This vegetarian Thanksgiving stuffing is an amazing plant-based side dish for your holiday table. It’s easy to make with simple ingredients. The texture of this vegan stuffing recipe is warm and bready on the inside and slightly crispy on top. The cozy flavors will take you back to childhood, and everyone will be shocked it’s entirely plant based!
This post contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates, we earn a small commission from qualifying purchases (at no cost to you). Click here to read our full policy about affiliate links. Thank you for shopping our affiliate links, as it helps support our business and keep the yummy recipes coming your way!
The night before Thanksgiving when I was a kid, my four brothers, my mom, and I used to sit around together in the living room with about twenty bags of bread surrounding us and large casserole dishes in front of us watching whatever holiday specials were on. I loved this ritual.
We’d break the bread apart and spread it out the night before so it could dry nicely and be ready the next day to soak in all that great-tasting broth without becoming mush. My dad would be in the kitchen chopping up all the veg and portioning out the spices so everything would be ready come morning.
Next morning we’d all help pouring in the broth and veggies and mixing it all up in giant bowls. (Or did they just seem giant because we were still so small?) We’d get it all in the ovens, and the house would fill with all the delicious smells as we’d prepare for our army of guests.
Cut to Thanksgiving 2015. My first major holiday as a vegan. My mind immediately went to my father’s stuffing recipe, and I realized how easy it would be to veganize. So, I got to work.
The true test of this dish was when I brought some to my father, and he couldn’t tell the difference. Today, we’re so happy to share this traditional recipe with all of you!
How to Make Traditional Stuffing Vegan
There are only a few non-vegan ingredients in traditional stuffing: butter, chicken stock, and eggs.
The butter was easy enough to change with a quick switch to olive oil. We replaced the chicken stock with a seasoned broth made with our homemade bouillon powder, and we just omitted the egg altogether.
We found that as long as you make your stuffing wet enough to stick together in the pan, you don’t need an egg at all!
Vegan Stuffing Ingredients
The full recipe with measurements can be found in the recipe card below.
For the stuffing, you’ll need:
- Bread – we prefer a combination of pumpernickel and sourdough. Feel free to use the bread(s) of your choice, just make sure to check the ingredients to be sure it’s vegan.
- Vegetables – minced carrots, celery, and onion
- Olive oil (see substitution options below for oil-free)
For the seasoned broth:
- warm water
- vegan chicken-style bouillon powder – We used our homemade bouillon.
- onion powder + garlic powder
- celery salt
- ground sage + Herbs de Provence (Italian herbs will also work.)
- sea salt + ground black pepper
How to find the right bread for stuffing:
For this vegan holiday stuffing, we like to stick with a rustic style loaf or baguette, like from your local or market bakery. Check the ingredients to ensure it’s vegan-friendly because it’s really hit or miss with this type of bread.
You want the bread to be a strong, dense consistency. It should have a day-old texture but not fall apart when you soak it with the broth. Some stores even sell day-old bread at a discount, so keep an eye out for that!
We usually like to use a mix of pumpernickel and sourdough breads because they look so pretty combined and we love the flavor. We highly recommend that!
For the bouillon powder: This is a key ingredient for flavor (and nostalgia). We included a single serving option of our homemade recipe at the bottom of this post if you don’t want to make a full batch. For store-bought options: A standard recommendation is if you’re using bouillon paste, use 1 Tbsp and if using bouillon cubes, use 1. Remember though that different bouillons have different flavorings and salt levels, so make sure you taste and adjust your broth to preference.
Can you make it gluten-free? We haven’t tried it. I would use a rustic-style loaf of GF bread if you can find one. It could even work with a GF sandwich bread, but absorption of the broth might be different. Let us know in the comments if you try this!
Can you make it oil-free? Sure! Just saute the vegetables in veg broth or water instead of oil. You just want them a bit soft.
Herb swaps: Herbs de provence or Italian blend or dried basil / oregano can all be used. Or cut the dried herbs entirely and add up to 1 Tbsp (total, not each) of fresh rosemary/thyme/oregano (minced) to the veg during the last 2 minutes of sauteing.
