Just in Time for Thanksgiving! Good Gluten-Free Stuffing
I didn’t think it was possible, but the taste and fluffy texture of this gluten-free stuffing is just like the real thing using such a simple recipe and one little trick!
It’s Time for Some Good Gluten Free Stuffing
Update 2018: I really wanted to update this recipe to cover some of the changes we made over the years (croutons and proportions and now photos!).
The first time I made the stuffing it was for half the size but we’ve since doubled it because the leftovers are so good!
In a nutshell, we developed this recipe using a hard crouton mixed with soft croutons. Then coated in egg whites as a binder to make the perfect and fluffy gluten-free stuffing!
So I had to give up gluten around Thanksgiving of 2010.
Stuffing was always my favorite side dish, so I tried a lot of the gluten free stuffing mixes and breads and made my own bread and croutons and it just never worked out well.
Those early attempts at gluten free stuffing never had the texture of real stuffing. And I really don’t like cornbread stuffing or dressing as some may call it, either – so I gave up.
Until very recently, because so many new gluten free products are now available and I’ve learned a lot more about cooking since then. I had to give it one more shot! And I’m so glad that I did.
Traditional Versus Gluten Free Stuffing
I’ve actually been making Thanksgiving dinner for a span of 24 years (off and on over the years).
It was one of the things my mom taught me to do at the age of 20 before she passed so that I would be able to carry on the holiday traditions.
Cooking Thanksgiving dinner brings back some beautiful memories of our time together – polishing the silver, setting the table with the real china, figuring out which silver serving pieces to use… getting all dressed up, too. Now we are a lot more casual about it all.
So the way she taught me to make stuffing was to chop onions and celery; mix them with a couple bags of plain croutons in a brown paper bag; and add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.
Then I take a handful of butter or Country Crock and stick my butter-covered hand into the bag to grab the crouton mixture.
Next I literally stuff the mixture into the bird. And it came out so perfect every time (we also used to cook the turkey in a bag back then).
Any extra mixture was placed in a baking dish with a little chicken broth, covered in foil and baked at 350 for 30.
There are a couple of reasons making it mom’s way with gluten free bread doesn’t work:
- gluten is what makes bread and pizza crusts doughy – it is the binder
- brown rice, tapioca rice and starch based gluten free breads tend to disintegrate in liquid (even in crouton form) so they don’t hold up to chicken broth and the stuffing becomes grainy and kinda gross
- too much xanthan gum (a replacement binder in gluten free breads) mixed with liquid creates a yucky slimy texture
It’s All About The Croutons & A Binder
So to make a good gluten free stuffing – I needed a better binder and tougher grains in the bread/croutons.
Egg whites seemed like they would make the perfect binder.
Not too much egg so that it resembled bread pudding but just enough to coat the croutons and help them stick together.
So I beat the egg whites by hand with a whisk for about a minute to make sure the constitency was even and introduced a little air into the egg whites.
I found two types of croutons with better and stronger grains as ingredients:
- Ian’s Gluten Free Savory Homestyle Stuffing (whole grain millet, garbanzo bean and sorghum flour)
- Olivia’s Gluten Free Rosemary & Sage Stuffing (millet, sorghum, brown rice, etc.)
I initially made a simple test run of mom’s “traditional” recipe with Earth Balance Spread, which came out greasy, the croutons were hard and the onions and celery were still pretty raw.
So I decided to cook down the onions and celery in olive oil with a little salt and pepper first.
Let it cool then try it with croutons tossed in egg whites and butter or ghee to see what worked best.
A Little Kitchen Experiment
So I set up my little kitchen experiment.
- Cooking down 1 large organic onion and 4 medium organic celery sticks in olive oil for about 7 minutes so that the onions were translucent.
- The mixture needed to cool completely so it wouldn’t cook the eggs when added to the croutons/egg whites.
- Next I sprinkled the veg mixture with poultry seasoning.
- I used the Ian’s gluten free croutons first.
- Beating 4 egg whites in a large bowl, then adding about 3 cups of croutons.
- Gently tossing the croutons in the egg whites then adding them to the cooled celery and onion mixture.
- I put each in a 1/2-cup ramekin and set up the different variables.
- Covered each ramekin in foil and baked for 30 minutes at 350.
So each ramekin had croutons, egg whites, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper, a little residual olive oil with cooked onion and celery +
- Earth Balance buttery spread + 2 tbsp homemade chicken broth
- browned ghee + 2 tbsp homemade chicken broth
- 2 tbsp homemade chicken broth
- browned ghee
- Earth Balance buttery spread
- nothing added
And the winner was —————-> #3 – Just the broth (1/2 cup crouton mixture and 2 tablespoons of broth)!
I was really surprised and super excited!
It was crunchy on top and so soft and fluffy underneath. It stuck together like stuffing should.
So I repeated it with the Olivia’s croutons and that turned out fantastic! I love the added seasoning of rosemary and sage.
I usually taste the dry crouton (before tossing it in the eggs) to get an idea of how much salt or poultry seasoning to use (Ian’s needed more than Olivia’s croutons). So that is very flexible. And you can always add more salt after it’s done cooking if necessary.
We are going to have really good stuffing this year!!!
The Recipe Update
Originally the recipe below was scaled to work for 3 cups of croutons.
Using the strong croutons from Olivia’s (millet, sorghum, brown rice, etc.) and the softer flour croutons from Aliea’s (rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca flour and potato starch) combo worked out perfectly!
The newest version of Aleia’s no longer contains milk powder so it is dairy-free, too.
So this gluten-free stuffing had nice hard crust on top and was fluffy and wonderful underneath. Mixing these different types of gluten free croutons really made a huge difference this time around.
If you don’t want to use poultry seasoning, you could add any type of spices or other goodies to this basic recipe.
Aleia’s brand includes a savory spice and herb packet so you could use that instead of adding poultry seasoning.
As long as you use the egg whites and a mix of sturdy + soft flour croutons and a little olive oil.
Happy Thanksgiving Y’all!
Good Gluten-Free Stuffing | Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
This gluten-free stuffing is crunchy on top and fluffy underneath – just like the real thing!
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped organic celery
- 1 1/2 cups chopped organic onion
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp poultry seasoning
- 8 eggs, whites only
- 6 cups gluten-free croutons
- 1 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the chopped onions and celery. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 7 minutes on medium heat. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool. Add poultry seasoning and stir so that it is evenly distributed.
Add the egg whites to a large bowl, and lightly beat the eggs with a whisk for about 1 minute.
Gently fold in the croutons and toss so that they are evenly covered with egg whites.
Add the cooled vegetable mixture to the croutons and toss. Season with a little more salt.
Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. Evenly pour the chicken broth over the mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and taste test for salt and pepper. Enjoy your stuffing!