I’m all about making things from scratch. When it makes sense. If you’re cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner by yourself, I think it makes sense to take a few shortcuts. One shortcut I like is zhuzhing up a boxed stuffing mix with a few fresh ingredients. Because I really don’t have time to cube and dry a whole loaf of bread (AND clean up all those crumbs) if I’m making all the other dishes, too. That’s why this Apple Walnut Stuffing is my go-to Thanksgiving side dish.
See this recipe in my Easy Thanksgiving Dinner for Beginners meal plan.
What Kind of Boxed Stuffing Should I Use?
For this recipe, you’ll want to use two standard 6 oz. boxes of stuffing mix (dried bread crumbs + seasoning/bouillon powder). I used a chicken-flavored stuffing mix, but you can use any flavor you prefer. You can even use a cornbread stuffing mix. If you want to make this stuffing vegetarian, make sure to use a vegetable-flavored stuffing mix and double-check the ingredients for any meat-derived ingredients.
Can I Make This Apple Walnut Stuffing Ahead?
Yes! This Apple Walnut Stuffing is a great candidate for a make-ahead Thanksgiving side dish. I will say that the texture changes just slightly as it refrigerates overnight (it’s not quite as “fluffy” the next day), but the flavor is on point.
How to Reheat Apple Walnut Stuffing
If you do make this stuffing the day before Thanksgiving, you can reheat it in the oven, covered with foil, at 350ºF, for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature rises above 165ºF. The total time to reheat will depend on the size, shape, and type of dish you’re using, and how crowded the oven is. I suggest using an instant-read thermometer to make sure.
Stuffing is great because there are so many different directions you can take it. If you like meat in your stuffing, you can also brown some sausage or bacon and stir that into the stuffing. I garnished my stuffing with chopped parsley for color, but that is entirely optional and not required to flavor the dish.
Apple Walnut Stuffing
- 4 Tbsp butter ($0.52)
- 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
- 3 ribs celery ($0.37)
- 2 apples ($0.50)
- 1/2 tsp dried sage ($0.05)
- 3 cups water ($0.00)
- 2 6 oz. boxes stuffing mix ($1.38)
- 1/2 cup walnuts ($0.60)
- Finely dice the onion and celery. Add the butter, onion, and celery to a large pot and sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
- While the onion and celery are sautéing, core and finely dice the apples. Add the apples and dried sage to the pot with the onion and celery, and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes more, or just until the apples soften slightly.
- Add the water to the pot, place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add both boxes of stuffing mix, stir briefly to combine, turn the heat off, replace the lid, and let the stuffing rest for 5 minutes.
- While the stuffing mix is absorbing the hot water, chop the walnuts. After letting the stuffing rest for 5 minutes, remove the lid, add the walnuts, and gently fold them into the stuffing (vigorous stirring will make the stuffing gummy).
- Serve immediately, or bake uncovered at 350ºF for about 15 minutes to achieve a crispy top layer.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!
How to Make Apple Walnut Stuffing – Step By Step Photos
Finely dice one yellow onion and three ribs of celery. Add the onion and celery to a large pot along with 4 Tbsp butter. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
While the celery and onion are sautéing, core and finely dice two apples. Add the diced apples and 1/2 tsp dried sage to the pot with the onion and celery. Sauté for one to two minutes more, or just until the apples begin to soften.
Pour 3 cups water into the pot. Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring the water up to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, remove the lid, pour two 6 oz. boxes of stuffing mix into the pot, and give it a brief stir to combine. Turn the heat off, replace the lid, and let the stuffing rest for about 5 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid.
While the stuffing is resting, chop 1/2 cup walnuts.
After letting the stuffing rest for 5 minutes, add the chopped walnuts and gently fold to combine. Don’t stir too much, as this will make the stuffing gummy. Serve the stuffing immediately, or bake for about 15 minutes at 350ºF to make the top crispy.
Or you can cover and refrigerate the stuffing for the next day. To reheat the stuffing, cover the dish with foil and bake at 350ºF for about 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF (use an instant read thermometer). The total reheating time will vary depending on your baking dish and oven.
What are your go-to Thanksgiving side dishes?