For the spices: Onion and garlic powder can be interchangeable. Depending on the saltiness of your bouillon, you may need to adjust that.
For the veg: I think you could lose the carrots or the celery if need-be, but not both celery and carrots. Don’t use red onions instead of white/yellow because that would be a different taste and may discolor the bread. You could use leeks, but definitely keep that onion flavor, my friend. Throw in some finely minced fresh garlic if you want, too.
How to Make Vegan Stuffing
This recipe is so easy to make using simple techniques. The active time is minimal, and the whole thing comes together quickly! You’ll need a saute pan, mixing bowl, measuring cup, fork, and large wooden spoon. We recommend making this stuffing in a 15×9-inch casserole dish.
First, you’ll want to prep the bread.
The night before you make the stuffing, rip the bread into bite-size pieces spread out on 2 baking sheets, and leave it out overnight.
What to do if you forget to leave the bread out:
You can also dry out your bread in the oven at 350F, checking and stirring every five minutes until they are dry. Be careful you don’t overcook them this way though! You want them stale, stiff, but not croutons.
Honestly, the amount of time depends on the type of bread. Ours took about 10 minutes. The bread will continue to crisp as it cools, so don’t leave it in the oven too long. Let them cool before moving forward.
Step 1: Saute your veggies.
Sauté your carrot, celery, and onion mixture in olive oil until the onion is translucent and somewhat soft.
Step 2: Mix the bread and veggies.
Add the sauteed veggies to a large mixing bowl along with the day-old bread.
Step 3: Make your seasoned broth.
In a small bowl, whisk together your bouillon and spices with the warm water until everything is dissolved and fully combined. This is your seasoned broth!
Steps 4, 5, and 6: Assemble and bake!
Slowly pour the liquid into the bread and veggie mixture, tossing with your hands to make sure it is well-incorporated. The mixture should be thoroughly wet, but not soggy. The bread pieces should still hold their individual shape.
Preheat your oven to 350F and spread some refined coconut or olive oil on the surface of a 15×9-inch casserole dish.
Transfer the bread mixture to the oiled casserole dish. Make sure you press the stuffing into the dish, so it sticks together while it bakes.
Finally, you’ll bake the stuffing until desired texture is reached. We find the sweet spot to be around 20-25 minutes to get which gets the stuffing warm and bready on the inside but slightly crisp on top…and ready for gravy!
What to do if the stuffing is too soggy:
If you’re stuffing is too soggy, stir the stuffing around to bring some of the wetter parts to the top and cook it a little longer. If it’s just a little moist, turn the oven off and let it sit in there uncovered as the oven cools.
What to do if the stuffing is too dry:
If the stuffing comes out too dry, drizzle a few tablespoons of vegetable broth over the stuffing evenly and stick it back in the oven covered until it’s heated through.
If you want to save time, you can prep these ingredients the day before:
- The bread: Cube your bread and leave it out to dry.
- The sauteed veg: Saute your vegetables, let them cool entirely, and then transfer them to an air-tight container and put them in the fridge overnight.
- The seasoned broth: You can also mix your broth in advance, let that cool entirely and store it in an air-tight container in the fridge overnight.
On the day of: Add the bread and sauteed vegetables to a bowl, and heat the broth until it’s lukewarm (NOT hot). Then, mix the broth into the bread/veg with your hands and follow the rest of the recipe directions from there.
How to Double the Recipe:
This recipe makes about 8-10 servings of stuffing. To double it, we’d recommend using two casserole dishes instead of piling it all into one because that would affect the cook time.
How to Serve Vegan Stuffing
How to Keep Vegetarian Stuffing Warm
How to Store Leftover Dairy-Free Stuffing:
If you have leftover stuffing, you can make our vegan stuffing balls – OR – store and reheat it with the following directions:
How to store stuffing in the fridge:
Leftover stuffing stored in an air-tight container will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days after it’s made. Keep in mind the stuffing will lose moistness as it’s stored.
