and it tasted like a sad, soggy Italian sandwich from a gas station. (It looked beautiful, but it didn't taste beautiful.) It didn't work for me at all.

Rating: 🍞🍞

Get Guy Fieri's recipe here.

And last but not least came Gwyneth Paltrow's ~vegetarian~ stuffing. She starts by drying out diced bread in a low oven.

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After that, she sweats onions and celery in butter and olive oil.

Then fennel seeds, celery seeds, rosemary, salt, and pepper are added.

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Then she hits everything with vegetable stock, and lets it sit for an hour so the liquid can absorb. Then it's baked until lightly brown.

So, can vegetarian stuffing really hold its own against the others?

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Yes, it totally can! I admit, I was pretty skeptical about this stuffing. It looked bland, and I didn't think vegetarian stuffing could be good ― but I was wrong! The top was crispy, and the inside was perfectly moist. The fennel seeds mimicked the seasoning of sausage, so it actually tasted like there was meat in it. This was a solid stuffing, and I would totally recommend it for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Rating: 🍞🍞🍞🍞

Get Gwyneth Paltrow's recipe here.

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SO WHO WON?

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THE WINNER: Bobby Flay

This stuffing was seriously delicious. It was perfectly seasoned, browned on top, moist in the middle, and super savory. The sausage gave it a ton of flavor, and I will definitely be making it for my family this Thanksgiving. Get the recipe here.

SECOND PLACE: Martha Stewart

This recipe was exactly what stuffing should be. It was well-seasoned, visually pleasing, and perfectly old-school. If you want a classic (but delicious) stuffing, go with this beauty. Get the recipe here.

THIRD PLACE: Gwyneth Paltrow

This stuffing may have looked bland, but it tasted amazing. The combination of fennel and celery seeds gave it a ton of flavor, and I didn't miss the meat at all. It was perfectly browned, moist, and not too heavy. Get the recipe here.

FOURTH PLACE: Guy Fieri

I had high hopes for this stuffing, but it fell flat. There were a ton of delicious ingredients in it (focaccia, sun-dried tomatoes, pepperoni) but they just didn't come together. It was bland, soggy, and overall disappointing. Get the recipe here.

LAST PLACE: Gordon Ramsay

Maybe I'm ignorant when in comes to British cooking (and I acknowledge that), but to me this was a total flop. The texture was gritty, and it just wasn't something that I would want to eat. Get the recipe here.

TL;DR: For the most flavorful stuffing, go with Bobby Flay's recipe. If you want something a bit lighter and more traditional (but still delicious), go with Martha's classic.