How to store stuffing in the freezer:
If the stuffing isn’t already cool, you can store it in the refrigerator for a few hours before moving it to the freezer. Stored like this, the stuffing will be good for 2-3 months. To defrost, transfer the stuffing to the fridge. Let it defrost completely before reheating.
How to reheat leftover stuffing:
Microwave: You can reheat leftover stuffing covered in the microwave with a little broth sprinkled on top to help regain its original texture. Microwave for a minute and stop to stir Repeat this until it reaches your desired temp.
Oven: Alternately, you can reheat the stuffing in the oven by transferring it to a baking dish, drizzling on some veg broth and covering it. Heat it at 325F for 15-30 minutes, depending on how much you’re reheating. If you want a slightly crispy top, uncover after 10-15 minutes and bake a while uncovered.
You can also place your leftovers in muffin tins and put them in the oven at 350 for 10-20 minutes until heated through and slightly crisp on top and sides. If you’re doing this, moisten the stuffing with veg broth before placing in the muffin tin.
More Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes:
If you’re new to vegan cooking, you may think the holidays mean you have to completely change what you’re eating.
But, with a little forethought and some help, you’ll soon realize that doesn’t have to be the way at all. Plant milks, vegan butters, cheeses, they are all in abundance. Any substitutions you could require are readily available.
Whatever we can help you with, whatever recipe you want to veganize, let us know. We’d be more than happy to help!
And if you make this recipe for your Thanksgiving dinner, we want to know! Rate the recipe and leave a comment below or tag us in your holiday feast photos on Instagram. If you’re not already following along over there, we’re @theplantpowercouple with the “the”.
- 12 cups cubed day-old bread (see notes for bread suggestions*)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (see notes for oil-free**)
- 1 heaping cup minced carrots
- 3/4 cup minced white or yellow onion
- 1/4 heaping cup minced celery
For the seasoned broth:
- THE NIGHT BEFORE PREP: The night before you make the stuffing, dice the bread and leave it out overnight. You can also try spreading the diced bread out on a large baking sheet and baking at 350F, stopping every 5 minutes to stir, until the bread is stiff but not croutons. Keep in mind the bread will crisp a bit as it cools as well. Ours usually takes around 10 minutes. If you dry the bread in the oven, make sure you let it cool before moving to the next step.
- DAY OF PREP: When you’re ready to make the stuffing, preheat your oven to 350F and spread some refined coconut or olive oil on the surface of a 15x9 casserole dish.
- SAUTE THE VEGGIES: Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan and add your minced carrot, celery, and onion over medium high heat. Add a pinch of salt and saute until onion is translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add these veggies to a large mixing bowl with the diced bread.
- SEASONED BROTH: Now, make your seasoned broth: Whisk all the ingredients in a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl with a fork. Slowly pour the seasoned broth into the bread and veggie mixture, tossing with your hands to make sure it is well incorporated throughout the mixture.
- COOK: Transfer bread mixture to the oiled casserole dish. Tamp it down with your hands to make sure it sticks together and check that it is an even thickness throughout. Place the stuffing in your preheated onion and bake for 20-25 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. We like it soft and bready on the inside and slightly crisp on top.
SINGLE-SERVING BOUILLON: If you don’t want to make a full batch of bouillon, use - 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp onion powder, 1/8 tsp turmeric + Italian herbs, pinch of celery salt + dried thyme.
- We like to stick with a rustic style loaf or baguette. Check the ingredients to ensure it’s vegan-friendly because it’s really hit or miss with this type of bread.
- The bread should have a day-old texture. Some stores even sell day-old bread at a discount, so keep an eye out for that. You want the cubed/broken bread to be dry and stale-like before beginning to make it into stuffing.
- We like to use a mix of pumpernickel and sourdough breads because they look so pretty combined and we love the flavor. Highly recommend that.
**MAKE IT OIL-FREE: Saute the veggies in broth instead of oil.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Serving Size:1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 221Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 7g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.